By Suzanne Mills
August 19, 2011 – newsday.co.tt
By blaming the English riots not on poverty, unravelling race relations, government’s austerity measures, the global crisis, but on the perverse and criminal behaviour of some English people, British Prime Minister David Cameron is arguing that in the case of the rioters, bad behaviour triggered bad behaviour and that in general, conduct is not a symptom but a cause.
People,” he insists,” were showing indifference to right and wrong, people with a twisted moral code, and people with a complete absence of self-restraint.”
Yet contrarily, Cameron submits that an excess of human rights and a weak UK police force were responsible for the burning and looting, so it’s hard to tell whether he thinks Britons inherently immoral or insufficiently policed or both. Labelling behaviour as a cause though, gives him licence to curtail civilian rights, arm Bobbies, import an American zero-tolerance super cop, take issue with Twitter and evict the poor from council homes.
But even as the Prime Minister waxes warm about arming police and handing them more power, he has been strangely silent on the complaints of black and Asian activists over the constant harassment of their youth by beat cops, the original point of departure for the riots. The rioters and looters have permitted Cameron to play the role of the morally outraged victim, to avoid confronting the claims of the true sufferers and to turn an anti-police protest into a reason for encouraging greater police abuse of minorities.
To Cameron, there is no gray area here, only black and white. It’s as if he feels that the search for causes beyond an innate British immorality will give looters a free get out of jail pass. No one is asking the British PM to absolve looters or murderers and everyone expects offenders to do the time if they’ve committed a crime. Millions have been lost in property and blood has been shed because of their rampage. However, Cameron’s merciless pursuit of looters in hoodies contrasts with his easy readiness to forgive transgressors in white collars. For these wrongdoers his tolerance is much higher than zero. His morality has a split personality and one is more liberal than the other.
Despite being warned that massive corruption had taken place during the tenure of former editor of the now defunct News of the World, Andy Coulson, dishonest behaviour of which Coulson could not have been unaware, Cameron opted to hire him as his chief press officer. In his defence, Cameron said he dismissed the information he had been given and accepted Coulson’s assurances that he knew nothing of phone hacking of murder victims during his editorship between 2003 and 2007.
In his opinion, Coulson deserved a second chance and his estimation was all that mattered. Showing complete indifference to right and wrong and demonstrating no self-restraint whatsoever, Cameron brushed aside the informed opinions of others to give a man with a dubious track record an opportunity to reform he is now straining at the bit to deny rioters. Cameron did what he thought was best for his ambitions and needs at the time and the devil take the hindmost. The philosophical line in the sand separating the British PM and the rioters is indistinguishable.
Cameron has also rushed to the defence of British bankers who scheming with their US and foreign counterparts have speculated the world into a debilitating, dehumanising crisis and who by their greed and criminality, their indifference to right and wrong and lack of ethics have made millions in a handful of years while the taxpayer has picked the tab. Capitalism and its free markets should benefit the consumer but while consumers lose their homes, their jobs and savings and bear the full burden of debt-reducing austerity measures, British bank bosses are in line for obscene bonuses this year and where bonuses are allegedly down, salaries are up. But Cameron is calling for the bankers not to be bashed. For them he has a bleeding heart.
There is a link, which the British PM cannot see or refuses to see between the Britain of double standards and the Britain of rioting. The first is his Britain and the second is not. His Britain wears suits and ties and they don’t steal TV sets by smashing windows; they plunder hundreds of millions by breaking the bank. If British society is fractured or ruptured as Cameron says, it has been shattered from the top down-by dishonest journalists, policemen, bankers and politicians. Though the leader of Britain won´t admit that unethical deeds committed on the summit can find their echo in the conduct of the base, ironically, by being intractable, he is unwittingly being forthright: the cause of the riots was truly bad behaviour. His among others. www.suzannemills.net