There have been so many things to talk about with the recent UK riots. The large financial costs and emotional damage to small businesses, the fear that so many people must have felt, the outlandish claims of ‘media professionals’, pressures on the emergency services and not to mention the awful deaths. But, what has shocked and worried me the most is the reaction of the majority of my ‘friends’. Now when I put friends in inverted commas I don’t mean they’re not my friends, I mean my Facebook friends, which is the same really, bar the few that I’ve met once or twice. In this digital age we have a revolutionary way of conversing with each other online en mass. Even if you have 50 ‘friends’ on Facebook that’s a large amount of people to talk to compared to the handful of people you might talk with over a few pints. So for that reason, even though Facebook is used primarily as a trivial thing, whenever you make a statement it reverberates a lot louder and wider than your run-of-the-mill social situation. Anyway, back to what I’m trying to moan about…
Instead of hearing varying degrees of questions, analysis or thoughts about what was going on all I saw was venomous tirades of abuse such as ‘lock them all in a room and make them fight each other’ ‘remove their access to benefits’ and ‘kill them all!’. Inspiring stuff if you’re a trainee facist. Really? Is this really what people want? I don’t see these same people calling for the death of rapists and paedophiles on a daily basis like the lowest-common-denominating headlines of the tabloids. That’s because as far as most intelligent people are concerned, it is established that we don’t just kill these people, we send them to prison or sometimes, ideally, try to rehabilitate them. It’s ok for us to help these people as they need our help. These are society’s rules so we stick to those rules. So when a bunch of people break society’s rules and go on the rampage why did so many people I know do exactly the same thing as them and break the same rules? Is it suddenly ok to kill people or treat them like it’s still the 1700’s and we ought to hang them or deport them because they did something wrong? An eye for an eye? I had honestly thought we as a society had progressed from that mentality. Especially the intelligent and articulate people that I call my friends.
The same could be said for the bankers that caused a global economic crisis. Where were all the calls for death or extreme punishments for them? Why was everyone so comparatively quiet then? That catastrophe has had a much worse and far longer lasting effect on all of our lives, and the lives of those right across the globe. Tens of thousands have lost jobs, tens of thousands have been marginalised and the recovery from that is going to take years if not decades. Surely the hate has been a little disproportionate and misdirected to say the least. People are inspired to call for the deaths of those that have cost us millions in the riots, but shake their heads and just carry on when they’re told about people costing us trillions – and are completely getting away with it.
I hate to quote Jesus but ‘He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone’. That is entirely appropriate quote for this situation. When I was younger I did loads of stuff I am majorly ashamed of now. Once I even smashed up more than one car in a night for the sheer hell of it. Or maybe it was boredom. Or maybe it was feeling powerful for once after being brought up in a system that left me feeling lied to, cheated and an immense sense of unfairness and powerlessness. Or maybe it was just plain dumb. Do I deserve death for that? Do my family deserve to have their benefits cut off (if they claimed them)? I was a child but I knew what I was doing. I had a good upbringing mostly so I cannot blame my family for being a little shit myself. I think most people would say that I was just a stupid kid that deserved a modicum of punishment but certainly not the aforementioned ‘solutions’. Can these people that call for extreme punishments also be clear of conscious and say that they have never done anything wrong? Can they actually cast the first stone? I doubt it.
It’s been 30 years since Thatcher and Reagan plunged us all into a self- obsessed, fear driven, looking after No.1 society where consumerism is the only thing to worry about. The children of that society are now immensely pissed off, detached, alienated and in many cases due to the lack of a good education, have no way of articulating what is wrong and how they feel. We have all bought into those ideals to some degree and let it carry on. We vote the next moron in to perpetuate the same bullshit that went before them and continue to toe the same party line and it just keeps on getting worse. We teach our kids that success is money, money means products and more products means happiness. What kind of crazy, fucked up society is this?! And people want to kill these kids for going crazy? We’re the crazy ones! We’re the ones that politely nod our heads and agree to all the wars that are fought unjustly in our name. We’re the ones that perpetuate the myth that consumerism is a good value system. We’re the ones that find it too difficult to say no to a system we all know is immensely flawed because it’s easier than trying to change things. We’re the ones that pay for bankers bailouts when they have been so irresponsible it’s untrue. And you want respect from the kids? The ones we have all let down by bringing them up in a vastly unfair, unjust and disproportionate world.
A good start would be to stop fighting amongst ourselves in this ‘them and us’ culture we seem to have developed as we fumble around trying to pick up the scraps that are left for us. I am no different from a ‘Chav’. I have the same basic needs and pleasures as everyone. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. A broken society will not be fixed if we throw more hate and abuse into the ring. We need understanding and critical thought. We need to lend a helping hand not a fist to the face. Yes indeed Mr Cameron, society is broken, and that is entirely your and your predecessor’s fault. Along with ourselves of course, the ones that bury our heads in the sand and play with shiny things to make it all better because being serious and effective is just way to difficult.
Tags: bankers, birmingham riots, britain, broken, conservatives, cuts, debate, hackney riots, london, manchester riots, peckham riots, police, police tactics, politics, protest, riot, society, tottenham riots, uk, uk riots