Tuesday, 9 August 2011

21st century greed, disrespect and consumer society

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London riots day 3: A property on fire near Reeves Corner, Croydon
The riots sweeping across English cities over the past three years are a symptom of a section of society where rules are not respected and a belief dominates that they have no responsibilities.
There are no excuses for the violence, disorder and general thuggery on our streets. Whilst violence can never be condoned sometimes background factors exacerbate situations and can ratchet up the risk of violence. The miner’s strike on occasion degenerated into violence with men seeing their proud jobs taken from them by a cavalier management and a spiteful Government. The vicious riots in the early eighties in places like Toxteth, opened up the Police to a scrutiny, which demonstrated institutional racism. The tuition fees demonstrations, which were initially peaceful became violent and were ignited by the genuine worry over tripling of fees and a lifetime of student debt. Again, there was still no excuse for violence with police officers being hurt and even murdered for example, on the Broadwater Farm estate riot.
Yet, the summer riots of 2011 are different. Young people will sometimes be unhappy and demand that society give them more respect but what we are witnessing are a tiny minority of typically young people going out at night to rob and destroy property. They are engaging in anarchism where they don’t want to be part of English society and want to impose a set of selfish values where their greed and disrespect for the law means they feel they can act with impunity.
Map showing riot locations
Since 2008, we have discovered greedy bankers bringing  the economy to its knees, Members of Parliament stealing from taxpayers by false expenses, elements of the tabloid media hacking their way through people’s private lives and those same newspapers bribing corrupt police officers.
The common factors? They all felt they were above the laws of the land and they could feather their own nests. In the case of newspapers they want to sell more newspapers and beat the opposition to a story anyway they could. Ultimately, I am sure some journalists and private investigators were motivated by greed and enjoyed extra bonuses and cash for ripping exclusives off private voicemails.
UK riots: Daily Telegraph
Society needs to face up to this disintegration of society in some quarters. We need to stamp out corruption and put greed back in its box. Today like every other day 30,000 children around the globe have died from lack of clean water, food and medicines. A sense of perspective and a global outlook of those not as fortunate as ourselves needs to be understood to temper human weaknesses. We need to be taking care of our elderly relatives. We need to concentrate on getting to know our neighbours. We need to wind down our demands for more money and more material goods. It isn’t always easy when our TVs, newspapers, glossy magazines and the Internet are filled with the urging to get rich quickly through short cuts of appearing on ‘docusoaps’, the X-Factor and the other hundred shows and brands.
London riots front pages: The Guardian final
Yet those in power who are role models need to clean up their acts and demonstrate to the young people that there is a better way to lead their lives where they can contribute to their communities and not destroy them.
What kind of Britain do we want? If we don’t get hold of those youngsters out on the streets and instil the rules of society to show them the honest opportunities, then we will have another generation like Thatcher’s children who will create torrid estates of hate, filth and mayhem. We can turn our backs and move to nice neighbourhoods but ultimately the disorder and dysfunction will eventually catch up with us.
A new discipline is needed in communities, schools and at home to demonstrate zero tolerance for wanton destruction of property and to teach them respect to others. We need to create opportunities for business to thrive by making it easier for entrepreneurs to create wealth. Those young people can be the next generation of bright business people but they need clear rules as well as plenty of support.
The streets are burning but it will end and hundreds will face the consequences. It is stupid to think that you can run riot and steal TV's in high streets and not have you photo taken. The police should systematically examine the evidence and put together the cases for the CPS to prosecute through the courts. Examples should be made. If someone gets six weeks for a custard pie in the face of Rupert Murdoch then rioters should be facing very tough punishment.
Tonight though, it is time to rally around and support the police take back our communities.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article. Get yourself back into politics and stop flapping around online :).



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