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The London riots - Alfred knew the way forward

In response to the London riots, London Mayor Boris Johnson has written that "hope, boundaries and a moral framework" are what young people need and "robust policing is essential".

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Alfred the Great might agree, but Alfred had the authority and the power to insist on boundaries and a moral framework for the Vikings and for the young people of Wessex.

He established a moral grammar school education for young people, he insisted that Vikings obey the common law, and when necessary he responded to Viking violence effectively. When Vikings attacked, he responded with military effectiveness which was supported by the English people.

A moral framework, Christian in England's case, used to uphold the British. It did not prevent all violence, corruption or misery, but it decreased violence, corruption and misery sufficiently to allow many people to live happy, peaceful and purposeful lives.

The end of serfdom, the improvement of work conditions, the creation of great literature, the building of London and Edinburgh, music, paintings, sports and a wealth of inventions occurred within that framework and only because that framework existed.

That is why people from all over the world still flock to London - because we are still living off the plenty which a Christian moral framework created.

That moral framework would insist that children learn valuable and interesting things in school. It would insist that what Britain has created is worth knowing. It would affirm that the heart of the Christian moral system we have described is love - love of God and love of neighbour.

Alfred, and many other Brits, once knew that.

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