Monday, 29 August 2011

@ the floggers

"A leather lash with steel tips as used on juveniles, c.1870"."

England is being dragged through the gutter by these vermin. Call in the Army and deport them all".
"Id deport them to Serbia or Bosnia where they would fit in with the other thugs and punishers".
"Watch the footage,there are whites,blacks Asians all at it. Flog them all".
"Yes flog them all. They are disgusting. For those who feel sorry for them,why dont you charter a plane so they can follow Englands games abroad".
"The comfortable middle class socialists won't open their eyes they don't want real socialism they just want to talk about it".
"These pussies wouldnt dare venture outside,let alone riot if they were facing US Officers.fLOG THEM AND HUMILIATE THEM. They are bottom feeders and scum".
"sanctimonious old out of touch extream lelf wing socialists in there cosy little worlds always the first to voice there well troden ideologies whilst on a path to nowhere, they blame the police for everything and retire to smugnessville to sing there poignant little songs grow up and look at real life".

Above are some of the most ignorant and loathsome comments made in response to any piece I have written on here. For all I know they could have come from the English Defense League, or some other draconian tribe or ..... one person. If the latter then this is for YOU. Isn't the cry “ fLOG THEM AND HUMILIATE THEM” the snarl of just a different kind of hooligan from a different kind of mob?
We heard politicians pandering to the mob mentality and near vigilantism that stunk out this nation for quite some time. The surprise for me is that some of the "flog 'em" commentators might be EBB fans. Is it possible that they were and still are EBB fans but, are not mine? I hope so. I hope that none of the “flog ‘em" brigade, come to my gigs or buy my records. I definitely don't want to be associated with them nor do I want their patronage.

Is it true then that Kamp Kapo’s are always among us and would be the torturers if outraged enough or ordered to it by men in white coats? Who among the “floggers” could administer their own warped version of justice? Could it be that this hunger for the proverbial pound of flesh is born of the frustration of usually reasonable and decent people who are seeking retribution for the damage done to them? 

This country recently came next to last in a UNICEF survey around the quality of life for children and young adults. The USA was last. The Scandinavian countries were top and Holland followed close behind them. This survey did not focus on the poor especially nor on any ethnic grouping and says a lot about the values of my generation as parents and citizens. It also says a lot about successive governments and their lack of foresight.

I have worked with young people for many years, here in South London, and have seen how some of them can become gradually disconnected from the rest of us. Some of you may feel they have squandered their opportunities and simply chosen criminality over belonging to this wonderful society we have created for them. I would suggest the issues are more complex and require deeper consideration by any one able to think outside the box. Why are these people so out of step with the rest of us? Is it simply a deviant choice and entirely down to them? I think not. Are they people who have rejected all of the good opportunities in their lives? I think not.

Some time ago I worked on a radio project with young people on licence from prison. They had to comply with very strict but reasoned rules to stay out of prison. Any infringement of the rules meant they could be returned to a cell immediately. Their task was that they had to make radio programmes for young people around crimes they had carried out. They had to interview the people they had robbed and convey the hurt and trouble they had caused by their own actions. I could write reams about that work but on one occasion some of us workers were trying to establish where we were at with these young people and how to proceed in the early stages. We were asking a young male what he liked. His response was “ Hurting people”. It was shocking and disgusting and began to evoke some of the emotions that have probably lead some of “the floggers” to where they are today. It was his way of challenging us and though I didn't know or understand what had lead him to where he was on that day, we still had a job to do. We took on the challenge but it wasn't easy.

Weeks later the same young man was a model participant on the radio station. His programme was one of the best broadcasts that year and I know why. To some extent he was re-connected to us. He had some ownership and purpose and he had talent. He had a stake in what happened to him and to others. He wasn’t so bad after all but, he was chronically deprived, starved of meaningful input, being appreciated and had been clearly neglected in all the areas that help to make us whole. I hope he is doing well now. Unfortunately this work has had it’s budget cut as has most similar work in my borough and this is a borough with resources.

A young boy helps a young student from the floor. The student is bleeding but the boy steals his things from the students bag in spite of the student’s situation. Why? The young boy inhabits a world where his life has lead him to not care at all. If you beat him he will kill you. If you kill him then his street family will try to kill you. If he offends his “brothers” they will hurt him badly and if he dies they won’t care. It is shocking but I believe the solution is about reconstruction and re-connection so that at least these damaged individual’s children might be saved from such a sad and empty life. When most of us say “ F+++ it, I don’t care any more”, we rarely mean it. It is an expression of extreme frustration and anger but some of the young people rioting and not so young rioters have come to that terrifying place where, when they say they don’t care, it is real. They have no empathy. This lack of empathy is the worst possible outcome where there is no fear or respect and no reason to change and see any outsiders point of view. How did they get like this and what is the way forward?

At least the voices of reason are coming through now, even in the media and elsewhere. Most decent and intelligent people do not want to bring back the birch. They realise the issues are complex, that we need to explore the underlying causes behind the ailing state of this nation. I neither condone the violence and vandalism of the recent riots nor support any of the rioters actions. We have a justice system to deal with criminality but simply filling our jails with our young people until they burst will not solve this problem nor heal our communities. We already have more young people in prison than any other european country. Where did WE go wrong?



Brian J. C. Upton said...

i can appreciate your comments & views, and without doubt a change in society is long overdue,however seeing the riots that sweept england recently you must accept that this type of behavior cannot be accepted & punishment must follow ?

edgar broughton said...

You are right and I have no problem with that Brian.

Anonymous said...

here,here Edgar,at last a voice of intelligence and reason.i whole heartedly agree with everything you said, especialy "were did WE go wrong"


mike from Albuquerque said...

Ive watched all the comments too. They shouldnt get away with it.

Anonymous said...

I think it is easy to name call and point the finger -'out of touch socialists, middle class, thugs etc' It matters very little in the end as these people (lets call them the pro flogger), are having an armchair rant probably while eating their fish and chips - they are not actually doing anything. These are the people who never understood Alf Garnet. These are the people who think Victor Meldrew is a REAL person. It is easy to say all these things whilst dipping your chips in the HP sauce before Coronation Street comes on.

So these rioters are down on their luck, feeling low self esteem, no prospects as they see it. Now then what shall we do? I know lets beat them like dogs! How does that work? People are calling them violent thugs but surely there is an irony there as I would say those doing the flogging would be violent thugs.

Amputation of a limb is never the first choice Doctors and nurses will try everything to save the limb as once it is gone it is gone. Once we let these, predominantly young people go, they are gone. Don't they deserve a chance to sit in front of their TV with their family and eat fish and chips.


Anonymous said...

What happens to them after they haven't got away with it and have been punished Mike?

I know children who want to know the answer to that and sadly, a few adults who can't even come up with the question.

Do you think the evil will automatically go away after a few lengthy custodial sentences?

Flog or BLOG ?


Anonymous said...

Mike earlier you wrote "Britain has the most violent thug culture and we see these people everyday.These people are evil,just like the rioters".

Your mantra " They shouldn't get away with it" is clearly unopposed by Edgar and others here so can we have suggestions for the future?

The bankers are getting away with it. The arms dealers are getting away with it (big increase in overseas sales to repressive regimes in last 6 months) Evil?

Let the bankers foot part of the bill for a programme of social and economic reform then those of us who work with the community can do the necessary work. Tax those who can pay.

The rioters are not responsible for wrecking the nation. It is likely they are responding to the wreckers though, albeit in a sad and negative way. Is it coincidence that the riots began at a time when services and EMA cuts have hit hard?

Unless the huge opportunities gap is narrowed we shall probably see more trouble in the streets.


Anonymous said...

Further to my previous comment may I suggest that anybody who STILL has any doubt about our 'collective' responsibility to young people everywhere go to YouTube and watch and listen to the forgotten 1987 gem from Karel Fialka, 'Hey Matthew'. Lyrically and visually this video is vital and urgent because of all it is trying to convey and all it, does in fact, manage to capture so vividly. Watch out for Matthew when he says, "I want to be your friend." and the very powerful line, "It's all a game - I hope."