Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Who's biting whose bottom?

There seems to be this stupid idea floating around commentators on the riots that the looting and arson have got nothing to do with the austerity measures. How wrong can these people be? Obviously the people doing the rioting are the disaffected and they were probably never thinking of going to college and they are somewhat criminal and their personal 'motive' has nothing to do with a deep understanding of the political situation and the cuts themselves. But the only reason this state of affairs has arisen such that large numbers of young people are so disaffected that they don't see themselves as belonging to the culture is directly caused by the same attitude which has given rise to the austerity measures.

Do people really think that these hooligans are a sort of blight sent by God. A surprising amount of people who God just arbitrarily created evil. Can people not think a little further than the end of their nose. I guess I am being a little extreme because I do understand that when people are afraid and in the midst of a problem they cannot afford to 'consider the other chap'. But the commentators are not in the midst of the crisis they are sitting in posh television studios and have nice secure middle class lives. They surely can see that Britain is in decline and to increase the cutting of pensions, benefits, education and police is going to make things worse. What do people imagine 'worse' means? Consider what animals do when they are trapped. Of course the dregs of society are going to take advantage of the situation. Of course their behaviour is extremely wrong and undesirable. Of course it is disruptive and criminal. It is so obvious it is almost worrying that the commentators don't seem to get it.

I really hate to say that what Ed Miliband said made sense. He said that the criminality has to be dealt with and order and security need to be restored but after that there are some very complex underlying issues that need to be addressed. I don't like the guy and after all he is a politician but at least the words he said on this occasion made sense.

Whilst I am paying compliments I will add that police have acted incredibly well. I know that some would want them to rush in and bash the hooligans and I can empathise with that sentiment. However I believe that had they acted in a more heavy handed way that the situation would have got far worse. Let's hope the politicians don't start getting heavy handed because that is my biggest fear. I could almost imagine that these riots have been orchestrated behind the scenes by political individuals who want excuses to increase the authoritarian control of the population.

A last point worth making is that it may seem I am glad the rioting has occurred and in some significant way I am. I am not pleased about anyone's individual bad experience and I would want things to be sorted with less pain. But it seems clear to me that the pain being perpetrated by the people at the top on the people at the bottom is unacceptable and getting worse. Without these riots nothing was being done about the abject poverty experienced by millions in this country. The whole Islamophobia and cultural diversity failure issues are fuelled by poverty as are so many other unsatisfactory consequences. The people in power must start treating ALL of the population with the same human respect as they treat the privileged echelons. Britain is collapsing into an 'us and them' culture and it is both unacceptable and unsustainable. These disturbances are at least causing people to wake up a bit and begin to see the damage being caused. Although the people who have had their businesses bunt and their expensive shops looted are suffering and I am sorry for them, the scale of suffering caused by these riots is minuscule compared to the lives being ruined every day and the pain and suffering being brought about by this ridiculous approach of the government to take money from the poorest in society and to feed billions of pounds to the richest. I wonder how the poorest millions in Britain feel when they see a sad executive in his smart suit looking at his burnt out business and wondering if the insurance will cover the loss. A princess who has lost her diamond ring has exactly the same legitimacy in being distressed about it as a poor person who has lost their teddy bear. The executive in the suit is understandably very distressed about the destruction in front of him and I am not trying to suggest he should not be seriously upset. But I am pointing out that there are millions who live with more than that level of distress every day because they have no opportunities, no money and no hope. Unfortunately if the people at the top will not take the people at the bottom seriously they will, eventually, get their bottoms bitten.

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