... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

367: Idiocy wears a balaclava

It's just a bunch of kids. Feral, cocky, aggresive kids. As I left work, at 5.45pm, it was already getting tense in Manchester's Picadilly Gardens. The storm clouds were gathering in the form of gangs in standard issue mob gear of tracksuits, hoodies, and scarves pulled up over faces. They sauntered down the tram track and up the middle of Mosley Street; strength in numbers; revelling in the looks of disgust they prompted from decent working and shopping people. Word had already spread that windows were being smashed in Market Street, and this group were walking away from there.

A commentator on the BBC (it was Nigel Nelson, not that it matters) has just claimed that "obviously people don't riot if they are happy, if they are content". (They might not have been the exact words, but they were to that effect.) As I see it though if these rioters are discontented that is no fucking excuse for anything. Oh, you poor, poor discontented under-class. I hope your new HD TV helps ease the pain you are feeling - the terrible discontent; organised using your BlackBerry Smartphones, and expressed by tearing apart the country that gives you free education, health-care, job seekers allowance, child benefit, council housing, democracy, national emergency services... Oh no, you're feeling discontented – awww, diddums.

I have no money, a part-time job I struggled to get after months of unemployment (which came after months in the most unbearably awful job),and bearly enough to pay the rent and bills with hardly any left to buy food or clothes. All of these things are at worst a minor convenience – we live in luxury, and for that should thank our democracy, our police, our fire service, our NHS, our councils, our schools. With perspective there is very little to be discontent about. Yes, times have been better, and they might get a little bit worse. But so what – you will not die of malnutrition or easily treatable disease, your home will not be bombed, you will not be imprisoned without trial for speaking against the government.

These looters are discontent (if indeed they are) about only having two massive TVs, not having enough government handouts to spend every day boozing and taking speed from 10am, having to potty train their own kids, not being able to punch themselves in the face without it hurting – every thing is down to greed, laziness and stupidity. They are an underclass of their own making. If you swear every other word, you will probably not pass a job interview; but don't blame that on anyone but yourselves. It might also help if you stopped shaving your skull and started breathing through your nose.

Back to Nigel Nelson's comment about not rioting if they are happy. Well, these rioters looked pretty fucking happy to me; they were having a great time – brainlessly showing off to the dumb bints that seem to cheering at the sidelines of every peice of news footage (listen to these fucking idiots), stomping around like they own the place – Woohoo, we can do what we want, duuuh. Last thought: if anyone is still trying to put the blame for starting this on the police for shooting that Duggan fella, so what if the IPCC says there was no evidence that he fired first. Are the police only to shoot in retaliation? Should they not have the right to shoot the lawbreaker with the gun (even if it turns out to be a replica) before he shoots them?

I love Manchester and I love the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I love the rich mixture of cultures, heritage and history from all over the world that has made us the civilised, advanced, and exciting place we are today. I don't want it ruined by these little shits, and I'm sure you don't either. If you know anyone involved in looting or rioting then tell the police. Don't hesitate, do it now. Don't start with any shit about being a grass, or start with pretentious questions about the Orwellian nature of informing on your neighbours. The clean-up starts in Manchester Picadilly at 9am tomorrow. Be there to help restore Manchester, and to add your number to the peaceful protest against the destruction.

Manchester City Council twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/ManCityCouncil
Greater Manchester Police twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/gmpolice
Riot Clean-up Manc twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/RiotCleanUpManc


I received the following email in response to the above angry rant.  I reproduce it here, with permission from the author, to add a touch of much needed balance:

I think your latest blog is your most ill-informed, ill-considered right-wing rant yet. These riots have stirred up a lot of strong feeling throughout England and the usual knee-jerk reaction is to condemn the rioters and look for punishment and/or vengence. While, of course, all law-abiding citizens should condemn criminality, a more mature and civilised view is to examine the causes rather than focus solely on the effects.

The trigger for this unrest was a problem in London between the Met Police and locals. The Met is an organisation that has recently been proven to be endemically racist and corrupt. There is a perception that its officers do not treat all citizens equally. Is there room for doubt here? I don't know enough about the triggers that sparked the disturbances in other cities to comment on them.

As someone who lived through inner city rioting, I know that its wrong to jump to assumptions and conclusions regarding their causes, participants or purpose. When rioting started in Belfast in my childhood the UK Government's reaction was to imprison (without trial) every male over the age of 18 who was in any way suspicious - internment. This is particularly pertinent as the anniversary of that decision was yesterday. I witnessed normal law-abiding young people turn from happy-go-lucky teenagers into violent stone- and bottle-throwing thugs as a direct result of this 'strong' decision by the Government. The rest, as they say, is history. To punish the participants in the rioting and looting without considering the causes is naive at best and dangerous at worst. The causes will not go away.

To dismiss the participants as stupid, dole-grabbing, heavy-drinking, drug-taking 'shits' without any evidence to support this view is wrong. Why not wait and see who appears in court? I guarantee that most will be good citizens who never did anything wrong before - employed people, students, schoolkids, etc.

There's also a danger in putting all your trust in the 'establishment'. If there is doubt about the integrity of a major police force - to the extent that people were willing to take to the streets in protest immediatley - it warrants investigation. Again, history has proved this. In the 70s we were told that the rioters were terrorists and the police were the good guys. Again, history has proved that, in fact, the 'good guys' were just as bad and, in some cases, worse than the 'terrorists'.

Finally, if the rioters had a grievance against the police, who would they normally turn to? Politicans? Look at UK politicians. The expenses scandals alone should be enough to show that there are very few who can be trusted. And they got away with it! Maybe some people are thinking 'if the politicans are in it for what they can get, we should look after ourselves'?

You may dismiss this as middle-class liberalism but I think you should consider how people will react to what you post. While I understand the anger you and others may feel when you see your city being torn apart by thugs, I think there are wider issues to be considered here - don't get me started on 'free' education, the NHS - which has been under sustained attack by every government in my lifetime, the bankers getting away with blue murder, etc.

England Riots: The personal cost, The Guardian

No comments: