There have been so many brilliant articles, blog posts and clever comments about the riots last week that humble little I could barely muster up anything astoundingly different. So, I will keep it as 'just what I feel the need to say'.
My first observation was the predictability of the approach a certain mass of people disappointingly took - including, sadly, the UK's prime minister. Something along the lines of -
'These people need punishment, lots of it and the more vindictive, the better. If they starve because we have taken away their benefits, then they only have themselves to blame. Let's feed our own dark sides heartily on these people. Let's take the phony oh-so-much-higher moral high ground so the lash of our whip falls that bit harder and revel in our justified (by the tabloid media mostly) cruelty - legitimised non-empathic nastiness aimed at the poor people that have metaphorically very quiet voices. Let's ignore any possible underlying cause and keep it simple.'
It was bound to happen. I do wish people would keep ugly subconsciousness to themselves - especially influential powerful people. I feel they have an especial duty to keep it inside.
Another observation was the provision of a perfect example of politicians keeping the mass media sweet. David Cameron appeared to have made his public speech about the riots by putting Daily Mail headlines together. Keep 'middle England' happy and we will be voted in again. Blech!
My third observation was the impact of the riots upon me personally. Not direct impact of course. I haven't so much as thrown a dustbin lid (although I once suggested it on Facebook - that might eventually get me five years inside). No, I was surprised how much strong emotion these riots have whipped up. Looking for the more complex underlying reasons for such social disharmony and reacting to the way this situation was dealt with, brought out my strongest values in full force: those of a need for greater equality and fairness in society and the prevention of abuse of power, compassion for fellow humankind - even if - no especially if - they have lost their way (David Cameron aside), the fact people with lots of power so readily and powerfully make stupid knee-jerk decisions that impact forcefully on individuals' lives and how this is simply wrong, how so many prejudiced assumptions were made and should not have been made and that things become so punitive and when they should attempt to be restorative.
And what would be restorative? I can only guess as I do appreciate this is hugely complex. How about exploring what might truly make a society cohesive:
* equality and fairness,
* a voice when it comes to issues that impact directly on you,
* shared goals and visions at a local level,
* feeling affiliated to those around you - connection not prejudice and fear
* having a clear role and opportunities that mean you can contribute and your contribution is valued
* reciprocation - give and take - mutual dependence
* the absence of such a strong materialistic hierarchy ('LOOK they have much more than us')
* the ability to meet all your basic needs and have what is considered the 'norm' for the society you live in so you do not feel socially excluded.
* and referring to my last posts - early intervention - children brought up in a stress free and supportive environment.
I can't see someone being locked up for four years for making a Facebook event as solving anything in the slightest. What a weird world we live in.