First they came for the communists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemoller referring to the inactivity of the German intellectuals in the years prior to World War 2.
So, again, when is ok to do nothing?
This week we’ve seen protestors, legitimately raising their concerns about the shooting of a man by the police, turn into rioters, lunatics, and copycat cretins.
So, who are these people? I’m not sure that I know. They appear to come from under privileged areas – if we look at where the riots began. From this we can imply they are poorly educated, on benefits, unemployed, have higher rates of mental health problems, have fewer opportunities, are more likely to feel disconnected from society because of that and have a greater chance of relationship disharmony.
This is the same population from which we draw most of our non- officer army recruits to send away to a variety of exotic lands.
Take a look here
Turn the army on them?
Ok, let’s play at rioters, shall we? You can be mummy, I’ll be daddy, you can be the son, and you can be the daughter.
You’re sitting at home. Why would you want to go and smash things up?
Let’s start with a few simple things – the lowering of the housing benefit levels – you might have to move – where? Is anyone’s guess.
You’re on benefits in the land where money is king. In the land where the ownership of the shiny object is all.
You didn’t do well at school – list your reasons here – lack of parental support – lack of peer support – the teachers have no academic expectations of you, or they’re burnt out…you could go to further education college…no, hold on, they’ve done away with the educational maintenance allowance (ema) – that nice presenter on the BBC, Susanna Reid implied it would only be used on alcohol anyway – you’ve had a 75% cut in youth services – the same services that help cut crime at the source….
There are no jobs…no jobs. You don’t know why the economy has to keep growing, you don’t have investment bonds, you wouldn’t know a hedge fund if it bit you on the arse…
Do you feel a bit frustrated yet?
Have you ever shouted out of frustration? Slammed a door or smashed a plate out of character…?
Did I say they’ve cut back on all social services?
Do you ever remember a time when you wished with all your heart and soul that you could be in the in crowd, that you could have the same top as Arthur Stevenson?
Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? And then watch on TV as the nice politicians explain that you, as a user of public services, you, as someone on benefits, that you – you are to blame for this crisis in the economy – whatever the Hell that is.
You see others smugly getting away with it. Bankers tell us they would go elsewhere if we didn’t pay them a squillion pounds a day….we see MP’s ‘allowable expenses’ of more than we could ever hope to earn.
You didn’t go to the right school. Your dad can’t get you a job at his work. Your mum doesn’t know anyone of great influence.
University? In England and Wales your looking at a minimum of £50 thousand pounds worth of debt. In Scotland there’s still a chunk of student loan to be had – £20 thousand of debt ok for you?
You, your family and your friends have never seen nor will ever see this kind of money.
Some of your mates have joined the army – but you’ve seen what happened to their parents – depressed, suicidal, they wanted out as soon as they went in, haunted by the things they’ve seen, and the things they’ve been part of.
And you’re back in the room. Crikey, you didn’t get much rioting done. In fact this is your first time – call yourself a rioter? Well, your dad was a great rioter…back in the ‘80’s he did it er once, maybe twice.
That’s a bit like saying your family has a great naval history because you have a plastic boat that you play with in the bath.
Rioters my arse.
Protestors – see above.
Opportunists? Yes, but get in line behind the rest of society who have ‘legitimately’ gathered their goods. They’re not even good at that – if they didn’t appear on CCTV they can be found showing off their goods on Facebook.
Frustrated – yes.
Hopeless – yes.
Fill in your own here.
So what should they do? What would you do?
Is crime looking attractive yet?
Mr Cameron comes back from his holibags. Whose fault is it? In his very first speech he blames the police – he blames it on each and every individual for each and every crime. These people are criminals pure and simple.
So he has distanced these acts from his austerity measures – we’re in this together only most of these ‘rioters’ are likely to be in it deeper than the rest.
Lead from the front. Take no responsibility. Blame someone else.
This is all sounding terribly familiar.
So at what point does doing nothing stop being an option?
I’ve been on a march (that stopped the invasion of Iraq in it’s tracks, didn’t it?)
I’ve signed online petitions (see above)
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Perhaps we don’t really want change? Perhaps we’re happy with our (greatly reducing) lot? We’re ok just now. It’ll be fine.
Bloody terrible about those riots though.
Walk a mile