The images we have seen over the last few days of London and other parts of the country are terrible and incredibly depressing. Our once great nation has been reduced to mindless hooliganism. I am not known for being too serious or writing about topics of much gravitas (I mean, my first blog for The Huffington Post was on napkins!) but I feel so unnerved and aghast at what we as a country are seeing I must pen something, mainly to act as catharsis.
In today's society there is no respect for authority. Deference is pretty much dead. From time to time I get people writing to me either on Twitter or through my website that I am 'stuck in the past' and that the values I try to stand for are 'irrelevant and laughable'. Well, I'm sorry, but I believe in respect and I stand by that view. Whether I agree with someone or not I do not treat them like their opinions do not matter or count - from time to time I may tell them that I think they are wrong but I do not belittle them or hurt them (emotionally or physically). Everyone is entitled to their opinion and so long as it is not detrimental to other people then so be it. That is my view. If everyone shared the same political stance, religion, sexuality or race then the world would be a very boring place. Variety is the spice of life, after-all.
The rioters in London clearly have no respect for their local community. What their logic and thought-process must be for them to actually think it is fair, just and decent to go on the rampage throughout our nation, Heaven only knows. These people don't have any self-respect either. As the Prime Minister said in his statement on Tuesday morning they are not only ruining the lives of other people but also their own lives. If they get caught and prosecuted then they will have a criminal record, probably a jail sentence, and this will severely affect their futures.
Two female rioters were interviewed by the BBC about their part in the Monday riots; they said that they became involved as they wanted to show the police and 'the rich' that they could do what they wanted to do. Their naivety irritates me greatly. Here are some facts, girls. 'The rich' are only rich as they worked hard for their money. No one handed them their money on a plate. Yes, there are some in the country whose money is inherited. But how did their ancestors get their money? From working! My own family (contrary to popular belief) have come from quite a humble background but each generation has succeeded in working harder and so any 'family wealth' there may be has been accrued over the years. These lunatics (the rioters, not my family) need to realise that they need to get out of their houses and start developing skills that are useful to society, but also to themselves. Yes, the state needs to provide support but it cannot be expected to do everything. This is where the benefits and merits of self-respect need to be hammered home to the younger generations. They need to respect their own lives and wellbeing and then they too can benefit from their hard work.
Deference, a suburb of respect, is also nearly extinct, as the hooligans have shown by ignoring the police and orders from the government. These two fingers to deference can be traced back to the home, where parenting has now become so airy-fairy and lackluster that it is hardly worth children having the parents around. I was brought up with the mantra that what Mother/Father says goes. And if I didn't like it then I could of course say so, but until I was 16 then there was nothing I could do about it. Parents now are giving in too easily to their children. I over-heard the following exchange in a convenience shop a few months ago.
(Young child in pushchair makes a fuss about wanting a Yorkie bar Fruit & Nut)
Mother: (hands Yorkie bar Fruit & Nut to cashier)
Cashier: I hope you don't mind me saying but why are you buying this for your child? He could choke on these nuts?
Mother: Yeah, but he wants it.
Tough! Yes, a child of that age (and he was a very young child) may choke on those nuts, and even if it was a perfectly suitable bar of chocolate, the child has GOT to learn that they cannot have what they want, when they want it. It is the easy route to just give-in to children's demands and wants, and sadly parents seemingly cannot be bothered to parent anymore.
If children from day one in the home do not have boundaries, rules and authority figures then all hell will break loose, as indeed it has in this case. Children thrive on boundaries, any parents worth their salt will tell you that. There is a school of thought now that our little darlings do not need to be told how to behave or how to spell, act or sit at the table properly as they'll all just 'pick it up organically as they go along' but it doesn't work like that. I'm 21 and am not a parent but one doesn't have to be to work it out! It's NOT rocket science.
I do not know what the answer is to sorting out the violence we are seeing - I do not envy the government and our leaders. To reduce the chance of these appalling scenes happening again we need to wake up and start making sure our younger generations know that they are NOT in charge yet - and until that day comes they can just be quiet.