Hedonism Ablaze

Tuesday, 9th August 2011

What a coincidence! Just days after the US administration agreed to raise their country's debt ceiling and let the global consumption party go on for a few more months or maybe years, In London marauding mobs run riot, loot retail outlets and set commercial and residential buildings on fire. Reportedly it all started in Tottenham Hale, North East, on Saturday evening when demonstration against the police shooting of a minicab driver and alleged drug dealer, Mark Duggan, descended into violence, just four miles from my bedsit. Eye witness accounts and video footage clearly show that police lost control and were unable to contain the ensuing  disorders. Some observers have dwelled on the conflicting evidence behind the initial incident, whose background builds on longstanding mistrust between the police and local communities. In 1985 a notorious riot on the Broadwater Farm Estate after Cynthia Jarrett, an African Caribbean woman, died during a police search of her home, later saw a Policeman, PC Keith Blakelock killed.  Early reports indicated just another example of police brutality against an innocent man. It now looks much more like another case of police incompetence, as both bullets fired were police-issue, but the 29 year-old victim and father of four was undoubtedly involved with narco-trafficking Star Gang. That may not have justified his death, but like many other lads from sink estates in a city with over 50 billionaires he opted to service the service sector by not only facilitating the distribution of drugs, but living by the law of the gun.

The saddest part of all the destruction that has followed is that many young people in towns and cities across the UK see little future other than to party and re-enact some gangland fantasy. The more talented youths may aspire to becoming pop musicians, actors, dee-jays or film producers. A few entrepreneurs may open hairdressers, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and gyms,. And a few conscientious individuals may be drawn to the caring surveillance professions such as social workers, police and learning support assistants, but many just choose to live on benefits. The purpose of life in London has now become simply having fun or rather exploiting other people's desire to indulge in frivolous entertainment. The city has long been a parasite on the world stage, importing huge quantities of additional goods through the proceeds of a global casino.

As riots spread to other London boroughs on Sunday and Monday, a pattern began to emerge. Thousands of hyperactive youths, a small but sizable minority in a city with over 8 million inhabitants,  enjoyed re-ennacting the kind of wanton mayhem they had previously seen on TV and simulated on game consoles. Rather than protesting against the evil capitalist system that enslaves them they could not wait to get their hands on the latest electronic gadgets. Admittedly some food outlets were trashed too, many fast food eateries, but these were no food riots. Britain's generous social security system ensures nobody goes hungry unless they choose to squander their benefits on booze, drugs and gambling. Indeed the scenes of ransacked shopping districts reveal another grim reality. Most shops sell non-essential merchandise. One happy looter posted a picture of his bounty on Twitter, a vast collection of video games and other gadgetry. Was this some kind of statement against the UK/US invasion of Iraq, a sign of solidarity with starving Somalis or attempt to redistribute wealth from the rich to poor? The looter may have feigned his opposition to the excesses of British imperialism or pretended to care about malnourished Africans or the urban poor in a grotesquely overpriced city. But no, he just wanted some instant gratification.

As more reports come in, the choice of looting targets seems to reflect the spirit of our times, to name but a few "The Sony Distribution Centre" in a large warehouse filled mainly with DVDs and game consoles in Enfield and the Party Superstore in Clapham. The big babies are throwing their toys out of their hyper-consumptive prams.

In reply to a New Labourite:

I wonder if New Labour's supporters will ever question the wisdom of economists whose advice has bankrupted the US and European economies in the name of growth? While New Labourites may distance themselves from the current ConDem coalition, they actively supported the previous administration with almost identical policies and equally subservient to the unaccountable multinational organisations who really run the country. 

Recent debt-fuelled economic "growth" in the UK has mainly relied on banking and frivolous media services, aided only in part by North Sea Oil (the UK as a whole is now a net importer of oil and gas). Once demand for these non-essential services crumbles, as it surely will, Britain will have to start living within its own means. However, after 30 years of unashamedly pro-globalist policies (by which I mean reliance on global trade), a huge public and private debt and a large section of the working age population on benefits, the country will be ill-equipped to weather any storms. In a historical context globalism is but the last stage of imperialism, so let's call it global imperialism.

Circular Arguments over Immigration:

While mass immigration may create new jobs by boosting demand, that's an entirely circular argument, e.g. before the 2004 influx of Eastern Europeans there were 600,000 unfilled vacancies, 4 years later the UK still had the same number of unfilled vacancies, but a million more residents boosting the country's reliance on imports. The UK's population has not grown at such a fast rate since the end of WW2. During the 1970s and 80s more people left the UK than entered. Indeed we've witnessed a steady brain drain of talented Brits to the US and Australia and from countries like Nigeria, India and now Poland to the UK. We have a shortage of surgeons because many of the best UK born surgeons work in private hospitals abroad. The oft-repeated claim that "the economy benefits from immigration",  means big business gets a short-term boost in profitability due to the influx of enthusiastic workers and total demand rises, but what is good for the economy in the short term is not necessarily good for society in the long term. These arguments made sense in countries like Australia, the US, Canada or Argentina. Indeed for some time now, UK economic growth has been consumption-driven. This logic fails to take account of rather obvious socio-envionmental factors. Southern England is now the most densely populated region of Europe and Londoners would starve within a week in the absence of food imports. Who said we need to boost aggregate consumption? We should be doing exactly the opposite. If you believe infinite economic growth is possible, then surely you'd have to believe in infinite energy and dismiss man-made climate change as a green plot to depopulate the earth (as some pro-growthists do), but you don't because it would be politically incorrect. 

As we hit limits to growth, the consequences of a recent consumption frenzy growth will significantly reduce the earth's carrying capacity (i.e. more consumption per capita => fewer people). Yet new Labour's policies actively encourage procreation through Europe's most generous child benefits leading to a benefits-driven baby boom and these babies become young adults wanting to emulate Jeremy Clarkson because that's the consumer culture your friends in big business keep marketing. This observation may horrify you, I hear you murmuring "racist" or maybe sexist, but the facts on the ground are pretty undeniable, so don't shoot the messenger. We should not subsidise irresponsible procreation, because it will inevitably lead to more social problems further down the line. You know that. I know that, so stop pretending otherwise. 

Waves of Migration and Social Breakdown

Advocates of mass immigration had claimed before 2003 we needed an influx of highly skilled Eastern Europeans because native Brits lacked these skills, although as you no doubt remember the Home Office estimated only 5000 to 13000 Eastern Europeans would move to the UK in the first year after their countries joined the EU,. The classic example was the Polish plumber. First why did British-born young adults not aspire to these jobs? Second how does simply importing skilled and semi-skiled workers form abroad address a skills shortage among the home-bred population? It doesn't. More important a large proportion of this new unemployable underclass in the London area are themselves descendants of immigrants from the 1950s and 60s, whose parents and grandparents had filled a skills gap. So many conflicts we see now are between different waves of immigrants, something that can only get worse in the event of economic meltdown. However, in the 1960s unemployment in the UK was negligible, two-parent families still very much the norm and housewives valued members of society. Fast forward 40 years and most of the manufacturing and skilled manual jobs that made the British working class proud have been outsourced or assigned to new communities. Whether you like it or not, only a small minority of people will ever excel in the kind of cerebral jobs created by a knowledge economy. I know from personal experience that while millions of people are proficient in the use of software applications, only a few have the mental discipline required to write programs. Hence there are more IT recruiters (talking the talk) than programmers (walking the walk). Back in 1997 your friend, Tony Blair, boasted about how Britain led the world in IT. I presume that's why so few young adults from the XBox generation can write more than a few lines of client-side Javascript code. Much of the rest of the knowledge economy revolves around marketing goods we don't really need and promoting various social agendas (hence growth in the charity sector), which in turn serve to create new markets. 

Do you seriously think British born young adults cannot learn plumbing, bricklaying or farming? Their forebears did. Why did they become de-skilled? And if there was such an urgent need for friendly smiling retail and catering staff, why could big business not tap into the large pool of British unemployed, many of whose parents were immigrants themselves? Why had they become so demotivated and unwilling to get out of the bed in the morning? You may blame Thatcher, who oversaw a tremendous rise in benefits dependency, but Tony Blair followed in her footsteps albeit with different rhetoric.

"Tariq Jahan had lost his 21-year-old son Haroon, murdered in the Winson Green area of Birmingham by thugs who drove at him in their car in what appears to have been a racist attack. No one could be more aware of the simmering racial tensions between Asians in his neighbourhood and those of Caribbean ancestry" .

So why should we tolerate further erosions of civil liberties turning us all into suspects to deal with the side effects of over-development and its recent manifestations as unbridled consumerism, narcissism and media trivialisation of violence. Yet as a result of these policies we will soon be cajoled into accepting even more authoritarianism 

Attacking our Communities?

Globalist policies destroyed these communities. A community requires shared values, customs and social cohesion that cannot be built if its composition keeps changing. Ordinary people cannot afford to live in London except if the government, read taxpayers, subsidises rents. Indeed among the main beneficiaries of New Labour's welfare and immigration policies have been landlords, who in many cases can charge what they like because the Department of Word and Pensions will pick up the bill. As a result we have mind-boggling cases (that I have witnessed personally) of families subsidised to the tune of £3000-4000 a month? Let's do some maths. A typical semi in London is around £320,000 ... that means a couple needs to earn £80,000 per annum to get a mortgage, while real average salaries are closer to £30,000. Indeed in Scotland I knew many on 15/16 K per annum as a late as 2009. In case you haven't noticed there has been a whole scale exodus from vast swathes of London. Deny it if you will, but normal working people cannot afford to live here, unless like me they can tolerate a single room. So we have the chattering classes on 100K+ a year, wealthy advertising and media executives, and then street after street of houses converted into a flats and rented to a motley crew of migrant workers,  home-grown benefits scroungers and miscellaneous gangsters. What a wonderful community! 

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