View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 12 August 2011

Cameron's riots

I'm beginning to feel that our government is flying off the handle with its responses to the rioting earlier this week. Prime Minister David Cameron wants to be able to shut down Facebook and Twitter at times of crisis. Hey, who else is doing that? Muammar Gaddafi, our old fox in Tripoli that we've been trying to bomb into submission for five months. Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, who is still doing a grand job killing his own people for no reason. Hosni Mubarak, erstwhile president of Egypt, now self-induced invalid, tried to do the same before his people kicked him out. What's the saying again, if you can't beat them, join 'em?

On the same subject, what is the point in throwing people out of their council houses? Yes, they or their cohabitants have acted in a disgraceful manner if they participated in the riots. But it requires a fair bit of warped thinking to have people kicked out for something they did not do whilst in their houses.

So far, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition has carefully refrained from attributing the rioting to Government policies. At the end of the day, there was no excuse for it whatsoever. A man got shot by police in Tottenham, North London, last week and the police were slow off the mark in dealing with the incident. A peaceful demonstration got hijacked by the rent-a-mob crowd - very bad indeed. But what happened after last Saturday had nothing whatsoever to do with the death of the man in Tottenham.

I'll postulate a few of my own theories as to why people felt it was OK to go on the rampage.

1. The expenses scandal. MP's fiddling their expenses to line their pockets, on top of an already generous salary. Let's face it, £60k per annum is a large amount in anybody's book.

2. The War in Iraq. The government went to war, tying itself in knots to justify it - copying the lyrics from George W. Bush's hymnsheets, whilst not noticing that they were set in the wrong clef. Very few people in this country were in favour of it, and the government was advised left, right and centre against it. Note: this was a Labour government.

3. The bankers. Again, a breed of people who were seen to be pocketing colossal bonuses (7-figure sums) for heading up a loss-making enterprise, lending money to people who could never afford to pay back the loan, leaving holes that could never be filled. Perhaps it would have been better to let Northern Rock go to pot in 2008, rather than prop them up the way Gordon Brown did.

4. Rupert Murdoch. Mr Murdoch (both jr and sr) were only interested in making vast amounts of money through newspaper sales. Nothing wrong with that. But politicians would tremble at the sight of him, as Rupert Murdoch decided who would win the elections. If the Sun newspaper said it would back political party X or party Y, that party would win the poll. And after their win, the leader of that party would invite him to No 10 for a thank-you do. The police were in it too, as shown by the resignation of the two most senior officers at Scotland Yard on allegations of corruption.

5. Nick Clegg. "I agree with Nick", the infamous quote from the prime-ministerial debates on TV in April 2010, when the leader of the Lib Dems was propelled to the dizzying heights of David Cameron and Gordon Brown, and he got delusions of grandeur. It was television that put Mr Clegg in government, forcing him to abandon his Lib Dem principles to the greater good of being in power.
Nick Clegg is a rich man, and so is David Cameron. What do they know about those in society who are struggling with little money in the bank, if any? Nothing at all.

It all points to the fact that people do not have confidence in those that are placed above them in positions of authority and power. So why would they be quiescent when those above them are shown to be corrupt or corruptible, out to stuff their pockets out of tax-payers' money? Why would they be law abiding, when the police, there to protect and serve, is seen to be more interested in bowing to the newspaper barons?

There was no excuse for the violence. But when all the people who committed crimes have been dealt with some hard questions will have to be asked and answered - by all political parties. Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat; and Scottish National Party. Alex Salmond also came to power because of Rupert Murdoch (and because 110,000 Scottish voters were disenfranchised through a poorly designed ballot form).

Are we going to see some political courage?
I don't think so.

Friday 12 August

The day started out fairly bright, but cloud rolled in and at 3 o'clock it started to rain. It has not stopped, and if anything, the rain got worse as darkness fell, now over an hour ago. Yep, it's nearly mid-August and sunset times are creeping back towards the 9pm mark. A far cry from the 10.30pm in late June. Sigh.

I have set up the transcript site for the Napier Report from Inverness-shire, but as there is nothing to see, I won't link to it. I have also completed the transcripts for tributes for Second World War casualties from the Stornoway Gazettes. I have transcribed them, but not copied them onto the relevant website. I have opened a new blog for that (my 56th blog on Blogger). You will have noticed by now that I use blogs as websites. Perfectly feasible, and saves having to faff about with HTML, CSS and other stuff.

I promised pictures from my walk, yesterday. Apologies, still haven't gotten round to it.