Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Order will Be Restored

The Riots. Appalling to watch, that's for sure. Difficult to comment on, what to say? "Mindless violence", a "warzone". Or talking evaluatively "Being poor doesn't mean losing your moral compass". Or social workerishly: "The whole of society is to blame for this break-down in communication". Yeah, whateva.

What "society" obviously is not keen to see that Britain has some of the worst socially deprived areas in Europe. Not just in London, not just in the inner cities. The derelict mining areas of the Midlands are a case in point. Decades of non -intervention by any government. Squalor, poverty, depravity (the Bulger case, followed by the near killing by torture of two boys two years ago.) Does nobody ever look? I wrote to the MP at the time, Caroline Flint, to ask about was done about the bottomless poverty in her constituency. No reply. I asked India Knight on Twitter whether that level of overty did not shock her. Her reply "Thatcher destroyed those mining communities." Yeah sure, she did. But nobody, no Labour government, no Conservative government did anything at all to repair the damage. To try and bring those places to life again.

Look at the inner cities. DOES anybody actually ever look? Tottenham - a no-go zone for decades, Hackney - an ugly hostile quarter - are only the "gentrified" (haha) parts worth noticing, because you could buy property there and it could go up in price? Bow. "Trendy" Shoreditch. Dalston. Haringay. Canning Town. Let's not beat about the bush. Those are slums. Ugly, 1960's "urban renewal" slums, not changed or sanitised since then. High-rise towerblocks with delapidated walkways, like the one Damilola Taylor was murdered in. Does nobody ever look, or think? These things happened - but obviously nobody took them in. Too busy buying Gucci sunglasses, package holidays and ready-made meals in M&S. All those ghastly trappings of a society in the first flush of affluence.

There are always complaints that Britain being a "classist" society. But only in the sense that there are people who can afford better and more than yourself. Resentfulness poisoning the air. Only the upward class war is legitimate: Gordon Brown igniting class hatred by denouncing people with a better education. People laughing about David Cameron for having been to Eton. That is all legitimate and welcome. So why not accept that people who have a lot less take this attitude on board? Why be surprised when theyfeel thwarted and cheated? They're also fighting a class war. Their pathetic looting of Foot Locker and Poundland, Aldi and O2 is the flip side of all those avaricious people who see Gucci sunglasses as the epitome of social cachet. The admirers of gross footballers and their girlfriends, the provincials who re-mortgage their house(s) in order to buy tat to impress the neighbours. Hard-earned cash? Oh sure.

Peter Mandelson "being intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich". Boris Johnson and his hedge fund-manager deputy making it very obvious that all they're concerend about is to preserve the right image of London for the Olympic games. (K. Malthouse tweeting "we got to get the message out that London is a peaceful city- for the Olympics").

What a rough place Britain has become.


  1. Wow, Margit, this is very clear-headed overview. So the police shooting of the young man precipitated events?

  2. Yes,the shooting was undoubtedly the event which made things boil over, but I think it has been so long in the making...

  3. Hi Margit

    I agree with much of this - eyes have been off the ball/blind eyes turned. I don't think the scale could have been predicted but it was always a case of when not if.