David Cameron is keen that the perpetrators of criminal acts during the recent riots be punished with the full force of the law. Well, he has a point. Vandalism, for example, is a disgusting crime that exposes some of the worst elements of human nature. In fact, it’s a shame there’s a statute of limitations. It’s sickening to think that the perpetrators of such a crime only have to avoid getting arrested and charged for a few years until they become immune to their rightful punishment.
It is. It’s really such a shame. Because we shall never sit entranced before our television sets watching as two police constables knock on the door of number ten and put the smug, entitled, creepy, uberprivileged git in handcuffs. Or at the very least, ask if he’d mind coming down the station to help them with their inquires.
Now, I don’t want to risk committing libel, so I’ll qualify this. (I’m standing by the smug, entitled, creepy, uberprivileged git part though.) I have been informed by numerous articles and documentaries that David Cameron was, while at Oxford, a member of the Bullingdon Club. Descriptions of this club depict a kind of anarchist collective terrorist organisation which specialised in vandalising restaurants. If, as a member, he was involved in this- either as an active participant, or as accessory before, during or after the fact- then the fact that it was a group of rich vandals who threw a pile of notes, or wrote a check, to pay for their wilful damage doesn’t make it any less illegal.
But we do have the statute of limitations, and fun though it would be to see Dave handed a sentence equivalent to those handed out to participants in the riots, it probably wouldn’t be worth it. But is this anarchist collective terrorist organisation still in existence? Is it still engaging in this loathsome, antisocial criminality? If so, could we see those not yet granted immunity by the passing of years locked up for a few years and then released with electronic tags? Could we see them evicted from their houses of residence and banished from the university system? And if we don’t, is David Cameron is really telling us, when he blathers on about broken families and morality, that the crime committed is not vandalism, but vandalism without possession of a wad of cash? Is it like shoplifting, when you get caught red handed but they let you go if you have enough money on you to pay for what you tried to steal?
I’ve never liked the Tories. My parents were once members of the Conservative party, and I pushed many thick blue leaflets through innocent letter boxes in my childhood, but as I grew up, I read music magazines and the Guardian, and my sister is all civil partnered up with her lovely wife. (Though she tends to read tabloids.) But almost more important then this, I went to public school. Boarding school. Not as high end as Eton etc, but about as expensive. So although I believe the only good thing Thatcher ever did was stop the free milk for schools (it was always rancid and I was lactose intolerant) and the only good thing John Major did was, well, lose the election, show me an ex public school student in a high position of political power, and my skin prickles. Blair got on my nerves. I could never have bought myself to vote for Clegg, even when he had credibility. But Cameron is almost too despicable. Here is a man whose life story makes Boris bloody Johnson look like a plucky outsider underdog.
Thatcher cancelling the educational maintenance award (which she probably would have done had it existed) or Major cancelling it (I honestly can’t remember him well enough to say) would have been loathsome and stupid- surely the EMA is a better way for teenagers to get cash in their pockets than having babies? And yes, some people do have children ‘because they’ll get a flat and benefits’, I’ve met people who’ve done it, and in my opinion the problem would be better resolved by giving young people the feeling that they have a chance, that they have a future, and helping to keep them in education, rather then condemning a whole lot of children, and their own newborn children, to Dickensian levels of poverty.
But when we have David Cameron in office- his parents paid for Eton, could probably have paid for Oxford in full without blinking. I can imagine Thatcher scoffing when people pointed out the EMA covers bus fairs to collage, and saying they should walk, that young people are too fat these days. I can imagine John Major looking somewhat confused because O levels were enough for him. But I can’t, I honestly can’t, imagine how Cameron justifies it.
Of course he’s blaming the riots on broken families. And to be fair, there’s been no suggestions that I’m aware of that he ever set anything on fire, attacked anyone with weapons (unless he fenced at school), or looted flat screen TV’s, designer jeans or JD Sport’s trainers. So we can conclude that arson, assault with deadly weapons and looting are the crimes that arise from the breakdown of society, morality and the institution of marriage, whereas vandalism is just the crazy, wild stuff you get up to at university, and if those ill mannered oiks across the country had only thought to bring a suitcase stuffed with money when they went out the owners of the shops they damaged would have been just fine with it.
This is our First Minister.
One should always be careful when comparing British PM’s and American presidents- the president of the USA is elected (or in the last Bush administration, sort of, almost elected by the country, the Prime Minister of the UK is the leader selected by his own party, should that party win (or, in our current administration, sort of almost win) the general election. Yes, we sort of do vote for the leaders, knowing they’d be PM, just as the Americans sort of do vote for the parties as well, but the principle stands that the PM has not the significance, power, responsibility or influence that is held by a President of the US- and it would be nice if our Prime Ministers acknowledged this fact a little more often.
But I want to make this comparison anyway. We have never had a mixed race Prime Minister. (Though Disraeli was ethnically Jewish which, at the time, was about as significant as President Obama.) America has never had a female Prime Minister whereas, all joking aside, we have. But what has America, as far as I can tell, never, and definitely never in the last few generations had? A President whose parents were not rich. It’s a bit surreal to find myself taking pride in Thatcher and Major, and I really wish my shower was working right now. But in this way a USA president resembles our aristocracy more than he does our Premier. They come from political dynasties, and typically, from old money. A poor man can not afford to run for president. Here in the UK, we pride ourselves on the fact that no lack of wealth, connections, or even higher education qualifications need prevent someone from rising to the top of the political ladder. They should hang a banner over their heads as they sit in cabinet meetings that reads:
“You don’t have to be a rich member of the elite to work here-
But it helps.”
David, Dave, we can’t go on like this. Many of the kids who have their EMA taken away will probably end up signing on instead. As will the people made redundant by the dissolution of paid jobs taking care of vulnerable, disabled children and adults who the private companies you sell this social care to decide not to employ. Meanwhile, making a tame panel of expert’s decree that a person who can, for one day of the week, walk more then 50 feet is fit for work will not render this person genuinely employable if they can barely stand up during the other six. When people are forced to leave London because their housing benefit no longer matches the inflated, gentrified house prices of even the least pleasant area’s of our capital, they’ll still have to live somewhere, Dave, and the poorhouses and tramps prisons have all been closed down. (And if you think the reactions towards immigrant communities in some area’s are causes for concern- then again, do you?- wait till you see the reaction up North when all these Southerners make the exodus up here.)
People don’t riot and loot just because their parents don’t live together. They certainly don’t vandalise for those reasons, assuming those stories of Oxford are true. And they don’t do it just because they’re immoral, plenty of immoral people don’t act this way. Some of them tap phones to illegally procure information to sell newspapers instead.
Maybe that’s not fair- try this then. People don’t riot and loot and vandalise just because they’re criminals. The looters are criminals, but not all criminals are looters- some tap phones to procure information to sell papers instead. How about this one- people who fiddle benefit claims are committing fraud, but not all people committing fraud are fiddling benefit claims. Cameron decrees that anyone caught claiming benefits they are not entitled to is clearly a deliberate and calculating thief who must be punished with the full force of the law (not the law we have now, the one he’s made up in his head that has worked so well so far in keeping piece in the magical (and big!) society of Cameronland.). Meanwhile, someone who fraudulently claimed expenses to expand their property portfolio is informed that ‘no, silly, several hundred thousands pounds worth of property (expensively furnished and decorated at the taxpayers expense), is not ‘a little perk’ for serving their community but actually- how embarrassing- an illegal misappropriation of funds.’
Cameron’s babbling about morality is distasteful but not surprising. The ruling classes have always meddled with the souls as much as the bodies of the less fortunate, the corrupting effect of free money has always been deplored for its destabilising effect on the brute, barely comprehending souls of the common stock, which has always been quite convenient because frankly, talk is cheep. But it could be that this quasi-messianic phase will be the start of his downfall. Morality is not within the governments remit. The monarch, not the Prime Minister, is the defender of the faith in this country, and we don’t even consult her. Let him take up this bizarre moral crusade, and I think he might just heal our poor broken Britain. There’s no unifying force like a common enemy, and no better common enemy then an arrogant, hypocritical self righteous child of the elite who has little more comprehension of the reality of most peoples lives then the royal family does.
In other words, a smug, entitled, creepy, uberprivileged git, a tough-on-crime ex-alumni of an anarchist collective terrorist organisation, who demonstrated his environmental priories, I imagine, rather better then he meant to, when he biked to Parliament- with a car, carrying his briefcase, following behind.
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