This Article is About
riots
austerity measures
political pundits
full swing
lack of respect
The Aftermath Of The UK Riots
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I write this social comment as an ex-pat, ex-working class, Brit, who now lives in the wonderful country of New Zealand and is well aware that he is blessed.

Crystal Nacht

It is time to clean up: glass is to be cleared, burned out buildings assessed and stock taken of looted shops. The physical scars will heal, although the final bill is estimated to cost the British tax payer in excess of 100 million pounds. With government sponsored austerity measures in full swing, cash strapped Britons can ill afford the insulting imposition of a 'riot tax.'

Nurture Them Or Shoot Them?

In the aftermath of the riots the hand wringing will begin. Political pundits from both political poles will vent forth on causes. Predictably, those on the left will cite lack of investment in infrastructure, lack of youth support programs and unregulated, uncontrolled and unpunished rampant capitalism. The right will bemoan the lack of moral fibre, loss of old family values and lack of respect for authority. So who is right? I suspect to a certain extent both sides make valid points.

The Great Unwashed

There is no doubt that modern British society has fostered a significant underclass. They exist as a minority within society, though nevertheless, they exact an increasing toll on society through crime and social benefit. They live on the large, dark sink estates scattered throughout the UK. They are part of, and are the residue of, the great social experiment of the 1960's when the working class were moved en-mass into utility built houses and flats. I suppose it seemed a good idea at the time and the new accommodation was certainly a great improvement over the Victorian built hovels (I can personally attest to that). Within 20 years the cracks started to appear. Maggie Thatcher said 'buy your council homes and become property owners.' And the masses responded, in their masses; and they prospered. What had once been a middle class dream became achievable by all. Well, not exactly all. To buy your own house you had to have regular employment. So, those that could, did, and those that couldn't, simply carried on as usual. Natural selection started to play a hand. Decent folk, homeowner or not, started to move out of the increasingly grim council estates. Others were waiting to take their place. Bring me your poor and oppressed and move them into the sink estates; the feckless deserve each other. I certainly don't want them living next to me.

Londoners- Not All Cheeky Cockneys

With great wealth comes great poverty. Londoners, poor and rich, live cheek by jowl; the very rich and the poor rub almost together. Not in the same suburb of course, that would make no sense. They pass each other on the underground system and in central London, but they don't interact, unless there is a robbery. The poor have expectations and most do well if you would like to do the comparisons. They don't starve; they own blackberries and for the most part, live in reasonably habitable homes. Wealth is relative; it is measured by what your neighbours have. You simply need to look over your fence- this is what determines our wellbeing.

Go Ask A Politician

Having stated the problem, you may ask of the author- what do you suggest for society's ills? I'll leave this to the wise and the politicians (not always mutually exclusive). I suspect there are no easy solutions to complex problems; catchy slogans don't solve problems, they elect politicians. Anyway, after having had my say I am more than content to retreat into my comfortable and happy society on the other side of the world.

Secular What?

Finally, I would like to answer those that think that society's problems are due to a decline in religion and an increase in secular rationalism. There are two brief, but important points I would like to make: firstly, morality is not the exclusive preserve of the religious. You don't have to believe in God to know that killing and looting is bad. For those who disagree, I suggest that they go and read the book of Joshua. My second point is; how would the oppressed masses know where to find the book of Joshua and, more importantly, understand the meaning of secular humanism?


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