We don’t need no water let the muthafucka burn. Burn muthafucka. Burn!!!
The country of my birth, England, appears to be a little ill at the moment. I went back to visit this week, which also coincided with an outbreak of rioting and looting in the major city centres.
Yes, I’m now so maleficent my mere presence drives a country into unrest. Joke.
There’s been a lot of talk about the sick state of modern society in all the papers, but I think the illness is not the one they’re talking about. There’s an ideological schism splitting the country, one which, no doubt, any middle-leaning American will recognise with a dejected sigh. Read a right-wing newspaper and they’ll talk about a collapse in moral values which can only be rectified by a good caning, bringing back National Service or simply hanging the buggers until they turn purple and their tongues hang out. Read a left-wing newspaper and you’ll get a lot of handwringing about broken homes, poverty, boredom and legitimate protest.
They’re both bloody idiots.
Poverty is a debased term nowadays. These kids aren’t starving and they have access to far more forms of entertainment than children of decades ago. Several spots of unrest were organised through Blackberries and online social networks according to some reports. Nicking stuff because you feel inferior to multi-millionaire football players in the top 0.0001% or whatever of earners in the country is a fairly venal and piss-poor imitation of the Arab Spring uprisings taking place elsewhere on the planet.
What the kids don’t have is a future. That’s a problem. It doesn’t matter how big a stick you threaten to hit them with. They don’t care. They don’t have anything to lose.
What I hate is the media trotting out the same simplistic right/left-wing ideological solutions which have little relevance to a messy and more complex world. The troublemakers of the past week are scum and need to be punished accordingly, but if they aren’t allowed decent aspirations (playing football for Man Utd or selling millions of records are not realistic aspirations unless you’re phenomenally gifted and lucky) more and more youths are going to go ‘feral’.
The challenge for our glorious leaders is to reengage with these forgotten sumps of society and find a productive use for them. Maybe our politicians could start by setting a better example instead of fiddling their expenses and gorging themselves on the corporate teat. What’s the saying—the fish rots from the head.