Wednesday 10 August 2011


As I've listened to the coverage of the English riots, I've been struck by one thing above all else. The "authorities" just don't get it. Just, in fact like they didn't get it when the politicians were caught with their greedy snouts in the trough.

I've listen to people like Johnson and Cameron blustering and posturing about dreadful thugs, rule of law, authority, retribution, blah, blah... and not one single word about WHY. I've listened to angry police chiefs, found wanting yet again, blaming the whole thing on the miscreants, but never once asking WHY.

I've spent 20 years working with unemployed people, in Scotland, watching them become increasingly marginalised by society. Twenty years watching as factories closed down, as retail jobs increasingly were taken by students (who have to find over £100 a week in rent, even in Scotland, where there are no fees to be found), as fewer and fewer opportunities presented themselves for those who had no chance of university, and the number of college places were dwarfed by applications, and as people realised that unemployment, part time work, poverty and deprivation were their future.

Of course the politicians have to say what they are saying. It's what the public wants to hear. People who live in the riot torn areas are frightened and angry. They fear for their homes, businesses, their children. They fear for their way of life. So Cameron and Johnson must appear outraged; and the police have to appear confident that they can beat this. It suits all of them to believe that it's just thuggishness.

But we aren't going to make it go away by ignoring the reasons for it.

As Quiet Man said in a comment the other day, there is a level of resentment building up in England. And if the politicians and the police can't see it and do something about it, then whatever steps they take to damp this down can be only temporary measures, for as sure as eggs is eggs, it will come back.

Time and time commentators on the left have warned of the increasing gap between rich and poor that is so evident in the whole of the UK (one of the worst in the developed world), and most specifically in London where, because of easy going tax regime, live some of the richest people in the world, cheek by jowl with grinding poverty and neglect. I've seen it.

A short walk from a friend's luxurious apartment in Docklands, complete with gym and rooftop cocktail bar, lie some of the most disgusting dilapidated streets I've ever seen, where opulence is replaced by hopelessness and despair, drugs and booze.

The trouble is they have no respect for authority, say people, shaking their heads. But, as I said here, why would they have respect for a bunch of thieves and liars who care for nothing but themselves. “Authority” has to earn respect. If it’s not earned, it's not proper respect; it's fear.

And no, it's not just trendy lefty Tris that feels like this. Much more venerable voices, and far better minds, are saying the same thing.

As I listened this morning, to the prime minister and mayor politicking, I recalled that they were both members of the Bullingdon Club, an Oxford dining club for posh boys who's degrees were in the bag, so hard work was optional. Their objective on a dining evening was to dress in a Savile Row tailored outfit, go to a restaurant, get drunk and trash the joint. And in Boris's autobiography he boasts that his crowd used to get drunk and steal from Fortnums. Remind you of anything?

No, it's not on the same scale and of course the rich boys' daddies picked up the tab for the trashed restaurants (boys will be boys, doncha know), but nonetheless these are England's leaders...

Respect? Pfffffffff. I've far more respect for the slugs that are eating my garden. At least they do an honest day's work.


  1. Tris, I'm really surprised you speak about youngsters being marginalised by society. They are society, just the same as you and me. Some people work hard to improve their way of life. The majority in the UK come through the state education system and I know some who have been to what you term 'posh' schools - yet they're all people with good values and work ethics.

    What has caused this is the policies of labour when they took away the responsibilities of parents and teachers and left them unable to discipline their children. Now we have teachers etc who will report the slightest remark a child makes to social workers.

    I've witnessed child abuse and telling a child they cannot swear at their teachers is not abuse but I've seen it being interpreted that way and social work involved to 're-educate' the parents because telling off a child can psychologically damage the child. Unbelievable.

    Yes children need to be protected but the left-wing policies that have been introduced over the past 20 years are now showing results.

    Great isn't it.

  2. Tris,

    I am not sure about this one Tris. Why have so many of my age group (22) been committing such criminality?

    Is it disenfranchisement from the political system? Is it poverty? Inequality?

    Perhaps, but I just can't help thinking that its just excuses. Just because one is poor doesn't make one more likely to be a criminal. We must not think like that. That way of thinking will only make the excluded classes more prone to violent engagement over democratic engagement.

    These kids didn't do this violence out of a political agenda, they did it because they wanted to get free stuff from looting. Its simple criminality. And frankly one has to ask, where the heck are their parents? I heard a kid as young as 11 was detained for looting...Boris Johnson may be a fop, but he was on to something when he said that we have effectively nationalised child-raising. Parents need to take more responsibility for the raising of their kids.

    When these rioting youngsters say they don't 'respect the establishment'...I'd like to ask them what they even mean by 'establishment'. I bet the couldn't even answer that.

    This isn't some grandeloquent bubbling over of the righteous anger of the general will... it is simple criminality. Lock them all up. Better yet, make them contribute as part of their sentencing for the clean up of the communities they violated.

  3. Quite frankly I couldn’t give a stuff! Let them burn the whole country (England) as far as I’m concerned, that’s what you get for voting Tory! I will say is that in happy and contented countries you very rarely get riots. When you start cutting what the poorest and most deprived have you can hardly be surprised when they kick off.

    I’m sorry to say that I find the whole thing highly amusing. The whole government and the odious Tory Mayor all embarrassed. Great! Wouldn’t it be a shame if this all kicked off again during the Olympics? I wouldn’t be able to dry the tears of laughter quick enough.

    As long as it does not spread to Scotland. It’s another country after all and short of common humanity I’m no more concerned over folk in London who are suffering than folk in Damascus!

    I understand they have asked for police from Scotland. I hope Kenny used a word that Boris and David don’t hear very often “NO”. Why don’t they ask for the sûreté from Paris after all France is nearer?

    I understand they have recalled the English Parliament! I do hope our SNP MPs wont be interrupting their holidays to attend, after all it is purely a matter for England and nothing to do with us.

  4. Subrosa:

    I'd say it is the policies of governments of both colours over the past 60 years that are at fault.

    It's not just youngsters. It's an underclass of people who, because of lack of education, because of poor parenting, because they are brought up in homes with half a dozen siblings with different fathers, none of whom ever do a days work... because of drink and drugs...poor housing, horrendous costs, low wages and high prices.. and a host of other social problems, that they haven't a hope in hell of making anything of their lives.

    They have few chances. They are doomed from the day they are born. There are no jobs for them because the Tories denuded the country of industry and Labour continued the policies.

    Mrs Thatcher wanted the services industries to be the basis of the economy (and Blair did nothing to reverse that). Crass stupidity. It never occurred to her what would happen, but then nothing much ever occurred to her.

    What she neglected to take into consideration in this particular case was that the population still contained a huge number of people who needed, and could only do, manual work. But she'd shut down factories and mines, the mills and the foundries.

    One of the reasons that the services industry is so poor here is that numbers of people working in it would rather be doing manual work.

    If we had mines and factories we would still have jobs for these people.

    Then we had Blair and Brown. Blair was just a little Thatcher. He did nothing to reverse the trend. He worshipped at the shrine of bankers and money. He didn't job create in industry. He said he'd be tough on the causes of crime, but he lied.

    Having inherited an economy going in the right direction after a series of disastrous recessions, overseen by a series of disastrous chancellors, Gordon brown threw away Ken Clarke's good work after the first couple of years by blowing the money on stupid increases in public spending without any consequential increase in efficiency. He was all about figures.

    Yes political correctness has come into it and it needs to be reversed to an extent. But we have to be very careful what we wish for.

    People like Cameron will be very happy to reduce the rights of people down at the bottom. His BRITISH human rights bill, will I'm sure be thrown together in haste and be, like everything else this prat has come up with, a total disaster.

    I'm sure these posh schools turn out jolly nice chaps, but Fettes, Eton, Winchester, Westminster, Rugby and all these other places where the fees for a term are more than a pensioner gets to live on for a year, hardly prepare people for running the country, as can be seen by the disaster that Cameron and Blair were.

    Some people are so rich they can buy their education (and qualifications), and contacts for the rest of their lives. It helps, of course, if you know people in the palace, which has shown itself to be Tory supporting.

    If I were in the place of these people in these filthy slums with no hope would I be rioting?... You bet I would!

    I would not however, loot, but then I have everything I want. They don't. I don't know what it's like to have nothing and see other people round the corner have everything.

    The alternative is to let the ruling classes pee that bit more all over you.

  5. Dean: I think it's impossible to give one why people are rioting. There are so many reasons for so many different people.

    I've heard vacant sounding girls telling an interviewer that it's because they are bored and have nothing to do. (They sounded like they probably didn't understand what the government was.)

    It is perhaps, for some, the juxtaposition of incredibly wealth with horrible poverty. "Why can't I have....?"

    It is, for others, a contempt for police which in the case of London are horrendously led, badly trained, institutionally racist, incompetent and as has been shown, crooked as a dog's hind leg.

    It's a lack of opportunity for some. The Daily Mail yesterday headlined with "The Death of the Full Time Job" or words to that effect. These folk, live in burghs where 200 people apply for one job and where when you look down the list of jobs in the jobcentre, there are advertisements for part time cleaners, part time florists, part time care workers... you get the picture. And then they want experience and qualifications which no one has.

    People want to go work in a mill, or a factory or the docks. I promise you, unthinkable as a wish to work in a factory may sound to you, some people crave it.

    It's misery, depression, tiredness of a life of toil and the threat of even more cuts for them, while the people around them in the big tower blocks of Canary Wharf award themselves even bigger pay rises and bonuses as a reward for ruining the economy.

    Boris is a fop, you're right. One who consistently puts his foot in it, because he has no earthly idea of what he is saying. His understanding of the life of a slum dweller is as carefully refined as mine is of the live of a Mongolian yak.

    He's a clever man. The cleverest of the Eton three, but his cleverness doesn't include a talent for organising or running things. He doesn't look like he cares, and neither does Cameron.

    If it even vaguely looked like someone gave a stuff then perhaps these people would have some hope. As it is, they don't!

  6. I hope it remains an English problem, Munguin. I understand that our police have been sent. I trust that their wages will come out of Ken Clarke's budget and not Kenny MacAskill's and that, should anything kick off here, they will immediately be returned to Scotland.

    The extra 1000 police officers the Tories and SNP brought to Scotland need to be on our streets continuing the decline in crime levels... and we have very limited budgets, thanks to London.

    I note, by the way that in response to Cameron's claim that the miscreants will be punished, Magistrates, who I think are English Sheriffs, were handing down sentences of 'one day'.

    Still it's one day more than Viscount Falkland got for telling the Lords' authorities that he lived at his wife's mother's house that, in fact he had never even visited. And by doing so for 10 years managed to amass himself a pretty penny in illegally claimed expenses.

    Still, educated at Wellington College he has the right connections.

  7. Bang on Tris - For anyone to try and just blame Labour when the Tories as you said and the Lib-Dems have all together trashed the UK industries and society for the benefit of the greed and debt-based dying capitalist system is a joke.

    All of these politicians have been running the country for the benefit of the few greedy and themselves at the expense of the people since Thatcher. Wait to see what happens when this system finally collapses soon. It would not surprise me if this was planned to bring in more draconian laws in preparation for the collapse as is happening in the US at present where they have even built loads of detention camps.


  8. I think you have said it all tris bar that age ranges 11 into the 40's in court today and all I would add. Like your pet slug pic ours are mostly drab grey with a few other variations.

  9. Yep. So far it's only in England, Billy. Thank goodness. But I agree that Cameron might well try to bring in draconian measures.

    He has said water canon and plastic bullets can be used, but the more experience police know that once you start with that you are risking serious escalation.

    Over 40 people died from rubber bullets in the northern Ireland troubles. It took them a long time to go away.

    Getting the balance right here is a tricky thing. It will take careful consideration and sensitive and intelligent handling. It's a pity that this shower of inexperienced incompetents have to be entrusted with something this important.

  10. CH...he's a wee corker, isn't he? He's got such an intelligent expression on his face.

    Yes, a fair range of ages, CH: white, black, Asian; working and middle classes, male and female.

    That should tell the fools something.

    Spiegel has a good article on the riots from which my favourite quote is:

    "Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester police was also skeptical about the rioters' motives. 'These people have nothing to protest against,' he said. 'There is no sense of injustice or any spark that has led to this.' "

    Hello? Hello? Earth calling Mr Shewan. Come in Mr Shewan...

    Nope, sorry, he's on another planet, we can't get through.


    It's worth a read if you've time. It seem that by and large the German press agrees with us.

  11. Tris,

    I forget who it was who said that, in the 1980s, the right won the economic war and the left won the cultural war, if only it had been the other way around! I disagree with this myself (I’d have liked the left to have won both, particularly the economic war) but to the victors go the spoils, such as they are.

    Many on the left will be tempted to blame the legacy of Thatcherism for these events. This is what happens when you turn society into a war of all against all, when you assume that individuals are little more than selfish and self-referential competitors, obsessed with material gain, only out for what they can get for themselves, and ‘society’ can go screw itself. If you don’t like what you’ve been seeing on your TV screens over the last five days, you can always reach for the remote and watch the cuddly, sanitised version on The Apprentice. We reap what we sow.

    The right, on the other hand, has its own diagnosis and accompanying remedies, ranging from the hang ‘em and flog ‘em brigade (surely there’s a case for legalised gun ownership to be made here?) to what passes for right-wing humour: if you think the kids are bad you should see the parents! And as for those useless social workers, don’t get me started.

    Let’s also not forget those who are determined to blame this on the black population, conveniently passing over the mundane fact that many of those involved are clearly not black, not to mention the more considerable fact that there are millions of black people across England who, like many others, with limited resources try their best to make their communities better places to live.

    What are the other candidates that will be mooted as causal factors? How about ‘gang culture’, or the culture of entitlement generated by ‘compo culture’ and the ‘blame culture’, we’re all ‘victims’ of someone else’s neglect or incompetence, right? It’s always someone else’s fault, right? Nowt to do with me gov. Or maybe we’re just going through the transition from the hyper-active Sunny Delight generation to the hyper-mobile social media generation? I blame Facebook myself for triggering this dialectic of disenchantment. And what about those politicians, surely this is all their fault, after all, they’re only out for themselves aren’t they, just like those faceless bureaucrats, civil servants and those lazy public sector workers? And while we’re about it, let’s factor in the financial crisis, the Arab Spring, the MPs expenses scandal, Fred the shred, News Corporation.

    What seems to have happened is a cumulative process whereby, in commodifying everything that isn’t bolted down, in introducing marketization into more areas of our lives, we’ve lost our sense of the public good, of civic responsibility and the good society. We’ve put our societies out for competitive tender and, in the process, we’ve forgotten that markets don’t look after people, only cohesive societies with a strong sense of the public good can do that. If there’s a lesson in these riots, it is surely this. If this is the moral panic that a few thousand kids (of whatever age) can create in a few days, just think what us grown-ups could do, if we dedicated ourselves to creating the good society.

  12. Reports that "journalists" were paying people to start riots:

    Wonder if that has happened in London and other places - The police standing and letting things get worst seems suspicious. Now allows the government to bring in draconian laws that Labour were trying to bring in after 7/7 and failed to do with the blessing of the thickos such as the Daily Mail readers who believe everything that the government says.


  13. What a completely brilliant post, Anon.

    I'm not sure I can add anything to it. I don't think I can.

    The most important parts for me are towards the end.

    Once you start putting a financial price on things, they are much more difficult to conceive as a social responsibility. And we have done that with far too much, and in the process, not only have we stopped people doing things that they would have gladly done for free before..."why should I do it for nothing; it's now a saleable commodity...", but we have made our services sharper, less friendly, target driven, disappointing affairs, from which we probably have the right to expect more than we ever get... God knows we pay enough for them.

    And, yes, I've often thought about how endlessly inventive we are; how fantastically good we can be. If all that effort went into making life better, instead of making bombs and guns, and training people to deploy them, or indeed rioting and looting, what an awful lot better we could make the world.

    Thanks for your post.

  14. Gerald Celente

    "When people have nothing else to lose. They lose it".

  15. Jeez...he's a cheery soul, CH.

  16. Tris, you say lack of education but 99% of folk I know were educated through the state system. Is that at fault? Poor parenting? That's because the state took away most of the responsibility of parents, many of whom are scared to discipline their children.

    You're suggesting folk who are on the lower financial end of society are an underclass. I dispute that. There are many people I've known over the years who scrape by making difficult choices every day but they're not lawbreakers, thieves or criminal. They're very respectable folk and I'm grateful I've met them. Many could have said they didn't have chances but they didn't, because they know they did have chances. I'm not speaking about getting a job on £100,000 a year type of chance, but most of the folk I've known have taken the chances they've seen. Like many others they've had jobs they disliked but got on with them because they needed the income. They didn't say, as happens so much nowadays, I can live off welfare.

    As for the family issues you mention. You know I'm a believer in marriage if children are to be involved, because I consider it the ultimate commitment. Now we have a majority of young adults who think commitment is shacking up with someone. That's the easy part, moving your suitcase into your chosen one's home, the hard part is staying. It's political policies which are mainly to blame for the mess society's in.

    Also I completely disagree with your reasons about the services industry being poor. Many jobs within them are non-skilled and therefore low paid. They soak up the folk who want to work but, for one reason or another, didn't get a basic education. I've met quite a few people who started at the bottom in these industries and grasped the opportunities offered - and they're there - to improve themselves.

    As you're fully aware, private schooling isn't part of Scottish culture. It is in England. There are many in the SNP, both past and present, who could well have been privately educated if it was part of our culture. I have several English friends who have scrimped and saved to send their children to private school and they'll continue to pay for them until they die. They were never rich.

    Are you suggesting that the likes of Tom Farmer give away all his wealth to those who you consider poor?

    I reiterate, I find it sad you suggest low income people are the underclass. Many are as dignified, thoughtful and as well-mannered as those I know who are wealthy. Then again, the wealthy folk I know have all earned their money through working extremely hard and usually at the expense of family and friends.

    How do you know these rioters all live in slums? From what I've seen their priorities are all wrong then. If they can afford Blackberrys and to dress in expensive designer clothing then they're not poor. Their poverty is in their lack of values and self respect. They don't cost hard cash.

  17. I’ll try to answer your questions (as I see it), one by one. I don’t have long, but I’ll start now and get back to you later.... OK?

    State Education in some areas is as poor as it could be. The kids might as well not go to school. Uninspired and uninspiring teachers spend most of their time working to strict targets to get children through exams. The exams themselves have been commercialized and the exam boards compete with each other for contracts. In order to do this they make the exams ever easier so that, if a school uses their services, it is likely to get the best results; heads are likely to get more money, both for the school, so they can have vanity projects and for themselves in salary.

    Yes partly it is because we have gone from a situation where parent and teachers were allowed to beat the children (something you are not allowed to do to other adults) to a situation where you can’t say anything to them. There’s an expression in several languages about babies and bath water. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that some parents don’t give a damn. The ones on the estates where I’ve worked for years are often harassed, depressed, grindingly poor in a world where there is so much to buy. Often they are still paying back the farce we call Christmas at the same time as they are starting to spend for the next one. They are driven by commerce, advertising and the good old keeping up with the Joneses.

    I’ve taught too. Some of the most challenging kids in the town. Not once, not even on one occasion, have I had any kind of discipline problems. Why? Because I work my butt off to make what I have to teach, interesting...even if it is the use of the subjunctive in conditional clauses! It’s hard work to make that riveting, but that’s my job. And the reason I do it? Because I have far too many memories of sitting with my eyes drooping in a class within that the building would go on fire so we could get out of listening to some boring old windbag.

    (To be continued)

  18. continued...


    No, I didn’t say and I’m not saying everyone who is poor belongs to an underclass. Of course I’m not. But I’m saying there is an underclass. A generation, or actually several generations of people who have not had an education that would fit them for today’s job market. A lot of it has come about because of the change in the job market. Once upon a time, in a place like Dundee, there were thousands, no, tens of thousands of jobs in mills, docks, factories, foundries for people who could barely read and write. It’s true, everyone thinks it’s a modern day problem, but I know people in their 90s who can barely read but who worked in a factory job all their lives. These jobs are no more.

    I know you dislike political correctness, as do I, therefore I’ll dispense with it here. Some folk are not very bright. They need a repetitive job. Some people don’t speak too well, they don’t want to be customer facing. Jobs like that are few and far between. Everyone has to be able to read, write, fill in forms, work tills, work credit cards, and manage computer entries.

    People who can’t do these things...I’ve been seeing them for years, are excluded. There is a massive drug problem here. You’re seven times more likely to die of drug problems in Scotland than in mainland Europe. The government’s programmes are starting to work, but it will be a long haul back. The number of deaths has reduced over the last two years, but that figure is phenomenal. Seven times more likely to die in Scotland. And then there is alcoholism. It’s always been a problem. Scottish men drank hard, because life was hard. My granny and great granny could have told us all about that. These people are an underclass. Unemployed, unemployable, some with education problems, some illnesses, some with drink problems and some addicted to drugs.

    I’ve had a drug dealer move in net door to me. We are working with the police and anti social tenants dept to try to drive them out, but some days 40 sets of people traipse upstairs, spitting on the stairs, peeing, swearing, smelling, smoking and leaving their fag butts on the stairwell and the stench pervading our houses, bringing their Rottweilers for protection. How do they get a tenner a day for their “baggie”?

    These people aren’t a part of society. They’ve no reason to respect the rules and regulations. Why would they. What can you take from them if the offend. Nothing; because they have nothing. The druggies next door and low level. They work for a Mr Big somewhere. They have no carpets, no furniture, and now their electricity has been turned off so they have none of that.

    We all know poor people who aren’t part of that group, and perhaps (you said you live in the country) you don’t have as much contact with it as I do. But there are many poor on estates, in Stobswell, Hilltown, Lochee for example, who live outside society. With respect Subrosa, don’t tell me about an underclass. All day and all night I see it. And I have to deal with it.

    I was speaking the other day to a woman who runs a very sheltered housing. She was telling me about the kind of clients she now has to deal with. Products in fact of your generation. The sixties. They are now getting older and instead of 20-30 years ago, a very sheltered complex being filled with granny and granddad types, with boiling sweeties and smelling of lavender , you have alcoholics and drug dependent pensioners who are no longer capable of living on their own and need support. Because quite rightly (some things about modernity are good) we no longer consign these people to Liff Mental Hospital, or Strathmartine, they are given the opportunity to live within their own house, but with help. So it’s not just kids. People for the 40s, and 50s are now becoming that kind of problem.

    (I haven't had time to read through this post, so I hope it makes sense. I now have to go do some work. I will try to finish off these comments in response to your kind post, later this afternoon. Have a good day.)

  19. OK. I’m back....sorry for the delay.

    I agree completely that it is hugely important that kids should have a happy stable home, preferably with their mum and dad. It’s of no great importance to me whether people get married or not. The only time that would make any difference is if, in a marriage, you were not able, by law, to leave. Say, if divorce again became almost impossible to get, perhaps because of the cost.

    A commitment is a commitment. I’m not sure that paying some functionary in a Registrars’ office for a form, and then paying a lawyer to untangle it is necessarily a good idea. I certainly don’t support the idea of paying people to get married. It’s an insult. In any case all that people would do is get married, pick up the tax rebate and then carry on as before.

    The only way to force people to stay together is to make it a shame matter. Long ago people poor people couldn’t afford to get divorced. It cost a year’s wages. People anywhere in society, although they could afford a divorce, couldn’t get one because it would restrict any kind of social contact. In some cases employers looked down upon divorcees and refused to employ them... or refused to promote them if they were already employed. At the top of society, no one was welcome at court, or in the posh parties that surrounded “society”.

    I’m not sure what the answer is. People in a loveless marrage may manage not to fight in front of the kids, but I bet the kids know and I bet it affects them.

    I’m not criticising public schools, which of course don’t exist in Scotland. But there is a difference between an independent school, like Fettes, or in England a public school like Eton College, or Westminster, Rugby, etc where most people wouldn’t be able to scrimp to send their kids because the annual fees are greater than the average wage, and an ordinary local independent/public school.

    Despite what Dean says, I will have a poke at a cabinet of millionaires, many of whom attended the elite of public schools. My point is that most of them have no earthly idea how anyone else lives. They don’t worry about electricity going up. Oh, they know it is, but it doesn’t affect them. They won’t have to turn anything down to save on the bill. That petrol, food, road taxes, car repairs, insurance, etc, etc, go up is of no import. Has Cameron any idea what it is to live in a cramped little house with damp walls, little or no sound insulation, in a filthy, crimbling, tower block ? Does he know what it’s like to buy what is cheap, rather than what is good? Does he understand what it’s like to have cheap food, cheap drink, cheap clothes, cheap everything, and still not be able to pay bills? Has he experienced not being able to get clothes dry because there is no heating and it’s wet outside, and anyway your on the 25th floor and crap though your clothes are, someone would steal them if they were put on a line?

    Nope. And neither do any of his cabinet. Andy Coulson was employed to steer him through the minefield of knowing about people who don’t have titles in the family, or country estates... and that didn’t work out too well, what with him being arrested and all.

  20. Where did I suggest that Tom Farmer give away anything at all? I couldn’t care less what Mr Farmer does with his money.

    What I will say is that the most content societies; the most productive societies, are those where there is the smallest difference between the rich and the poor. And London along with Los Angeles is probably the world’s capital for that. Attracted by ridiculous tax regimes that allow the rich to pay less than their cleaners, and where massive loopholes exist for tax avoidance, which is perfectly legal... several of the cabinet including Gideon practise it, the rich flock to London. Alongside them are the crumbling remnants of the crap buildings that were thrown up in the 1960s and in them people working for the minimum wage and paying vast amounts for transport, and accommodation. You don’t have to be a sociological genius to work out what’s going to happen. And the rich show off their wealth.

    That fool Charles and Mrs Parker Bowles had to drive through the middle of a riot in a car that probably cost more than most of the students will earn in 10 years. And the idiot woman was covered in jewels that probably cost more that they will earn in a lifetime.

    Mind you, if mr Farmer or anyone else who is filthy rich want to hand any money in this direction, I think I could spend it. A youth club might be an idea. Kids that are doing stuff are kids that are less likely to riot. (Once again of course, we have to remind ourselves that many of the people involved in this were much older.)

  21. I didn’t say that everyone working for the services... electricity, government, banks, was the reason that the service was poor, but I know that some of the people who work in that kind of low paid work would rather be doing something else. Their heart isn’t in call centre working. They would rather be making something. I was talking to one such person this afternoon. He loathes his job. Goes in at nine and comes out at five and in between he...gets by, by thinking of other things... QED. I am trying to get him another job, but there’s only one factory in Dundee of any size now, and they recruit very infrequently.

    I didn’t say low income people are the underclass.

    “The Underclass” is definable as people who, for a wide variety of reasons are not able to take a normal part in society. Being a member of the underclass doesn’t mean you are a criminal, indeed some people from the underclass are a damned sight nicer than people of working, middle and upper classes... but they are socially excluded, which is a way of saying that they are unable to take advantage of being part of society.

    I don’t know they all live in slums. How could I... any more that you know they don’t. But on Radio 4 they have been interviewing some of them... and some of them do live in slums. If you’ve been to some of the parts of London they are rioting in, you will know that the chances of them coming from a slum are pretty high.

    Most of them don’t have designer clothes. They have cheap imitation designer clothes, out of Primark. The kind of stuff that looks fine till it’s been washed a few times. And I haven’t got a clue how many have smart phones or Blackberries, but you can bet that it’s not all of them. Most of them will have mobiles that connect to the net...i have one of these. It’s nothing special. It cost about £25. Mind you a lot of them will have better phones by now. LOL.

    Tescos...every little bit hurts.

  22. In summation, I'd say that, like every other riot or demonstration, these ones attracted the scum that wanted some sort of a fight, or, once it was known that the police were standing back and letting it happen, wanted a plasma screen tv.

    The excluded, in the form of drug addicts would also have been attracted to the fray. After all they need to lay hands on a lot of stuff every day to get their drugs, and this was a good way to do it. There may be a few fewer druggies by this time, as they take the money, buy more than usual and overdose!!

    But one thing's for sure. No contented society has riots. The English are reticent at best, or just plain idle at worst when it comes to demonstrating. They would, but there's something on the telly, or they have a darts match or...they are in with a chance with the girl from the supermarket. Even when you pee on them from a great hight, by and large they will roll over and take it. Perhaps it's a master - servant thing, who knows.

    This time they didn't. And if Cameron thinks he can give them lines or jolly well stop them from seeing the cricket on Saturday, and do nothing about the mess England is in, then he's an even bigger fool than I took him for, if that's possible.

    "It's simple", he said, showing that if anyone is simple it's him, and is living in la la land.

    It will quieten down and come back.

    Wouldn't it be terrible of it came back this time next year?


  23. Thanks for taking the trouble to respond Tris. I won't bore you my answering at length but a couple of points I want to make. A few years ago we had the liberal nonsense of banning parents from smacking their children. Has the legislation stopped responsible parents using their common sense? I doubt it, because, in some situations children need to be instantly disciplined. 'Beating' is an emotive description for smacking but beating still goes on and always has done, regardless of legislation. Baby P?

    Teachers never beat pupils in my schooldays. They used the belt on the boys and humiliation for the girls. The belt was banned in around mid 50s and humiliation used for all. It worked because we understood cause and effect.

    I do know quite a bit about Dundee and social problems there because I worked there until I retired, so I'm reasonably up to date. There will always be families/people who are on the edge of society through choice.

    What I do note from your reply is that our education system is failing far too many. Yes it's true we no longer have mass industrial employment for those who prefer to work with their hands but that's the job of politicians to resolve. With most of our industry being foreign owned these days, the owners have no social conscience.

    The police ought to be solving your problem at home if they're worth their pay, but we've now so much red tape to get through that it'll be a struggle for you and your neighbours. We've allowed politicians to make laws which work against us so we need to take the responsibility for that.

    As for the drugged/drunk pensioners, I can quite believe it, although I must assure your readers not every sheltered housing area is full of pensioners being stoned out of their minds day and night. The breakdown of the family doesn't help and I still think marriage is the best form of relationship in which to bring up children.

    Ouch, sorry for the length. :)

  24. I doubt that you ever bore me, SR. I may not always agree with you, but I'm always interested to read what you have to say. Anywho, looking back at all I wrote, I'm flattered that you took the time (hours?) to read it, never mind reply.... and can I suggest you try "War and Peace" for your next reading!

    Yes, I think it is the job of politicians to create the climate for jobs of an industrial nature. It's difficult to do when competition is there from India and China, and when the population has a taste for cheapish stuff. However, it is stupidity not to realise that there are people who not only want hard physical work, but NEED it. They have been bred over generations to do that sort of thing. They haven't the kind of mind that works in an office or call centre.

    Mrs Thatcher's solution to bringing industry to the UK was to make sure that wages were kept down, and to this end she abolished wages councils and made the UK a low wage economy. Somewhat perversely she thought that the only way to get good managers was to pay them sky high salaries, and her policies made UK management the highest paid in the world with the exception of the USA. "You have to pay for the best" said she... and what did she get?

    Blair talked big and did nothing as the rich got richer and the poor got very little, and in some cases poorer. It's interesting that the gap between rich and poor became bigger in Labour years (as it had been doing in the Thatcher/Major years), and that now social mobility in the UK is lower than it was in the 50s-60s. So if you are born poor, you are likely to grow up poor, and die poor. Little chance, little hope.

    I won't write another library, but I feel I must defend at least some foreign employers in the UK. I accept what you say about say energy companies (which should in my opinion be state enterprises), owned by foreign companies putting up prices here where back home they are not. Of course, that is nothing to do with them having no social conscience here and having one at home... Rather it is because their governments restrict their ability to put up prices as they see fit, whereas the London government does nothing. I don't think EdF has a conscience in France. They just have a government with a social conscience.

    I'd like to speak up for ASDA, owned by Wal-Mart, America. Their social programme is really fantastic. For a while I worked in Kirkton with people who were looking for work. ASDA made very substantial contributions to my work in many ways, including involving me in their recruitment... but also giving generously to a scheme we ran to help people who were restarting work after a period of unemployment.

    I believe that the Japanese car companies have excellent programmes for involvement in the community, and their terms and conditions for employees superb (as was demonstrated when they had to cut back production recently). It may be a legal requirement to have this in Japan, or it may be that "the company" in Japan is a cradle to grave situation, a partnership between employee and employer, but they didn't take advantage of the UK's much less stringent regulations.

    Also, although they make their staff work hard, I wouldn't mind a job with Aldi or Lidl. I understand their wages and conditions are much better than the likes of Tesco.

    Now.... you'll be pleased to know that my fingers are so sore that I'm going to stop bending your ear... I think I should have a three week holiday!!!