Posted on August 9, 2011
Just a few days after my relaxed holiday I am sat stunned in front of the TV watching fires, lootings, petrol bombs and riot police in my capital city just fifty odd miles away from the safety of Hampshire. The vitriol and hatred I have witnessed on social media sites is almost as disturbing as the violence itself, with Facebook updates demanding the yobs to be locked up forever, shot, sent to Afghanistan, or even set on fire. When you see videos featuring mobs of youths attacking and robbing innocent bystanders in broad daylight it is easy to understand the venom coming from middle England towards what can only be described as a feral underclass, but I fear this issue runs a lot deeper than that.
When this situation is under control, someone, somewhere within Government has to take a serious look at what is causing this in our society otherwise it will happen time and time again, there is a social economic issue here, no matter how much the government, police and media dress up as just wanton vandalism and theft. It requires the input of the people from within these communities so we can try to understand what has created young people in our society that are entirely fearless, lawless and seemingly lacking status or respect for their fellow man. All this talk of military retribution is nonsense, this is supposed to be a developed country, history should tell everyone that operating an “eye for an eye” policy doesn’t work.
I worked in Hackney and Islington for many years and one thing that always shocked me as a bit of a country boy was the thin borderline between vast wealth and extreme poverty. Islington is a prosperous area full of independent book shops, boutiques, bistro’s and trendy bars, yet if you take a wrong turning you are in what effectively is the third world, whenever I visited Hackney I did it with fear, parts of it are totally lawless. Once you go through Hackney into another Hellhole, Bethnal Green, dominating the horizon is the “City” and its huge glass buildings featuring the heart of capitalism and all the banks and investment groups that have stolen far more than a pair of trainers or a flat screen TV. I suppose what I am trying to say is that these forgotten and disregarded people who have nothing are surrounded by wealth, I could sense a simmering resentment when I worked there, and now it has now boiled over, triggered by the Police shooting of “one of their own” who it would seem, was hardly an innocent man.
It is very difficult for many of us to imagine what it must be like to be brought up in these areas that feature run down schools, dilapidated housing, gun crime and open drug dealing, so it is very easy to condemn, but where is the hope for these kids, where is the direction, where is the education? Many of them have no parental guidance of any note, so it doesn’t take long for them to go off the rails and become feral, I expect the same would have happened to our own children if they had been lobbed in to a feckless environment at a young age. Often it seems, the only way out is football or boxing, otherwise it is a life in and out of prison. It’s little wonder they don’t give a damn about anyone, from birth no one has given a damn about them including their own parents. They don’t understand the consequences of their behaviour, that has to change or we have anarchy.
We are currently living in a country where capitalism is collapsing as we speak (check the markets) all the money has been stolen by bankers and hedge fund managers, consequently there is none left to spend on infrastructure that includes housing, better schools, community centres and improvements in inner city areas. These areas that are already neglected and run down are going to get worse and worse whilst the shiny buildings of the rich stand on the horizon, the feckless people who live their will have feckless children of their own, it is as far as I can see, a horrible self fulfilling prophecy. Quite when a huge section of the working classes became the forgotten underclass I just don’t know and I am not educated in social standards to make a reliable judgement, but I am increasingly convinced that this is all part of the failure of a capitalist society (look at the USA) and we are reaping what we have sewn.
Out of all the quotes I read on Facebook the one that stood out most came from Martin Luther King Jnr:
“When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard”.
I hope for the sake of this country and the innocent people of London that someone listens this time, if they don’t this lawless feral culture could get even get worse. I don’t want these type of people roaming our streets any more than the next guy.