Published on 15 Aug 2011

One law for the rich and another for the poor?

Over the weekend, Governor Rick Perry of Texas announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Besides his faith, Perry’s other notable credential is that according to the News York Times, he is the most successful fund raiser in the history of Texas. And when it comes to fund raising that is some history.

Perry’s most remarkable claim, according to non-profit organisation Texans for Public Justice, is to have raised $17m in campaign funding from the 921 people (and their spouses) whom he has appointed to state jobs.

Texas Governor Rick Perry who has announced he will run for the Republican party's presidential nomination

It all has a whiff of power to the powerful, rather than to the people. And Texas is not alone. In China there is growing concern about the widening gap between the elite and the people. One hundred families closely entwined with the Chinese Communist Party are said to control a vast proportion of the burgeoning economy.

As quarter of a million people demonstrating in Israeli cities and towns have protested the same widening gap in which just 18 families are said to control 50 per cent of the Israeli economy.

There is a sense in Britain too of a widening gap in both wealth and law – that there is a that there is one law for the elite and one for the poor. Take the MPs’ and Peers’ expenses scandal. A tiny handful of the expenses abusers have gone to jail. The vast majority have been allowed to pay stuff back or retreat to the political undergrowth. How many of the looters will be allowed to bring their plasma screens and running shoes back in return for their freedom? And yet it is the very unpunished abuse of the state by its elected and unelected elite which many argue is part of the landscape that the recent riots played out across.

We are told over two and a half thousand rioters and looters have been arrested. Hundreds have been charged, some have already been punished – many cases are still in train.

Many have pointed to the reality that an even smaller handful of bankers have faced the law even than those  politicians who have been prosecuted. No British banker is in jail for what happened in 2008. And as financial upheaval cascades before us all over again, almost no serious measures have been taken to stop the same people from doing it to the people all over again.

When I stood in Tahrir Square in January, the then peaceful protesters complained that they were excluded from the Egypt they wanted their country to be.

Disconnect is the order of our massively interconnected day. Condemning and jailing the looters is one thing. Trying to identify the nature of their disconnect is another. Damning and punishing the faceless hoody comes a lot easier than seriously challenging the faceless banker who broke our economy, or the politician who thieved in our own Houses of Parliament.

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121 reader comments

  1. Saltaire Sam says:

    I made the point to my right wing MP that anti-social behaviour and looting is rife among MPs, bankers and tax dodging business leaders as much as it is among the rioters of our inner cities.

    He told me it was ridiculous to make the comparison.

    What was that about planks and motes in eyes?

    1. Moonbeach says:

      Sam I totally agree with you. You may have read my outrage about Hazel Blears in Jon’s last blog. MP’s did not need to smash windows and set fire to the house to get TVs, moats cleaned, profit from house ‘flipping’. Yet some poor, inner city, feral youth is going to end up in chokey for much less.

      Why are so few MPs in Jail?

      The tax system should be used against Companies who pay huge sums rather than the individuals who accept them. Because it is the owners of these Companies that allow these obscene salaries to be paid, they might be reluctant to do this if they see their own dividend being cut.

      You will obviously not vote for your MP but our dilemma is not that simple is it?.

      Which party with decent values and integrity can we vote for?

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      David Willetts taking same disingenuous line re MPs and looters on Newsnight last night – wrong to compare, he said. Breaking the law is what matters. A good example of Cameron’s ‘slow-motion moral decline’ through deliberate double-speak and obfuscation.

      As to ‘one law for the rich and another for the poor’ – turns out the the £3k-an-hour UK QC lawyer sitting atop Murdoch’s News of the World internal investigation (!) into hacking has, since 2002, been non-executive chair of (Philip Green’s) Arcadia Group!

      How has this ‘slow-motion moral decline’, whereby anyone can charge £3k for anything, and footballers be paid <£100k a week, come to pass? This is the stuff of C18. And these are of course only illustrations. Something is systemically wrong.

      Time to get stuck in to unlock democracy. It can't be left to unelected/elected unrepresentative persons. Local-level activity important too – one eg: in my north London borough, just been revealed through citizen activism that three times as much spent on management of council homes as on repairs and maintenance.

    3. Tom Wright says:

      Sam your MP is right. If the rioters had stormed the town hall, lynched an MP or fought running street battles with police I’d back you to the hilt. The simple truth is they didn’t.

      You cannot show your disgust for MPs by trashing curry’s and running off with a flat screen, emptying JD Sports of trackies or Ratners of bling, much less so by killing innocent small traders by ramming them with your car.

      Looking at the interviews with looters, following their bragging on social media where many posed with their spoils, what was plain to see was teenage rebels out for a laugh and the morally bankrupt out to steal, having a whale of a time and sticking two fingers up at the authorities. Underlying this is not political anger – its ignorance, disrespect for the property of others and frankly greed and avarice.

    4. P.B says:

      I Think you can put the looters in with the ‘banksters’ and shifty MP’s.

      Banks were not protesting anything either when they decided to take advantage.

      MP’s were not protesting when they conducted themselves in naughty ways.

      Looters were not (or at least unlikely) protesting when they stole Plasma screens and bottles of water.

      All three did have greed/ short term profit motive/ lack of modern socially defined morals/ detachment from the rest of society, in common.

      They all acted the same, and are all symptoms of how our current society works.

      Looters caused damage, stole, terrorized, and even caused loss of life.
      MP’s demoralized and “Stole” – and revealed an opportunist attitude detached from society and by-and large payed it back.
      Bankers caused incredible harm, debt slavery, loss of homes, jobs, and shattered the economy (List goes on) and they got bailed out.

      Of the 3 groups who acted similarly, One group we know definitely broke the law and because of that we will go crazy and throw a tantrum to punish them, because we can’t do it to the others.

      There is clearly a differentiation in laws from rich to poor. And ‘Harm’ does not to factor in punishment equally.

  2. Douglas says:

    You are indeed correct, Jon. The looters have done nothing but take the examples of those in charge and used that example for their own ends.

    Our government solves problems by bombing foreign countries, yet they say violence is always wrong. Our bankers crash the economy, cause massive unemployment and are bailed out by the taxpayer. And at best they lost their job and just signed up with a different bank. At worst they get an increased bonus. Our MPs can fraudulently claim tens of thousands in expenses and most of them got a slap on the hand and only had to pay it back. A man who stole a £3.50 bottle of water gets 6 months inside.

    When people constantly see those who are supposed to set examples such as the police, the politicians and the media behaving like criminals but getting little, if no punishment, what else can we expect? When people who are constantly told that acquisition of wealth is life’s goal, that “greed is good”, well, they will act as we’ve just seen.

    There is indeed one rule for the rich powerful and another rule for the common man. I’m not saying the looters should not be punished. I’m saying the rich who commit crime should be punished just as harshly.

    1. James Mclean says:

      Well said Douglas, I need say no more.

  3. muggwhump says:

    Why is it that a rich looter goes to prison, yet a poor looter goes to prison but also loses their home as well?

    I thought we were all equal under the law…obviously not.

    If they want to take peoples homes away then take them from the family of millionaires daughter and all the other well-to-do rioters as well or don’t do it at all.

    Cameron says ‘there is no more them and us…just us’…Well thats rubbish isn’t it if you can have two people convicted of committing the same crime together but the poor one gets an extra kick and loses their home. They wouldn’t dare take homes from people that might conceivably vote for them…One rule for the rich and another for the poor.

    1. Gary says:

      Only those who can afford it are equal under the law. Its been that way since the times on the monarchies ruled the land.

    2. Laighleas says:

      >you can have two people convicted of committing >the same crime together but the poor one gets >an extra kick and loses their home

      Actually it is worse than that, as I know from experience. You can have two people arrested and charged for the same event. The police will drop the charges against the more articulate and obviously educated individual who knows the law, yet the less articulate one gets a criminal record. I know – I was the former. Our crime? Being attacked by a mob whilst out in Croydon one Saturday afternoon. It stinks.

    3. Bob the Builder says:

      I think what Cameron meant was there is no more ‘them’ – them been crushed into hopelessness, though take a look rich boys and girls from Tottenham to Cairo your plan may come unstuck before your security state is fully in place

  4. aspectratio169 says:

    I moved to London last year. The first thing that struck me was the chasm between the rich and the poor. Often slums would sit on the opposite side of beautiful, but gated, communities. Teaching in schools in middle-class areas, it is clear that these pupils have aspirations and expectations of a life that they will lead and have access too. Working in down-trodden areas of London has the opposite is true. The children have no career expectations. Working class employment doesn’t even pay for the rent on most one bedroom flats. So, they fill this space with gang culture. They live by the rules of the street. By these rules you can be someone – even if it only leads to trouble. Spending time in jail is seen as a badge of honour.
    Kids who went out and rioted need to be punished for what they did, clearly. However, it is all of society that must take some responsibility in how we got to this situation in the first place.
    Growing calls of indignant masses to punish the few is all the government require to push though laws that have consequences for everyone. They will do this in the name of social justice. However, it will have ramifications for those least able to defend themselves.

    1. phil says:

      You are perfectly right that it is all of society who must take responsibility as to how we got in this situation in the first place as well as making the government aware of how we feel about outrageous situations such as the bankers getting away scot free for their immoral and reckless behaviour. The middle classes have opted out which to some extent leaves a vacuum for the riotous behaviour of the less privileged. Reflecting on the troubles in Northern Ireland the middle classes to a large extent ignored the injustice and discrimination in society and the rest is history.

    2. Terry says:

      ‘Teaching in schools…’ Not English I hope.

  5. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    As you quite rightly say , there are those who are being held up as an example in all walks of life. That of course is the height of abuse when some can almost ‘get away ‘ with it whilst others are jailed. How are those scapegoats picked and by whom?

    One main conceptual concern of mine is that schools don’t seem to press forward with equations , a living type of maths. Society does not understand balance , equality and movement
    of mathematical expression to suit the problem.

    Instead of trying to weigh up fairness with fairness, the arrogant just state ‘ Life’s not fair’. It is easy to vomit this verbal rubbish when they are all right Jack.

  6. Saltaire Sam says:

    According to C4News tonight a woman has been sent to jail for five months for accepting a pair of shorts she knew to be looted.

    On that scale, why are only a handful of our MPs in jail for manipulating their expenses to the value of many thousands of pounds?

    This country is morally bankrupt – at the top.

    I am sick of the hypocritical ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’ attitude of our ruling classes.

    1. Ingrid van der Sandt says:

      Sam I totally agree with you. It seems to me that if you are a MP you get away with anything. How can they jail a woman for 5 months for accepting a pair of shorts. Absolutely ridiculous! Sure she needs to be punished for what she has done. However lets try and keep things in prospective accepting a pair of looted shorts is not as bad as MP’s stealing tax payers money.

  7. Anthony Martin says:

    I couldn’t have expressed it better Jon. Your article is a great summary of the divide around the world and why inequality, poverty hate and ‘terrorism’ abound.
    The future does not bode well. The vile rich scum are the real cause of misery and, they’re the greatest threat to global stability.

  8. e says:

    The fast majority of our youth and Privileged Poor are better than the criminality and disregard on display on both sides of this divide, or disconnect as you say. And there’s a bigger crime going on her in Britain. In the face of a wave of demonstrations straddling the globe arguing the need for jobs and a political system that recognises and works for its populace; and as the obvious truth hits that here too many share these woes, our current crop of politicians, on both sides, have nothing to say. They open the sluice gates of righteous indignation upon the afflicted whilst beefing up their draconian armoury of laws – again. Our government is but a shadow of governments elsewhere said to be getting it all wrong, but that’s only because we’re not all in this together. Only some of us are being targeted. Divide and rule still marches on and the call goes out to be allowed to police with impunity. The real crime is that this is preferred to serious and honest consideration of the realities of our economic system. If the country we’re allowed to face the problem it might have a chance of finding a cure.

  9. adrian clarke says:

    Jon coming from the elite and priviliged this must be a difficult blog .Yet it says a lot about society , yet does nothing to justify law breaking.
    The problem with laws are to whom do they apply.To me it is straight foreward.Everyone should be equal under the law , be they a politician ,a banker or a rioter.If you break the law you should receive the appropriate punishment.
    Unfortunately we see politicians and bankers getting away with obvious breaches of the criminal law.We see some not charged and we see many who are charged being treated too leniently.
    Our judiciary is subservient to a foreign power , Europe, is totally out of touch with reality and our law makers are not only inept but are corrupt.
    Until we have true democracy nothing will change.
    It is time to start a moonbeach, clarke and maybe Saltaire revolution.

    1. aubrey says:

      unfortunately it’s those oh so glorious members of parliament who make and uphold all the laws, regardless of the fact most of that legislation is stupid and illogical.

      those laws, coupled with the to and fro of policies between governing political parties over the decades has snowballed into creating the monster that the united kingdom has become.

      what do the politicians do? they blame all ills on past policy of whoever was the party in power before them… and backwards and forwards and ditto so it goes.

      give a person the security of knowing they have shelter, food, health care and a truly equal chance of leading a interesting and positive life and you’d find nothing more than “common law” being a requirement for keeping peace and order.

      but coupled with the law of the land is “maritime law”, which is nothing more than a mechanism to extort money out of people, and it’s that corporate law which has usurped this country.

      the police are no longer peace officers- they are revenue collectors and enforcers. if/when push comes to shove i doubt police officers will be much inclined to continue protecting mp’s.

    2. Moonbeach says:

      America has the Tea Party. We could be the Real Ale Party or RAP. Each political party could have a RAP section although the Conservatives might have a problem with the acronym!

      The sections would recruit from all of those members in their Party who are fed up with the self serving, power mad, lying, anti democratic, non-achieving cheats that like to rule over us.

      We could then form a group; let’s call it a coalition that could design a manifesto based on values such as honesty, integrity and hard work. We could then call the revolution; the English Spring!

      NATO would probably bomb the RAP out of us for being democratic!

  10. Philip Edwards says:

    Jon,

    You know as well as anyone that Texas is the nest of cockamaymee neocons and End of Days Crazies. Perry is just the latest, merely another tribute to expensive orthodontistry.

    Do you really think it was coincidence that Dallas was the site of John Kennedy’s murder?

    The amazing thing is how Texas has always had a small but very noisy contingent of classic American liberals. Probably the best example was Ralph Yarborough.

    As for the growing gap between rich and poor…..don’t you think this is all getting a little tedious now?

    We KNOW what the causes are. We KNOW it is through organised greed and legalised corruption put in place by those who profit most. WE KNOW the same people own and direct the media propaganda. We KNOW the same people have systematically looted everything that matters: housing, health, education, welfare – even old age.

    The enabling system is capitalism, now variously described as “neoliberalism” (sic), “globalism,” “free markets” and all the rest of the lying muck that stone brained MBAs learn by rote.

    If we don’t get rid of capitalism it will in the end get rid of us and our children and every freedom that matters. It is only a question of time.

  11. gwenhwyfaer says:

    When the rule of law collapses, it does so from the top down.

  12. Russellde says:

    On 3rd August2011, Customs seized 300 million worth of Cocaine. Gang culture, like all cultures, has a core economy. This drug income has to be replaced for the gang ‘lords’ to maintain their future supply of drugs. What better way to retrieve their losses under cover of a ‘riot’ than the looting. This feeds the economy of the gang world and maintains the flow of money. Why were the ‘gangs’ already organized to respond to the Tottenham shooting when it occurred, if the means were not already in place. It was not random ‘riot’ but organised mayhem to cover organized theft and robbery. But who organised it?

    1. Laighleas says:

      If Customs caught £300 million of drugs, then far more than that got through. In any case, dealers will respond by cutting the stuff more. OTOH, dealers would not recover £300 million from looting. In addition, there isn’t much evidence that the hardcore of gangs were involved. Maybe the hangers-on, from what I saw personally in Croydon, but how do you tell them apart, given that a lot of kids ape gangsta style clothing.

  13. Aaron Asphar says:

    Quite right in picking up this point about inequality but lets face it: the liberal media have been making the right noises for years. Now the oppressed themselves are destruction and the history is completely forgotten by politicians and pundits. They are being characterised as criminal here in the UK, accross Europe, in Isreal and in America: whereas it is clearly the return of the historically repressed, and with a force equal to this social negation and repression. It had to happen at some point. If the ‘haves’, the media and the government continue to negate the concerns expressed in the language of protests and riots than the latter will only intensify: no-one will listen to these voices in the UK and this is desastrous. We must face facts: the kind of lives we expect our poor kids in inner city areas are misserable, alienating, low paid – an utter negation of their capacities and desires. The proof of this is in the disorder we see before us. We must recognise that crime and social disorder tells the negative truth about the law and the social order. Theodor Adorno once said “suffering is objectivity as it weights on the subject”: crime and disorder is its authentic voice.

  14. Francis Hoar says:

    What this blog ignores is the aggravating features the law must take into account in offences of looting compared to expenses claims that, whilst later deemed unjustified, were not dishonest. There is a reason why most MPs and Peers were not prosecuted – there was insufficient evidence of dishonesty. In many cases there was no doubt that they were entitled to claim what they did. Those who were received stiff sentences.
    In the case of the looters, they were not only guilty of theft but burglary in the context of violent disorder. Those handling stolen goods were sentenced on the basis they were well aware of the source of their stolen goods – something the courts, too, are required to take into account.
    It is fair to ask whether the elites give a bad example but wrong to use the expenses scandal in a manner devoid of context or any appreciation of the relative levels of criminality of someone claiming expenses approved by Parliament honestly (albeit claims that they are later forced to pay back when the rules effectively change) and of looting. The two are not analogous.

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      Francis, while you are technically correct to say rioters’ looting and MPs’ looting are different, it doesn’t mean it is irrelevant to compare them. On one level it just shows how inadequate the law is. But it goes deeper than that.

      Cameron and others have talked of knowing the difference between right and wrong, not legal and illegal. He is talking about morality, which as everyone is aware, is not the same thing as the law.

      Can it possibly be right that a woman is sent to jail for receiving a stolen pair of shorts, while an MP who switched houses to avoid tax or to be able to claim a bigger mortgage, goes free?

      The point that many of us have made is that while dodging tax, making the most of expenses loopholes or being paid huge bonuses for wreckless banking may not be illegal, they are a key part of what our society has become and set a terrible example to others who decide ‘if it’s OK for them, it’s OK for me.’

      Any plan to mend ‘Broken Britain’ must include the whole of society, not just the conventient targets in the inner cities.

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Excellent response to Francis, Sam. Thank you.

      Remember Michael Gove’s expenses claim? Brilliant blog/ example of David Cameron’s ‘slow-motion moral decline’: http://t.co/NO6mn9p.

    3. Moonbeach says:

      Francis, Your analysis is correct because the MP’s fixed it so that their dodgy claims might not be called illegal.

      But we all know that ’12 good men and true’ would have no doubts about whether ‘flipping’ your second home, paying rent to your gay lover or your own company, watching porn, buying TVs and other household goods et al was against the law!

      Those cheating lightweights should have been tried because they conned the public. Otherwise, why did any of them pay anything back.

      They are a disgrace and whilst those jokers are allowed to pontificate in Parliament, do not expect anyone to respect the Institution and its outpourings.

      Parties should ruthlessly withdraw the whip from the worst offenders and we all know who they are.

      Cameron, Milliband and Clegg should show some of the courage that they claim to praise in our servicemen and women and do the RIGHT thing. But they are weak little people and not great leaders.

    4. Meg Howarth says:

      And another ‘honest mistake’ by (Sir) Ken Morrison
      http://gu.com/p/3x92v/tw

      Yes, he’s been fined but given a character-reference by the FSA: ‘In its judgment, the FSA said: “Whilst a man in Sir Ken’s position should have been aware of his obligations and might have been expected to take legal advice when selling his share, there is no evidence to suggest that he was reckless or that his conduct was deliberate”.’ Of course not!

    5. P.B says:

      Francis is right of course. But positions where rules can be made or changed so that something technically is not illegal is effectively the problem.

      Forgetting morals for a moment, if the looters could change or rework the law so that what they did was technically not illegal, or plea something down to just being fined an amount they could easily afford then would it be ok?

      Indeed the example is far fetched but I trust the mechanic of the situation got through. If there were a zemological approach (effectively how much harm was caused) to the bankers/looters/MP expenses then there may be a far more balanced outcome of punishment for each group. Though that approach would have its own issues, especially with regard to MP’s expenses.

      However all 3 groups can be put under the same umbrella as motive for their deeds remain the same. The difference being that some can change/work the system to get away with it. Effectively if they follow the law they should always have the moral high ground, so those who make/influence the law have it pretty sweet.

  15. Cameron (no relation) says:

    in 2003, Dr. Lawrence Britt published a list of 14 characteristics of fascism.
    you may find it an interesting read.
    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html
    i am not quiet sure whether placing a link is allowed here or not but if the above link is for some reason omitted, then you can easily find the article in Google. Search for Dr. Lawrence Britt.

    1. Wendy H says:

      Of course they are! ‘Legality’ is scarcely that if those claiming the ‘expenses’ are the ones making up the expense claim rules in the first place … The revolving door between corporations, government and ‘regulators’ now spins so fast that it’s no longer possible to point the finger but only to say the entire edifice is corrupt.

  16. Gary says:

    Democracy is fundamentally mob rule. Laws are just well-armed prejudices (drug laws being a prime example).

    The State exists because of a belief that the vast majority of human beings hold, which is that force is necessary for social order; in other words, violence can lead to virtue. This is an irrational belief, and any system with this principle at its core does not last. Every State/empire in human history eventually collapsed by destroying the economic freedoms that fuelled its growth; this is happening in our lifetimes in England and America.

    Most parents raise their children on hypocritical & irrational morality. Do as I say, or else. Do this and I will bribe you with this. Do this because it is wrong not to obey your ‘mother’ etc.

    This leads to adults who think/do the same and think it acceptable, and even virtuous. They become the next generation of politicians, policemen and soldiers. They become government.

    Raise children without the use of coercion or force or hypocritical moral principles, and in a couple of generations humanity will see spontaneously ordered societies with people who will consider the use of force as repugnant as we consider slavery.

  17. Meg Howarth says:
  18. adam says:

    because one group of people have done it before doesn’t mean that it is ok to do again. They would have achieved a hell of alot more by standing in parliament square and screaming till parliament listened. The problem is the kids that riotted don’t know what they want they don’t care about change theyonly care for themselves and they only think in the now. Most people will say this was down to people having a a criminal element to their makeup but its more like the acceptance of opportunism displayed by the mp expenses scandal etc.

  19. Gary says:

    The police are corrupt, the justice system is corrupt, so who will prosecute the corrupt mps?

    They are all tarred with the same brush so there is no fair justice for the people.

  20. Saltaire Sam says:

    Here’s a thought – take 250 bright kids from the most disadvantaged areas and send them to Eton and the four other schools that have the highest ‘success rate’ at getting pupils to Oxford.

    That way at least half a dozen of them will end up in the cabinet in a few years’ time and we might start to get policies that are good for the whole country and not just an elite.

    On the other hand they might sell out and start spouting the same kind of tough but worthless claptrap currently being used by our esteemed PM.

    1. e says:

      No doubt, Eton would corrupt them. What would be the optimum time to send a child into the eye of the tiger? Answer: when they have developed a strong and confident CLASS consciousness, when they have strength and humility in equal measure – perhaps a tad too much to ask of even our very cleverest youths!

  21. David Preston says:

    Having worked fairly closely with the local Labour power block as a community rep, including 3 years on the local LSP there is one thing I soon learned and that is bad news is not allowed, nor was disagreeing with the top down message as to how we should work. The North East region was told by London how they would spend the pittance sent our way, not the other way around. Even now with a Conservative Government the locals are sticking to plans that would never work for the majority but were acceptable to the National leaders.No doubt it is the same all over the country; what can we do about it- the biggest vote is the no vote and I would’nt mind betting my incapacity benefit that the majority lie on the wrong side of the haves/not haves divide.We need to raise a new political party to speak for the No voters to give them a voice. We also need a new financial model that does stop a handful of people/organisations owning/controlling the vast majority of the Global wealth; able to destroy communities at will all in the name of profit while people die every day from malutrition and bullets. The first rule of economics should be that there is work for all at an equal rate.

  22. Philip says:

    We have a society that has moved from the “pedestrian” to the “motor car” model. people think & behave as though they were in some sort of carapace which excludes them from the consequences of their actions. This goes from the top to the bottom. Cameron has focussed on the bottom “120,000” families because that suits the current mood & the conservative party ideology. Though they need a range of measures to control & support, the wider problem of a society where the individual’s needs have been over-emphasised at the expense of the community as a whole is ignored. The risk is broad brush solutions which largely don’t work & ignore the epxeriences of Labour’s Social Exclusion Unit & the many people who’ve been struggling with these immensely difficult issues for years. These aren’t problems that can be solved in 4 years – probably not in a single generation. We need a common, agreed approach which is carried forward, probably for 20 – 30 years. We also need to examine our socio-economic model as to whether it creates the sort of country we really want to live in. We need an open debate on this before we start running to instantaneous headline-grabbing solutions.

  23. CWH says:

    Mr Snow you said: “”The vast majority have been allowed to pay stuff back or retreat to the political undergrowth.”” Political undergrowth – is that the new euphemism for the House of Lords? Quite a few MPs stood down at the election rather than face their constituents at the election after their expenses shenanigans were exposed. Then ‘hey presto’ they were in the Lords continuing to reign over us!

    Some example.

    But it was not just the MPs expenses claims that caused such disaffection. It was the fact that at a time when they were arming themselves with every geegaw imaginable at our expense they sent our soldiers off to war without the proper equipment. And at the same time as they, the MPs, were playing the real estate market for all it was worth, at our expense again, the families of those soldiers were living in sub-standard accommodation.

    Some example.

    To describe the current crop of politicians as mediocre, particularly with regard to their response to the riots, would be to overstate their abilities. In fact it would be to grossly overstate their abilities.

  24. Keith says:

    I agree with your diagnosis of society’s ills but what to do? As a fully paid up member of Britain’s elite I would be interested to know what you believe your income should be versus what you are actually being paid by Channel 4. What privileges would you personally be willing to give up to change society?

  25. Saltaire Sam says:

    What is happening to our justice system? Are they making up sentencing as they go along, with no sense of proportionality?

    The BBC is reporting that David Beswick has been jailed for 18 months for putting a £400 TV in his car. He’s such a hardened criminal, he was caught when his ‘getaway car’ ran out of petrol.

    Compare that to MP Jim Devine who fiddled £8385 on his expenses by false accounting. He was jailed for 16 months and released after four.

    Is it any wonder that many people in this country do not trust the courts or politicians to treat them fairly.

    1. Ingrid van der Sandt says:

      Well said Sam. Its a disgrace that MP Jim Devine was released after just 4 months. I for one certainly do not trust any politicians.

  26. adrian clarke says:

    Saltaire, of course you are right.I have long criticised the courts for their leniecy.I think they are afraid in the aftermath of the riots to be seen as being soft.I also believe many want them to crack down hard on offenders , but as you say if compared to what has gone before there is no real justice, noer will there be until not only are there maximum punishments but also minimum ones for different offences,
    The time off makes sentences ludicrous.Maybe days for good behaviour but not months or years.This government is no better than previous ones.Cameron talks tough and is shutting jails.If he wants to be tough as previously blogged he should build wire encampments , staffed with army or ex army personel and make the jails intimidating.At the same time reducing perks and amenities at the current prisons

  27. Gillian says:

    @Wendy H

    Let me answer you with an extremely simplistic yet befitting answer. BY LAW if i am aware of anyone’s committing an illegal act, should i refuse to report it or stand ideally and do not do anything to stop or apprehend them then i am instrumental for that offence taking place (in short, my inaction allowed that offence to take place.)
    as a law-maker, it is our so called representatives who should be vigilant on laws that may damage public confidence, MPs expenses didn’t happen because it was perceived to be legal and ok, it happened because Westminster club thought this could be kept out of public scrutiny and they could get away with it, a duck house? flipping homes to make money? charging the tax payer for a non-existent mortgage?
    so our political class are collecting their salaries not for a job well done but for knowing when to shut up and do nothing whilst people suffer.

  28. hazal says:

    The global economy is in collapse and is on the boil. The Mexican wave of outrage is travelling from Cairo to Athens, Tel Aviv, Sana’a, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Manama and Maiduguri, people are out on the streets. democracy, jobs, houses, recognition of religious, ethnic or sexual identity, the overthrow of corrupt governments,, the prosecution of bankers, politicians, child-abusing clerics, media moguls, chiefs of police, phone-hackers and crooked coppers. What to do in the face of such a tsunami of global rage? Is this the revolution or the eve of WW3? Is it evolution or historical cycle? Sick of excess, austerity, production, consumption, environmental destruction, debt, access, surveillance, packaging, disposable containers, electronic gadgets, fundamentalists, dole cheats, tax evaders, credit default swaps, insurance plans, pension funds, hedge funds,further education, online degrees, grants, cutbacks, sending in cvs, public forums, city breaks, travel passes. Is anyone not totally sick of this and ready to riot? All good and healthy. Is this the generation beyond consumption, corporation, identity? Is the Virtual generation almost here perhaps and looking like this?

  29. Peter Christian Alexander says:

    In 1988, while working as a mini-cab driver in West London, I took a passenger who claimed to be a regional educational inspector for the North-West of England to the Min. of Ed. in Central London for a meeting. On the way we had a friendly chat, in which he claimed that the government of the day had issued an unofficial and unwritten request to all such inspectors, as follows: that for the ‘undemanding’ needs of British society in the near future, the majority of the working class population was over-educated – and steps needed to be taken to prepare said population for a world of limited employment opportunities, and multiple leisure activities (by which I think was meant watching telly and getting pissed down the pub).

    Flash forward to 2011, and I believe official figures show that 1 in 5 kids leave school in the UK practically unable to read or write English. My question is: is there a hidden agenda to dumb-down the British working class population -and if so- could the recent events in England be a sign of that agenda’s success?

    Is this why schools are underfunded,libraries closed, multiple TV stations of shitzer to chose from, and delicious 5% proof alcopops for the kids?

    1. Laighleas says:

      Wouldn’t be surprised. Parts of Detroit (I’ve been there) have no schools, because there’s no point in educating young people for jobs that don’t exist. Unemployment – nearly 100%. Literacy – pretty damned low. Illegal economy – very high and active. It is pretty much the only source of money for the population in those bits of the city.

    2. Gillian says:

      Oh yes, … to quote a line from great Monty Python, “nothing is more dangerous then a thinking sheep”.

  30. Saltaire Sam says:

    Watching the unfolding events at News International tonight, I was wondering how David Cameron will react.

    He’s gone from hug a hoodie to lock em all up; he’s gone from saying about Coulson ‘I believe in giving people a second chance’ to wanting the courts to hammer anyone involved in the looting, no matter how petty their offence. After all they should have thought about the consequences of their actions at the time.

    Perhaps the only good thing that will come out of all this is that with Cameron’s ability to flip flop and contort himself, we might stand the chance of a gold medal in next year’s olympic gymnastics. it’s the least we deserve for the money it’s costing us :-)

  31. streamfortyseven says:

    “Perry’s most remarkable claim, according to non-profit organisation Texans for Public Justice, is to have raised $17m in campaign funding from the 921 people (and their spouses) whom he has appointed to state jobs.”

    That’s roughly $18,000 per job position. That’s not “a whiff of power to the powerful, rather than to the people”, that’s gross and blatant corruption, it’s buying a position of political power for cash on the barrelhead. And you can bet that the investment will be put to good use in getting a good return out of the taxpayers.

    Your Lord Acton put it quite succinctly: “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” If all parties in government act like this, the entire system has been corrupted, and then this applies:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights … That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

  32. Jonathon says:

    The hypocrisy of this country is beyond belief. By making criminals of all forms of dissent, be it Charlie Gilmour, Jack Davis(aka Topiary), Julian Assange and co, all that is going to do is deepen the dis-content in society. Much like it did in Ireland. I think it will in fact radicalise people ever further. Will PC SImon Harwood get 10 years for killing Ian Tomlinson? I doubt it.
    “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

    1. adrian clarke says:

      It is not imprisonning for dissent.It is for criminal acts under the law.There is no punishment for dissent, only theft, criminal damage and defication.
      The discontent in society is that thugs and gangs can run riot, carry knifes and guns with impunity.
      Where is your radicalisation?
      If there is hipocracy ,it is that criminal bankers and MP’s get away with crime

  33. Saltaire Sam says:

    Our esteemed leader said today that the recent riots were ‘absolutely appalling behaviour and to send a very clear message that it’s wrong and won’t be tolerated is what the criminal justice system should be doing.’

    But when it comes to the appalling behaviour of people like Andy Coulson, DC believes in ‘giving people a second chance’.

    He employed Coulson, he asked tax dodger Philip Green to be a government adviser and he has done nothing about the thieving bankers. Even his indignation at the ‘wake up call’ when MPs were caught fiddling their expenses came to nothing.

    Cameron’s moral outrage only seems to extend to the inner cities. Or maybe he doesn’t know what he believes and just says what he thinks will look good day by day?

    1. Gary says:

      Yes, that is so, and it goes to show what a hippocrate he really is.

      I’ve met the duffer, and I certainly wouldn’t be interested in buying a used car from him – “What can I do you for?” In-bloody-deed!!!

      He and his ilk are all pig-ignorant.

      He and they are public servants and the question shoud be “How may I be of service to you?”

  34. Philip Edwards says:

    Jon,

    Here’s an interesting take on how Michael Gove fits into the equation: http://www.fleetstreetfox.com/2011/08/43-and-never-been-spanked.html?spref=fb

    Check out Frank Fields’ expenses too. You might remember Fields…..He’s the one who:

    (a) Was originally a member of the Tory Party but switched later to Labour and became a right wing plant.
    (b) Whose every political utterance has been to help reduce people in poverty to even more poverty.
    (c) Whose local constituency party voted him out, but was undemocratically reinstated by New Labour London HQ.
    (d) Who resisted to the death an order to repay Parliamentary expenses.
    (e) Who is so far to the right he was the one selected to tell Thatcher it was time to stop dribbling into her breakfast and go into a home.

    Yes, Michael Gove and Frank Fields…….Daily Mail heroes both, and perfect representatives of the neocon political order – emphasis on “con.”

    Even more, perfect examples of how they look after themselves at everyone else’s expense, while delivering lies and sanctimony to our people.

    1. Gary says:

      Interesting artical about an over privaledged, inarticulate ponce, and an under privaledged person.

  35. Peter Jordan says:

    David Cameron is now sounding (and behaving) no different to those at the sharp end of his tongue… Assad and Gaddafi.

    DARE and riot against my dictatorship, and I will see that my courts issue the most severe punishments for stealing a bottle of water during a riot against me or my government. It beggars belief how the courts are responding to the wishes of their “master” instead of carrying out independent justice that is fair and consistent with a democracy and the law. Extremes seem to be the order of the day now.

    It’s time everyone sees through David Cameron’s fake facade and turf him out of 10 Downing Sreet onto the pavement where he belongs. A tad of suffering and humiliation may put this arrogant Toff in touch with reality.

    Britain has become the laughing stock of the world courtesy of this ridiculous clown and his infantile behaviour.The “lecturer” is now being ridiculed.

    The man is a prize idiot and nothing but an embarrassment. Could he still be puffing away at a spliff on Cloud Cuckooland? He seems to be on a different planet from ours.

    1. Gary says:

      Problem with the justice system is that a majority of the Judges are closet Tories.

      It happened during the Miners strikes in the 70’s, the protest’s and strikes in the 80’s The Poll tax demos in the 90’s and now, under another Tory led government, The public bashing of the demonstrations against injustice by the rich against the poor in the 2010’s.

      The Tories know that if they are going to force the cuts in public spending onto the general public in order to pay for the last 30 years of crass governmental mismanagement they will need to cow the public into submission.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Gary, i know it sounds almost the same but it was thirteen years not thirty

    3. Gary says:

      Adrian

      I know from where I speaketh. We have had to put up with a 6 year boom/bust cycle under the Tories since the 1980s. Ergo 30 years of Governmental mismanagement.

  36. Lindy says:

    The 4 year sentences handed to 2 men for incitement on facebook are not the only incitement that was prevalent online, what about those who flooded notice boards with calls for looters to be shot and hung? What about far right websites inciting racist vigilante violence or the EDL boasting about ‘n****r bashing’ in Eltham? Why are their pictures not being shown on TV and in the media?

  37. d1 says:

    The recent student protests turned into riots, did the students who incited the rioting using facebook and twitter receive sentences similar to the youths who used facebook to incite the recent riots.
    No one broke down the doors of those students with TV cameras, after one student nearly killed a police officer with an extinguisher, when they desecrated the cenotaph, burnt central London, assaulted police, burnt cars, attacked the Royals. No one declared war, no one brought swift justice and there was no call for an inquiry.
    There is one rule for the rich and another for the poor. There is a big divide between the rich and poor.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      d1 ,at least get your facts right.Two offenders faced court for the offences you describe,both rich both prosecuted and certainly one jailed for attacking the royal car and cenotaph.
      Also the police were criticised for alleged brutality in trying to stop some of the rioting

  38. David Stimson says:

    Unemployed disaffected riot happy youth + Prison sentence = UNEMPLOYABLE disaffected young adult/future father or mother. So the cycle continues……

  39. Meg Howarth says:

    For all concerned with democratic development in our country, can’t recommend too highly, “The Unspoken Constitution”, a satirical take on the actual way government functions in the UK: http://t.co/HHtFpee.

    Published originally in 2009, it’s thanks to a posting on Twitter that this gem has come to light.

  40. Mike says:

    I get a feeling or ‘brain-instinct’ that claims it is the case that in the long run blunt prescriptions delivered via ‘tough-talk’ and ‘tough behaviour’ will always produce discontent and possibly backlash for some. Perhaps more subtle/sophisticated human interactions than this are used when broadly content people are the result?

    Verbal miscomms via mass media bothers me too; eg on Newsnight recently David Starkey allegedly offered an ‘outrageous’ and ‘racist’ explanation for the rioting (btw Ed Milliband supported such a reading of what he said). I myself don’t know if this was DS’s point, but I have wondered about the ‘USA MTV’ effect on the vulnerable youngsters in the UK re the ‘self’-assertion and ‘resource-gathering'(ahem) approaches used, which in turn perhaps traces back to some disadvantages of the free market approach to/influence upon what being alive is (for some consumers and some workers anyway). That leads me on to a pulp-fact writer, peddling the latest brand of toilet paper on tonight’s Newsnight; could a rioter be forgiven for believing she believes red lipstick ought to trump ability in a job interview? Hopefully her ‘philosophy’ may help her accept poor sales.

  41. Caroline says:

    I agree that there is a divid between the rich and poor. Not just in law but social aspects too.I agree that there is a divid between the rich and poor. Not just in law but social aspects too. I agree that there is a divid between the rich and poor. Not just in law but social aspects too.I agree that there is a divid between the rich and poor. Not just in law but social aspects too. The British people are quick to moan but we allow this to continue. If we stood together and made parliament listen then we could get something done. I have always felt if everyone stopped and didn’t go into work. So no transport, no shops, no nothing the country on strike. The country would be at a stand still. They can’t sack the whole country. But no one would through fear of losing profit, jobs, and benefits. Even creating a new party won’t get far through the political tape. If anyone has any other suggestions please feel free. So we can bitch and moan to our hearts content nothing will change unless we do something drastic to change it.

    1. e says:

      It took me a moment to catch on…you made me clean my glasses! Yes of course you’re so right, but a general strike? That’s been tried before, 1926. Not a great success. The British State responded as the British State always does to working class sedition – with force. A modern example of today’s masses demonstrating their view rather than moaning would be the anti war rallies – which, of course, were dutifully ignored.

    2. phil says:

      Well said Caroline. That’s my point earlier- the middle classes are apathetic and of course will reap the benefits in the end…

  42. hazal says:

    Street protests and the online community.
    If the internet is just the latest broadcast tool and takes the place of newsprint, radio, television, there is one obvious difference. It could be connected with the pandemic sweeping through city after city. The internet, social networking in particular, has created the self-broadcaster. Before MySpace, Bebo and Facebook became the main games in town, there was web design and e-commerce and then the dot.com bubble that popped. Now the masses occupies its time social networking, perhaps there are consequences, psychological and physical – the desire to leave the screen, to go out and make contact with an online community, physically, out on the street. Could it be this simple? At a given moment, whatever it is Facebook, Youtube or Twitter feeds us, or them, down laptop screen, mobile or smart phone, prompts a simple urge for groups to meet and protest, proclaim, demonstrate and even to riot. The street is the ideal venue. Where things go from here, when people tire of their newfound power s of mass-communication and public-opinion formation, ain’t my guess.

  43. Numbskull says:

    Ok so the poor looters didnt have the brains to do anything more constructive to put society right but at least they did something and what else are they to do if they dont have the know how?
    The people who run our society are their archetypal parents who have made a damned bad job of raising them. And because they cant face up to this truth(for fear of losing their wage packs) they have to punish them forcibly.
    The powerful and greedy are cold and insensitive and they will happily crush the innocent and meek.
    The devil rules the world it is clear. I don’t believe their is an answer(well not one that would ever come to fruition). Its all mapped out before us.

  44. Meg Howarth says:

    Sorry for another link, Snowbloggers, but here’s yet another example of the UK’s feral elite in action: http://t.co/3FrWSlc.

    Only days after rail-fare prices hikes of 13%, the Casa Souter brother and sister pocket £88m, while ‘shareholders’ – gamblers/speculators for unearned income- net the remainder of the £340 Stagecoach pay-out.

    Sam – you may remember that Stagecoach made a statement only earlier this week in response to Darshna Soni’s excellent piece on loss of bus-service in ? (sorry, forgotten) saying that couldn’t subsidise every unprofitable service.

    How much longer is the British public going to sit and take this greed?

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      Meg, can’t see those two walking six miles home from work like the guy in Hartlepool after his bus service was withdrawn.

      There is just no sense of proportion in this country any more. It’s time for a revolution.

      (oops, that’s another four years inside. Still, I’ll be fed and watered and have lots of time to read)

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Happy to support your call for revolution, Sam – and join you inside. Even Forbes magazine’s more aware of what’s going on than our pitiful excuse for a government: http://t.co/occiV2b

      But it’s not only this country. It’s a world-wide system, and people everywhere are rising up against corruption. In our still relatively comfortable lives, we in the post-colonial West remain complacent for the most part, willing to accept uncritically the government’s line on the recent riots – and that includes much of the media. Bravo, therefore, to the Times sports editor Tony Evans for his timely piece: http://t.co/SIaHLSQ. He joins the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne and our own Channel 4 News and Krishnan’s blog for injecting some critical appraisal of recent events.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Meg i do not see the point of this article.Evans states he attacked the police and smashed windows and stole.He did not give any reasons for such criminal actions.
      As to assessing the riots.How about starting with lack of parental discipline driven by laws of equality,diversity and racism.The states insistance that parents not only can not discipline children,but the children are given rights they are too young and uneducated to really understand.
      Then lack of discipline in education .A teaching class who appear to be unable to teach the basic numeracy and literacy to youngsters before they reach secondary school.Again equality laws preventing competion or preparation for the trials of life.
      Lack of Britishness, alienating swathes of the community.Ghettos where gang culture is rife.Lack of Police on the beat enforcing order.Lack of respect for law and order created by the looney liberal mentality that a little slap on the wrist and “you are a naughty boy/girl, man/woman,so we will not really punish you because we know you will not do it again.
      The punishment does not work brigade have a lot to answer for.Proof in this article that it shows some stll haven’t learnt.

    4. P.B says:

      Adrian, I would just like to know what you think constitutes “Britishness”.

      Only because that is something that seems to depend on the person, there does not seem to be a standard for it. At the very least there tends to be a lot of differences with only a few common ingredients, usually the the Queen/royal family, cricket, football.

      At university we had to interview people on what they thought Britishness was, and the varying answers often lead to people not being sure, at least not really.

      I would just like your opinion if you have the time.

    5. Gary says:

      Adrian,
      Who is to deliver this discipline that is being espoused about so frequenly now?

      The schools are unable to chastise with the cane anymore. The parents are treated like pariahs by the social services if they are deemed to have berated a child for any wrong doing.

      Where, therefore, is the means to discipline.

      Thatcher did away with the coroporal punishemnt system and we are now seeing the fruits and rewards that we were promised by this action.

      The Government won’t punish, they are incapable of any action except to raise taxes on everybody. So they will punish all the poor and less well off for the actions of a few, some of whom may be in the wealthy bracket to begin with.

      Just what, in your opinion, was the reason for the riots? (I’ve already given my opinion for it.)

    6. e says:

      Adrian I’m irritated by naivety when it comes to societies need for recourse to punishments. I also despair when the wait for punishment to be applied is too long or doesn’t fit the offence, and as a consequence yet more social damage results.

      However, where is this society you talk about where parents don’t discipline; were children have Rights that adult authority cannot challenge; and the reality of competition is hidden from children? Tabloid land is what I would say. This is not to disagree with you entirely of course its self evident that we have problems aplenty. (I would include the media’s dismemberment of anything that looks remotely like a working class culture on the grounds that it is inherently raciest as one). Nevertheless a minimal reading of British social history shows chronic gang problems or rioting cannot be put down to not enough hitting or hard enough punishments or a combination of both not being liberally applied because these problems are not new 21st century ones.

      Also, making no mention of the initial flash point is an important factor to miss out of an assessment and I feel it’s disingenuous to concentrate on the opportunist looting/stealing and not to see the hate and disgust being directed at legitimate state power and the benefits of legitimate state power. No matter how politically inept such rioting is, it’s still political; and the politics behind the spectacle should concern us all, no matter how deplorable the behaviour used to express it. To proportion blame to anyone and anything while studiously ignoring the role and actions of the political authority which acts in our name, effectively shutting down discussion of what underlies the riots, is a formula designed to suppress the politics, not to fix anything.

    7. adrian clarke says:

      PB Britishness is a belief in Britain as one nation , united under the Queen (it could be under a republic)but with one language and one set of principles.Not multi culturism or racialy affected.Not segregation by colour faith or creed,or ethnicity equality or diversity.One country one set of laws,where all are equal.Not subserviant to Europe or European laws.You only have to look back through history to know what Britishness is,but we no longer teach history because it might offend the multiculturists
      Gary,I do not think either Thatcher or the Tory party are responsible for the lack of education or the decline in standards.It is the looney liberals who believe everyone should be reduced to the lowest standard in the quest for so called equality and competition is a dirty word, despite living in a competitive world.
      As for a change in mindset it has to start in the home be continued in the schools or the unemployed and unemployable will be consigned to history.If you want more just ask.

    8. adrian clarke says:

      e there is a lot in what you say,yet no answers.If we are to have laws,(i believe there are too many)which are needed in any society to ensure the rights of everyone.Not only do they need to be adhered to ,but there needs to be punishment for transgression.A punishment that acts as a deterrent to the individual and to others that think it is worth committing the same crime.Yes punishment needs to be swift, but the delay is caused by lawyers and the system, not by the laws.
      As to where is the Society i refer to it is here and now.Can you smack your child?If you do it in public you will be reported and prosecuted.
      Children readily accuse teachers of misdeeds and they are often taken to tribunals and courts.
      Yes the media has much to be blamed for.It highlights the use of drugs and no doubt encourages others to try things they had never thought of.It regularly gives a voice to wrongdoers,letting them make excuses for their actions.There have been plenty during the riots.
      The flash point or the excuse,was possibly murder by the authorities,of a probable gun toting,drug dealer from one of the gangs.That should be dealt with by an enquiry and is being used as an excuse,

    9. Gary says:

      “Loonie Liberals?” Who do you think are running the Government now?

    10. P.B says:

      Adrian – I understand that perspective of Britishness but I do have a lot of problems with what you have said.

      I don’t know if they don’t teach British history (though I’m fairly sure it does get taught) because it may offend other cultures, but that old sense of “Britishness” also includes the bad stuff too.

      Multi-culturalism can’t disappear unless other cultures are some how gotten rid of. Alot of what is part of British culture is not native to Britain, it is due to various forms/degrees of multi-culturalism over the years that help both the best and worse parts of British culture, and vice-verse.

      Finally the perspective of Britishness you have put forward, is subjective, which is always the issue, and to look back through history to see what British is, is fine, as long as its not done through rose tinted glasses. When I do that I quite like most of what we have today. Most people are good, fair and tolerant, and are starting to realise its largely the top of the pyramid that needs fixing.

      Economic inequality, tends to be the biggest trend that relates to other social issues, the closer the rich/poor divide, the less magnified other issues tend to be.

    11. adrian clarke says:

      PB Only 30% of pupils currently study history.As to multi culturism you misunderstand me.Of course Britishness has evolved over the years and yes it involves many cultures, but what i am complaining of is the law exacerbating the differences with its equality,diversity, ethnicity legislation.Such laws create racism,difference and tensions.We should all be one under the law.If there are those who do not wish to abide by our laws they should go to where they are happy with the laws of a country.Those that wish to live under Sharia law are most welcome to move to a Muslim country.In such a country that if we were to go there we would have to abide by their rigid laws.Why should we be different here?

  45. Peter Jordan says:

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that these rioters are not highly educated intellectuals who fully grasp the concept of a civilised society. Severe hunger pains can move anyone to extremes.

    According to DC rioting by the disenfranchised is good in Lybia and Syria, but not on his turf? DC inflames the situation with the “rich man’s justice”, and constantly fingering everybody else for the ills of his watch to dodge responsibility. And he wants to lecture the poor on responsibility?

    DC was publicly humiliated around the globe. And like Assad and Gaddafi, he waves his finger in defiance, calling upon an eager and willing “obedient” judiciary to lock up his problems. And he wants to “legislate” his way out of trouble. What an idiot.

    DC is no leader. He should be kicked out and replaced with someone who can accept repsonsibility and show leadership. Sadly, these are qualities conspicuously absent among the so-called leaders of the parties.

    Bring David Miliband back into the frame and let him lead the UK into a better and significantly more secure future. He should make Vince Cable Chancellor, and we can all move forward.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Peter , you are probably right about lack of education,and lack of the concept of a civilised society.I believe there were teachers , civil servants, youth workers even a lawyer involved.That says it all .
      You seem to have an inability to grasp the need for leadership when you believe David Milliband,who shares the responsibility for the financial mess we are in with a suggested Chancellor ,Vince Cable who also thinks you can borrow your way out of debt.
      As for DC i agree .He is a ditherer, nearly as bad as Brown,but i see no other alternative worthy of leading.We vote for these people so get what we deserve.

  46. James Mclean says:

    There always has been a Law for the Rich and one for the Poor with most of the Rich never having worked in their Lives.

    It always has been with our Gangster led Governments and the Wars they have led us into.

    We must be rid of these Gangsters and their ways, and form a new World Government. who will rid us of the present Veto System in the so called United Nations.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      By all means get rid of this government and the way we elect and are governed,but a “world government”?We can’t agree in this country so what chance in the world.You only have to look at Europe to know that suggestion is a non starter

  47. Mclean says:

    I have had second thoughts on my last Comment regarding the Veto System,on a new World Assembly that I would like to see, as I now,would keep the Veto but simply change our Players which would give confidence to the other Countries, as let’s face it the Countries that hold a Veto are the most hated and despised Counties on Earth and if we don’t have this, then who knows what would lay in front of us because it would then be a real World Democracy.

    We must never give up our Defences indeed we should always be the best in this Field,but through our Technology we can help the other Less
    fortunate, who may then wish to share any Minerals with us which we need.

    There is one big but ”No more miscalculated Wars”simply give Technological Assistance to them in need and we will get our rewards in the end.Technology must before we are too late replace the Guns–Bombs– Bullet–Sanction Idiocy

  48. ben says:

    It has always been a fact in the last centuries that there is a difference between the “important” (freemen) and “non-important” (serfs) people. If you go back to the Romans, the term Libertas didn’t come from “freedom” as it is translated today, but “the fee you have to pay to buy your freedom”.
    Today, hit a professor with your car and the verdict will be different to if you hit a single woman, living from welfare, with your car.

    Despite the fact that from a moral point of view, bankers, MPs and looters have done the same. But it’s quite different, how they have acted. If bankers and MPs would have demolished the Parliament or the banks’ headquarters, the verdicts wouldn’t be different.

  49. Antonym says:

    Exactly-worst still I might get arrested for posting this comment

  50. Saltaire Sam says:

    This quote about the Strauss Khan case from the Guardian suggests there is no need for the question mark after your headline, Jon.

    ‘Pierre Hourcade, a French attorney who is also admitted to practice law in New York, said: “Dismissal does not mean he is innocent, simply that the district attorney doesn’t believe the case can go to trial.”

    ‘He said some people in France were surprised that the US authorities prosecuted the case so vigorously initially only to cool on the case equally as fast. “It’s not that he doesn’t believe her, it’s that he doesn’t believe her to be a good victim. That’s the way that the American system is built,” Hourcade said.’

    Doesn’t believe her to be a good victim! Says it all.

    All the justice you can afford, no matter how much of a mysoginist you are.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Sam , it is no different in this country.There are many guilty walking the streets because the state can not or does not want to prove guilt.We have bankers still practicing banking. Politicians still passing laws,who should not only have been prosecuted but locked up for a very long time.
      We have murders and rapists given life, free to walk our streets and some will reoffend.We have victims prosecuted and jailed because they have no rights to protect themselves or their property.
      We also have the hipocrits who complain yet do not want proper justice except for the offences they choose.Would sooner we convict for murder, yet are quite happy to hold them in prison , rather than remove them from society.Would balk at castration for rapists,yet express disgust at their actions.There are those who believe that murder of a police officer or child is more serious than murder of a young person or a shopkeeper.Murder is murder , inexcusable and deserves the death penalty.Why should the state look after them and then release them ?

    2. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      No! the death penalty should never be. Those doling out sentences should be above the acts and offences of murderers. What is more it gives them, in some eyes, a heros, martyrs stance; they are worms and should crawl beneath the sods living out their pimeval lives.

      Missing you Jon.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Margaret,better a dead martyr rather than a live murderer.
      What is your alternative or any who oppose the death penalty?
      Lock them up for life?At what cost to the state,and in what conditions?
      Should they have the privilidge of TV, games consuls, gymnasiums,3 square meals a day, visitors?
      Should they ever get release?
      What of the victim?What of the victims family?How do you square their punishment of the loss of a relative,with those of the murderer.
      Being squeamish does not give justice to the victim or their families.

  51. Saltaire Sam says:

    Jon, if you don’t come back from holiday soon, there won’t be any more news for you to report. It will have all happened while you were away.

    (Apart from David Cameron’s ‘I was let down’ apology about Coulson, which probably won’t happen in August, or September…)

  52. drumstick says:

    I am at liberty to make a living selling cigarettes to the public who end up dying from lung cancer.
    but If I decide to make a living selling heroin to the public all of a sudden the liberty I have as a seller of health destroying tobacco is changed and I am now viewed as a criminal and liable to be sent to prison.
    but I could spend years selling people tobacco that causes millions to die each year and nothing is done to me.
    justice is often depicted as a women that is blindfolded holding a pair of scales but in practice justice is often unjust as in the case of the laws that govern tobacco and controlled substances like heroin.
    time has shown that both tobacco and heroin are highly addictive and causes nothing but harm to to those that consume them, but the law allows people to use tobacco as a means of making a living even though they know it is wrong to do so.
    but they make it unlawful for people to use heroin to make a living.
    but yet look at the amount of people that have died from smoking…you would think that they would never legalize smoking but they have and yet it has caused nothing but harm.
    it may have made many rich but is life all about making money?

  53. Meg Howarth says:

    Who’s who: how the financial elite is rooted in the UK political establishment – worth reading for the list of names alone: http://wp.me/p1HsH1-in

    Following US billionaire and OAP Warren Buffett’s call for rich to be taxed more, French super-rich now sign petition asking for tax hikes http://reut.rs/ozeoen. If they were serious about increasing their tax contribution, they’d be calling for the immediate introduction of a tax on land.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      If you want to look up the sins of politicians and bankers, go back to GB.I know it offends your Socialist principles,but it was he who sold off our gold reserves, gave free reign with lax regulation to the banks,Let the bonus system flourish.Allowed Mandleson to get away with lying on a mortgage request which the banks quite openly allowed.
      The bankers were hand in glove with the Socialists because it was giving government the cash to waste.
      Yes the Coalition has done little to correct 13 years of mismanagement but at least put the blame at the correct door.It was the Labour government who should have been prosecuting bankers, who let them off,bailed them out and still allowed their bonuses.GB even knighted one of the worst offenders.
      As for the coalition i believe Cameron is not only “not a tory” but is afraid his looney friends the Liberals might pull the plug on this government.I doubt they would commit such a suicidal act,but they are crazy enough.

  54. G says:

    Crikey, right-on Jon! I just wish this kind of intelligent and useful line of questioning could be pursued more in broadcast media instead of the usual talking-points.

    This is a cause-effect universe and people are in no way excluded from that, delusional homocentrism and the ‘Law of Attraction’ notwithstanding. Therefore it is senseless to waste energy on blame: a doctor doesn’t condemn your illness; he understands it and applies his best efforts to cure it.

    In this case blame is NOTHING OTHER than an attempt to avoid seriously addressing the cause which is inequality and corruption pure and simple. The name ‘Conservative’ implies prudence but reckless short-sighted oligarchy will lead this country into terrible dangers.

  55. Mike says:

    One could be forgiven for believing that the rule of law is mostly just a sophisticated form of fighting(!) Me i’m not quite that cynical yet, but it does seem to me though that unfortunately it only takes a few ‘rogues’ to cause a lot of unnecessary trouble for many.

    Another thing which i guess is ‘in the mix’ is that most (if not all) of us at some time fall into the way of thinking that it is possible to evaluate ourselves and others as ‘+valuable’ through to ‘-valuable’ (and ‘(un)deserving’), with many of our self-ratings tending to be rather positive on the whole.

  56. Saltaire Sam says:

    Not wishing to be upstaged by Adrian, I have put a petition on the government site.

    It reads: ‘While it is right for the government to tackle the gangs and other elements involved in the riots of August 2011, they should give equal attention to and be equally aggressive against the anti-social behaviour in other parts of society – MPs who abuse their expenses, business leaders who avoid paying their share of tax, and bankers and financial dealers who take massive salaries and bonuses while paying no regard to how their actions will affect the wider economy.’

    If you agree, please feel free to go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12476 and sign

    1. adrian clarke says:

      spot on Saltaire,i will support it.I hope that you get more than my current 19 votes, but perhaps people do not want their representatives to represent the views of the majority.

  57. Prime P is head says:

    Operation one man and his dog required one unknown dark prince to create the right mood and encouragement that started the rioters snowball. The police dog was able to stand back and allow the snow ball to grow over four days, whilst filming all activity before unleashing the sting in the scorpion kings tail. Using the operation whilst all political figures were outside the country was a master stroke, giving the sense and perception of a purely random event, artfully tagged to an ulterior protest.

    Rounding up the most opportunist members of the Bro’ Ken society was deemed a necessary prerequisite of freeing police time during the Olympic Games, since, in the heightened security protocol with reduced police numbers, maximizing efficiency is essential. Operation one man and his dog was a great suck sess in rounding up potential opportunist distractions and also improves the housing promise to redundant returning armed personnel.

    The origin of the Black Bury program is unknown, yet, we apprehended many of the wheel sus peck ING order, unlike other major investments, sorry, investigations!

    Wee R haul in this two get errr and much more besides!

    1. Gary says:

      Is the comment you posted supposed to be spoken to a Rap beat?

      If that is the level of English that is taught in schools today then I fear for our future!

      I understand some of the idiomatic statements that are being made but, come on bro’? We is gotta do bettern’ this!

    2. Prime P is head says:

      Try Coolio – Gangsters Paradise…a two edged sword between excessive welfare at the top edge of the sword and austere welfare at the bottom edge upon the long term angle of this common and unique blade.

      Following the curve is a natural awareness of time, yet, following the social plans of elitist crime clubs is a bastard sword in both hands.

      In the Eng sys of a US terror tory (pover tea in the proper tea of the royal tea in the His rail, His Cox insurance plan of a Jew dish all process), brutal austerity is a proper tea scapegoat monopoly adventure casino entitlement called the promise. The liberty taking and the liberty making to adorn the bling culture of bling estates is a mutilation of morality to securitize the rights to kill.

      The red lines and the red tape create the right conditions to exploit from the top / down advantage in the wasted ladders cast aside over suck sessive millet hairy in dust real complex utilization of social conditions to manufacture the killing games in the words and names. All is not fair in love or war, but in a survivalist driven private realm culture the objective is to keep hold of the feral piggy welfare ball for many generations.

  58. P.B says:

    Signed. number 2.

    Just having MP’s discussing amongst themselves whether they treated themselves and banks and other special interests over the years with the same “robust” attitudes is a comical image in my mind.

    “Those rioters have been dealt with quite robustly, yes yes.”

    “Let us compare that to ourselves and special interests… hmmmm… I would say we were robust with ourselves wouldnt you?”

    “Well the mischief of the banks did cause more harm to more people, financial issues, debt slavery, a further gap in the rich poor divide, further social immobility, later devaluing of our money, further devaluing of our money which we cant sustain… and pretty much everything that comes from setting such a negative environment.”

    “But they said sorry!”

    “Ah, we did kind of pay them obscene amounts for that apology, well the people did. And if we didnt those banks could have been seriously damaged! and who would have taken their place? other banks that were sensible? What kind of example would that have set?”

    “Maybe we were looted? It might be an idea to keep that definition grey.”

    “Oooo YES, good idea. Besides, looting should only be considered a lower class affair.”

  59. P.B says:

    We all know there has always been some kind of conflict/difference in law, rules and social responsibility between the rich and the poor.

    But i do think that we as a society like it that way. Just as long as the upper tier is available to us.

    But it is just as much down to perception, and what responsibility is in the different tiers of society. It is not to aid others less fortunate than ourself, because to do that one would have to avoid distancing themselves as much as possible from whatever is below.

    Also once you get to the next tier, then the higher tiers become more visible.

    I still cant get over some of the looters, saying it was ok to loot a shop, because shop owners must be rich and so can afford it. (LACK OF PERSPECTIVE!!)

    A lot of people seem angry because others take short-cuts and at the expense of others. But we breed the line “do it if you can get away with it” into our society.

    We will never punish things like bad banks because whilst we love the amoral pyramid system we have, we are only going to keep trying to get to the top and everything else second. We need them their, if only to gauge our own progress. And we will tac on morality where it suites us.

  60. DENNIS JUNIOR says:

    The title of your story, is very much true; And, it is proven in most cases (criminally, civil) …That money can make a “proceeding” easier since, you can received top-notch legal advice, guidance and other things related ….

  61. drumstick says:

    the reality is we live in a very stressful and extremely unjust society in which the rich manage to avoid the stress that is driving the poor to despair.
    for example we would never see the rich having to fight to be allowed to continue camping on that bit of land in essex.
    I also think that it is high time we stop thinking that becoming rich is the sole goal in life…ok being rich does have its perks but the rich get old just like the poor and eventually die…I agree that it is wrong for people to live on welfare when they could work for a living
    but the government need to remember that the welfare state is their baby…and they can’t blame people when they start abusing it…after all, wherever there is money you can be certain there will also be temptation to cheat and steal if people see an opportunity.
    killing the baby as it were won’t kill the greed in peoples hearts.

    1. Gary says:

      Point taken, but the same response is given by every Tory Government to these questions. In their opinion there is no room for debate, just the same old mish-mash of dogmatic policies that help nobody and alienate the citizens.

  62. Saltaire Sam says:

    I have just been reminded of Robert Kennedy’s speech in Cape Town in the 1960s. It would be nice if current political leaders re-read it, even if only this extract:

    ‘The second danger is that of expediency; of those who say that hopes and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. Of course, if we would act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done. But if there was one thing President Kennedy stood for that touched the most profound feelings of young people around the world, it was the belief that idealism, high aspirations, and deep convictions are not incompatible with the most practical and efficient of program…It is not realistic or hardheaded to solve problems and take action unguided by ultimate moral aims and values, although we all know some who claim that it is so. In my judgment, it is thoughtless folly. For it ignores the realities of human faith and of passion and of belief – forces ultimately more powerful than all of the calculations of our economists or of our generals.’

  63. Bog Standard says:

    The translation of legacy in hierarchy to the meaning of life is a generational failure to represent the public interest. The private interest has dominated this species like predator killers. A species like humanity only exists in an existential public condition. All the private chambers of the individual minds own the existential value of transparency, responsibility and fairness. If the social space of a common and unique ladder is a day, certainty in the future is secure given the socio-economic value is supposed to represent and validate the quality of life.
    In top / down morality, grand parents give to parents and parents give to children, individually and collectively for the same greater good of representing the future to the unrepresented ancestors yet to come.
    Sharing the future of democratic ownership is the equality of morality to the meaning of life.
    Growth and development pattern language is a public service to a public humanity. The language of growth and development morality is the maps and pictures that compliment the words and numbers between the present generation and the future generation. The people are the natural intelligence and library of everything in ID.

  64. dohdoh says:

    When I was growing up in the 60`s there was a belife / feeling that you would be able to do better then you perents, o.k so my father turn down a commision in the R.A.F, turn down an offer to play first class cricket with Suessex County Cricket, (both of these because he thought it best for his family)so I think it may have been an achivement for me to do better. This was in the 60`s with the White Light spech of Harold Wilson, low unemployment, before the Snow family bought us a alternative fashion in socks and ties and we struck oil.
    So in 76 when I left school and join the 3 million, you can imagen I and others felt cheted.
    There were many reasons why things had changed, I am not the young historian Snow so could only give my opion, little investment during the “You`ve never had it so good years”, goverment not following the White Light as Wilson said he would.
    During the late 70`s it appeared that the excesse of greed was no long a sin, and flantrity, my word processor can`t correct my dyslexic warbling sorry ment them was as got lots of the floding looking out for them what ain`t, and I feel this has continued and worsened.

  65. Bog Contracts says:

    In age duality is individual and universal in the same matter as unity in the equillibrium of order as the quality of motion, therefore age is a duality of unity to the meaning of life.

    The individual age of mortality is the collective age of reason to the meaning of age, since, all beings share the same age of unity, between origin and transitition. Whilst the grandparent, parent and child, share the individual age, there most significant age of ID is the collective age, since, in terms of unity this relates to the legacy of authority between the beginning transition and parellel ends.

    The collective age is the collective awareness and utility of natural growth. The private realm animal pig, dog, snake tribe have converted all legacy into a casino infrastructure to dominate growth choice in the mutilation of ownership to prosper from the rights of greed.

    The private realm greed manifesto of deception is the claiming of all national profits in the pig states and passing of all debts to enslaved public states. ID theft is a global buisness model and superiority complex based upon the rights to kill, p, m, e =temporal voo doo doll is a great scape goat for mass anger deflatio

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