Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Blame the folks who sold the future for the highest bid

Whatever happened to childhood?
We're all scared of the kids in our neighborhood;
They're not small, charming and harmless,
They're a violent bunch of bastard little shits.
And anyone who looks younger than me
Makes me check for my wallet, and my phone and my keys,
And I'm tired of being tired out
Always being on the lookout for thieving gits.

I was going to write this blog a month ago, when the events were actually happening, however I decided to take a back seat to watch and read about what was really behind the headlines before committing to some ill-informed blog post.

It still upsets me a month on hearing some of my closest friends talk about the 'chavy scum' and 'opportunist lowlives' who for five nights controlled this country, and how they would gladly see these people shot by police and 'given what they deserve'.

It was very rare to find articles about these riots that try and look at the bigger picture and try to unravel what really caused the August riots of 2011. I guess not many people want to even try and conceive that there was a bigger picture than the one they were being faced with, because to do that they would have to admit that in some respect we were to blame also. I am not condoning the actions of the people involved in these riots, nor am I saying that they should not be punished, because what they did over those five nights, the rate at which it spread all over the country and the lives and livelihoods it took were all wrong doings; but these wrong doings started long before the first window was broken, before the first fire was set, the first punch was thrown and even before the shooting of Mark Duggan which spurred the original peaceful protest. This is something that has been growing for a lifetime.

We can't solely blame our current government for the birth of the angry society we currently live in, but we can't ignore all the little bits of icing they have so effectively put on the top of the cake that has been baking for decades.

Of course some of these rioters were 'opportunist' and many, maybe even all of them, didn't even know what they were rioting for, but the fact that people in such numbers felt the ability to come out for five nights and break, loot, and set fire to peoples homes and businesses without any sense of wrongdoing must raise the question, WHY?

Why do they feel so unconnected to their own community that they can go out and do these terrible things? Only once in the whole of the new coverage did I hear this question asked, when really this is the most important question that should have been asked. WHY? Why did they do this? Why did they feel no remorse or guilt at the chaos they were creating? But most importantly, how can we prevent this from happening again?

An answer, in short, is that they don't feel as though they belong to any society or community, they feel no connection to the places they destroyed over those five nights so in turn they felt no guilt. You can't gain respect from someone without first giving respect, the same goes for a community.

Like I have already said, this is a cake that has been baking for decades. Jobs have been cut, house prices have gone up and hours have gone down, education doesn't really mean anything any more because so many people have degrees now that they don't really mean all that much and the majority of kids in schools these days are destined to fail before they even get their first school uniform purely because of some statistics someone wrote up however many years ago based on a postcode. But statistics do not see the individual, and unfortunately, not many people do either any more, we see a few kids together and automatically presume something negative and feel the need to lower our head and walk faster. Nobody believes in these kids any more and nobody really believed in their parents either. Children learn by example, but to some degree so do adults. How do you expect to raise a child knowing the difference from right and wrong when so many of the most powerful people in this country are corrupt? Endless people in government stole money, made claims for their dinner or their second home or their third car to be covered by expenses and all a lot of them really got was a smack on the wrist. People hacked into peoples private lives to sell a newspaper which in the end was closed down and went on to get jobs straight away working with governors and other highly recognised newspapers. It seems there is one rule for the rich and another for the poor, so no wonder the poor finally snapped.

I'm not from the richest of families, nor am I from the poorest either so I am not going to pretend that I know what these peoples lives are like, but I am going to stick up for them when it comes to the unjustness this country is now hitting these people with in terms of prison sentences, such as the girl who got two years for stealing a bottle of Lucozade.

Something needs to be done, but it shouldn't come in the form of punishment, it should come in the form of rehabilitation. But before we can rehabilitate the poor, the rich must first take responsibility for their wrongdoings and lead by example. That would be a first in history I'm sure!

We're all wondering how we ended up so scared;
We spent ten long years teaching our kids not to care
And that "there's no such thing as society" anyway,
And all the rich folks act surprised
When all sense of community dies.

And it seems a little bit rich to me,
The way the rich only ever talk of charity
In times like the seventies, the broken down economy
Meant even the upper tier was needing some help.
But as soon as things look brighter,
Yeah the grin gets wider and the grip gets tighter,
And for every teenage tracksuit mugger
There's a guy in a suit who wouldn't lift a finger for anybody else

You've got a generation raised on the welfare state,
Enjoyed all its benefits and did just great,
But as soon as they were settled as the richest of the rich,
They kicked away the ladder, told the rest of us that life's a bitch.
And it's no surprise that all the fuck-ups
Didn't show up until the kids had grown up.
But when no one ever smiles or ever helps a stranger,
Is it any fucking wonder our society's in danger of collapse?