11 August - The riots

When I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer I decided to give up the political blogging and the ranting because it felt like a waste of precious time on things that didn't seem to matter so much any more. But over the last few days here in England we have had scenes of rioting and looting that are unprecedented. I could not let these go by without making comment, especially as I believe the cause of the rioting is down to many of the things I was ranting about.

These riots are not about the accidental killing by police of an allegedly innocent black man in east London that most of the rioters never even knew or heard of. They are an expression of anger by a sector of the population that feels ignored and betrayed by the political class that rules this country. There are a lot of us who feel that way. The main difference is, we rant, they riot.

Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday that "there is a section of our society that is not just broken, but sick." He was right. And in order to see that section of society Mr Cameron and his Westminster colleagues need look no further than the nearest mirror. Because the problem in this country is we have a political class that is completely out of touch with the rest of the population. Politicians of all main parties today take decisions based on their own self interest and those of their counterparts in other countries, at the expense of the people who earn the money to pay the taxes that fund those decisions.

Politics is sick and broken in this country. How else could politicians think they have a moral authority to tell looters how to behave, when only a couple of years ago most of those same politicians were being exposed in the press for having their hands in the till, fiddling their parliamentary expenses?

I read that in one part of London where the trouble first started, four out of the eight youth clubs had closed because of the cuts, while youth unemployment was rocketing. What respect do our politicians think they deserve to be accorded when they cut services to people who need them and destroy their job prospects in order to save rich financial institutions from the consequences of their own greed?

A few days ago, in a discussion about what the financial crisis in the Eurozone would mean to us, a pundit stated that vastly more money would be needed to bail out countries like Greece, Portugal and Italy, and that as a consequence there would have to be deeper cuts and less money to spend on things like healthcare and education. How much respect do you suppose I and others in my situation should have for a political class that deems it more important to use British taxes to pay the debts of foreign countries in order to try to prop up the failing, flawed EU project, than to provide life-saving healthcare for the people who paid those taxes in the first place?

Should I and others needing expensive medical treatment be allowed to die to save the Euro? Should a youth from south London face years of unemployment to avoid a bank going bankrupt?

I don't condone the violence or the looting, but only because the victims are people and businesses that are in no way to blame for the things that the rioters are angry about. But if it makes more people start to think more critically about our government and its policies, if it could even bring down the coalition and force a general election, perhaps some good may come of it.

No amount of stern headmasterly admonishment from Mr David Cameron is going to change anything. The causes of discontent are not going to go away without a complete change of policy that puts people before international politics.If that doesn't happen then one thing is for sure, this won't be the last you hear of riots in English cities.