Broken Britain…

The events of the past 3-days in London and other parts of England like my hometown Liverpool, and Manchester where I spent 10-years during and after university, are quite rightly shocking and disturbing. It is however heartening to see that ‘most’ people, young, old, black and white are uniting together to condemn what has taken place with the rioting and looting on our streets. Whatever the reasons of those involved; who worryingly are young people, there is no excuse.

I watched a YouTube video this morning of a young lad being helped-up by a gang of youths, only to be pick-pocketed. Words fail me, here.

For those of us who are responsible people, we can comment ‘until the cows come home’ about these ‘mindless’ individuals destroying peoples lives and property, but I’m more concerned about why it has happened and how it is allowed to continue.

For some time now, Britain as a whole has been in meltdown, with MP expense scandals, student protests, cuts protests, the banking crisis, phone-hacking scandals, potential police corruption and now rioting from those who are of school age. What sticks out with me, is the lack of leadership in all of this.

It has taken 3-days for senior politicians of the main parties like the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to publicly condemn ‘personally’ and visually what has taken place. These so-called kids are arranging their rampaging on social networking sites within minutes, yet our leaders cannot do the same to give the country reassurance, that calm will be brought to their communities.

Regardless of where the Prime Minister was, he as the elected leader of this country should have been in-front of the cameras straight-away, making people feel at ease in any way he could. It is not for policemen or women to do this job.

This isn’t a time for politics, but clear leadership and that alone regardless of who you support (blue, red or yellow), is critical. David Cameron is the Prime Minister and it is for him to give people hope that this spectacle will be brought to an end, and swiftly. People are genuinely worried, and with good reason.

For me personally, 3-days is 3-days too late and I’m yet to see the Mayor of London in front of a camera, reassuring Londoners. Even in Vancouver, Canada where he is meant to be, they do have the facilities for him to do this. Again, Policemen and women are not politicians, and it shouldn’t be up to them to take on this role – we don’t elect Police Officers.

I listened to the news this morning and heard a woman in Ealing, London say that those who attacked ‘her area’ were not local because there are no ‘state’ schools in Ealing. What a stupid comment to make. Those who attend, or have attended state schools like myself are no worse or better than those who attend private schools.

It’s not what school you go to or went to that should be the concern, but where the parents are whilst all this is going on – rich and poor. A lot of those youths convicted of public order offences during the student protests went to private schools, and some of them from well-to-do families and children of celebrities, so her comments like so many are flawed.

The rioting youths, are looking for excuses like this to continue their misery and intimidation. This also goes for the media, hyping-up this disgrace. If the likes of BBC News and Sky News want to do some ‘real’ reporting, stop broadcasting from leafy Ealing, and get inside those communities these youngsters are from and assist in finding out why they are doing this.

It was shameful to hear a BBC News Channel female presenter today call an elderly man a ‘rioter’, when he was trying to give ‘his’ reasoning as to why the kids might be doing, what they are doing. She like many, are missing the point in their cozy newsrooms, whilst children run amok around the country and people like him try to help.

These disturbances, are nothing to do with race and anyone who says so is missing the point. From what I can see, everyone is involved and in on the acts… black, white, boys and girls. Stealing electronic goods and expensive sports clothing, are desirable to many and not restricted to any particular race.

I think my comments make it clear I personally can never condone violence to people or property, but I do stress the point that when the dust settles and it will soon if not through sheer boredom, we need to take a serious hard look as to why this all started in the first place. This is beyond the death of a young man, shot by police – in whatever sad circumstances it took place.

If it is indeed ‘mindless’ youngsters on the rampage, then why are they mindless? What has gone so wrong that they have nothing else to do with their lives, but riot? Whatever the ‘Big Society’ is, it’s not working and you only have to switch on the television or radio to see or hear.

One thing that I have heard a lot over the past 3-days or so is the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. There is a political elite of all colours not connected with those they are meant to lead and represent, in particular these kids who are causing so much violence and damage – Disengaged with a capital ‘D’.

It’s not an excuse, but we elect others into Parliament in the hope that they are ‘in-tune’ with their constituents and local communities.

I’ve listened to various UK Government Ministers today on television from the Communities and Local Government Secretary to the Education Secretary, and I didn’t even grasp what they were saying – and I’m meant to be fairly intelligent!

I don’t begrudge those who have had the best education that money can buy or indeed privilege, but it’s a shame when most if not ‘all’ of our political leaders have been to Oxford or Cambridge – something many of those disconnected can never relate to.

Can our Ministers really say… they know what inner-city living is like, with all its problems?

The behaviour of those who have acted criminally can never be excused, but it should be understood to prevent this ever happening again. It’s been an embarrassment for the country. Hearing Britain described as a ‘war zone’ is mind-boggling.

The sad thing is that in a year’s time London and the rest of the UK hosts the Olympic Games, and the pictures and videos beaming around the world at the moment are not the preparations for this, but of London and other parts of Britain burning.

I think these latest events, on top of everything else that has been going wrong in our country of late like all the different scandals are a REAL wake-up call for us all.

People now seem ready to protest on the streets (although most are law-abiding), for all sorts of different reasons and maybe this too needs further study. It can’t all be down to the economic climate?

The atmosphere in London these past few days, has been one I’ve never experienced before, it feels strange and uncomfortable. We all should do our bit, wherever we can to get it and the rest of the country back to normal – as it’s in all our interests.

One way of doing this is via the campaign on Twitter to clean-up our streets… @riotcleanup – or better still… call, BBM or ‘tweet’ your kids and find out what they are up to?

Social media has its benefits, and the clean-up initiative is one of those.

As darkness falls on this fourth night, I like many only hope that this mayhem has come to an end.

This has been a ‘View from the Bottom’ where we need to get our own house in order! Max x


Live Healthy, Laugh Often & Love Yourself!

© Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2011 – Published by My Mum.

First published: Aug 9, 2011 @ 13:44