August 10, 2011
Our political language fails us. We hold “leaders” accountable. We expect them to act like Moses and stop the riots with a wave of the hand. And as hundreds of millions go up in smoke we face a crumbling infrastructure. The politics of mutual blame and the polarisation of society are the fundamental problem. We are not going to get better until we take responsibility and stop blaming the “other”.
Communities can be coherent and powerful. Leaders gather the will of the people but the perception of Cameron’s world is that he is at war with the ghost of the previous government whom he routinely blames for the misfortune that is profoundly embedded into our world by mutually destructive greed.
Cameron is now being schoolmasterly, threatening rubber bullets and water canons. His contention that it is a failure of individual responsibility after years of the state providing privileges without responsibility. The claims by the government that they will be able to arrest everyone who broke the law is a necessary understanding to restore a sense of boundary.
Any attempt by thinking people to see a cause in social deprivation is met with disgust and derision from reactionaries, are we to accept that some humans are beyond hope and should be shot? That is the same broken social contract as the looters. Balance means doing two things, one to stem the tide, and another to distract and educate kids. Closing libraries was unnecessary. It is a cause of this.
Clamping down on the thugs who burn buildings, and destroy businesses is an acute treatment. But the problem is chronic and the remedy is to never create an underclass. This is something that can provide meaningful employment. Trapping people in poverty is a precondition of this violence. It is not the cause. Recent events such as the exposure of police corruption being amplified by the undefendable shooting on Saturday that sparked this off.
But the denial of exclusion from necessary services when they have all been cut mercilessly and arbitrarily has left nothing to interest the dispossessed who want their MTV. The excluded say they deserve opportunity. With thousands of criminal records established, they are reducing their chance for opportunity.
Is saving a few millions worth this? Cuts may be a normal part of going into debt however an intelligent chancellor would be concerned about the ballooning costs of riots and disaffection.