Having a beer on my balcony & my own little solstice celebration. Burn something for Solstice. (Taken with Instagram)
Welcome to The Big Society
So, the government’s plan, led by That Prick David Cameron, was that “Big Government” (as he put it) was interfering in people’s lives too much and needed to be trimmed down, and streamlined.
And, in fairness, I could see a fair amount of bureaucratic waste in the way things were run.
But, Tories being Tories, what they really wanted to do was shut down public services so that they could tax their rich mates less. When the question was asked about just who the fuck was going to replace things like carers for the disabled or youth services or the other things that would be cut, Cameron responded that communities would naturally come together, that instead of Big Government we’d have a Big Society, and that people would help themselves.
Help themselves. Yup.
A lot of people have been screwed over by all this, but perhaps none more than working class young people:
- Educational Maintenance Allowance, which helps support the poorest students in further education, has been entirely removed, making it more difficult for them to get qualifications beyond their basic GCSEs, reducing their future prospects.
- University fees have been hugely increased, making it an extremely intimidating prospect for the poorest students, also reducing their future prospects. Both of these points leave you with a strong reason for the poorest to only get the most basic education.
- The education system itself is dealing with cuts, with worse to come, reducing the quality of what education they do receive.
- All youth services and youth clubs have either been drastically cut back, or else totally cut, so kids have nowhere to go and no outlet for their free time.
- The economy, which was showing some slow recovery after recession, has been successfully steered back into recession by a government who doesn’t understand that if you tax people more, then they have less money to spend in the economy.
- This has had a knock-on effect of forcing businesses to close, and increasing the number of people unemployed.
So, at a time when everyone has less money in their pocket (which hits the poor hardest), and there’s less jobs around (which hits the poor hardest), these kids have crappy educations and consequently some of the worst future employment prospects in years.
This is the backdrop to this whole problem. There will always be crime in deprived areas under these situations. It will always be primarily committed by those who have the least to lose; in this case poor kids. The police will therefore always target that demographic, as they’re the ones most likely to commit crimes, and this leads directly to escalating tensions and hostility between this group and the police.
Deprived inner-city areas were a tinder-box. It only took one spark for it all to go up, and now the violence and looting is spreading outside of London, as this is a nationwide issue.
Remember, this is not about one man getting shot; that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Remember, this is not the fault of the police, nor any individual community of people; it is the inevitable consequence of the economic and employment situation that young, poor people find themselves in.
This is, ultimately a direct result of how the government is running this country since it came to power in May 2010.
Violence. Fires. And now looting.
You wanted people to help themselves, David Cameron? Well, now they’re helping themselves to anything they can steal.
This is The Big Society. And unless Society itself changes, the situation will only continue.
EDIT: Also worth noting is that the Tories have, up until now, actually been saying they want to cut the number of police as well. I’ll be interested to see if they still stick to that particular policy now.
EDIT 2: It’s also worth mentioning, as I pointed out on Twitter just now, that young people have already tried to legally protest the situation the government has placed them in. The response they got? Kettled, beaten, and trapped on cold streets by authorities who clearly didn’t give two shits what they thought. Is it any wonder kids feel they aren’t a part of society? If you pay no attention to, or worse, abuse people who are protesting what you’re doing, well, you leave them with no other option and nothing to lose.