Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Problem of Underclass

Watching Manchester fall victim to looters and vandals was horrible. Seeing people trash their own city and boasting about it in barely comprehensible language was a nasty sight to behold. It's perfectly acceptable to be full of rage at these people. I can understand calling them scum and other names; I did it myself on seeing the shit they were pulling on the place where I live.

After such an event it is inevitable that many people will swing their social views to the right and demand tougher punishment, less benefits and tougher police. But the question we have to ask here, is why are there so many people who feel so out of touch with society, so absent of trust or hope in our society that they think it is acceptable to do this? How have we allowed people to become this way, if they are scum, they are scum of our own making. We cannot start taking heavy handed action on the symptoms if we continue to do nothing about the real causes.

This isn't just about bad parents and social media, this is about 32 years of government in which groups of people have been so left behind and ignored by society that we can refer to them as the 'underclass' without irony or insult. How else do we get a system that manages to take the worst of the left and worst of the right and combine them? No future, no jobs, no support, no propects combined with a dependence on social benefits; is it any wonder people are addicted to benefits? If money from the government was all you could expect to get for your whole life, is it any wonder you are both reliant on, addicted to, and angry at, the system?

It's no coincidence the trouble appears in poorer areas, places left behind. Always the first to get cuts in a tory government. If you leave food out in the open, it will go mouldy; whose fault is it if it then makes you ill?

In the words of Megadeth, 'Peace sells, but who's buying?' I read one report that 2000 black people protested peacefully in London a few weeks ago with not an inch of coverage in the press, one burning building and the world is at the door. I'm not saying these people were doing anything with a political point, but the fact they do it in the first place is a bigger political point.

No government wants to tackle it. This is our modern equivalent of dragging families out of the slums and into council houses. We won't get there by focusing on the symptoms. If it was us, how would we approach this problem?


Charles Frith said...

Houston we have a problem. I'm glad you can see that Rob.

Gary said...

Hi Rob, I agree that whole swathes of most British cities are full of communities which feel left behind by multiple governments. But I still don't see how the recent riots have got anything to do with poverty - if it was then there would be food stolen rather than fashion items and electrical goods. Despite a lot of families struggling to make ends meet, no-one is starving to death, and no-one could use poverty as an excuse to loot shops in 21st Century Britain. The only thing that these looters are short of is morality, and although increased school & social activities funding would possibly help, what would help most is a large slab of parental responsibility. This is the biggest challenge to ours and subsequent governments...

Rob Mortimer said...

Thanks Charles.

Gary - It's the poverty that causes the lack of morality and responsibility. There will always be a small proportion of people who are just arseholes, but the fact that these riots always happen in poorer areas suggests poverty must be part of the issue.

George Parker said...

Rob... Can you imagine what it will be like when it happens here in the US... And it will, for sure... Everyone here has at least one fucking gun. Don't forget, the social safety net is far, far weaker here than in the UK. It will be a fucking bloodbath.

Rob Mortimer said...

I dread to think George. From what I know of US gangs and poverty they seem to turn it in on themselves; if they one day all took it to the streets it would be mayhem.