Posted by: Admin | August 10, 2011

The Mice will Roar – Letter to David Cameron

As rioting and violent disorder hit the streets of our major cities this week, the usual excuses are wheeled out for the perpetuators. “It’s the Government’s fault, innit?” One young man opined. He didn’t seem to be clear how it was the Government’s “fault” that he and his friends were involved in breaking into a small business and helping themselves to the merchandise, other than that cuts meant that he couldn’t afford to go to college and no one would employ him. I can’t imagine why. He also seemed to have no idea how these actions were supposed to remedy the situation of which he complained. It was a graphic example of how reactionary political thought can be regurgitated by someone who lacks the capacity to think it through. As a result of Government education cuts, obviously.

Children as young as 9 and 10 have apparently been arrested. I trust that their parents will be held to account for neglect for allowing them to roam the streets after dark, and on a school night. If ever we needed an illustration of the disintegration of basic morality, respect for others and their property and the effect of mob rule on undisciplined individuals, here it is. And here is my four pennyworth for our Prime Minister:

Dear David Cameron,

No doubt you’re horrified this is happening on your watch. I do hope that you will instruct your Government to step back from the self-serving, short-termist policy decision making process that has plagued British politics in recent  years and take a long, hard look at the society we have created.

The vast majority of people in this country are hard-working and law abiding and would be horrified if they saw one of their children on their TV screens these past few nights. They might even (let’s whisper) administer a short sharp clip round the ear and ground them if they did. The vast majority of us live quietly, like well-ordered mice, and go about our business without taking much notice of politics except to shake our heads and tighten our belts when required. (Oh, and it’s always required, these days, it seems). We answered the twitter-calls to clean up the streets after the riots, but there is a steadily growing rumble of disquiet in the streets and suburbs of our green and pleasant land. The mice are beginning to roar. 

So here are a few ideas which, with all due respect, you would do well consider:

  • Break out the water cannons. Firstly to put out the burning cars and buildings as the fires act as a gathering point for the rioters. Secondly because when the water is impregnated with “SmartWater” technology all the police have to do is pass an ultra-violet beam over the clothes of anyone who looks a bit soggy, then match their faces to the photographic evidence collected while the looting was taking place.
  • Instruct the police to arrest the spectators. Standing by and watching the violence is not harmless – remember Nazi Germany? – and the Bystander Effect is harmful to our society.
  • Review the curriculum for “citizenship” classes in schools. How can young people not understand that stealing from “rich people” – by which they mean anyone who owns a business – means their chances of employment are decreased?
  • Give us a coherent education policy. In the past few years, we’ve heard the following:  we want 50% of young people to go to university/we will allow universities to raise fees.  Our economy is built on home ownership. The average age at which young people can now get on the housing ladder has risen to 38. With the rise in University fees, the average age for first home ownership has risen to 43. The average student debt is currently £20,000. This is predicted to rise to £40,000 once university fees are raised. We want young people to save for their retirement. By 2013 the school leaving age will rise to 18. The EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) has been abolished. Is it any wonder that young people are confused, disenchanted and don’t feel valued?
  • Review immigration reform as matter of urgency. This is nothing to do with xenophobia or racism, it’s plain common sense and self preservation.This tiny island simply cannot take population increases such as seen in the past nine years – 3.1 million. 
  • Reverse planned cutbacks and increase the size of our police force. It is not acceptable for calls for help from beleaguered citizens remain unanswered, that attacks on property can be watched in progress on the news without any sign of police response or that young people can feel that the can do anything they please and get away with it.
  • On that note, give the courts the powers they need to deal a short sharp shock to the perpetrators.
  • Ensure that those perpetrators are made to clean up the mess they have made and make reparations, and request publicly that as much media coverage is given to that as has been given to the riots.
This is a summary of some of the milder rumbles in the village halls and offices today. No one wants to see vigilanteism on our streets, but there is a clear danger that a failure to act on your part will open the door to citizen action.
Let us know what we can do to help, but please heed this warning: any Government only governs by the consent of the majority.  And ignores the mouse’s roar at its peril.
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Responses

  1. Very well said Jo! I agree wholeheartedly!

  2. I was going to write about this, but there’s no need. You’ve said pretty much everything that needs saying.

    I would only add one thing. If parents have, as a generation, abdicated responsibility for their children and their parents before them, then the state must step in and stop the rot. Now is the time to bring back a form of National Service, similar to the system they have in Italy. It need not be military – many opt for community service, but it has to be done , in our case it should be young women as well as men, and it should carried out with unequivocal lessons in discipline and respect for each other and the wider community. I have always been in favour of this; it’s not just me getting older, grouchier and turning into my grandmother.


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