The National:

Welcome to the In Common newsletter from the pro-independence think tank Common Weal. To get it sent direct to your inbox every week, click here.

This week's edition comes from Kaitlin Dryburgh, who is a policy officer at Common Weal.

Bonfire Night has again proved to be a night of disruption for Scotland. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee all experienced trouble. Emergency workers were attacked, fireworks were set off with the intent of causing harm, fires were started, and violence was rife. This also comes not long after disturbances in Dundee’s area of Kirkton, which saw a large group of youths start fires and trash an abandoned house. The worst of Scotland’s Bonfire Night violence took place in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh, where approximately 50 youths were involved in a clash with police.

Living right around the corner from this area I heard the constant bangs of the fireworks and the sirens going off. For the residents living in among the unrest as youths threw fireworks in all directions and police in riot gear lined their street, the experience was terrifying.

Problems in Niddrie on Bonfire Night are not a novel occurrence, yet this year seemed to be worse than ever, although police had tried to tackle anti-social behaviour. Unfortunately, there has been evidence of adults supplying and exploiting young people to carry out a pre-meditated plan of aggression.

READ MORE: Police condemn ‘extreme violence’ after petrol bombs thrown at officers

The National:

Living through this night poses quite the nightmare for residents. It’s a scary position to be in, to not feel safe in your own home and to be subjected to the stress of anti-social behaviour. The cracks in a community can begin to appear in situations like this. Yet, it’s imperative to remember that the acts that were seen on Sunday night don’t represent the community of Niddrie. We can’t judge an area by the acts of a handful.

The aftermath has been making national headlines as many are calling for the arrest of those responsible. As we’ve seen the pictures of the scorch marks left on the roads as a reminder, the condemnation from all political sides as well as the emergency services, many have asked: "Why are these attacks happening?"

Perhaps the question should really be: "What’s stopping this from happening?". Why do we have an area in Edinburgh that is, year on year, one of the most deprived areas in the city, continually to turn violent on this day?

Disillusionment and rage

Recently BBC Scotland aired a documentary presented by former gang member turned best-selling author and activist Graeme Armstrong (below). He spoke of a resurgence in young males, and in some cases females, joining gangs.

The National:

Although he explores many cultural influences, he paints the picture of young males with pent up rage. Kids that have grown up with a sense of hopelessness, with the feeling that there is nothing for them. That isn’t hard to believe when nearly one in four children living in Scotland grow up in poverty – a statistic to policy-makers, a daily reality for Niddrie. All of that is a far cry from the quaint Duddingston village just around the corner where a three bed flat sells for close to a million pounds.

Young working-class men in particular are becoming more disillusioned with society as there has become less space for them to exist and be represented. We often hear of male privilege; this I will argue is an issue, but it absolutely doesn’t apply to all. Class has become a bit of a taboo subject as of late, or an issue that we wished didn’t exist because we believe we have evolved beyond the politics of class. It is nonsense; social class still defines existence for many, many people. The demonisation of the working class has long been rife, and branding the young people of Niddrie as morons, as some leaders have done, doesn’t help matters.

READ MORE: Scottish author Graeme Armstrong on learning to love life after The Young Team

Communities such as Niddrie are filled with normal people wanting the same things in life as any other community, yet they experience problems at a much higher rate; substance abuse, family instability, low income, health inequalities and a higher chance of being exposed to violence. Poor education in young working-class men creates a big problem where reading levels and the chance of going on to further education is much lower than most other demographics.

For the people of Niddrie and other communities in the same position, what have we done to help the young people growing up there? Sadly the answer for the last ten years or so has been simply not enough. Child poverty is on the up, Edinburgh along with several other areas in Scotland has a housing crisis on its hands, we are barely on top of the drug death crisis and alcohol abuse is increasing.

We can't defend the violence of those young people who caused trouble on Bonfire Night, but we must look at the whole picture when trying to understand why this continues to happen. Outreach from the police will never tackle the root cause.

What we really need is investment in public services, spaces and services created which respect and include young people, the cap lifted on child benefits, ample further education opportunities that aren’t solely university, more social housing, better local economies and a commitment to stop pushing the public service workforce to the brink. It is our job to prove to the young people of Niddrie that there is a place for them, not the other way round.