Thursday, August 18, 2011

Britain: When the Old Eat the Young

It has been a horrifying spectacle, watching the pinky faced David Cameron morph from a socially liberal Con into a red faced authoritarian.

Nearly 2,800 people have been arrested so far. In London alone, about 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the riots.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, were each sentenced to four years for trying to incite a riot using Facebook, although the events they attempted to organize did not actually take place.

Demanding that anyone who had anything to do with the riots be jailed, praising the outrageously harsh sentences being handed down by the courts. Calling for the internet to be monitored or shutdown.

Cheering the they batter down the flimsy doors of council homes looking for juvenile offenders and their stolen runners...

And wanking on ad nauseam about how the riots had nothing to with poverty, but were all about "criminality" and "moral rot."

While conveniently forgetting to mention the moral rot that afflicted his privileged youth, when he was a member of the Bullingdon Club.

The club's notorious dinners typically involve members booking a private dining room (under an assumed name) and drinking themselves silly before destroying it elaborately. They wear royal blue tailcoats with ivory lapels, and - having made merry - pride themselves in politely paying the restaurant's owners compensation in high-denomination banknotes.

Now the Guardian has revealed the truth about the rioters. Yes, many of them are poor.

He found that the majority of people who have appeared in court live in poor neighbourhoods, with 41% of suspects living in one of the top 10% of most deprived places in the country. The data also shows that 66% of neighbourhoods where the accused live got poorer between 2007 and 2010.

And the truth about the sentencing. Yes, it's a travesty of justice.

The Guardian's data also shows that 56 defendants of the 80 who have already been sentenced by magistrates were given immediate prison terms. This 70% rate of imprisonment compares with a "normal" rate of just 2% in magistrates courts.

Public order offences are leading to sentences 33% longer than normal and those convicted of assaulting police officers have been jailed for 40% longer than usual.

I don't expect any of the above will move Cameron. He is too busy trying to turn the riots into his 9/11 moment. Playing to the angry mob, and appealing to emotion rather than reason.

But when he's not playing Churchill, as played by Mussolini, he might reflect on the real irony of the situation.

Many of the young yobs who stole things from shops are not just afflicted by poverty and hopelessness, they are also dyed in the wool members of the Me Society, the jungle utopia Cons are always trying to promote. Where selfishness, greed, and consumerism rule, and the individual is more important than the community.

No other generation in history has been more targeted by advertisers. From the moment they were conscious they have been bombarded with messages telling them that if they want to belong, if they want to be happy, they must buy, buy, buy. 

The poor kids bought the message; greed isn't just good it's necessary. They watched bankers steal millons and get away with it, so when the opportunity arose they followed the The Pied Piper.

All the way to their destruction...

Just like we'll all be destroyed if we allow Cons to turn human societies into jungles. And give them an excuse to create a police state. Where the rich can grow comfortably richer, and the poor just get poorer and poorer.

That's the good news. It's a useful warning.

And the bad news? Far too much of what is going on in Britain is looking like a war on the young...

And that can happen here. Or has already happened. 

Why do you think that after that drunken riot so many older Canadians echoed what this woman in Britain said?

The day after, I stood in the riot debris and an elderly woman stopped for a chat.

She lamented the state of Britain's youth and suggested one way to deal with it. "They should bring back ... execution," she said grimly drawing a finger across her throat.

Why do you think Stephen Harper is building all those new prisons? In a country where unemployment among young people is twice the national average. Why do you think cracking down on young, underprivileged Canadians is so popular in this aging country?  

Yup. The rich are eating the poor. The old are eating the young. The system is eating itself.

And what we need to remember is this: the Cons are the enemy.

And whether we're young or whether we're old, we're all in this together...

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