Collective frustration, alienation, desire for change, boredom, the need to test the limits, the chaos of the free. These issues are, I believe, paramount in the riots happening across England right now. We hear policemen and politicians raving that this is just gratuitous violence, violence for violence sake, with no political agenda or ideal. But if you are trying to fight against politics, as a whole, then nothing can be more political, surely? We fear for our lives and our homes as the politicians fear for their lifestyle and payslip.
I agree with the sentiment that the violence is unnecessary, and for a large part, not ideological, but many an uprising has occurred without a common theological cause, a shared strand of ideology. These people are not fighting against the oppression by an individual, in the same way that Libyans and Egyptians have done, and continue to do, meaning there is no tangible enemy, so it is therefore difficult for the rioters to present a common goal.
They are definitely fighting something, but what? A government none of us wanted? the jobs that are disappearing around us? the voluntary sector being systematically crushed? The death of a man in a car, shot, it would seem, by police?
The point is that they are fighting something, and they are fighting it together, maybe they aren’t all fighting for the same reasons, and yes, a large number just want to have a bit of fun whilst they can, but then the Libyans and the Egyptians didn’t all have a common agreement of what would happen after the fall of Mubarak, and the potential end of the Gaddafi regime, they just knew that they needed to get rid of these people/institutions to be in a place where these discussions could occur.
David Cameron’s Conservative coalition government with the scapegoat gesturing of Nick Clegg’s liberals, wants the ‘Big Society’, for people to work together to build a better society, a better Britain, that shares and works together for the common good. But maybe Cameron is unaware of what the common people believe the common good to be, maybe many of us are unaware, maybe we all live in our safe, comfortable lives numb to the real issues around the world. Maybe the common good is the end of political control? the end of the outdated, oblivious Conservative Party? The end of all politics? A new way….
What Cameron has been asking for since he arrived at number 10 was that we work together to develop HIS ‘Big Society’, well, there it is, people working together, but not, it would seem, for Cameron’s Big Society, but instead for one of their own. And to do that they are fighting the only thing that is there to fight, the police, these people who themselves are suffering a barrage of persecution by spending cuts and unemployment, asked to go out and face the people that they, in all likelihood, don’t totally disagree with. If you leave people with no other choice than to burn down buildings and smash up high streets then what should we expect them to do? For a long, long time now people have tried to talk about their problems, tried to get results to improve their Society, and what happens? The occasional play area is built, the odd road here and there is smartened up, but then you stick a CCTV camera in the middle, proving your distrust of the society you want to bring together, its not people that are paranoid, it’s politicians, maybe they are the ones who smoked too much pot at Eton or St Andrews? These places maybe where the highly educated go, the rich and the privileged that have held onto power since there was power, but these people, and we are all beginning to realise this, are now and have been for a long time, fundamentally ethnic/social/institutional minorities. If the UK’s majority population can’t and don’t have a say in government about their lives, can’t and don’t currently represent themselves, then why on earth should the elite be able to, and wield all the power with it? The House of Lords is for the money, the House of Commons is for the people, this is something that has become lost and forgotten. Maybe the common, just want our house back? Or maybe not, maybe it’s just the summer holidays….
- A riot of my own (henrytapper.com)
- A different kind of riot (fishburn-hedges.typepad.com)
- David Cameron chairs emergency Cobra meeting after third night of riots (guardian.co.uk)
- You: Rioting Widens in London and Spread Elsewhere (nytimes.com)
- Penny Red: Panic on the streets of London. (pennyred.blogspot.com)
- The big hypocrisy behind The Big Society (politicsontoast.com)
- London riots: Britain may need to build more prisons in response to this brutal mob looting (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Crisis! What crisis? London burns as Cameron forced to change his holiday plans (keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com)
- David Cameron flies back to UK for emergency meeting on riots (guardian.co.uk)
- UK riots: Holiday over for the politicians as David Cameron recalls parliament (mirror.co.uk)