Hey look I’m living some kind of idyllic family thing in Pembrokeshire. So I’ve undoubtedly ‘escaped’ to some degree. And I feel conflicted – isn’t that what they say? – about even talking about this rioting thing. What right have I? etc etc. But… let me make some contribution to the debate please.
In no particular order – like is there any order? – the following strike me;
- The cops may have bollocksed up this Duggan thing; by again failing to be brilliantly sharp and clear and aware and sensitive when they absolutely needed to be bringing out their A game. (They can’t afford to be doing that).
- A pile of (working class?) people – families even – have been disgracing themselves by ‘joining in’.
- The Daily Mail, amongst others, has again been shockingly inflammatory – an agent of cheap division when we need intelligence.
- The race card has been predictably but insidiously played.
- Certain public figures have sounded off, apparently unaware of the delicious ironies implicit in this – some of them being both embarrassingly privileged and guilty of abusing that privilege through exploitation of expenses protocols, for example.
- There are issues; there is an underclass.
- Many of these rioters deserve a hiding. (It wouldn’t help).
- There is no foreseeable possibility of resolving either the exclusion or disenfranchisement or the cheap, cynical, materialist ignorance of those who perpetrate the criminality, or the casual/’incidental’ (re)actions.
- The exclusion of some of these people from opportunity is, for want of a better word, criminal.
So we go round. Thugs and communities; brave men in uniform; the outraged, the sinned against, the scumbags. Dark shadows. The whiff of petrol. But what if we really do think about this? If we use its energy positively? Get beyond the obvious, take the emotion out; maybe even put some philosophy, some generosity in?.
Clearly we are right to penalise those guilty of ‘trashing their own communities’. We can unite in our disgust/moral outrage/sadness at that. But can we, if we are to reasonably judge, take the emotion out? Put a sensible, even helpful, constructive value on the quality of wrongdoing and then penalise it and take steps to legislate, in the broader sense, for improvement.
By this I mean (for one thing) improvement in terms of respecting defining principles; such as ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL. Why not start with that one?
That might necessitate a fairly acute look at aspects of the aforementioned privilege. The still stunning domination of Public School/Oxbridge alumni throughout higher levels of government/media/business. The facts and figures, historically and now, re- top earners in relation to those on the breadline. Perceptions around the knowledge of that. For one view might be that unforgiveable as much of the recent action has been, it may be a historically inevitable consequence of a perception of inequality. If that were true would that mean that the following were worthy of consideration?
- The abolition of private schooling.
- Bigger, better, intelligent government; government that led.
- The imposition of some kind of wage-capping, for proportionality.
- Steps to curb both the notion that growth is god and indeed the acceptance that capitalism per se works for ALL ANIMALS.
These are, of course, hilarious, post-coital and anti-social suggestions arising from liberal/shared gay sex with E P Thompson, Ken Livingstone, Angela Carter, Ken Loach and Elvis Costello on a Red Wedge weekend in Brent. Much more realistic and practical solutions are offered below;
- Use water cannon upon every gathering of more than 2.
- Use plastic bullets on every gathering of more than 4.
- Send all convicted rioters to Marines standard boot camp.
- Blame teachers.
- Blame parents.
- Reduce the school curriculum to the learning of reading, writing and arithmetic. And entrepreneurism.
- Tell kids god will be their judge.
- Tell kids they will never be paid to think.
- Tell kids they need more products… like blackberries, flat screen TV’s, designer labels, watches, gold stuff, shiny stuff, stuff everybody’s got – stuff you can get young kids to nick for ya, when it gets wild. Late, right, in the dark shadows, with the sirens going off and all, and the feds goin’ ballistic, but… like… when they can’t touch ya man.
2 thoughts on “This petrol emotion”
Excellent post Rick. It may well be that the rich and privileged come off worse in all of this for creating a society and championing cultural values that the poor crave but can’t achieve. We now have to seriously engage in whether the social rot is at the bottom of society or at the top – bankers, media proprietors, tax avoiders, top police officers and politicians (and admen? ;-).
I love the delicious ironies whereby all the top players are coming over all judgemental and authoritarian and righteous! ‘Cos in no sense have any of them been nicking anything.