Britain’s riots have the world watching and wondering….what will happen next, what is all behind this – that’s the topic of tonight’s Byline.
Theories abound as to the cause.
Youth with no attachment to society.
Thugs using a protest over a police shooting as an excuse to riot.
Copycats seeking a bit of fun.
And of course the ever present excuse, poverty.
Some of the people behind this may be poor, although that depends how you define poor. Poor people wearing Addidas trainers and jump suits robbing a local shop while organizers of the looting coordinate on Blackberry Messenger does not seem to yell poverty to me.
I also reject the poverty angle for another reason. Even if true, and I have sincere doubts, it excuses nothing.
The poverty people complain about today in housing tenements doesn’t hold a candle to Britain’s past.
My mother was born and raised in Glasgow’s Gorbals district, an area of Victorian era slum tenements, the likes of which you wouldn’t see in Britain today.
Full families living in two rooms with a bed in the kitchen was a common thing. If you wanted to better your lot back then you couldn’t just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, most of the housing was owned by the government. You had to wait on a list, as my Grandmother did for 20 years or more, for the city council to give you a new house.
Despite all this, they didn’t riot in the streets.
Despite crushing poverty and no chance to escape without the government lifting you out….because they owned everything………or you could leave the country…..but other than those options you were stuck……still, no riots.
These riots are not about poverty. People, like my grandmother, used to live in poverty and still obey the law, hold their heads high and raise a family.
What Britain is experiencing now is not the result of poverty, not in a country where the government accounts for 50% of GDP and there are social programs for all manner of ills.
No, they are experiencing riots because the police killed a man, alleged to be a crack dealer and thug. Some local supporters didn’t like that and held a march. That march turned to riots and looting. A pattern now being copied across England.
Gangs of youth, with little to no parental involvement, family breakdown is at horrific levels in Britain, running roughshod over the towns they live in, the neighbourhoods the live in.
By all reports there was no political motive tied to these riots. No government buildings attacked.
Mark my words though, if the unrest continues people will try to use these riots to graft on their own political agenda.
UK Uncut, a left leaning group opposed to any budget cut measures, is getting ready to hold a rally in Tottenham, the area where the riots started, this Saturday. They say they neither condemn nor support what has been going on, they just want to give people a voice.
This is the beginning of the attempt to politicize criminal activity. Who could not condemn such scenes?
They should all be condemned, they should not be excused and the British people should take back their streets, take back their towns and turn in the louts in their midst.
And that’s the Byline.
Posts Tagged ‘poverty’
Brian Lilley is the host of Byline on Sun News Network and a senior correspondent for Sun Media's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. His weekly column is published in more than 30 daily newspapers across Canada and he appears on several leading talk radio stations.
Watch Byline at 9pm ET Monday to Friday and read Brian's columns in your Friday papers.
Brian Lilley is Senior Correspondent for Sun Media on Parliament Hill.
Brian has been covering politics for the last 10 years. Five of those years were spent as Ottawa Bureau Chief.
More about Brian here.
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