Riot Reaction

In a recent speech reacting to the riots, David Cameron said that, “”We have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong.” Politicians have, indeed, been rather quiet on this topic for a good while now. I believe their silence began somewhere between the second-homes scandal and the expenses scandal.

Indeed, it is not inconceivable that the current visible level of dishonesty and corruption in our society may have had some influence upon the minds of the rioters – not to say that that can in any way excuse their acts of thievery, violence and destruction. Everything has a cumulative effect on people and living in an age of perceived unfairness and inequality is bound to affect the mood of the population. It is now becoming evident that the very heart of our public system may have been rotten for many years – it seems likely that politicians and the media have been engaged in bribery, blackmail and cover-ups of a gargantuan scale and that the police have quite probably been complicit to some extent in concealing all of this.

Meanwhile, big businesses and banks continue to evade tax to the tune of billions while, for the rest of us, jobs and services are cut while taxes and prices are hiked incrementally. Of course, there can be no true comparison between the rioters and the white-collar criminals with whom we entrust our money and our governance: for a start, the rioters were quite upfront and open about their criminal activity and, moreover, they are actually being punished for their actions.

Never a body for knee-jerk reactions, it seems now that the government is proposing to tackle the country’s “moral collapse” by introducing non-military ‘national service’ for all sixteen-year-olds. Presumably this will be used to plug the gaps left by the recent cuts to public services which financial foolhardiness has apparently necessitated. Given the announcement of imminent and substantial reductions to police budgets, perhaps we may even see rioters policing themselves in future.

The consequences of the dubious and fraudulent behaviour of the incumbent adults have already robbed school-leavers of their dreams and aspirations; now, thanks to the recent civil unrest by an indignant but tragically mindless minority, the government suddenly feels that it is able to demonise a whole generation. Is this really what we want for our children: that they should be punished to pay the price for the greed and corruption of their forebears?

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About Fles

Early middle-aged (oh yes I am!), no longer long-haired but still speccy and decidedly still an increasingly opinionated git. I’m basically a believer in individualism, that everybody has their own perspective and inner-beauty. I try to find humour in every situation. I enjoy reading and writing poetry.
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2 Responses to Riot Reaction

  1. Nic Firth says:

    Unfortunately the electorate has a habit of electing those that tell them what they want to hear rather than the truth, so its ultimately our fault that we put a bunch of liars and cheats in power.

    Again with the press the public is to blame due to our insatiable hunger for information and especially scandal. We provide a demand which the press meet, and then complain when it turns out that they have invaded the privacy of the families of victims of crime. The fact that, on the whole, the public regarded doing same to celebrities and politicians didn’t matter seems to be lost somewhere in the public outrage.

    Personally I feel that fewer politicians are needed but paying the salary we do to politicians seems only to attract idealists and people with family money (peanuts and monkeys comes to mind). Maybe if the country was willing to pay politicians a salary similar to that received by directors of large corporations and leading academics we would attract the dynamic visionaries that are needed to bring this country back onto the rails.

    A reform of the privacy laws is needed to get away from super injunctions and to remove the ability of the press from feeding our want for gossip. When I heard (some years ago) that Max Mosley’s son had killed himself I did wonder whether his troubles would have been lessened had his father’s S&M habits not been in the public domain. That was a classic example of the difference between “In the public interest” and “Of interest to the public”.

    As for the rioters, lets not over think this. They thought they would get away with it, and did it for “the craic” as they say in Ireland. What bothers me is that all those youths stole all sorts of things but not one of them had the presence of mind to grab a belt to hold their trousers up properly.

  2. Phil Bennett says:

    Nic, the electorate has little true choice in who they vote for. The majority of people vote along party lines rather than for the person.

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