Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The riots have basically just been depressing all round, haven’t they? Impossible to condone or condemn you’re left in the position of feeling a certain amount of sympathetic revulsion for all involved: nihilistic, cynical, opportunistic and completely understandable, yet horribly destructive of other working peoples’ piece of mind and livelihoods, setting “communities” that should be uniting against each other and feeding into the government and the media’s “enemy within” rhetoric.

Dole Scum in flash trainers with smartphones greedily grabbing more vulgar Chav tack froma burning Footlocker and waving their housing benefit cheques in decent taxpayer’s faces are the new Muslims: and it looks like the re-armament is not just going to be a merely moral re-armament, the government’s disproportionate, hysterical response mirroring the hyperbole of the media and the attention grabbing Twitterers. Lewisham right now is like Fallujah on a bad night in 2008! (Cue twitpics of some bins in the road and a few moody teens skulking about.)

But what I’m nor buying is that it’s nothing to do with the cuts: unless you want to suggest that’s too reductive and it is in fact a response to the corruption and seeming impunity of the Met, the remorseless demonizing of the poor, the continued failure to regulate the banking sector, the recession we’re going to be mired in for a decade (although actually forever), soaring rents AND the cuts, plus the clear sense that Things Can Only Get Worse.

If the cuts and the financial crisis are unlikely to provoke disorder why have the police been predicting it for the past few years? Why did Nick Clegg predict it before the last election? Are you telling me that the Deputy Prime minister used to be so credulous a fool as to believe there was a link between diminished standards of living and widening inequality and the likelihood of people indulging in antisocial acts, but has now realised that actually it’s simply that moral standards have declined and parenting slipped in the past year? If it is a moral question, which is the way the Right will always want to frame it (as will left-liberals) the question must be, why does The Conservative Party have such a disastrous effect on peoples’ morality? Look at all that long, tranquil period under New Labour compared with the Eighties, or the last year.

What is it, Michael Gove, given that the economic argument is fatuous, liberal mollycoddling, in the Tories that brings out the very worst in people, that makes parents neglect children, incites the worst passions and voids them of all personal responsibility? What kind of contagion are you spreading, what is this evil that you let loose about the land despite all your strenuous proclamations to be the moral party?

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