I fear for my friends living in every district where the supposed delinquents are tearing through the invisible boundaries of law and order. I’m frightened it won’t cease until it truly is disastrous: tanks rolling along my frequented high streets and night spots, imposing martial law. It’s terrifying young people have become cordoned off from the virtues of civilised behaviour to the extent they are mauling their own neighbourhoods and the livelihoods of those who live among them. My greatest fear in the London riots is that, ultimately, it will have all been in vain.
The general consensus, aside from the objective gems buried in the cascade of indignation, is that ‘wicked youths’ (or ‘prats’, ‘pricks’ and ‘twats’ as I’ve seen them labelled) are, as Theresa May dubs them, ‘sheer criminals’. This is the chicken without an egg. Violence and domestic terror can under no circumstances be condoned or justified. It can, however, be understood with reason extrapulated. It seems absurd that many are willing to recognise criminal behaviour and not investigate the origins of the criminality itself.
Crime, in it’s simplest definition, is the defiance of laws set out in parliament and imposed by the constabulary. Parliament, to those of socialist inclination and the inner-city rioters, are the wealthy and educated ruling over a majority they do not understand, instead favoring attention to the banks and corporations governments are bound to. The recent closure of youth clubs in north London eerily predicts that the abandonment of young people would cause civil unrest. Think back to those in the classroom who were antagonistic and beligerant: they were faced every day with an authority more educated than them and in a stifling environment of boredom. The school system never had enough money to address those with special learning needs and provide sensitivity to a background tainted with gang violence and comradeship. Where everyday it was demonstrated by police of a different race they were already shoved firmly in the vagabond category. Due to recent public spending cuts even the most minute expenditure to signify that the mass population is considered, or even acknowledged, is defunct.
This isn’t a hug a hoodie manifesto: unrest is fuelled by discontent. Only few will comply with the rules of society when they no longer feel apart of it. Funds have been severed from public services to assuage the ailing mega-corporations and to support the banks made brittle under the weight of their own greed. Austerity ‘measures’ wax the shell of British commercial society and neglect the networks of crippled communities underneath. Little has thus far been realised: it is a feeling of abandonment from society that makes one antagonistic towards it. When alone, you form an alliance to those most similar to you. It is unlikely that looting and arson is committed with political aims, this does not mean it is not political. Law is legitimised by a consensus it must be adhered to; because it is civilised, it is safe, because there are consequences.
Clearly, the rioters have no reason to comply: they don’t fear the consequences and feel flagrant disregard for peace and safety is a source of glee and justification. It is time to demand why. Society is an agreed construct and it currently holds no legitimacy when money cyphoned from the lower rungs to support the failure of top of the hierarchy. Mistakes have been made beyond looting in Britain. The pertinent questions following: ‘How do we stop them?’ should be ‘Why did the youth feel it had nothing to lose?’ and ‘How we stop it from happening again?’ The riots should spell the beginning of the end for disengagement and should be heralded as the visible consequences for the mistakes of government. Whether anyone with an ounce of sociological awareness exists in a coalition government comprised partially of suppose liberal democrats remains to be seen. Most worrying is that it seems unlikely and imposition will rule once again over investigation.