OK, I didn’t want to rant, but as everyone seems to have woken up about 20% more ‘Daily Mail’ this morning here goes.
The events in London, Birmingham and elsewhere are an inevitable consequence of a society where consumerism is out of control – where people feel entitled, yet have no sense of responsibility. Where there is a growing number of voiceless, pointless, resourceless people, who are constantly having shiny stuff shoved at them, but without the means of getting it legitimately. When you are told you can get anything if you want it enough, and there is no sense of any consequence, there are only a few small steps to take from ‘wanting’ to ‘smashing in the window of Currys’. Or even robbing rich diners at the Ledbury. I like my shiny stuff as much as the next guy, but I am willing to work to get it.
Nobody is entitled to anything. Not even an opinion.
(OK, you can have an ‘informed’ one, but only if you put the work in to at least have some idea what you’re talking about. So, yes, all news programmes, I do not want to see the uninformed witterings of some cretin who has managed to exercise thumb and forefinger to punch out: ‘THIS SUCKKKZZZ’ or ‘WERE R DA WATER CANONSS???’. I want the opinion of people who have dedicated a fair portion of time to studying the subject under discussion, perhaps even gained a degree, or, you know, experience?)
The net result seems to be a seismic shift to the right in public opinion. It may even force the UK government into U-turns on some of the public sector cuts, since the folk of the fire, police and hospital services appear to serve some valuable purpose after all and may well deserve a solvent retirement. But that will just mean more cuts elsewhere.
At the same time, the markets are in downward spiral that has just been postponed since 2008. The temporary band-aid of austerity measures across Europe and the US don’t have long on their sell-by date while there is no new economic activity. When the banks collapsed before, at least the governments were solvent enough to bail them out. Next time – what happens? You think you’ve seen a global recession? We’ve barely got started. Without action, the next ten years are going to make the 1930’s look like a street-party.
So, what could be done? Tax. Tax the rich. Tax the corporations. Ignore the protests that the gold-plated offices of the financial services sector will be relocated. Where are they going to move? The moon? George and Dave were right about one thing – we’re all in it together – but far beyond their parochial view. It’s a global economy, stupid. And if restitution is taken, it needs to be a co-ordinated response across the world.
But then, there remain the issues of how to fix the UK state. There isn’t the will and the wherewithal of the era when the great welfare experiment began during the post-depression, post-war recovery. The idea of a work ethic seems quaint and outdated. Except among many of the communities whose small businesses and shops have been trashed, and were quite rightly seen making a stand against the looters. In short, the rich will get richer, small businesses will continue to get squezzed, and the safety net for the poor will disappear.
So, well done rioters, your contribution to this mess is tiny, but significant nonetheless. You think you’re hard done by now? Just you wait.
Anyway, must go: I can smell the Headington McDonalds burning…