Melvyn Bragg: “There’s very little that’s broken about this society”

As he begins a new series on class and culture, Lord Bragg complains about David Cameron's reaction to the riots

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Prime Minister David Cameron’s response to last year’s riots was “nonsense” and “an injustice”, the writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg has said.

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Speaking to Radio Times, Bragg said the riots themselves were nothing new, but Cameron’s reaction was. “All this business of a ‘sick’, ‘feral’ and ‘broken’ society is nonsense,” Bragg commented. “There’s very little that’s broken about this society – it’s tolerant even when it’s a very tough time, and the people are decent people.

“They are not sick, they are grinning and bearing the tough times and helping each other – and it’s an injustice for the Prime Minister or anyone else to talk about ‘feral youth’ and a broken, sick society.

“He ought to know about soundbites and that they go around the world and do this country a disservice. And more important, he’s wrong!”

The 72-year-old Bragg said he keeps thinking he’s mellowed until something happens to make him angry: “It’s just a sort of flash. Anger is a very fast way to cut through to what you really want to do.”

Born of working-class parents but now Baron Bragg of Wigton, the broadcaster presents Melvyn Bragg on Class and Culture, a three-part BBC2 documentary examining whether Britain is now a classless society that starts at 9pm on Friday 24 February (9.30pm in Wales).

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Read more about Lord Bragg’s opinion on his own class – and his thoughts on man hugs! – in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale now.