Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:23:44 AM EST
suggests that in the past several days we have seen a variety of causes suggested for the English riots ranging from cuts to single mothers, from social media to welfare dependence, from racism to weak policing from video games to consumerism, from rap music to social exclusion. As of yet nobody knows, research has not been done and anybody who tells you any of the causes is certain is speaking from personal prejudice rather than knowledge and so can be laughed at. So let me suggest some alternative causes, after all I've as much a chance as any other halfwit commentator of being right.
front-paged with a slight edit by afew
1) Jeremy Clarkson
Fronting a program that is basically an hour long advert for facile individualism, interspersed with how much fun it is to destroy things and set them on fire, under the disguise of being a combined motoring journalism and entertainment show. Blowing up caravans and trains and tents and anything that doesn't meet a real man's idea of the Lifestyle of choice is seen as a good thing. Could this macho culture not have contributed to the socialising of the lets smash thigs up and set things on fire idea (lets face it most boys grow out of setting things on fire before they have left the first half of their teens, about the time they discover girls, but then I suppose there is a homoerotic undercurrent to the boys together top gear gang, in much the same as there is in local rugby clubs)
2) TV Advertising
The average person watches 17,520 adverts a year, all highly tuned to tell you you're not worthy because you haven't bought item X. so unless you ascribe to the theory that adverts are entirely informative, and are only there to demonstrate the choice available to consumers, and in no way place said consumer under any psychological pressure, in which case you would in no way expect anything bad to result from the wall to wall exposure to brands . If you thought in another way, you might expect, periodically for people to go off the deep end as they thought they would never manage to lay their hands on the latest dishwasher or whatever had been mentally thrown at them.
3) TV in general
Now I know that a variety of people see tv as the sedative of the modern world, but there are some factors that might lead you to think otherwise. TV is made by middle class people, for middle class people. What is on it? Endless hours of middle class programs about middle class concerns, and when working class people are on, they are frequently caricatures, leaving dismal lives. If not a dismal life then they are portrayed as borderline criminal. Everywhere else families illustrated are nice and middle class, ideal to not offend and fit round advertised products.
Daytime television, hours of programming consists of programs about selling the collection of antiques you have, real life police shows with the friendly honest coppers chasing the underclass, a program about people claiming benefits illegally, whereas all the heroic people are ones struggling bye not collecting things they are entitled to. If the viewers of daytime television had marched to the tv stations and set them on fire after the average morning, Cameron would have had to got up and said it's a fair cop.
4) Tabloid newspapers
While it might seem that the current Murdoch scandal might see journalists paraded through the streets and thrown in the cells, the underclasses might see them as shutting the papers down and doing a runner before the justice they deserve arrives. Having had 30 years on average of being called workshy scum it might be they've finally become convinced and so are going to act out the nightmare fantasies of the Daily Mail leader writer
Im not suggesting that the night this all kicked off, rioters threw half a sweet jar of pills and chemicals down their throats and went out to cause mayhem. What I am saying is that these riots are the inevitable, sooner or later result of prohibition. Over the past several days we have had a variety of experts pontificating on broken window theory, and how graffiti and litter reduces peoples intention to obey the law and authority, as they can see that low level crime is not worth the authorities time, effort and money to deal with, this low level crime then occasionally bursts out into riot every now and then, when activities by the authorities or groups inside the community trigger it. in the UK today there are between 2 and 5 million regular drug users, if you go by official figures, and those figures are widely acknowledged as being if incorrect, then only on the low side. Those five million people are people who are used to disobeying the law, these numbers are only going to rise, as drug use has a much higher penetration into the younger generations. The war on drugs is lost, and the sooner the government understands this and starts treating it once again as medical problem the better. Till then these people are the broken windows in our communities, by nature of their exclusion from the law abiding society, a law that widely flouted shows that society is not serious in enforcing laws, shows that one can disobey without consequence.
I am not suggesting a crackdown, any government that even considered such a policy and then thought that it had a chance of success shows a level of delusion that should be treated with largactil, you're talking about between 15 and 20 percent of your working age population, that you will need to take out of circulation, The only other option is full legalisation, it's the law that's the roblem not the substances themselves.
6) A culture of celebrity
Programs like Big Brother, and tabloid newspapers celebrity articles and the national lottery have built up a get things for nothing culture in our society, 25% of teenage Boys and 40% of teenage girls rated being famous as their aim in life, of the girls, the vast majority, saw their route to fame as being to get themselves a footballer. Now there aren't that many premiership players available, and so a vast reservoir of youth who don't need to learn because theres a mythical opportunity out there to strike it lucky, be on a show, sleep with a sportsman. And these are the people who will be disaffected when their lottery numbers don't come up and feel aggrieved at not getting their turn in the spotlight in much the same way as the older generation are still bruised at the lack of a flying car and jetpack.
So there's some alternate causes, some amusing some semi-serious, and each of which as likely as some that have been thrown out as explanations by self-interested groups in the last few days.
Feel free to add your own