“England is in trouble. What will others think? We should take away their rights and lock them all up I say”. This a very middle-class, modern response to the riots. And our worry about how it all looks is a problem in itself.
The danger is that those of us, including the government, are basing our reaction on the riots on our own educated outlook on life. The other day, I was made aware of a petition on HM Government’s site to force the convicted people during the riots to pay, and have all rights removed…
No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them.
This worries me. Not only is it shortsighted, but it misses the point. The UK, England in particular, is in a Brand crisis. Unlike those which flared up on Twitter last year for people such as Paperchase – this time is on a Global scale, and the world are watching, and judging, in various classes, social groups, financial brackets, from their sofas.
England, like brands, must put in place a transparent, balanced, and forward-thinking response. Not base a knee-jerk “screw them” reaction which is correct for a yob on our street corner, but not class-rooted frustration on such an epic scale.
Given that most taking part are on the fringes of society and poverty, the above petition’s suggestions are NEVER likely to work. Taking away rights would increase crime, frustration, and result in another outpouring of anger – and in turn cost us ALL even MORE money in repairs, social care, rehoming of children and swollen emergency services. People need to have a real think about why it’s happened, regardless of how much we hate the “scumbags” – it’s happened. In OUR country. WE need to find out the real reasons why – whatever they are, and fix them, together.
We’re all lucky, people like you and I – largely middle or upper-working class, earning good money (yes we are), pretty happy, educated, open minded, able to go to a coffee shop and chat over a newspaper to a support group of friends. Not everybody is so lucky, and when pressures in society increase ever more on the already disparaged fringes of society, frustration explodes. All it takes is a trigger.
Right or wrong these people are – it’s happened. And yes, of course it is a result of a lack of taught morals and poor parenting. But when financial pressures, limited job prospects (or perceived), pockets of poverty where people lack the capacity to see a way out, and a system which, to the educated voting classes is set up to help US, those less fortunate feel that the only way they’ll feel counted and powerful, or meaningful, is to take part in ‘liberating’ riots such as these.
Criminality and loss of life is tragic and wrong, but trying to sweep the toxic problem under the proverbial carpet will only come back to bite us again one day, and harder.
Governments need to rethink a LOT, and it’s not going to be popular for anybody, especially US. We all need to take a HARD look at what’s happened and understand why they all felt it was ok.
Rant over, X.