Winston S | 11.08.2011 07:27 | August Riots
property. We know that you were absent parents who left your child to be
brought up by a school rather than taking responsibility for his
behaviour yourselves. The fact that he became a delinquent with no sense
of respect for the property of others can only reflect that fact that
you are terrible, lazy human beings who failed even in teaching your
children the difference between right and wrong. I can only assume that
his contempt for the small business owners of Oxford is indicative of
his wider values.
Even worse, your neglect led him to fall in with a bad crowd.
There’s Michael Gove, whose wet-lipped rage was palpable on Newsnight
last night. This is the Michael Gove who confused one of his houses with
another of his houses in order to avail himself of £7,000 of the
taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled (or £13,000, depending on
which house you think was which).
Or Hazel Blears, who was interviewed in full bristling peahen mode for
almost all of last night. She once forgot which house she lived in, and
benefited to the tune of £18,000. At the time she said it would take her
reputation years to recover. Unfortunately not.
But, of course, this is different. This is just understandable confusion
over the rules of how many houses you are meant to have as an MP. This
doesn’t show the naked greed of people stealing plasma tellies.
Unless you’re Gerald Kaufman, who broke parliamentary rules to get
£8,000 worth of 40-inch, flat screen, Bang and Olufsen TV out of the
Or Ed Vaizey, who got £2,000 in antique furniture ‘delivered to the
wrong address’. Which is fortunate, because had that been the address
they were intended for, that would have been fraud.
Or Jeremy Hunt, who broke the rules to the tune of almost £20,000 on one
property and £2,000 on another. But it’s all right, because he agreed
to pay half of the money back. Not the full amount, it would be absurd
to expect him to pay back the entire sum that he took and to which he
was not entitled. No, we’ll settle for half. And, as in any other field,
what might have been considered embezzlement of £22,000 is overlooked.
We know, after all, that David Cameron likes to give people second
Fortunately, we have the Met Police to look after us. We’ll ignore the
fact that two of its senior officers have had to resign in the last six
weeks amid suspicions of widespread corruption within the force.
We’ll ignore Andy Hayman, who went for champagne dinners with those he
was meant to be investigating, and then joined the company on leaving
Of course, Mr and Mrs Cameron, your son is right. There are parts of
society that are not just broken, they are sick. Riddled with disease
from top to bottom.
Just let me be clear about this (It’s a good phrase, Mr and Mrs Cameron,
and one I looted from every sentence your son utters, just as he looted
it from Tony Blair), I am not justifying or minimising in any way what
has been done by the looters over the last few nights. What I am doing,
however, is expressing shock and dismay that your son and his friends
feel themselves in any way to be guardians of morality in this country.
Can they really, as 650 people who have shown themselves to be venal
pygmies, moral dwarves at every opportunity over the last 20 years,
bleat at others about ‘criminality’. Those who decided that when they
broke the rules (the rules they themselves set) they, on the whole
wouldn’t face the consequences of their actions?
Are they really surprised that this country’s culture is swamped in
greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer
goods of the most base kind? Really?
Let’s have a think back: cash-for-questions; Bernie Ecclestone;
cash-for-access; Mandelson’s mortgage; the Hinduja passports; Blunkett’s
alleged insider trading (and, by the way, when someone has had to
resign in disgrace twice can we stop having them on television as a
commentator, please?); the meetings on the yachts of oligarchs; the
drafting of the Digital Economy Act with Lucian Grange; Byers’, Hewitt’s
& Hoon’s desperation to prostitute themselves and their positions;
the fact that Andrew Lansley (in charge of NHS reforms) has a wife who
gives lobbying advice to the very companies hoping to benefit from the
NHS reforms. And that list didn’t even take me very long to think of.
Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.
Oh yes, and then there’s the expenses thing. Widescale abuse of the very
systems they designed, almost all of them grasping what they could
while they remained MPs, to build their nest egg for the future at the
public’s expense. They even now whine on Twitter about having their
expenses claims for getting back to Parliament while much of the country
is on fire subject to any examination. True public servants.
The last few days have revealed some truths, and some heartening truths.
The fact that the #riotcleanup crews had organised themselves before
David Cameron even made time for a public statement is heartening. The
fact that local communities came together to keep their neighbourhoods
safe when the police failed is heartening. The fact that there were
peace vigils being organised (even as the police tried to dissuade
people) is heartening.
There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it.
The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter.
David Cameron was entirely right when he said: “It is a complete lack of
responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to think that
the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their
responsibilities, and that their actions do not have consequences.”
He was more right than he knew.
And I blame the parents.