I’m somewhat concerned about the amateur way that Cameron has gone about dealing with England’s riots.
(And yes, Tom Harris, I say England’s riots, because that is where they happened. There were riots in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Gloucester, etc... and according to my map, all of these places are in England. It’s about geography, Tom. You know, the subject at school with maps and countries and rivers and stuff.)
Anyway, back to the topic. Cameron has used the whole thing as some massive PR exercise. First of all he didn’t budge from the villa in Tuscany. Then when he saw that that was going down like a lead balloon in the Daily Mail, he flew back “in the middle of the night”, I remember hearing to save the nation...(‘struth, he was only in Italy, a couple of hours away max, so can the drama already).
Only HE didn’t really save it. He just talked big about retribution and said all the things the hurting people in London and Salford and Manchester, etc, wanted to hear; he appeased the right wing of his party, who think he's a bit soft lefty, by ditching all this “hug a hoodie” nonsense he spouted when he was vote hunting, and got to talking tough... and even the Daily Mail seemed less hostile.
Then someone must have told him that “the people”, that amorphous mass out there somewhere, were unhappy with the police, so he took advantage of that, fired broadsides at them and took the credit for ending the riots (when of course the real reasons were more police and more rain. Rioting is OK, but not if you’re going to get wet doing it, it seems).
The police, in the form of Hugh Ord, returned fire on the prime minister and, despite their seeming incompetence, and in the case of the Met dubious leadership, everyone I’ve talked to (or read) seems to come down on the side of the police.
So then, having seen that that was a mistake, he turned 180° and started telling us how the bobbies were brave on Saturday and on Sunday and...yawn... you get the picture. Another PR damage limitation exercise.
Those people who have committed crimes that caused Cameron to come back from his holiday, and who live in social housing, regardless of whether they are the tenant or not, will, along with the rest of their family, be thrown out on to the street.
OK, fair enough, some might think. And in a pub argument it would probably win the day. But government has to think a bit more deeply than if it were in a bar room verbal brawl. Consequences, Dave!
Some questions that immediately sprang to my mind were: What if there’s a baby in the household, a cancer patient, a person of 97? What if they die? What if uninvolved household members lose jobs because they’re homeless? What if someone commits a crime that had nothing to do with David’s holiday being interrupted...rape, murder, child abuse, robbery, assault, carrying a knife, driving dangerously, speeding, parking on a double yellow line, dropping litter, forgetting to return library books?
Poor families in social housing, it seems, are to be punished twice for an offence, while millionaires’ families are punished once only?
Hmmmm, Dave, don’t you think that’s the sort of thing that at least some of the people were rioting over in the first place? You know where this is going, doncha? No? Oh dear.