cantankerous believes there are six key lessons to be learned from the rioting breaking out in the poorer Boroughs of London.
- We are seeing social breakdown. It is criminal, but the police cannot control the situation, and our society cannot function in this atmosphere. We need to lock up offenders but we also need to understand why this has happened.
- Society is fragile and those whose previous life experience is confined to Kensington, dreaming spires, Hampstead Garden Suburb or Chipping Norton, or even a cringe-worthy trip to the Notting Hill Carnival, need to learn quickly. It is alarming to see, but…
- The police are pretty damn near useless against the mob. The elite needs to appreciate this.
- The UK’s elite is complacent, as demonstrated by the simultaneous absence of nearly all the senior members of the Cabinet from the country. Members of Parliament from all parties come from a narrow and narrowing selection pool. Public school, PPE at Oxford and working for a political party or in PR, lobbying or journalism may be the perfect preparation for obtaining the candidacy for a safe parliamentary seat, but does it aid representation or give the life experience to represent constituents and govern effectively? cantankerous has his doubts. Look at the BBC, unwilling to leave its comfort zone and report from many parts of London. Is Croydon really only safe to visit from a helicopter? If it is, how did our representatives allow this to happen? Remember Harriet Harman wearing that flak-jacket in Peckham?
- Cutting the DLA of the mentally ill is the politics of the madhouse. cantankerous was fascinated to see that at least one of those detained by the police during the riots was sectioned under the Mental Health Act: care in the community in action. One of cantankerous‘ best friends is a consultant psychiatrist and their perspective is fascinating. It is all too easy to think of DLA recipients as lazy and work-shy and undoubtedly many are. However, a significant proportion are unemployable, either through mental illness or personality disorders. Sure, they don’t turn up for their DLA assessments and those that do appear are easy to trick into failing the evaluation, but we need to tread very carefully.
- Removing EMA is a huge issue. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen or nineteen year old teenagers from poorer backgrounds are very unhappy about losing Educational Maintenance allowance. It is a big issue with serious educational and financial implications which politicians and the media have missed or ignored. For the poor, it is as big an issue as university tuition fees are for the middle classes.