Some thoughts on the recent riots, looting and arson across much of England.
“We are reaping what has been sown over the last three decades of creating a grotesquely unequal society with an ethos of grab as much as you can by any means. A society of looters created with MPs and their expenses, bankers and their bonuses, tax-evading corporations, hacking journalists, bribe-taking police officers, and now a group of alienated kids are seizing their chance” John McDonnell MP speaking on 9 August 2011.
This effectively sums up the situation with the moral decay of our society being as bad at the top of the social spectrum as the bottom. No decent person would condone the actions of the past week as the actions perpetrated by looters and arsonists was both criminal and despicable. They have shown total disrespect for authority and for the lives of the innocent people who have had their livelihoods either tarnished or ruined by their acts of destruction.
Parliament was recalled from its summer recess for an emergency debate on the crisis situation and almost unanimously MPs denounced the actions as being totally alien and unacceptable to society. Sadly, however, they were quick to criticise sections of society and third class neighbourhoods and suggest that these people were entirely to blame. Of course, there is an element of truth in that, as many offenders live in rundown communities and see little hope of a rewarding life ahead of them. Furthermore, it is highly likely that some of the looters come from fragmented family units, many without a father figure, a person who will more likely help instil discipline in the household.
Perhaps our MPs should be looking a little closer to home before castigating other members of society. Many of our politicians come from wealthy backgrounds and know little of the reality of living in today’s world. In the last couple of years, we have witnessed the expenses scandal which revealed that numerous privileged parliamentary members have screwed the country by falsifying claims. How can underprivileged people be expected to behave impeccably when our elitist government and opposition lie and cheat? These people are witnessing a culture of selfishness and greed surrounded by ever-falling moral standards.
Let’s take a look at the world around these looters and rioters. They are being told what to do by law breakers. Constant media advertising suggests that their lives are meaningless without the latest must-have gadget. They witness corruption in our police forces. Huge 4×4 vehicles driven by the vulgar rich threaten to mow them down if they don’t get out of their way. Footballers and A-list celebrities flaunt their wealth, most of it gained from their exploitation of ordinary men and women. Then there is the banking fiasco! In essence, the world before them says that success depends upon money and greed. What sort of morals are these to be influencing today’s society?
The actions of these rioters must be seen in perspective. They are a minority of society who have either chosen or been influenced through peer pressure to ignore the law and follow the example of short-term greed as promoted by successive elitist governments. It was encouraging to see so many more young people turning out to help clear up after the riots, compared with the numbers actually involved in the fracas. Sadly, not everyone can react in the same way, and society and government needs to address this problem.
Political correctness is now beyond a joke. Parents need to be allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children. Schools need the cane as a meaningful deterrent to unruly and disrespectful behaviour. I grew up in an era where the cane was used quite regualrly. It did me no harm at all and made me a stronger and law-abiding individual. Furthermore, we need to see effective punishment handed out for crimes and to bring to an early end this nanny state syndrome which now pervades! Perhaps conscription or something similar should be reintroduced.
There are many theories being banded about as to what caused the riots in the first place. Some suggest it was the shooting of a man, believed to be armed, in Tottenham, and what started as a protest simply escalated across many towns and cities. Many of the looters were young teenagers so why weren’t they safely in the charge of their parents? Undoubtedly the ineffective police tactics deployed on the first two nights were a catalyst to subsequent disturbances.
This moral decline of what was once Great Britain has been in the making for over a quarter of a century. Capitalism and greed has been king with the social divide between rich and poor becoming ever wider. Of course people should be rewarded for their hard work and commitment but it should also be acknowledged that many people do not have the same advantages or lucky breaks through no fault of their own. A fairer distribution of wealth should be a priority of government, with an escalating taxation system rather than fixed cut-off points, and a realistic living minimum wage introduced. Depressed inner-city areas should be redevloped instead of green belt land being commisioned for building so that the heart of city communities can be re-established.
Britain isn’t yet broken but it’s moral fabric is certainly crumbling. Fortunately the vast number of people in our country are honest and decent human beings and live their lives in accordance with the law. Perhaps we should all unite and show our politicians, the Sloane Square chavs and the minority of misguided youth how to live a life based on morals rather than greed.