The Problem With Britain?
The disgraceful riots of early August 2011 have unfortunately been due for a long time.
I have been aware of a serious undercurrent of distrust, disenfranchisement and general hate since the early 90’s and in all honesty this probably started in the mid 80’s or potentially even earlier….I am 34.
The problem is that the undercurrent has become so huge that almost every citizen in Britain is deeply unhappy with some major factor that Britain currently represents, some choose to moan quietly, some protest to government and now some simply smash up their own neighbourhoods and loot what they can.
The neglected dog that bites:
As someone who has done in the field market research in some of the poorest areas of Birmingham in the last ten years I can tell you that many people in the rest of the UK have no idea what the fabric of deprived inner city places really looks and feels like.
A simple way of describing some of these areas would be prisons within prisons, fear on top of fear, and many of this is probably caused in some parts by lack of opportunity, terrible architecture, too many cultural mixes, and no family structure to mould people positively (I have heard all manner of races being essentially racist against others in Birmingham, racism is not a purely white issue at all, it is a natural reaction when people feel threatened by another race, simple)
Their is undoubtedly some of the strongest minded people I have ever met who also live in these communities, unfortunately less and less people respect or listen to these people and I suspect they are a dying breed.
Britain is one of the most liberal countries you can imagine, and is its only remaining “Great” part that stays as a prefix to a largely broken Island. The problem is that this liberalism is no longer respected or appreciated and I fear that it perhaps needs to alter in order to wake people up to what they have now or will simply miss totally in the long term.
Many broken elements of Britain:
We have a situation now in Britain where the inner city youth have on many occasions no father figure, a mother who is perhaps still essentially an under educated child and the only perceived ways out of this dark place is drugs, sport and music.
We do however have an industry only too happy to lap up the misguided and angry youth of Britain and that is worth some £6 Billion pounds, yes the illegal drug industry, and is often the only real structured lifestyle that many young people aspire to be part of, it is evil, scary and often brutal and it is therefore no wonder that so many young people now have so much anger and lack of respect.
Mob mentality is appealing and spreads quickly:
You cannot deny that for many people (women included) rioting and mob mentality is hugely appealing, and has been going on each Saturday for over a hundred years at football grounds and towns throughout the UK. Though it is wholly wrong to destroy innocent peoples property and businesses, the simple fact is that something very sinister has occurred in the UK, a tipping point has been reached where respect and any form of rationality has completely disappeared, the rioters essentially have no concrete reason to riot, they have just got caught up and carried away. Social networks and also the use of BBM messaging via blackberry’s will have aided (but not caused) this mass rioting, indeed many group leaders would clarify those points.
Small group creates the mob:
It is undoubtedly only a small group of people who create the right conditions for other less disenfranchised and perhaps more peaceful people to actually start rioting, but it seems there is quite simply the right sense of injustice that currently is related to corrupt banks, corrupt governments, and corrupt institution’s coupled with a general decision to punish the working man for societies financial issues caused by and large by the powers that be……This is the “loose” excuse that almost every rioter is using, and must not be forgotten despite the rioting being wildly disproportionate to the issues they claim to be pushing.
Rise of capitalism and growth of related social unrest:
Agree with this or not, but there appears to be a huge correlation with the rise of capitalism and associated materialism and a growth in the idolisation of false heroes such as footballers and “stars”, no longer do mass swathes of our youth want to better their own communities and lives, and choose the professions of doctors, medics, police, scientists, firemen and teachers as all are often seen as a pointless occupation and one that is wholly dull….Though with 1 in 5 young people out of work you can see why the climate for unrest has well and truly been set.
The youth want fast bucks, instant respect and to live their life with no respect for anyone outside their peer group, the problem this country faces is multifaceted.
In the UK it is possible to claim benefits while doing absolutely nothing to enrich your life but moan about what extra money you are owed….owed?….If people in the UK realised that the amount of money in your pocket does not make you better or worse than the next person we would have some hope of making young minds less fearful of their future and more open to change and helping each other.
But while the young may sound dumb, (and when interviewed they do) they do see what goes on in the World and through music and their own sub cultures they are made aware of the ills that surround them and absolutely affect their lives, make no doubt that these kids are politicised, they most likely hate the fact we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, dislike and do not trust banks for the total mess they have put the globe in while continuing to act with impunity in disgraceful manners, they will also not trust big institutions such as brands, and big business for their often disgraceful actions in general and will almost all hate politicians for the total betrayal they feel has been placed on their generation.
This is mass awareness that is manifesting itself in one of the most ugly ways possible.
Maybe one of the real problems we have to face is that the “yoof” of the UK comprehend only in sound-bites and headlines, often too lazy or lacking the ability to read further, they are perhaps victims of the dumbing down of general life in the UK, of which we all now see and feel the backlash.
Democracy does not work:
Politics needs long term solutions to societies problems and these are almost never vote winners.
Both Labour and the Conservatives are to blame for the wrongs in Britain’s societies but in the end if any blame is to be laid it has to be with the individual and society in general, we live in a hugely privileged country compared to most of the World and I struggle to see how you can justify rioting on such a scale despite all the problems which I feel need sorting.
Where conservatives went wrong was to create a material society where you are too often judged on what you own and not what you do to help others, this is endemic in many areas of the Western world and absolutely will be our downfall.
Labour on the other hand seem to believe that mis-guided spending on people and communities will make members take more responsibility and fix broken societies but quite often this simply breeds a lack of hope, laziness and an expectation that someone else should intervene when times get tough, though when done right social benefits are a desirable part of a civilised society and is a much needed part of a social safety net, the problem is that state benefits are widely abused and often never help the people who need it the most.
Perhaps what is needed right now is a benevolent dictator, Maggie Thatcher with a slightly less cruel hand who does not over stay her welcome, yes we probably need a strong woman right now!
The towers of Babylon fall:
With the rise of mobile communication, social networking and general chatter, I can not help but feel that the biblical towers of Babylon seem to have a whole load of meaning with current world issues:
Yahweh was concerned that humans had too much freedom to do as they wished, so Yahweh brought into existence multiple languages. Thus, Humans were divided into linguistic groups, and unable to understand each other.
Though after saying all this, perhaps what is truly needed this evening in Britain is something we are very famous for…rain.Anthony Munns