I must admit have found it difficult to concentrate on anything else creative the past few days (poor me you must be thinking). My mind keeps switching to recent events and mulling over the why's and how's and what's etc.
After a relatively peaceful night, indeed who would have thought that rioting has the same rules as cricket? a little bit of rain and everyone goes in for tea! Who knows if the covers will be taken off tonight and England will go out to 'bat' again?
The first thing I noticed in the aftermath of the initial chaos is that it only takes a riot to bring out the inner racist in people doesn't it. Looking at the some of the postings on social networks it seems you only have to scratch the surface of some people with a blunt stick to reveal opinions that would make even Enoch Powell blush. The idea of bringing in the army to start shooting at teenagers and even younger people doesn't seem to be a particularly well rounded argument. Its almost like some people have turned into a psychopathic version of supernanny "you won't eat your broccoli?" "well go and stand over there while I blast you with water cannon and rubber bullets, that will get you to eat your greens poppet"
There seem to be three schools of thought on this:
1) the people participating in rioting/looting are scum and should be locked up until the world is run by dolphins and we all get around by using jetpacks. I have even seen mention that people have to 'earn' human rights? human rights aren't the equivalent of your Tesco club card you know, "oh I am sorry Mr Fletcher you haven't earned enough human rights points this month for human rights I'm afraid so we will have to throw you in a cave and let you THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.
2) the people participating are 'misunderstood' and are only doing this in order to get a job interview with WH SMITHS. I don't buy this either really. I have never found this the best way to gain employment even if it does seem less boring than updating your c.v or actually looking for jobs.
3) this is where I sit, somewhere in middle of course or as someone actually told me this week "a lily minded liberal". Which I thought was a phrase that only existed in the mind of that bald CID policeman in The Thin Blue Line along with the words "namby pamby". Yes of course what has happened can't be defended, how does looting your local newsagent show the government you aint taking any more? or setting fire to an independent record shop tell the powers that be you have had enough with politicians taking away your money and rights? But at the same time you have to question why has this happened now? At anytime since at least 1979 the poor have been getting poorer and the rich getting richer, governments are known for helping big businesses at the taxpayers expense, large consortiums have always found ways to pay less tax and poorer areas of the country have always struggle to have the voices heard and opinions taken seriously. So why now?
I think that just by calling the behaviour deplorable, calling for more police, water cannons etc and thinking that by smacking England in the face a couple of times the government and those that agree with them are frankly missing the point. To put it simply its like taking painkillers to cure a headache without finding out whats causing the pain in the first place?
With this happening on such a mass scale its not as easy as that, I have been trying to think of a good analogy but this will have to do:
If I was to run around my local town shouting that "YOUR SHOES ARE MADE OF JELLY BRYAN!" in the faces of innocent bystanders for an afternoon I would quite rightly be escorted away by police and hopefully someone would look into my brain and try to understand if I am mentally unstable, in which case treatment and/or therapy would be made available. Or if I am simply being annoying they would probably put me in a room, take me to court or fine me. The point is (yes I do have a point) that people would look into why I was behaving that way and if possible help, or at least help understand what prompted my jelly shoe theory.
But if a thousand people ran around my town informing people of the jelly shoe situation the solution seems to be, at least in the eyes of the government, to lock us all up and hope we go away quietly for a bit. Giving politicians more time to cut police/health/education services (indeed those very people that would investigate mentally unstable no doubt) in a strange attempt to sweep everything under the carpet until after the next election.
So anyway as it has become clear I don't have all (or many really) of the answers, but that people should think before strapping on their rubber bullet gun and jumping on the water cannon bandwagon.
YOUR SHOES ARE MADE OF JELLY BRYAN!