Underclass v Working Class
I suspect that quite a few, although I hope not all, of the readers of this blog will just about remember “Not the Nine O’clock News”. In one of its classic sketches a professor of sociology and a social worker (“look, I know these kids”) are invited to discuss the solution to the problem of football hooliganism, which, at the time, was a great deal more prevalent than today.
The conclusions they reached were...well, unexpected! For those who are not familiar with the sketch, it is available via YouTube, and for those who do, it’s worth revisiting as a walk down memory lane. A link is available here:
Now, there must have been countless words written about the causes of the riots this week. However, in my opinion by far and away the clearest, the most incisive, the most informed and the most valuable came in a short piece on Wednesday of this week on Radio 5 Live on Shelagh Fogarty’s lunchtime show. I was listening to it as drove to an appointment. I will post the link below, but let me outline the format. First there was an interview with some of the rioters/looters, in which they explained their world view and reasons for their actions.
As one might expect, what this was moronic, uneducated thoughtless and selfish statement to the effect that they felt like it “and....government innit...stuff, innit..nick some stuff ‘cos I can... You know what I mean, and...innit?”
Yeah, I know what you mean...innit?
It was both depressing and hugely irritating.
Then the presenter Ms Fogarty introduced two protagonists to debate the causes and remedies of this problem. One was Lesley Pullman, a victim of crime and supporter of other victims from Manchester, born in a pitifully poor family of twelve. The other was former social/youth worker and now Orwell Prize
winner Winston Smith. So you can see the premise which may or may not have underpinned the “set up”. The reactionary working class versus the understanding, enlightened, liberal intellectual?
In fact, that is certainly not what we got. I have of course punctured the dramatic balloon by giving away an obvious plot spoiler above.
No. What we got was a highly intelligent, informed, clear and brutal dissection of the follies of the leftist and “liberal” intelligentsia’s doctrines since the 1960’s by people who actually know what they are talking about. By people who have been on the front line and seen “the system” in action. Who have seen what it means, and felt the consequences.
The doctrine, for example, that everyone is a victim, and that this includes the criminal. The doctrine that there is no right and wrong. The doctrine above all that there are no consequences for “wrongdoing”: a clear view of very many of the rioters.
This has created a topsy turvy world. A world in which teachers are unable to discipline children aged 12 high on drugs in their classroom, where probation officers must call criminals “clients” and are disciplined if they object to abuse; a world where youth offenders are provided with Nintendo’s in detention, and taxied to and from the gym by their social workers. A world where the criminal justice system is geared up to cater for the criminal, and the victim has no voice, to the extent that it is known colloquially as the “criminal injustice system.”
I do not propose to rehearse the full details of this interview. I do not think I could do it justice without a transcript. For anyone who wants to be informed, enlightened and outraged I commend it. It is here for a limited time on the BBCI player, and commences immediately after the 1.00 pm news (you can drag the cursor to the right place).
The conclusion was, I think, clear and not that surprising. The riots represented an attack by an intellectual and moral underclass on the working class. By those who have never felt any consequences and have no think they ever will, against those who have tried to work and make something of themselves. Because the rioters felt like it.
These riots are the inevitable flowering of the guilt ridden, liberal leftist, patronising folly that has reigned supreme over the Political Classes for the past 40 years. And that includes IDave. Not so keen on hugging a hoodies now, are you...?
Gildas the Monk