By | August 10, 2011

It’s been a disturbing few days with London and other parts of the UK subjected to appalling and wanton acts of destruction, violence and total disregard for the property and welfare of local communities.

Reading between the lines of a lot of hysterical and subversive comments from rioters, the underlying issue seems to be the social divide – the ‘haves’ vs. the ‘have nots’. There seem to be few amongst the rioters who are able to articulate the issue in a logical or comprehensible way, but basically over the past few years, the excesses of the ‘haves’ (bankers, expense-fiddling politicians, celebrity and sports stars’ excesses, reprehensible behaviour by the media) have served to identify and reinforce a social divide that ultimately leads to despond, frustration and eventually, hatred. A shooting incident in Tottenham provided the spark; but the subsequent firestorm had a different agenda and became an opportunity for the ‘have nots’ to get back at the establishment.

So how will the authorities react? Is it conceivable that a social agenda could get priority over the politico-economic agenda? We like to think of ourselves as an integrated, multiracial and inclusive society; but are we? Cameron claims the root cause is ‘a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society’. I wonder whether he is including the lack of responsibility of bankers, expense-fiddling politicians, celebrities, sports stars, newspaper owners and journalists in his thinking. It’s no good just stopping at a statement like that and apportioning blame without asking ‘why?’ Perhaps he should keep asking ‘why?’ until he gets to the real root cause, taking into account all parts of our society.

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