A riots reader

Quickly rounding up some of the more interesting reflections on (and in some cases, prescient predictions of) recent events. By all means send any you've spotted that I've missed and I'll add them.

Riots: the underclass lash out (Daily Telegraph)

"Meanwhile, the view is gaining ground that social democracy, with its safety nets, its costly education and health care for all, is unsustainable in the bleak times ahead. The reality is that it is the only solution."

There is a context to London's riots that can't be ignored (The Guardian)

"Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world."

Insane in the economic membrane (ABC Australia)

"And the Tea Party's right in one way: it's a religious, almost fundamentalist principle. You look after people. You don't punish them for the sins of men earning eighteen hundred dollars an hour for moving jobs overseas."

No riots here. Just quiet, ever-deeper misery (The Guardian)

"The promises both parties offered to those who 'worked hard and played by the rules' – of rising living standards, a secure retirement and a better life for their children – sound empty. Millions are living thwarted lives of quiet desperation, and cannot see a way to escape them."

Panic on the streets of London (Laurie Penny)

"Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."

Theresa May: We can cut police budgets without risking violent unrest (The Guardian)

"The British public don't simply resort to violent unrest in the face of challenging economic circumstances."

Nick Clegg warns of riots if Tories are elected (Sky News)

"This is Walthamstow, in East London, this is not Athens or any other Greek city."

Global economic Armageddon is nigh – so let's tax the rich (The Herald)

"In America and Britain, the story of the last 30 years has been the reversal of this democratisation of the economy. Income and wealth inequality has returned to the levels of the 1920s, with a tiny fraction of the super-rich taking a vast proportion of the wealth of the economy and investing it in stocks, houses and other speculative assets."

BBC News "interviews" Darcus Howe (YouTube)

(This one's not so much interesting as just an utter fucking disgrace. About as close as I've come to withholding my licence fee.)

When I grew up in Tottenham we stole sweets; now it's revenge shootings (Evening Standard)

"In the aftermath of the riots and the death of PC Blakelock, money was poured in to regenerate the area and the police made huge efforts to re-engage with the community"

The year we realised our democratically elected leaders can no longer protect us (The Guardian)

"It's striking that the targets have not been town halls or, say, Tory HQ – stormed by students last November – but branches of Dixons, Boots and Carphone Warehouse. If they are making a political statement, it is that politics does not matter."

Caring costs – but so do riots (The Independent)

"It's not one occasional attack on dignity, it's a repeated humiliation, being continuously dispossessed in a society rich with possession. Young, intelligent citizens of the ghetto seek an explanation for why they are at the receiving end of bleak Britain, condemned to a darkness where their humanity is not even valued enough to be helped. Savagery is a possibility within us all. Some of us have been lucky enough not to have to call upon it for survival"

The psychology of looting (The Guardian)

"Between these poles is a more pragmatic reading: this is what happens when people don't have anything, when they have their noses constantly rubbed in stuff they can't afford, and they have no reason ever to believe that they will be able to afford it."

Who are the rioters? Young men from poor areas… but that's not the full story (The Guardian)

"When incidents like this happen the authorities are fond of saying that troublemakers have been bussed in from outside. But there's none of that here. Neither is there any sign of the anti-globalisation or anarchist crowds. This is unadulterated, indigenous anger and ennui. It's a provocation, a test of will and a hamfisted two-finger salute to the authorities."

56 Responses to “A riots reader”

  1. Thanks for this collection of articles. I was almost disappointed to read the first Telegraph piece. But, perhaps, my antagonism has lessened… and I am growing towards being a man?*

    (*No)

  2. non-scrounger Says:

    These attempts to intellectualise the 'riots' are a joke. The scum involved haven't been touched by the economic woes. The odd community centre might have closed but they don't have to worry about losing their jobs [they don't have them to lose] or their homes [they don't own them]. They are secure in the knowledge that the taxpayer will prop them up no matter what.

  3. toastmodernist Says:

    You seem really smart.

  4. non-scrounger Says:

    No, just right.

  5. Anonymous X Says:

    Extreme right.

  6. asdasdasd Says:

    Zing!

  7. Marc Forrester Says:

    Remember, everybody: Seeking to understand people means you support everything they do, and the first step towards fixing a social problem is sneering, self satisfied disdain.

  8. Wow. I'm impressed with how quickly non-scrounger has got himself to Tottenham and interviewed everyone who took part in the riots. He really should get in touch with the press.

  9. Yep, agree with all of that.

  10. I wish the press would stop calling it 'UK riots' – Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh are quiet tonight. Well, maybe not Belfast.

  11. Captain Caveman Says:

    Good point Ross. I guess Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish youths must all be happy with their lot then, eh? Or could it be that there is another dimension to this, cultural (though I use the term very loosely), dare I say even racial? I am no racist and hail from immigrant stock myself, as aforestated, but there does seem to be an inordinately high proportion of black youths in all the TV coverage that I have seen, if the media is to be believed? Dare we take this hot potato on board…?
    Anyway, non-scrounger is broadly correct, as I have indicated in the main thread – it is indeed ridiculous to 'intellectualise' the actions of these feral scum – many, indeed most of them 11-15 year old kids who should be at home. How have these mere kids been affected by government cuts that have barely started to be implemented yet? If that were the true reason, where are the placards and other instruments/messages of genuine protest? Oh no, that's right, there are none… and the 'protest' comprises purely of nicking clothes and other crass capitalist consumer goods, particularly expensive phones, so that they cave hold their illiterate, entirely useless 'correspondence' on them.
    (In any case, youth unemployment was already at record levels long before the LibCons came into government, of course, and Labour were overtly talking about 'deeper cuts that Thatcher', so once again, let us not politicise this).
    The fact is, this is about NOTHING other than out of control feral brats who should be at home, 'demanding respect' where none is due, going on a robbing and destruction spree, because they can, apparently. The useless police standing by and watching, if they are even there at all, and businesses – even houses - going up in flames. Me? I would use tear gas and use baton rounds, without a second's hesitation – most of the country appears to be aching for this. And bring back the birch whilst I was at it.
    As I said in the other thread, these are the fruits of a useless education and welfare policy of these last 20-odd years or more. This generation of unemployable, unskilled, feral brats will bring nothing but misery and huge expense to the rest of us, for years to come.

  12. "I would use tear gas and use baton rounds, without a second's hesitation – most of the country appears to be aching for this. And bring back the birch whilst I was at it."
     
    I find it sad that so many people wish to make our country even worse. Not content with having a bunch of youths trashing the place? Let's have a police state! Hey – why not a 1 megaton air-burst at 5,000 feet? THAT'LL LEARN 'EM EH?

  13. More commentary here: "A very British class war"
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2833334.html

  14. Captain Caveman Says:

    I'm not talking about a police state, I'm talking about giving a bunch of 11-16 year olds on a mindless stealing and violence spree - that has resulted in deaths, injuries, burned homes and businesses, hundreds of millions of pounds in costs that we cannot afford as a collective - the hiding of their lives, one that is long, long overdue IMO.

  15. Captain Caveman Says:

    ROFL @ Aurora's link. Just *so* ridiculous, as to be actually funny.

  16. "the hiding of their lives"
     
    What would that achieve, beyond revenge and a show of power along the same lines as sending in the army, deporting the miscreants to Afghanistan, or indeed nuking the site from orbit?
     
    The perpetrators should be dealt with as the law allows of course, but no more than that. We should maintain our civility.

  17. NI is a bit of a different situation, what you have there is sectarianism x booze x steroids x boredom + marching season = water cannons.

  18. Sigh. As someone on my Twitter feed said:
    "Norway loses 92 children and suggests more democracy. We lose 12 JD Sports and some Nandos and demand the army and rubber bullets."

  19. Captain Caveman Says:

    @myk – the law already allows the use of baton rounds. In terms of what it would – or would have achieved if used from the second night when things were getting totally out of hand – who knows? My guess would be a significantly improved alternate outcome, as compared to a bunch of kids acting with total and absolute impunity, without even a copper in sight, let alone doing anything. The sheer outrage of ordinary, hardworking people – including one (young woman) shop owner describing them as 'feral rats… why are they not at home, where the hell are their parents??' on TV – was palpable, as was their total slamming of politicians like Boris turning up in his suit and broom on Day 3, like some publicity seeking twat.

    I'm all for maintaining dignity and the rule of law in the face of this outrage and adversity. However, the measures that I, and millions of other perfectly moderate, normal people in this country want, are well within the bounds of said laws. Retribution and consequences, as well as prevention and deterrence, have ALWAYS been keystones of the British criminal justice and policing systems.

    @Stu – Sigh. You know perfectly well that that's complete and utter bullshit. People have been burned out of their homes by these thugs; I saw footage of one young woman leaping at height out of a flaming window last night, very lucky to be alive. In fact, three people HAVE died as a direct consequence of these riots, or haven't you been watching the news? Still many more people have lost their entire livelihoods, having been burned and looted out of their business premises. Still, I daresay you have no sympathy for these 'lottery winners of life', eh Stu. People have been badly hurt, assaulted, had bottles, firebombs, bricks and whatever thrown at them…. and all for what, exactly? No, not some much longed for 'principled revolution' on yours and other people's parts here, but nothing more than a crass, , unpoliticised, consumerism and GREED DRIVEN, entirely unprincipled robbing and smashing spree. This is categorically not a 'Norway situation', when are you finally going to let this sink in?

    'Never', would appear to be the answer, just as always. You are as impervious to the concept that you could be wrong about this, just as you are about everything.

  20. "Still, I daresay you have no sympathy for these 'lottery winners of life', eh Stu."
    See, occasionally you sound like a reasonable, intelligent person, then you go and blow it all by spouting ridiculously fatuous, stupid shit like that. It's sad. I’ve said nothing to even remotely justify such a crass and moronic suggestion, and the fact that you’ve just gone right ahead and put the words in my head anyway shows why trying to debate with you is always ultimately such a waste of time.

    I have all the sympathy in the world for these poor victims. (a) because I’m a fucking human being, and (b) because whoever is to blame for what caused these riots, it’s not them. I have at no point condoned the actions of the rioters, and you know that perfectly well. Anyone with an IQ over 20 shouldn’t need the difference between explanation and justification spelled out to them over and over and over and over and over and fucking over again.

  21. Captain Caveman Says:

    Great answer, man, way to address 99% of my post – cunting me off. How very original.
    That's me told, eh!

  22. Captain Caveman Says:

    EDIT – I see you've now considerably augmented your original, very brief post.
    Some of us don't have that luxury.

  23. Captain Caveman Says:

    In terms of your modified post, I thought the implications of YOUR highly fatuous – and more to the point entirely inaccurate – Twitter quote were as clear as fucking day, among other things totally trivialising the huge wrongs done to the innocent victims of this outrage, up to and including their losing their fucking lives. '12 JD Sports and some Nandos', my arse.
    In terms of whether I am, or am not worthy of debating with, I will let others judge that. However, at least I generally stand by what I say, admit when I am wrong, change my mind about things and have the good grace to say so – and above all – I *evolve*. To wit, I am not trotting out the same old shite that I was 20, 10 or even 5 years ago, because guess what Stu? I *listen* and take on board what other people say and can reconsider/revisit/revise previously cherished beliefs.

  24. I'm just making the point that it's useless trying to debate with you, because you'll hear what you want me to say rather than what I actually do say. If you could seriously be sitting there imagining that I'm going "Ha ha, stupid fucking independent shopkeeper got fucked and all the people in the flats above his shop got made homeless, serves them right!", I really am wasting my time trying to discuss anything with you.

  25. I was having this discussion with a pal last night and he came to the same view (and he's a rich finance executive in the city and everything).
    Since the day these people were born they have been literally assualted (in what Godfrey Reggio called 'civilised violence' in Naqoyqatsi) with images, advertising and marketing, telling them that they need all this stuff, that if they don't have an iPhone well, snort, they don't have an iPhone, that if they're not wearing certain shoes they'll be physically weak, and all in new, manipulative and creative ways that mass-marketing now demands of advertising (which has changed in the last twenty years or so). Fine for all of us who have the opportunities to make the money to buy these things, or the parents who can give us the opportunities, or the money, or the things. But when economics denies you what everyone else is getting APPARENTLY (and the perception that these people have of their place in the world is an important issue here) just because of who you are, and while you're being derided by the mainstream press, media and society as 'chav scum', taking advantage of a charged situation and finally hitting back is inevitable and understandable behaviour.
    The knee-jerk reactors who are calling for them to be shot, hanged, sent to Afghanistan and who are calling them 'scum' (while part of the problem is that they've been called scum all their lives) may well have done the exact same thing if they were in the same situation.

  26. "I'm all for maintaining dignity and the rule of law in the face of this outrage and adversity. However, the measures that I, and millions of other perfectly moderate, normal people in this country want, are well within the bounds of said laws."

     
    I don't think the use of tear gas and rubber bullets 'without a second's hesitation' is a moderate response. The police have many weapons available to them* but deployment of these must always be carefully considered and certainly not used in the spirit of "moral outrage". I suspect that going into a riot guns blazing would lead to escalation, especially given the circumstances that triggered them.
     
    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_police_firearms

  27. Captain Caveman Says:

    @Rowan – I'm sorry, I just fundamentally disagree with you. I do not think that the legions of working class people who had pretty disadvantaged upbringings and circumstances (not to mention *not a bean*, even to feed ourselves adequately), but through genuine efforts on their part now lead normal, law abiding and integrated lives – would have 'done the same thing' at all. By definition, they did not!

    Do you not think that these 'pressures' were out there when people like me, in their early 40s now, were young? I was thrown out on my ear at 16 and had to make my own way; I was going around in 'totally uncool' clothes, had nothing but a battered 50cc moped (whilst my mates were on cool 125s or even cars, living at home, paying no rent, earning vastly more in dead end jobs than ever I could as an apprentice). Of course they were! Did this make me frustrated, nay furious? Of course it did! Thing is though, I, and many, many before and after me channelled that anger, envy at this entirely unasked for, unfair situation into trying to improve our lot. I said to myself I'd be damned if I would let this thing beat me, I would study and work myself out of this! I was hardly a single exception; the college classes that I went to were full of impoverished kids like me, as well as more fortunate ones, but we were all earnestly trying to learn, doing *really hard* engineering and science courses designed for much older, more qualified people – at our crummy old tech with antiquated equipment even then and bugger all else except our will and desire to succeed! No-one was handing us £30 per week just to turn up, and I was far, far more economically disadvantaged than most of today's so-called impoverished youth, draped in designer clothes, the latest phones, never having gone hungry for a day in their entire lives.

    I'm sorry, I know you mean well and I respect your view, but I just *cannot* accept the so called inevitability of this outcome, the 'victim status' of the vast majority of these kids and that this is all somehow *our* fault. As I said in the other thread, the bald facts of the situation are that the young of previous generations – we're only talking 20-30 years ago remember, let alone further back yet still well within living memory – had it far, far worse. (With the admitted exception that at least we/they had the benefit of a half, or even quarter decent education – but this goes to the root of what I have been banging on about for the last 10 years, usually ignored at best or derided as a 'sputtering retired Brigadier' at worse).

    Bottom line? There is NO excuse for these disgraceful acts and the perpetrators – and most especially their USELESS, APATHETIC, ABSENT "parent(s)", though I use the term loosely – sperm donors and surrogates could be more appropriate – should be both ashamed and made culpable to the rest of us.

  28. Captain Caveman Says:

    I'd further add that there's a good reason why these people are termed 'scum', by perfectly fair-minded, ordinary people with no axe to grind, and certainly bereft of the benefit of a silver spoon up their arse.
    It's because they self evidently are, period.

  29. So – people are scum. They just are.

    What have they got to lose by acting like it? They come from a scum neighbourhood, went to a scum school, have scum friends, and maybe even their parents are scum.

    Why not loot and riot? You think they are scum regardless.

  30. “Bottom line? There is NO excuse…”
    There is no excuse, but there are reasons.

    There is no excuse for the moon, either, that doesn’t mean we take it to court.

  31. Captain Caveman Says:

    No, I do not think they are scum regardless. Have you not read, less still understood a word that I have said?
    I do not look down on people living on shit estates, in poverty or with lousy parents. I was one myself and I have the hugest possible respect for those – and there are many – who transcend the relatively poor hand that life has dealt them, although even then not in comparison to many, many millions of other young people, living in *real* poverty, deprivation and under tyrannic regimes around the globe.
    I, like most people, judge others by their actions, not their upbringing, background, 'school tie' or whatever. Such things are abhorrent to someone like me, much as this doesn't fit into most people's absurd categorisation of someone like me around here.

  32. "I, like most people, judge others by their actions, not their upbringing,"
    Would that that were really true of "most people".

  33. The one thing that I disagree with you for, Captain Caveman, is your mantra of ‘responsibility’. You think it is a mark of decent humanity that anyone can attain, and correspondingly you expect it in others.

    No. It is a self-serving lie. You use it to separate the world into “success” and “scum”, and unsurprisingly you find yourself on the success side.

    I come from a shit background and I am doing pretty well. I’ve left people behind who are not doing so well. I could take on this mantra and tell them, “I am responsible”. I could browbeat them, torture them, and villify them for being “irresponsible” in their actions.

    But if I did so, I would be ashamed of myself. did not do anything at all to escape those conditions. I made no choice whatsoever. I simply am the kind of person who was more interested in education and, even with all my problems, I managed to do well enough to go to Wolverhampton University. And, shockingly, just that was enough to propel me out of Wolverhampton, which is pretty ironic when you think about it.

    Bertrand Russell was a determinist. He said, “we can act as we please, but we can’t please as we please.” I wanted to leave that background so much that I did. What if I had more respect for that ‘community’ and its ideals? I would have stayed there, and I would probably have already been acquainted with a prison cell. It is not at all down to me that I wanted something else. I have never programmed my own wants.

    Please consider whether you ever ‘chose’ to be who you are. Is it true that you made yourself who you are, or is that actually impossible? Did you, in fact, simply find yourself to be the person who you are, and continue from there?

  34. I think the fundamental problem with Cavey is that he just can't grasp that the opportunities that were available for self-improvement even in the dark days of the 80s just aren't there any more. I'm about the same age as him and did my time on Thatcher's dole queues, but I still had far more chance of escaping than today’s kids.
    For a start, I went to university for free, giving me the chance to better myself and grow up a bit without being crushed by a massive burden of debt before I could shave. My hard-working parents could help out a bit from time to time because they bought their council house (where they still live) at an insanely huge discount that made the mortgage far lower than the rent, and because privatised utilities weren't syphoning off half of their disposable income just to keep it heated and lit. (And they had enough left to make modest pension provision for themselves too, which is beyond the dreams of many people today.)
    Nowadays I have relatives who work 14+ hours a day doing three jobs and still can't pay their basic, bare living costs for a small rented terraced house in an old mining village without government support. Those costs are about to rocket yet again with 20% hikes in gas and electricity, while the government support is slashed.
    Rents are still shooting up, as greedy buy-to-letters capitalise on the fact that no new social housing has been built in 20 years and nobody can afford to buy a home unless they're already rich or have rich parents who can cough up a £25K deposit. The price of food is rising steeply while wages stagnate or fall in both real and absolute terms.
    More people now compete for fewer jobs than at any time in living memory. And a huge percentage of even the headline number of vacancies are part-time, and thousands of the full-time ones pay a sub-living wage, have no security and no prospects for improvement. What’s the career ladder/escape route for a cleaner, who can’t afford to go to night classes and doesn’t have the time anyway because she has to spend 16+ hours a day working or travelling to work just to stay barely alive?
    (Ironically, her only chance is to lose her job and move onto benefits, which won’t pay much less and will at least leave her some free time to try to find a better way. The people who rage at welfare claimants who won’t take low-paid work are effectively demanding these people sacrifice any hope of a future, for the benefit of those better off than them.)
    What Cavey and his ilk can't understand is that hard work, in itself, no longer guarantees a sustainable living. Poor people he sees with cars or big TVs almost certainly bought them on the credit that was aggressively thrown at everyone in the "good times" so they'd keep spending money and creating "growth". Either that or they simply bought them when times were better. I'm prepared to bet that none of the BMWs he claims to see parked outside the houses of the poor have 2011 registrations.
    (I'm dirt-poor, but I have a sports car and a 52-inch telly. I bought the former in 1994 and the latter in about 2001, when times were better, with money from my bank account rather than a credit card. To Cavey that's proof that I'm actually rich, even though I'd be lucky to get £500 total for selling both of them, which wouldn't even nearly pay one month's rent.)
    It's an unshakeable, fundamental ideological article of faith to me that anyone who works a 40-hour week – in ANY job – should be able to put a decent roof over their head in a place no more than 30 minutes' travel from where they work, and without having to share a toilet with anyone other than members of their own family. That's the basic minimum acceptable social contract in my book, and any system which does not provide for that to happen is a broken system.
    We do not have that system now, and we are moving further from it rather than closer to it, because the fundamental nature and indeed principle of capitalism is ALWAYS to move money from the poor to the rich. You move a long way down that path in 30 years, but Cavey can't see the past because he's blinded by the gleam from all the nice stuff he has now. The kids in Tottenham can see the system is broken and offers them nothing, so they’re refusing to comply with its rules and are instead reverting to the law of the jungle – take anything you can get, any way you can get it. There are no morals in the jungle.

  35. These Photoshopped pics of the riots are a neat comment on consumerism: http://photoshoplooter.tumblr.com/

  36. Captain Caveman Says:

    @Stu – good post, was actually in partial agreement, right up until the (EDIT: second-)last sentence. Thing is, you know that's complete crap and there really is no need for that at all mate.

  37. It's just a colourful way of saying what absolutely is true, and certainly seems to be in your case – that people who rise from unprivileged beginnings to a position of success through their own efforts have a tendency to assume that because they did it against the odds, anyone can. Or more precisely and more to the point, that everyone can. But that's not how odds work. If it was, everyone would be a wealthy stockbroker, but we’d all be wading knee-deep in shit because nobody would be working in the sewers.

  38. Appreciate these links. I've been spreading some of them the past 24 hours, but most people I know aren't even bothering to read them.

    From what I can tell, the general consensus among the twenty-something white middle-class seems to be: "Look! Those dole-scum chavs you see on Jeremy Kyle are rioting! Let's round them up in holding camps and cull the degenerate bastards!"

    I get the feeling a lot of them were bullied by 'chavs' in high school, and now they want some kind of smug revenge. It's frightening stuff.

  39. Frankly I don't care about any of it because when I see a burnt out family supermarket and multiple broken charity shops literally 3 minutes from where I am now, I'm using 100% of my sympathy there and there's nothing left for anyone involved in making them that way regardless of their situation.
    The point where you try to burn down an Oxfam or Fara is the point where, regardless of anything that's happened to you or your family, you can cunt right off.

  40. Captain Caveman Says:

    Heh. Crass soundbite in haste, repent in leisure.

  41. Captain Caveman Says:

    @ DG – totally agree btw, quite so.

  42. "I'm using 100% of my sympathy there and there's nothing left"
    Wow. Bummer for everyone in Somalia.

  43. Captain Caveman Says:

    … obviously in the context of any sympathy remaining for the perpetrators of these cruel, callous crimes to charity shops, in this specific case? Not no sympathy for anyone, evaaaar, evaaaaaaar again, on anything.
    Context man, context.

  44. Captain Caveman Says:

    … don't start to sound like Gaywood, PLEASE.

  45. Charity shops got some good vinyls. Picked up a few Fleetwood Mac LPs. Can’t tell me that’s not on the level blud.

  46. Tom.K – Quite, it's noticeable that of the 3 Oxfam shops in Ealing, it's the music and video one that gets turned over and not the book one several doors down.

  47. I think there's some confusion about the difference between 'empathy' and 'sympathy'. No-one has ever suggested, as far as I've seen, that the perpetrators of the riots shouldn't be caught and punished.
     
     
    "I do not think that the legions of working class people who had pretty disadvantaged upbringings and circumstances (not to mention *not a bean*, even to feed ourselves adequately), but through genuine efforts on their part now lead normal, law abiding and integrated lives – would have 'done the same thing' at all. By definition, they did not!"
     
     
    I don't think you've quite understood my suggestion- the definition of 'us' and 'them' suggests that fundamentally, 'they' have something wrong with them that makes them do terrible things which 'we' don't have because we don't do those things. I'm suggesting that, hypothetically, if you had had the *exact* same upbringing and life as a specific rioter (which you didn't, even remotely, given the different times you were brought up, as RevStu has pointed out), you may well have done the same thing. The nature of empathy is to understand that we're all people who do good and bad things. When you start to define one set of people as scum who are fundamentally lesser people than you, because they're unable to do the good things that you do, that's terrible for everybody (not to mention yourself, because you'll just end up living in anger).

  48. Captain Caveman Says:

    I think I understand what you're saying Rowan, but I still have to disagree with the assertion that I (and many, many others like me) did not, even remotely, have to face the same problems as the proverbial 'youth of today'?
    In my own case when I was 16, I wasn't even living at home (not through choice), went days at a time without food and had to endure working conditions/bullying etc. on the shop floor that are simply unimaginable today, and of the three apprentices at that time, one of the others was in exactly the same boat whereas the third, admittedly, was still being supported at home.
    In terms of further education, there was no financial help of any kind, unlike EMA of today – in fact none full stop… these days I would have received all manner of support and benefits as a minor, not left at the mercy of highly unscrupulous landlords.
    In terms of the financial backdrop, there were 3 millions unemployed in 1984 and things were dire. At school we were told to get a job – ANY job – at all costs; to return to the Sixth Form *at all* was considered a failure in some respects, even for the most bright.
    As for the schools themselves, my crappy old '50s/'60s Comprehensive bears *no* resemblence to the modern schools of today, with all the lavish resources heaped upon them via BSF and all the prior initiatives. I'd never even heard of a classroom assistant and no class size was below 30, usually more like 35 or even higher still. Bullying was absolutely rife; we had tattered, umpteenth-hand books that were falling apart, which we each of us had to cover with brown parcel paper (lol) – even if it had already been done by someone else. (And these books – particularly for science//technical subjects – were hopelessly outdated).
    Computers? That'll be two – yes two – CBM PETs, archaic even then… forget your BBC MIcros or indeed anything remotely relevant, even then.
    Are you seriously telling me that there are no parallels whatsoever between my time and the present? That to draw any such comparison is invalid? I'm sorry, I do not agree; I think it is fairly clear that most things for young (pre-18) teenagers are actually much better now; including in opportunities terms (especially education-wise). And like I said before, kids today have vastly more *stuff* than we ever had, be that phones, computers, games consoles, fancy clothes, whatever.
    I suggest also that my generation had it vastly easier than, say, the post war kids of the '50s, and certainly the War generation before them, and the Depression generation before them. And yet, no smashing stuff on streets just to get the latest gramophone, Barber jacket or whatever booze people were drinking back then… :D
    Yes, of course people do both good and bad things, we all do, myself included – I am no saint, none of us are. However, that doesn't mean that because none of us is perfect that we cannot condemn the *gross* misdeeds of others, does it? And by so condemning, that does not render us incapable of empathy and understanding? These are not mutually exclusive.
    As far as being angry is concerned, I'm sorry, but those images of the news these last days have really incensed me. I can't even begin to imagine how I would feel if it had been my business destroyed, my house burned to the ground, my loved one taken away from me…. for a pair of trainers, bottle of WKD, iPhone or fashionable item of clothing. That's just how I feel about it.

  49. "Are you seriously telling me that there are no parallels whatsoever between my time and the present?"
     
    You have written this after writing five paragraphs about how children today live nothing like you lived back then. And I still don't think you see the point I'm making, because you never found yourself at the start of a huge riot when suddenly everything you ever wanted was there, helpless in front of you for the taking. Who knows what you or anyone would have done in that situation. You MIGHT have done the same as people who are currently the scum of the Earth to you.
     
    "However, that doesn't mean that because none of us is perfect that we cannot condemn the *gross* misdeeds of others, does it?"
     
    I'm not suggesting that you cannot condemn the riots.
     
    (As an aside, I do wonder why everyone (mainly those in Parliament) has to charge about condemning the riots. Surely the fact that rioting is *illegal* means that it's kind of already and forever condemned, no? Isn't that the point of laws, that we're in agreement of what is and isn't acceptable in our country? It's weird.)
     
    "As far as being angry is concerned, I'm sorry, but those images of the news these last days have really incensed me."
     
    It's a valid and natural response. Just be mindful that anger is what starts riots.

  50. For heck's sake, Cavey. TWO returns between paragraphs. You should have learned by now, I'm not tidying your posts up for you to make them halfway-readable forever.
     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: