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Is our society more cohesive? Views of the North.

THE August riots were a terrible reminder of some of the forces of violence and self-centredness which sadly lurk below the surface of our national life.

Usually summer is known as the 'silly season' for news, but we have not been so fortunate this year.

The appalling phone-hacking scandal has shown the level of corruption and poor ethical and moral behaviour among the elites of our society, while the riots have shown similar sorry attitudes among those nearer the bottom.

Fortunately in the North East we were spared the riots. So why did they not break out here? Perhaps we are just too far from London and the shooting of Mark Duggan didn't really resonate this far north.

I also wonder if having rejected Thatcherism, we are also rejecting her notion of there being 'no society'.

It may have been that we really do have greater community cohesion in our region. Certainly we have traditions of solidarity, fairness and tolerance, which we should not lose sight of.

We have traditionally worked together and have been welcoming to those coming to our region. We must keep together in our communities and not allow those who might wish to divide us to do so.

Whatever the reasons for the riots, there can be no room for complacency. Yet I do believe our traditional positive values can help to protect us from any outbreaks of violence and mass criminality in the future.

PETER SAGAR, High Heaton, Newcastle
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2011
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