Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Wrong Question

From what I can make out, everyone is asking "what sort of person would take part in a riot?"

It seems to be a huge surprise to find that some people like to let their hair down and some people like free stuff.

The government line seems to be: watch out for people like this:

A solid scoop of ice cream sits in its scoop awaiting its fate with compliant resignation. But when it melts, it runs riot down your chin and clothes, causing both damage and distress.

Most of the time, most of the people do what they know they ought to.. But occasionally, some flashpoint is reached and the populace switches into a different state, where people do what they like.

How did that switch happen?

Friday, August 12, 2011

In short, you have a ghastly mess

In the 60s (and the 30s, when PL Travers wrote the book), we were pushing back against the deadening grey tyranny of the staid banker.
If they MUST go on outings, these outings ought to be
Fraught with purpose, yes, and practicality

As we sweep away the purposefully shattered glass from the streets of our major cities, it occurs to us that we may have been a little hard on him. (If only he had lived up to his values and not committed the ultimate parental crime of siding with his children, all might have been well.)

As bumbling (yeah, right!), toffee-nosed Mayor of London St Boris Johnson said in the last ten seconds of this radio joust, agreeing with lefty firebrand MP Diane Abbott, it's all about boundaries. If we don't give kids boundaries, they'll find someone who will. Gangs were a large part of the problem.

But possibly not as large a part as the ordinary citizens who, presented with free stuff, gleefully grabbed their opportunity. Carpe Cacem indeed!

Now this is of course reprehensible. They have fallen from the path of righteousness and now must take the consequences. And they are not alone.

George Banks not only released his children into a world without boundaries: he allowed himself to be reduced from a leader of the community to an irrelevance. He ran from the field of battle almost without a fight, leaving it to the wide boys and chancers who looted for years. And, to be fair to them, they didn't understand the boundaries either. Very few people did.

When everyone around you accepts a certain behaviour, it takes a special sort of stubbornness to maintain that it is wrong. So people drive too fast; take days off sick when they are fine; accept mistakes in their change; travel on the train without a ticket; steal beer glasses;... the list is endless.

Oh, and fiddle their expenses.

 Matthew Connolly 

Which makes it a bit problematic for Parliament to take a high moral tone here.

So has the country gone to the dogs over the past decade or two? And must Something be Done?

No and Yes.

The was a rare disaster, like a tsunami or earthquake. A sudden release of pressures which have built up over decades. We have had riots before and no doubt we will have them again. Tidy up; learn the lessons; move on. Nothing to see here.

There are those who see this as an opportunity to grab a few steps towards an agenda of control. This morning I saw a Blackshirt staring out of the TV screen, telling me that he has my face and he is coming for me. (Fortunately, the innocent have nothing to fear.)

Does the colour of the shirt really matter? Of course it does. What colour is George's shirt? Well then!

Of course people must be punished and made to work on putting things right.

And of course we must make it a real priority to build a new generation of decent parents. Not just in the sink estates, either. We should not forget the parents who abdicate their responsibility to the boarding school, leaving the hapless inadequate child to wreak havoc in the Bullingdon Club. Another data point that complicates our leaders' response.

I'm not sure how the wreckers fit in. Could anyone fall for the wild joy of lashing out or would most people, though tempted by free stuff, stop short of wanton destruction?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You can go elsewhere for your unrestrained mob wickedness

Swimming against the current tonight, a light meditation on individual goodness and restraint in the villages of the Isle of Lewis. (Another guest post from the Usual Suspect.)

There was a young woman in Tong
Who never did anything wrong
She moved out to Gress
Where she sinned even less
That virtuous lady of Tong

London calling

From Croydon to Clapham and Ealing
The mob has the Capital reeling
As they let down their hair
Twitter lets us all share
The pain that Mubarak is feeling

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest post phoned in by mum

There was an old woman in Stornoway
Whose ancient incisors were wornaway
It took her a while
To recover her smile
'Cos the dental technician had gornaway

(I wish I'd looked after mine)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Old Music (NOM)

I missed Thomas Dolby the first time around. But there are many routes to every destination. So, thanks to chirpy San Francisco tech podcast Buzz Out Loud and the addictive noir Bakelite punk puzzle game advertising his latest offering A Map of the Floating City, here is a jaunty ballad from Our Hero, unable to accept that his childhood sweetheart (or is that the EU? Or France?) has moved on.
Europa and the Pirate Twins.

Regrets? I've had a few...

Ladies, ladies

The excellent  Fairy Blogmother gave some simple hints on search engine optimisation recently. So on yesterday's post, I added some keywords and so on. More in hope than expectation, really.

Imagine my surprise and delight to see a comment this morning!

But it isn't just about quantity, sadly.
Whilst I'm sure that Candice is as charming and dynamic as all the other Rumanians I have ever met, something tells me that her blog might have some additional features that the Beloved might not approve of. Or worse.

Oh well: if you will shine a light in the darkness, you must expect to attract a few blood suckers, I suppose.

If I've jumped to the wrong conclusion about you, Candice, then I'm really, really sorry.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Think of the kittens!

A tweet:
 Cory Doctorow Dear : Every time a newsreader says "Internet website," the  kills a kitten. PLEASE THINK OF THE KITTENS!