So almost a week since the looting and huge swathes of forest has been sacrificed to discuss the cause of the unrest and more importantly who was to blame. I am of course going to add to the sound and fury being generated, mainly because some of the commentary has rather tickled my sense of the absurd.
One of the early “causes” of the looting proffered by the punditry, was that youth centres had been shut down and more people had said if the youth centres shut down they’d be trouble/riots/the end of civilisation as we know it. Now to me that seems rather like a protection racket at least as old as the Vikings.
“nice village you’ve got there, hand over the danegeld and it won’t get burnt down”
“nice shops you’ve got there, now how about some youth centres to make sure they don’t get looted”*
Now the closure of these vital youth centres without which apparently the youth turn into a rampaging mob was down to evil Tory cuts, despite the fact that government spending is still increasing. The thing I can’t help but wonder though is how many youth clubs, scout groups and who knows what else have shut down or reduced in scale due to the cost and hassle of the all pervasive CRB check? As many people have observed children used to entertain themselves, then health and safety came along so adults had to be invovled, then the CRB check came along and it became difficult for the adults to be involved. Community provision for the young no longer involves a few sticking plasters and a large amount of orange squash, but instead paying the government to make suitable provision – pricing it out of the range of many communities. The idea of people providing for themselves has been quite thoroughly drummed out of us.
Meanwhile the looting had something for everyone, helped by the rapid charging of large numbers of people including teachers, millionaires daughters, Olympic ambassadors and the whole gamut of society. Proving as previously observed that the take what you want attitude really is quite pervasive. Which means the pundits can blame the welfare state, the cuts to the welfare state, greedy bankers, greedy youth anyone. You want to blame a group they were there. Even amongst the communities responding to the looting you could pick and choose there were brave Sikhs, Turks defending temples and shops and “racist thugs” out looking for trouble. So they were about race but we mustn’t bring race into it**.
If that wasn’t enough to keep everyone happy it was also an underclass uprising ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’, the rich apparently being anyone with a business or job like 89 yeard old barbers. Ignoring the fact that even the worst off of them are better off than 90% of the planet so it was perhaps a mollycoddled mob. The police who days before were murderous thugs were now not going in hard enough, and people were calling for the army to be called in.
Sadly the collective blaming amusing as it in many ways is, has led to a typical statist reaction from almost(?) all quarters of the Government. The way to prevent these things recurring, isn’t for courts to give meaningful sentences that might restore the connection between action and consequence, instead we’re all to be punished – or at least those of us who care about obeying the law in the first place. face coverings may be banned, the Government wants to be able to shut down social networks when there’s unrest, and there are calls for the law to change retrospectively to remove looters benefits and of course the old favourite of re-introducing some form of national service. The fall out from these riots for all seasons are going to take some watching.
* Yes I know it’s not that simple, and that not all youth are like that or even all youth centres state funded etc.
** Why is it frowned upon to describe areas as “white working class” but not say “chinese”, “muslim” or “black”?