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Now this is the Law of the Jungle

August 11, 2011

MP’s in the Commons are currently debating the wide-spread riots. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper continues her impressive speech by repeating the term ‘The rule of law’, as many MP’s have already pointed out these issues run deeper than a small section of the underclass wanting ‘free stuff.’ This section of people, mostly male and mostly under the age of 25 are making people fear for their lives and their livelihoods – it is clear something needs to be done. Since the 1980’s when MP’s became more aware of these sections of our society there has been discussions and attempts to provide these people with more opportunities and directions through education; clearly not enough has been done. It could be argued that the education system is failing people, that parents or lack of is failing young people, but one thing is for sure, from this we know more needs to be done.
As I listen now, they are discussing funding for police, taking responsibility and Theresa May and Yvette Cooper are debating well. They have not made any digs toward each other and in a sense are making progress, it is a refreshing sight to see compared to the school boy arguing we are used to seeing in the Commons.

Again it comes back the wider problems and the rule of law and people in urban areas not feeling safe on the streets on in their homes or shops. The rule of law. The rule of law.

Politics and society is often compared to a jungle and from listening to these debates now, all I can think of is Rudyard Kipling – the law of the jungle :-

Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. Society elected the  government (almost) and our society can be responsible for the downfall. If these riots were about gaining human rights and more respect then this poem would apply, but the fact of the matter is, many of the young people who have been already charged and convicted are not even of age to vote! What does this tell us about the future – people who do not care about law, order, humanity and rules deciding who governs? Granted it is only the minority, but can this be so? It would be absurd! This brings us back to why people were encouraged to riot, where were the parents? Where was the respect? Where is the aspiration?

Nothing is an excuse for the behaviour of people the past few days, and communities need to see justice done. But the centre of the problem needs to be tackled. Education and parenting. Enrichment and achievement. The government cuts to sure start and EMA are preventing this and raising many important questions about who in the end will be held accountable for these young people? Themselves? They know no better, many of these young people have grown up without a role model and no end goal. The middle classes are out of touch with them, it is a fact. To young people who feel that gang culture gives them a sense of belonging whereas in the ‘work society’ they are looked down on because maybe they messed up at school because they could not see the importance but how is it right that a person can be condemned to a life like this from birth?

It is not you may say because a person can decide their own life, they are in charge of their own choices, they are. But in these communities they need to shown before they can, they need encouragement to break away from the lifestyle of drink, drugs and benefits because its easier.

Benefits. There has been online petitions to cut benefits to people who were involved in the riots. Wont this push them to more criminal violence? Benefits are there to help people but yes they now often do get abused. But they still cannot be taken away completely. Why would people who see work as not for them work for less money when on benefits they get a free council house and more money? They cannot complain. But they have no aspirations. No grasp on the bigger picture. It continues, from generation to generation, a lack of respect and a lack of belonging, no real community.

I said in my last post that the idea of the ‘big society’ is certainly a vision, if people could get along, help each other instead of cutting themselves away from the majority, but are the majority pushing them away? The amount of young people who will call other young people ‘chavs’ and ‘scallys’ because of the trainers they are wearing, because they are from a care home, because of the way they talk is unbelievable, it cannot be denied.

Many young people in these situations have no respect, no responsiblity. They also have little opportunity, disruptive backgrounds and no parents of value. The majority of young people like this, no matter where they are from do have respect, but dont see how to take responsibility. They have opportunities but have no one to help them make the most of them, and though they may not have the classic ‘nuclear family’ they have aspirations, but they are overlooked. This is not about political parties and point scoring, it is about recognising the underlying problems in the underclass society’s. There are many excuses, many reasons and many theories.
It is complicated and will not be solved over night.

One of my favourite comedians, Micky Flanagan, has a set where he talks about going to school and what was expected of them, in this he jokes that the most ambitious kid in his class wanted the drive a van and that the other kids laughed at him saying that their school provided the people who carried the stuff to the van. This comedian is from east london, near bethnal green and all he was doing was playing up to the stereotype that young people their are given. He continues to joke that in woodwork at school they made bottle openers, ashtrays and then prams. . .Yes, it is a comedians view and cannot be held to be truth, but this view is that of many. If this is what is expected from young people from gang culture areas, they will live up to it.

I leave you again with this –
Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mcneilio1 permalink
    August 12, 2011 2:03 pm

    ‘The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.’ Would you agree that the gang culture that has developed in urban centres, particularly London, is due to a lack of real community, or lack of family? Young people in particular need a sense of belonging to something in a familial and social sense, and I believe that gang culture is the manifestation of a lack of community and family support for these young people, hence the formation of these ‘packs’.

    ‘The amount of young people who will call other young people ‘chavs’ and ‘scallys’ because of the trainers they are wearing…’ Exactly, the people who we saw terrorising our streets are the ones who have been demonised as ‘chavs’, ‘ASBOs’, etc. for well over a decade now. It’s almost as if in describing them as ‘chavs’ soviety is able to wash it’s hands of them, as ‘chavs’ are ‘scum’ with no aspirations and therefore deserve no help or empathy. it is commonplace for ‘chavs’ to be described in sub-human terms, and that in itself is concerning.

    Good article!

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