Rioters, Looters, Bankers & Politicians(25 Posts)
After causing an international financial crisis, Bankers are back to their 6 figure bonuses. And it was only a few months ago that politicians were swindling tax payers money for their second homes, plasma screen tvs, computers and duck houses.
When the elite members of our society have a flagrant disregard for the law. Can the lower classes be expected to be any different?
There's has been such an uproar over the riots and the sentences being handed out. However Cameron and his cronies got away with their thieving. White collar crime is almost an accepted part of our society with very few being penalised for their crimes. Go nick a bottle of wine and you go down for 6 months, lose your benefits and possibly your home.
"Can the lower classes be expected to be any different?"
You know what? Yes we bloody can... We're not mindless, amoral sheep, lamely copying the worst examples of behaviour. Most of us have integrity and high standards, regardless of our status or income. The vast majority of the 'lower classes' are fundamentally law-abiding, decent people.
And we don't 'accept' white collar crime. There are MPs doing time for fraud, the bankers responsible for the collapse have mostly been sacked & replaced. Police and press are being investigated over the hacking scandal right now. We don't tolerate criminality wherever it originates and are rightly angry if we discover it is happening in our midst.
You may think that the actions of a bent politician gives you the right to commit theft.... the rest of us are a bit better than that.
"When the elite members of our society have a flagrant disregard for the law."
Doesn't everybody these days have a flagrant disregard for the law and a complete lack of respect for others?
Have a look at how many people drive around using mobile phones while doing so. Listen to people talk about speed cameras, are they happy the law is being enforced or are they complaining that the police have the audacity to actually fine you for breaking the law is somehow a stealth tax? Look at how many people buy DVDs of the latest movies from those people that seem to be in supermarket carparks and take them home for their children. There's a video floating around of people blocking the hard shoulder on the M1, which is illegal and very dangerous, and when challenged the excuse seems to be "well everyone else is doing it". Ever had any work done when the worker offered to take cash and knock the VAT off the bill? Even on here where most people seem to be pretty decent people seem to think nothing of asking others how to fill up their children's Nintendos with games stolen off of the internet.
And so it goes on and on and on.
Yes the bankers are selfish and setting a bad example.
Yes the benefit cheats are selfish and setting a bad example.
But they're not the real problem.
When so many people do so many of the things above and, more importantly, their kids see them doing it what example do you think is being set?
That's what does the damage. Don't blame the bankers, don't blame the benefit cheats, they're both real minorities. Blame us and blame the majority. Until we pull our socks up, set our children the right example and learn to respect other people and not be so selfish nothing will change. And there's no point us untold millions pointing the finger at a tiny number of benefit cheats and greedy bankers and saying "well they're being naughty, I won't stop until they do", that's the sort of thing you hear in a school playground.
The buck stops with us.
Let's change things.
I have to agree, I'm not going to (as some have) blame the politicians and bankers for the rioting, but think that their behaviour and that of the looters are symptoms of some wider malaise, where personal morality and responsibility are absent.
One MP claimed for an £8k TV because he could - how is that really any different, except he didn't use physical violence to steal it.
Cogito I wasn't making generalisations on sectors of society. There is good and bad in all classes. We may not accept white collar crime but that is the image that is portrayed. Tax evasion, Insider trading the list goes on and on, I seriously doubt that the bankers have been sacked and replaced. Yes, some politicians were charged for their thieving but didn't the vast majority simply return the money?! And subsequently were not penalised or punished.
Politicians spewing retoric on solving the problem with the "underclasses" where the problems lies within the WHOLE of society. I was not attempting to make a justification for the riots. I making an observation on what I feel is an intrinsically unfair society.
The less well off will always be punished more severely than those at the top. And surely a crime is a crime regardless of who commits it? Badgers I completely agree with you. I've been shocked by some of the comments I've read on MN recently. We all need to be accountable. We all need to take responsibility for the parts that we play in society.
madam that's exactly what I mean. These are the people who are running our country!
I completely and utterly agree with BadgersPaws too. Pity she wasn't in the kitchen with me last night when I was trying to put the exact same points to dh (only less coherently).
"Cogito I wasn't making generalisations on sectors of society"
That's exactly what you were doing. You said 'can the lower classes be expected to be any different?' And the answer is yes we can and yes we often are. Don't be so patronising.
I don't care if you seriously doubt that bankers have been sacked and replaced, because the truth is they have been. It just doesn't fit the 'bankers bad' moronic chant which gets trotted out ad nauseam. As for MPs returning money. Many of them were badly advised in the first place what was permissable and what wasn't. If they can pay it back, why be vindictive on top?
"Politicians spewing retoric on solving the problem with the "underclasses" where the problems lies within the WHOLE of society."
Right wing politicians will be blaming the "underclass", left wing ones on the other hand will be blaming the bankers, the elite and the "unfairness" within society.
Both are completely missing the point, and possibly deliberately, they're playing to their audiences. And most importantly they're avoiding challenging where the real problem lies, which is within the countless millions of people who would be considered "normal" society, and happen to be the same people that swing elections.
Slinging mud at a vaguely defined "feckless underclass" or some shadowy bankers is easy to do and doesn't really offend or challenge anybody, few would consider themselves feckless or a selfish banker. Meanwhile those with left or right wing feelings make appropriate grunting noises of agreement and think that the nail has been hit upon the head.
Imagine a politician coming out and saying "right, the problem is you lot, that's right you lot, the masses of normal society. You're teaching your children that's it's OK to cheat, steal and be selfish and giving the excuse that because someone else is doing it it's OK. Isn't that the same sort of rot that the looters came out with? Everyone else was doing it? Don't point to a tiny proportion of society and say that it's their fault when it's your own" They'd get kicked to pieces by their own party, their opposition and the electorate who they've just called out as being responsible for the mess we're in.
And yes the MPs did deserve to be punished. But what did we do? We elected them right back into office! Well at least those of us that did vote, most people didn't even bother. That's how offended the public genuinely are at the MPs, we're so disgusted that we'd rather just stay at home and watch Big Brother or whatever was on that night in May.
It's our fault. Blaming minorities at the extremes of society might make us feel better, but it's just blame avoidance and won't make anything better.
Cogito I didn't mean to come across as patronising and for the record, I grew up on a council estate, my mother was on benefits and managed to raise 5 of us largely alone. We struggled to make ends meet but we worked our way out. This isn't a benefits, lower class bashing thread! I used those terms because those are the terms being used by the media.
I think badger puts it far better than I have. I was attempting to question our moral compass as a society. And if those at the top have a lack of morality surely this filters down. Whether or not money was paid back is not the issue. Whether of not bankers lost their jobs is not an issue either. Its the perception of one rule for the rich and one for the poor which disturbs me.
So in answer to 'can the lower classes be expected to be any different' you're an example of why the answer is yes. A lack of morality at the top does not necessarily filter down if we don't let it. People like Aitken, Archer, Brockett, Morley and Chaytor have all be put inside. There may be a perception of 'one rule for the rich' etc. but I think it's very exaggerated by certain parties with a particular interest in keeping us all dissatisfied and suspicious.
'Imagine a politician coming out and saying "right, the problem is you lot, that's right you lot, the masses of normal society.'
Isn't that what they and the bankers always do?
"I think badger puts it far better than I have."
I obviously didn't.... Because you then go on to say "if those at the top have a lack of morality surely this filters down."
My point was that there might possibly be a lack of morality at the very extremes of society (selfish bankers, MPs or benefit cheats) but they are a very very tiny proportion of the people in this country. However there is a gaping lack of morality right at the centre of the majority of this country. And that's not "trickle" down, that's our own choices and decisions. And while there is this massive problem with the majority pointing fingers at the minority is just time wasting and avoidance of blame.
And we control the MPs, they're accountable to us, so yes I do think they're chiselling little crooks who ignored the fundamental guiding principles of the expenses system (all claims should have been clearly for work purposes, with no suspicion of personal financial gain and not luxurious or extravagant) in order to stuff their own pockets.
So they're bad.
But we then voted them back in, so we're worse.
And in some weird way at leas they attempted to remain with the rules and the law. Millions of "normal" people across the country quite happily break the law, ignore others and are just downright selfish with the only vague justification being that everyone else is doing it.
When you're rotten from the centre outwards what hope is there of holding the extremes to account?
'But we then voted them back in, so we're worse.'
We've got no choice, there are only 2 and a half parties and we have no proportional voting system. They won't give us that choice because we live in a democracy.
Anyone would think that they are all in it together, including the bailed out bankers.
"Isn't that what they and the bankers always do?"
No. Right now the politicians are keenly aware that they are both dependant on the same relatively small proportion of swing voters and on keeping their core voters relatively happy. So they'll make some noises to play to their audience, the left will blame the elites and bankers while the right will blame a feckless underclass, but on the whole they'll be saying exactly the same things and won't want to be offending that precious band of swing voters. And that's why the political parties are so similar these days other than a few headline grabbing crowd pleasing comments.
"We've got no choice"
Yes we do, to pretend otherwise is just another excuse for not doing anything. When more than half the population don't even bother to vote to try and pretend that it's not our fault is just fantasy.
We could, for example, have written to our local parties making it clear that we would not vote for any MP who had to repay any money at all in the expenses scandal. Facing a crushing defeat like that what do you think would have happened?
But anyway my main point here is that the blame for all of this rests with us, the vast majority of society are becoming increasingly selfish and that rot just spreads.
When so many people disrespect the law and other people in general that is what will influence our young people to do the same. It's not some vague inequality in society or a tiny number of elites. It's every little single bad things that we all do and that our children see and learn from.
'they'll be saying exactly the same things and won't want to be offending that precious band of swing voters. And that's why the political parties are so similar these days other than a few headline grabbing crowd pleasing comments.'
So why don't they stop with the spin and the rubbing of chins and give the public proportional representation? Then they can finally tell the public what they really think.
'When more than half the population don't even bother to vote to try and pretend that it's not our fault is just fantasy.'
Vote for what? More than half of the population believe it is like turkeys voting for Christmas. They are allowed to say a plague on all your houses, because they are free.
'the vast majority of society are becoming increasingly selfish and that rot just spreads.'
the vast majority are law-abiding citizens without a selfish bone in their body. Good Guardian readers and very good Daily Mail readers, not a looter or a banker amongst them.
"Anyone would think that they are all in it together, including the bailed out bankers."
The mythical "them" who are to blame for everything, it's always "them" and never "us" isn't it?
Don't get me wrong, I despise our crooked politicians (almost as much as I despise the malaise in society that allowed them to get away with it) and our selfish bankers.
But they're really not the problem here.
A few hundred MPs claiming for TVs doesn't compare to countless millions of us paying the bloke who fixed the fence in cash to avoid the VAT, who steal games for our children, who steal movies for our entertainment, who fill the reserved car parking spaces at supermarkets, who block the hard shoulders on motorways and who do countless other selfish little cheats.
It's that core block of selfishness and lack of responsibility that's setting the tone for our children and that then causes them to go out and do things like the looting. The tone and core of society have some serious issues and we try and kid ourselves that it's nothing in comparison to the what the mythical "them" are doing. But millions and millions of tiny things can do a lot more harm than a few big things.
Yes politicians are a problem.
Yes bankers are a a problem.
But let's start with the bigger issue, let's start with the majority, let's start with what really influences our society and the children we're producing.
Let's actually make some changes instead of missing this opportunity and engaging in pointless finger pointing at the mythical "them".
What do you think really influences a child to believe that they're entitled to what they want and don't have to wait or respect others to get it? The politician with their duck island? Or Mummy & Daddy giving them a card full of stolen games from the internet to play on their Nintendo?
You've been listening to too many of Gordon Brown's speeches.
The public are good people, they are not a problem and Mrs. Duffy wasn't a bigot. Even Gordon apologised to her and said he was a "repentent sinner".
It's like blaming Snow White and the seven dwarves and saying that the Wicked Queen was as pure as driven snow. Maybe a banker will soon start funding a movie like that.
"So why don't they stop with the spin and the rubbing of chins and give the public proportional representation?"
Because then they'll have to work harder, and why would they voluntarily choose that? Right now they now pretty precisely who swings elections and what it takes to please them. Move to a world where they'd have to have principles and engage with people? You've got to be joking...
Spinning and chin rubbing is much easier.
"More than half of the population believe it is like turkeys voting for Christmas. They are allowed to say a plague on all your houses, because they are free."
By not voting they're not saying "a plague on all your houses", they've saying "OK well carry on as you are, I'm one less person for you to please so you keep on chasing those same people who will swing the election". It just makes it worse and confirms to the politicians that spinning and chin rubbing is actually a really good thing to be doing, those that don't like it don't vote and remove themselves from the problem.
Yes people are free and can do what they want, but in doing so they make the problem worse, but that's their choice, and thus it's our fault.
"the vast majority are law-abiding citizens without a selfish bone in their body."
And that's not being judgemental, I count myself among that "vast majority", but now I want to change things.
It's pure Malice in Wonderland, it's topsy turvy and economical with the truth.
But what if the public agree with Ken Livingstone, when he said "If voting changed anything, they'd abolish it". He's an insider, he knows a thing or two.
"It's like blaming Snow White and the seven dwarves and saying that the Wicked Queen was as pure as driven snow."
No, it's saying that although the Wicked Queen might be thoroughly wicked that's no excuse for the seventy million dwarves to act selfishly and thoughtlessly. The seventy million dwarves are better than that and can't all point the finger at the Queen as an excuse for their behaviour.
"But what if the public agree with Ken Livingstone"
I must have missed the numerous elections that he's stood in and the big one coming up next year that he's standing in again...
Elections can change things, but only if the people get involved and don't remove themselves from being a part of the solution.
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