I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to raise a smile today when news came of the G20 riots in London. Namely, that the windows of a branch of RBS had been smashed in. I’m sure old Fred the Shred can pick up the bill for that.
As I write this now “Hundreds of anarchists are still on the rampage” in London, according to the ever unbiased Daily Mail. Many of which, again according to the DM, have been “smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol throughout the day.” To be fair, that’s probably true, but their choice of words irks me. Using the term ‘anarchy’ in this loose way, juxtaposed with ‘rampage’, implies hoards of people have simply come together for a big ol’ violent knees up at the expense of the taxpayer, when in fact the G20 protest – originally planned to be a peaceful affair – is a platform from which participants can voice their concerns on a variety of topics: climate change, consumerism, capitalism – on any number of issues that the government continues to balls up.
And who can blame them, really? Only last night I wrote a blog about continuing unemployment, and there’s Goodwin’s smug, self satisfied £700k-a-year face beaming out of every media platform. That’s pretty annoying. Getting on the property ladder is damn near impossible at the moment, and even if you do you’ve got to fork out another £300 at least on a seemingly pointless Home Information Pack, yet Jacqui Smith gets the full second home allowance and claims £22,948 for her family home. That’s pretty annoying. The list goes on. Is it really that surprising that people have decided to take this globally momentous day as the perfect opportunity to show the ‘powers that be’ that all is – unbelievably – not well at peasant level? No. And it’s about time too. The UK has long been the laughing stock of Europe – could you image the French putting up with such incessant cretinism? They’d have rioted themselves to pâté by now. So at least now the British people can scuttle off after this affair with some semblance of dignity and an “Ah well, at least we tried.”
But the efforts of today’s ‘rampaging anarchists’ may well be in vain. Sure, the government’s going to get pretty upset about it and no doubt adopt the quintessentially British stance of sweeping it all under the rug and pretending it never happened, but ultimately shouldn’t the whole affair have served to bolster public confidence that something helpful might actually happen as a result of it? That at least we’re all in this together and good on them for giving it a shot? Indeed, while a few people have expressed relief at the crack in the stagnant bog of Brown’s government, I’m hearing a lot of negative feedback from my peers about the whole thing:
“They’re just a bunch of annoying fuckwits whose idea of anarchy comes from an A-level textbook,” says one. “X is amused at all the anti-consumerists protesting today… who were supposedly organised via Twitter and Blackberries. Fail.” says another.
(Just as an aside here, I wonder how one would go about organising any large-scale meeting without the use of technology. Carrier pigeon?)
The very point of the riots today have been lost on these individuals, and no doubt hundreds, thousands, more, and this paints a very bleak picture for the future of the UK indeed.