I wrote yesterday about the bovver in Tottenham on Saturday night. Last night we saw sporadic events in Brixton, Enfield and other spots. This evening I’m seeing pictures on Sky News from Hackney and Lewisham where it is kicking off.
What is surprising me is the simplicity with which the media are approaching these events. I do not see a connection between the events in Tottenham, where I maintain that a small number who were angry about the shooting were joined by a larger number who were just generally pissed off.
What we have seen yesterday and will no doubt see this evening is a different beast altogether. These are not demonstrations (whether I agree with the focus of the demo or not is irrelevant) but wilful acts of vandalism and looting. A tear-up as the result of emotions running high is one thing, pre-meditated destruction of property is another.
As I drove home from work, there was a discussion on the radio about the causes of this. Both the BBC and Sky have referred to these morons as ‘anarchists’, I’m not sure if they’ve sat down with them and discussed their feelings about the State and how it infringes on the private individual. I get the feeling it is just an easy tag to hang on people.
This has been described as violence by social network. Evil social networking. Before twitter and facebook it was impossible to sort this sort of thing out. Except when it’s happened in the past it was caused by mobile phones and the dangers of text messaging. Before then it would have been people talking to each other in the street and in the pub. Let’s not kid ourselves, this has nothing to do social networking, don’t be lazy. People have always communicated.
‘What could have caused this?’ comes the plaintive cry. Referring once again to yesterday’s posting, I believe that people are just generally angry and frustrated. This ain’t it. It has been suggested that it is due to the cuts. Don’t be bloody silly, it’s nothing to do with that either. It isn’t down to racial tension.
What has caused this is a systematic removal of people’s ability to think and act for themselves. We’ve had twenty years of people being told that they are not responsible for themselves, that the State will look after them, guide them on every step of their journey through life. We’ve had twenty years of the State providing, telling people they are entitled, telling people that when they do bad things it isn’t their fault. We’ve had twenty years of the judicial system, or more accurately the politicians behind it, failing to deal with recidivist offenders put before them, handing them ridiculously short sentences in a prison system which sees prisoners getting more rights and better conditions than those staying in NHS hospitals, or worse still, no prison sentence at all.
These people have been told they can do what they want almost entirely without consequence. They see the actions of the anti-cuts movement, of UAF and the EDL, of the people in Tottenham and they see a police force which seems helpless to intervene, a police force that will arrest people for singing ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ yet that will not move in to stop violent and criminal damage for fear of upsetting the left wing hand wringers, and a police force that has its hands tied by the judicial system. They think to themselves, ‘looks like a laugh, why not?’
The word being trotted out time and again is ‘community’ the community is angry, upset, fearful about and of these disturbances. Yet the powers that be demonstrate that the community doesn’t matter, it is ignored, insulted and destroyed, by successive Labour, Conservative and Coalition governments.
There’s been a spokesman from Lewisham council saying that it is the school holidays and there are many young people with not much to do. Well, who’s fault is that? I used to make my own fun, never stretched to setting light to a police car or a shop though. Once again, it is the people like the fabled ‘community outreach officers’ who have told people that they cannot, indeed must not, do anything unless it has been organised by some agency; controlled, regulated, register checked.
So, we’ve a generation of people who have been told that nothing is their fault, not to think for themselves, that their actions have no consequences, that they have no responsibilities, that they can have and do what they want, for free.