It’s 1981 Again

August 9, 2011 at 8:10 am 2 comments

I woke up this morning, turned on the news, and was ashamed to be English. This time I will say English because the riots have not yet spread to other parts of the United Kingdom.

It made me think how far we have slipped as a society. We seem to have slipped all the way back to the early 1980s. We have an increasingly unpopular and divisive Tory Government. We have an unpopular foreign war which seems to be taking our best and bravest. We have an economy in tatters…..and, we have riots on the streets of London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.

But there the similarities end.

I lived through the Handsworth riots back then ……

….but these seem very different.

Back in the day, the riots were about poverty, social injustice, a racist police force, a racist society and rage against a Government that was divorced from the man on the Clapham omnibus. Today that omnibus is burning in the streets of Clapham.

Yesterday Sky News irritated me by referring to the rioters as “Anarchists”. Excuse me? They are nothing more than thugs and criminals. Anarchists don’t set fire to family run businesses that have served their communities for 140 years. Anarchists don’t loot an XBox, a plasma widescreen and the latest Nike trainers! Anarchists don’t terrorise the residents of the community in which they live. Anarchists aren’t seven year olds with bricks and petrol bombs.

The police seem helpless to protect the streets. Once again Grove Lane in Handsworth, where my old school is, is closed due to the debris of violence and threat of more.

No doubt we will see more copy-cat looting and thuggery over the next couple of days. I must admit I am not looking forward to it – I am in London the next couple of days. But I hope that the police get control back soon. Can you imagine the impact if this were to happen next summer in the Olympics?

I would say send in the army, but, they are far too stretched protecting our society and dying on the streets of Helmand.

Perhaps we should bring back conscription…..


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. brainguff  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:53 am

    […] It’s 1981 Again ( […]


  • 2. richardmonfries  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:56 am

    G’day Middle Man

    We can do it too here in Australia, and also for the worst possible reasons:

    Our then PM, John Howard, used to specialise in ‘dog whistle’ politics, and in combination with middle-aged radio shock jocks (who clearly should know better), plus Aussie ‘pride’ masquerading as thinly disguised xenophobic bigotry of the worst kind, you then have the prefect ingredients – young, mostly male, mostly without common sense role models, scared & angry – and boom!

    Conscription? Hmm…the only time we tried it down here was just prior to our involvement in the Vietnam War, and the resulting after effects and backlash have been suffered – particularly by vets themselves for decades afterwards…





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