The recent riots have been a shock to us all but are we really that surprised? Martin Luther King said, that rioting was reactionary not revolutionary. It was an expression of anger, of hopelessness and helplessness and the perpetrators know it to be a futile act. The previous government’s decision to ‘go to war’ in Iraq left many people feeling their wishes were not being represented. Since then, there have been scandals of corruption within a ‘greedy’ government, a corrupt police force and an unscrupulous press. No wonder the people have lost faith.
This government got elected not on policy but because it was time for a change. Cameron looked fresh and good mannered while ‘grumpy’ Gordon looked tired and appeared to be losing his grip. We now have three old Etonian boys running this country. Cameron, Osbourne and Johnson’s credentials appear to be more dependent on their class rather than ability. They have no understanding of the difficulties faced by many people in this country and are ludicrously out of touch.
In the time they have been in power I don’t believe this government have done anything positive. The emphasis has been on cuts and propping up the markets, the nature of which are built on thin air and are part of the financial problem that we are facing today. While encouraging investment into the country maybe one element of surviving this financial mess, so to surely is supporting the micro-economies of our communities across the country. People need jobs, they need their bus services, they need healthcare and the police to keep them safe. People need access to a good education and the means for social mobility. The government is ignoring this.
Access to a university education is now further away than ever if you are from a poor income family. With the lack of jobs and opportunities for young people it is no wonder that they are angry. What young people see when they look to the authority of the police or the morality of the government is that to get ahead you have to be corrupt and take what you can. Success depends on class, privilege and corruption not hard work and decency and these values are being unconsciously sold to our young generation.
The government have responded to the recent violence by blaming the police and social media sites. The police did get things in hand eventually and more quickly perhaps than Cameron returned from his holiday. Many called for the police to be more heavy-handed but perhaps in hindsight we can be thankful that they didn’t as who knows how things could have escalated. Social media sites may have provided a platform for the rioters to organise themselves but they also provided the means for people to stay informed and safe.
Cameron’s redemption and credibility relies on how he handles the aftermath of this situation. Criticising the police and blaming social media sites is not the answer. I’m afraid to say, it’s not looking good.