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Posts Tagged ‘England’

What Really Caused The 2011 Riots In England?

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on August 18, 2011

On the 4th of August 2011 the Metropolitan Police shot dead an alleged drug dealer, Mark Duggan, while trying to arrest him on suspicion of a planned revenge attack after the murder of his cousin.  According to Police sources Mr. Duggan had a Gun in the Taxi he was in when the Police tried to arrest him, it was also said one of the Police officers were shot, but this later turned out the be a ricochet from a Police gun. There are conflicting statements and circumstances surrounding the Death of Mark Duggan that are still not clear and may never will be. Not to dilute the seriousness of the incident but whether he was a drug dealer or the Police acted inappropriately is a subject for another blog because there is not enough evidence either way currently.

What we do know is that this death caused a chain reaction around London and then other parts of England. But let’s get this clear, only a few people were actively rioting because of what happened to Mark Duggan, the others just used it as an excuse. So, what I want to talk about is why. Why did so many people think it was right and proper to loot shops, destroy homes, cars, businesses and attack the Police and each other?

If you’ve been watching the TV and reading the News Papers then you would have seen what some people are blaming it on. The main answers I’ve seen being offered are a general breakdown in some parts of society, caused by relaxed parenting, absent parents, relaxed liberal law enforcement, drugs, lack of religion and the ‘Family values’ it advocates and lack of job prospects (National & Community Economic Depression).

It is all of the above, with some things being more responsible than others. One of the most questionable ones is the lack of religion in our community and daily lives being a big factor. I disagree with this as there was more crime in the past when England truly was a religious country than in modern times. Though I don’t dispute religion can be a guiding and grounding force when a person adopts only the good parts (When I say ‘good parts’ I mean what is good, kind and lawful by our cultural standards of today) of that particular ideology. Though many of the non-religious also maintain that people could do the same things without being religious and still have a healthy society. Japan for example, the majority of the population there are Shinto and Buddhists, these ‘religions’ are more about culture and history than religious regulations, yet Japan is nothing like England. When the North East of Japan was devastated by a tsunami in March 2011 no one was seen to be looting or overly angry, and their lives, homes and family had been washed away. Again this is nothing like England.

Staying with Japan as an example, the economy of Japan has been in a perpetual slump since the late 1980s. During the 1990s, which the Japanese call the ‘Lost Decade‘, jobless figures were high and even to this day the industry of Japan has a third of their workforce made up of non-Japanese, which means there’s fewer jobs for native-born Japanese. A situation similar to our own here in England. Despite this the Japanese have not rioted, though they have protested, albeit quietly.

So what causes the Japanese to take things in their stride, maybe a little too much in their stride, and the English to fight, smash and loot? As I said, all the above things I mentioned in paragraph three are all to blame to a degree, but all the above have a thing in common. That thing is ‘Socialisation‘. Basically, Socialisation is what we learn at an early age as we grow up. The ‘social norms’, the way we go about talking to others, eating, working, presenting ourselves, our values, traditions our culture. What we learn as children (Socialisation) will set the scene for how we act when we become adults. It’s important to note there is a common disagreement between social scientists about socialisation and if it is all learned or some aspects of our personality, which affect the way we act, are from genetics. 

Regardless of that debate, the reality is that socialisation is the main way we learn and enforce the ‘norms’ of our society. So what degrades these norms, what stops or changes the established socialisation we have to another? The answer quiet simply is what I cited above. What this means is, that ‘break down in society‘ is a break down in socialisation. And that breakdown is caused by outside factors, such as I mentioned in Paragraph three, to all contribute to the degradation of the established socialisation we have. Of course, not everyone was out looting, fighting and destroying things during the unrest, what does this mean? It means the majority of the rioters came from a different community or family where accepted socialisation isn’t adhered to or respected.

On looking closely you can see these people come from economically depressed poor/working class areas, areas where economic activity and funding is very little and almost absent. When I say this I’m in no way excusing the way those people acted during the riots, I’m just explaining what contributed to it.

Adding to the economic depression is another factor, a Consumer Society . In a consumer society people buy for necessity as much as they do for pleasure and identity. In the past when jobs were more available and a collective identity, such as working class, miners, butcher and such were granted by birth, people had a sense of worth and stronger sense of belonging. These days, people rarely base who they are on their job title, they base who they are on what ‘they’re in to’, such as music, art, how they dress what they own and how rich they are. In a materialistic society where image, what you own and how rich you are means everything to an individual, you’re nothing if you don’t have the right stuff. You’re nothing if you’re a person or part of a family that’s on benefits and you can’t afford anything so you can socially ‘fit in’. This sounds very childish, and you would be right… it is, but this is the kind of hollow society we have whether you like it or not.

This type of society contributed to the riots, just as the economic under investment has. If those people had something to lose, if they already had what they wanted then many of them would not have done what they did. However, faced with the opportunity many people would loot what they could if given the chance, many people do that regardless of whether they’re rich or poor.

You may be thinking now: “If we [The English] did that then why didn’t the Japanese?” The answer to that is some socialisation is so engrained and matters so much, like the honour code in Japan, that people adhere to it strictly. That is why Japan doesn’t have much unrest, but we in the UK and the West do.

Having said all the above I think there comes a time when people take responsibility for their actions and situation and try to make a difference in their own lives instead of blaming it on others. The help exists out there for people to make something of themselves if they com from a disadvantaged area. I am an example of this. However, if the Government wants to stop the riots from happening again getting tough on crime will help a little but ultimately wont do much but lock more people up because the base problem isn’t being addressed. We need to get to the bottom of what causes it and that is our society that fosters hollow materialism, weak law enforcement and  successive Governments that have put profits and the needs of big business before those of the people.

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Posted in Culture, News and politics, Questions, The Media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Scottish Independence?

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on May 11, 2011

The Scottish National Party (SNP) won a majority of 69 seats in the Scottish Parliament! Now there’s talk of Independence? Before I get on to that, can I just say that the SNP only won so many seats for two reasons which were:

1 – It was about leader popularity and not policy

2 – The People of Scotland were fed-up with Labour and the Lib-Dems

I’ve heard and read a lot of people calling Scotland a “Drain on England’s resources.” and “We [the english] subsidise Scotland!” This isn’t 100% true! The UK Government takes all of Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and uses some of it to subsides some other parts of England and the UK, the same way it does with English GDP. The fact is that if Scotland was to go independent then Its GDP would be slightly higher than that of England’s because they’d have 90% of North Sea Oil and Gas.

This doesn’t mean Scotland is a victim here, it is part of a Union, the same as other nations inside of it, and money is dished out accord to population, and Scotland has a population of about five million people, which is why they get a little less back in funds each year. But Scotland is still not getting Its full amount. It’s said spending per head in Scotland is 20% higher than it is in the rest of the UK, which is true, but that money is spent of behalf of Scotland, and some it doesn’t make it to Scotland and goes elsewhere, mostly likely back to London.

So, I think it’s fair to say Scotland isn’t a burden on the UK and nor does England subsidise it, in fact Scotland has been helping to subsidises the UK, but this is nothing new and has always happened, but Scotland does not fund the UK as much as the Scottish Nationalist make out.

It’s also fair to say if Scotland did leave the Union that the UK and England would be fine! Yes, the UK would lose a lot of GDP, but we’d still be OK. The idea we’d sink over night is absurd. But Scotland does have legitimate grievances for leaving, the biggest is the squandering of the North Sea Oil by successive UK Governments, misplaced funds and a misconception that Scotland is some kind of leech on the rest of the UK.

My personal Opinion is that we’re stronger together, than we are apart! Yes, both nations would go on fine if we separated, but we’d be nowhere near as strong in the world together as we are now. Heres why:

We’re currently the Nation with the 3rd largest military budget and a world power, yes, maybe secondary, but still a power. We currently have the power to resist political pressure from the EU, USA and even China because we have our combined economic, military and cultural strengths. Apart? Well, we’re going to get sucked in to the European Union, if that isn’t there we’ll be pawns of either the U.S, China or one of the other large emerging economic powers like Brasil, Russia or India.

The above isn’t fearmongering, which is what the SNP would have you believe, nor is it impossible, it’s what will happen at some point because the world’s political and economic power structure is rapidly changing from West to East. And the Nations of the UK, whether together or apart, will come under increasing economic and political pressure from other world powers, but together, we can resist that.

Of course if the Union stays together is a matter for the people of Scotland. And to be honest, seeing the Pro-Union side consisting of David Cameron and his party, Ed Miliband and his party as well as the Leb-Dems with the background of financial turmoil caused by Economic cuts, the Scottish electorate will vote for independence in three to four years. Who wouldn’t vote “YES!” with Union activists like the above?

I forgot the issue of Scotland leaving the British Union and then joining the European Union. What is the difference between the British Union and European one? At least in the British one you have more freedom and wont be federalised, which is what will happen with the EU within the next three decades. And when you’re locked in to the European Union it’ll really hurt for any country to leave because the EU will make it harder for any outside of the EU to do business within the EU (That’s a forced incentive to join). Scotland as well as England may not be able to leave or resist an EU looking for federation (more control and political union) if we’re apart. Of course, the SNP would call this ‘fear mongering’ again, but it is truth.

We need a whole new political structure for the country, we need a British Confederation of States, one where each constituent nation has its own Parliament with a main westminster parliament that looks after limited taxation, military and foreign policy. That way the Union works for the individual nations, and not the other way around.

This could be the new British Confederation flag. I think Wales should be represented on it to.

Posted in News and politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Garden Project

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on September 26, 2009

I’ve recently got my arse in gear and started doing some work in the house and garden again. Being ‘sick’ on three fronts and living where I do it’s hard to get motivated, but I’ve managed to sort myself out somewhat and I’ve been busy in the garden preparing it for next Spring.

Ever since I was a kid on the council estate in the masionettes I wanted a garden, a place for some privacy from everyone else on the estate. Where I lived on the ground floor there was a grassy area behind the masionettes backed by an iron fence painted black, some front door areas had grass too, however we had a brick area in front of ours. Even though there was a grassy area behind our house it was looked upon as private and also communal, depending who you ask. People who’s living rooms backed on to the area didn’t want children or people playing/walking behind it as when you walked past the windows you could obviously see straight in their house, there was also the possibility that a football could easily put a window in.

So I used to play behind our house sometimes digging holes and looking at the weeds, plants and insects that lived there, I couldn’t play unhindered for long as people would tell you to “shift!” because I was wandering near their houses or older local lads would come by and make fun of me for looking at plants digging holes and playing with toys, something that was natural for a boy of four to eight year-old (that was when I used to play behind there). I was more at home crawling through undergrowth and looking at plants and animals than playing football, messing about on street corners or pointlessly walking around the streets doing nothing. Of course I got a lot of stick for this but that’s another story.

On the old estate there was such a lack of privacy unless you lived on the second floor, no one could see in your window. So when we moved to our new house when I was 13 I loved the fact I had a garden to mess in without anyone bothering me. Didn’t turn out like that because at the back of my house is a 16 floor block of flats and everyone can over see your garden and what you’re doing in it. So I planted two Leylandiia trees to block the view, it worked and did block they’re view, but now they’re too big and they have to come down. Once they do everyone can see in to the garden again and I aint happy about that!

So what I want to do is the move two of the three Butterfly bushes I have to the back of the Garden and let them grow as tall as possible, I don’t think they’ll grow as big as the Leylandiia trees but they’re fast growing and better than nothing!

Here’s what I’ve done so far…

This was on the day I started cleaning things up, it was filmed about a week ago.
           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is it now, it still isn’t done yet but looks a lot better, even if you can’t see the detail because of the camera I use. The glare is a little strong, sorry about that.
                             

I still have a few plans for the garden that I need to draw up, when I’ve done them I’ll share them with you in a blog. Looks like it will only be basic stuff though because I’m short on funds!

I’ll leave you with this rather fat Spider! It was as big is it looks!
                              

Posted in Hobbies | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »