Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London's Burning With Boredom Now?

It's not often that my overly verbose and rambling mind is lost for words, but as I type I'm genuinely struggling to put words onto the computer screen in any sense of logic or order. Over the last few days, the capital city I love, and live on the outskirts of, has descended into the kind of near-future post-apocalyptic carnage that we're used to chuckling about in films. Ever seen Mad Max? Or The Warriors? Or Assault on Precinct 13? Escape from New York? We thought the mob-ridden utopias in those films were spooky, but never could we have envisaged, or wanted to envisage, that it'd be playing out live for us on the streets outside our houses, in what's supposed to be a civilised country. For the first time in perhaps my whole life, I was scared of what would happen outside. Fortunately, the roaming gangs of incomprehensibly thick primates gave up around Bromley and Orpington, and went home for the night, heading no further out of the capital than that. Say what you like about humble Swanley - and I've often said some rather mean stuff about it - but one thing it doesn't have is roving gangs of youths utterly disconnected from society. Thankfully. But the same cannot be said of many friends of mine in Erith, Croydon, Lewisham, Enfield, Camden and other parts of London that descended into mob rule for several shocking hours.

Twitter was alive with terror, panic and rumour. I have plenty of friends from the punk scene and further afield, including members of the very bands I go and see and you read about on here and see for yourself, caught up in the troubles. Looking out of their windows and seeing buses and shops on fire, mobs of proto-humans chanting and running off with swag. Videos have emerged of a boy taking cover with facial injuries before getting robbed by a group of thugs. We saw pathetically under-manned pockets of police try vainly to stand around looking tough, whilst the lunatics gleefully took over the asylum. A Sky reporter who dared to question their behaviour was attacked, and managed to escape. Parts of London are basically being declared no-go zones, and normally peaceful people are now advocating (rightly I'd say) curfews and military presence on the streets to stop the creatures of the night returning once again. And literally as I type, I'm hearing news that a man has died in hospital after being shot by rioters. All of these images, and the threats of more destruction edging ever closer to my neighbourhood, sicken me to my stomach. What we're seeing is the horrifying realisation that these scumbag kids have worked out that if they bandy together, they can literally do whatever the fuck they like.

As inevitable as the fucking tides comes the earnest hand-wringing from those on TV who claim to know better than us. We've got politicians (mainly everyone's favourite ex-mayor Ken Livingstone) using it as an opportunity to score points from the opposition parties and turn it into a party political issue, we've got the odious types at the BBC asking whether this was a 'cry of rage' as a result of 'Tory cuts' (it was neither), and we have several people trying to blame unemployment, lack of prospects and other such right-on topics to moan about. Let's get one thing clear before we go on - this was no protest. It's beginning to really piss me off for people to keep suggesting this was some sort of uprising from oppressed youth to fight for their future; bringing down the man, one burnt-out bus and trashed Nando's at a time. Don't believe the hype, folks. We can romanticise until the cows come home and find their farm has been burnt to the ground, but there is nothing fucking romantic or poetic about this. Nothing at all.

I don't pretend to have the answers, but at best, my two-cent summation of it all would be that these stains on the copybook of humanity are the product of a splintered society, with no unity or respect for their fellow person. Love thy neighbour? Burn down his shop and nab some of his tellys, more fuckin' like. And the divides between communities and people just deepen. No wonder racist feeling is so high, with paranoia and misinformation being spread.

(Oh, and if you were thinking about doing a BNP and blaming this on immigrants, I advise you to hunt down a fantastic picture of Dalston being defended from thugs by groups of people - of Turkish origin. And then slapping yourself round the face several times for even considering pledging allegiance with those bastards.)

Anyway, for whatever reason (and I'll be here all week if I even try to go into explaining it all), we now have a situation where there are hundreds of kids growing up in utterly shitty circumstances, with no discipline, self-respect or knowledge of right and wrong, and feeling completely disconnected from the rest of society. When you couple that to the gradual undermining of the police force through cuts and accusations of being heavy-handed (sometimes justified, sometimes not) and successions of weak governments who have not had the courage to stand up and actually punish little shits rather than just give them a slap on the wrist and send the little ragamuffins on their way, and we arrive at this scenario. The kids have basically had their own Warriors moment: there's x amount of us, and only y amount of police...we can do what the fuck we want. Because we're 'badmanz'.

It's ironic in a way to see a lot of my buddies in the punk scene advocating heavy-handed policing and even martial law in some cases. You'd assume, wouldn't you, that us police-hating, protest-loving punkers would be relishing a chance at fighting the man via the medium of civil unrest. But we're not. Because that's just the point. This isn't a protest at all. This has nothing to do with the power of youth bringing about change. And I'll bet you any money that if you were to go up to a group of these shitstains and tell them how proud you are of them 'sticking it to the man', they'd probably laugh and mug you. Remember folks, don't try and reason with an idiot. And especially don't try and reason with an idiot who's also a lowlife, scummy, malicious, brain-dead, cunt.

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