Where to begin with this complex issue? An explosive event has so many interlocking causes; there is the immediate problem of the rioting that needs to be addressed, then there is the underlying causes of the riots themselves. Yesterday I attempted to express my thoughts; driven by anger and disappointment I ranted aggressively, said some things I might have better not said, said other things I stand by. Either way, I'm glad I'm not a dictator, acting at will to put down the troubles; I may have acted regrettably. It seems that the official reaction, by the police, was wise and effective: they appear to have been able to stem the riots, gather evidence, and begin making arrests, all without resorting to violence which would surely worsen the situation. Fingers crossed for tonight; for the entire country (not just Manchester which I have given most of my attention to).
When this is over there will of course need to be consideration about the causes: Why do these people think this is acceptable behaviour? Why do they feel so disconnected from the society around them? Are they so unconcerned about consequences, or do they sincerely believe there are no consequences? Whatever the reasons behind these people's actions, we must also not allow them to continue to rule with a culture of fear. The law abiding people of England could easily have stopped the riots by simply standing between the rioters and the properties – forming a peaceful wall, millions deep, of good people protecting their neighbours from the forces of delinquency.
Hear that rain outside? That's the sound of Manchester saying enough is enough. Wonderful, beautiful Manchester is protesting against the meaningless violence, in the most gentle and peaceful way it can. I love the sound of rain.
There is a quote currently doing the rounds, a purported African proverb, as follows: "If the young are not initiated into the tribe, they will burn down the village to feel its warmth". Is this what has happened? Are the rioters uninitiated into society? Is this their own fault, or societies? Has society failed them by not providing enough, or by providing too much? How can we build a society where people don't want to riot? And more easy questions with next to impossible answers.
I've got an idea; it's a good idea. The best thing about it is it's not mine: "Let's go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. How's that for a slice of fried gold?" Oh how I miss those Halcyon days of blogging about toilet mats, postcards and ... I don't know, bacon or whatever the hell it is I usually write about.