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The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom

(60 Posts)
Tortington Fri 12-Aug-11 08:48:09

blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100100708/the-moral-decay-of-our-society-is-as-bad-at-the-top-as-the-bottom

"Gerald Kaufman asked the Prime Minister to consider how these rioters can be “reclaimed” by society. Yes, this is indeed the same Gerald Kaufman who submitted a claim for three months’ expenses totalling £14,301.60, which included £8,865 for a Bang & Olufsen television."

but that's ok, becuase as he was STEALING that television, he wasn't wearing a hood

PattySimcox Fri 12-Aug-11 08:49:46

Totally agree Custy

AngryFeet Fri 12-Aug-11 09:04:49

Bloody good article!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 09:05:20

Criminality and rule-bending exist in all strata of society. This doesn't mean we have moral decay. The words 'two wrongs don't make a right' spring to mind.

Tortington Fri 12-Aug-11 09:10:25

indeed congo, but i feel duty bound to remind people

Tortington Fri 12-Aug-11 10:20:37

grin

claig Fri 12-Aug-11 11:48:06

Good article. Oborne is very good.
There is a moral malaise throughout society, and corruption at the top is much worse in its effects than an 11 year old grabbing a laptop.

One of these excellent black youth workers we have heard on TV recently, correctly blames the riots on family breakdown, lack of discipline, a topsy turvy society where parents have less and less power etc., but he made the excellent point that, he has heard more about looting in the last 3 days than he has heard about 20 murders in the past few years of people in these communities.
He said there is a feeling that property counts more than people. Where is the morality in that?

Everybody knows that gangs have been around for years and murders have been going on. Why didn't those at the top stop it? Why didn't they make it a priority to stamp it out? Now they say there will be a war on gangs. But why not before? What happened to morality then? Didn't they care?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 12:36:16

I think the truth is that whilst the gang-members were murdering mostly each other, the feeling was that it was 'in-house', hoods killing hoods, and it attracted little sympathy. Innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire got more headlines, to be fair. But when the lawlessness goes outside the gangs and is very visibly affecting the wider community in such a dramatic fashion, then it's a bigger news story, of course it is. Nothing to do with property being more important than people. The same was true with the phone hacking. When it was only Sienna Miller or John Prescott affected there was a collective shrug of the shoulders. Hack the phones of murdered children and suddenly we're outraged. No consistency.

The gangs have been tackled in recent years by operations such as Trident. Ironically, by removing a lot of the older people at the top of the gangs, this has created a vacuum which has been filled by younger and younger people. So there's a still a lot to do but I think it's unfair to think that nothing has been done to date.

claig Fri 12-Aug-11 13:00:44

'I think the truth is that whilst the gang-members were murdering mostly each other, the feeling was that it was 'in-house', hoods killing hoods, and it attracted little sympathy.'

That is the height of immorality. Law abiding residents were terrorised by these gangs, old people can't go out at night due to drug dealers hanging round, young children were being swept up into drug culture and joined gangs and ended up dead or in prison. All of that should have attracted a lot more than sympathy from the ruling elite. If it was going on in Chelsea, they would have put a stop to it.

The public has no say in any of this. The residents have been begging the authorities to clean up these estates for years, just liek teh residents berated Boris and Clegg and said where were teh police in these riots. Of course it can all be stopped. Even Paddick said on TV last night that the police should have stopped the riots in Tottenham by using more force and then the copycat rioting would never have spread to other areas.

The hacking scandal had nothing to do with public outrage about murdered victims' phones being hacked. This was long known by many many people in the newspaper industry but only came out when extra pressure was put on to Murdoch and Cameron to look into it further. The public is a pawn in the game.

Of course something was being done about gangs. But why is Cameron talking about a "war on gangs" now? Shouldn't there have been a war on gangs years ago. Maybe then the riots and breakdown in respect for law and order would never have occurred.

claig Fri 12-Aug-11 13:25:22

Only when it seemed like Murdoch was going to get hold of BSKyB, did the public suddenly find out the extent of the phone hacking for which all the evidence lay in black bin bags for years. I think that that is part of what Oborne's article is getting at.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 14:07:14

I don't know about morality or immorality, but it did attract sympathy from the 'ruling elite', hence the Trident operation. There was sympathy from the public but the shootings and stabbings are so far outside of most people's experience and gangland London seems so remote from their everyday lives that it's like hearing about a crisis in a another country.

More force from the police, as recommended by Paddick, would have been frowned upon by those same people - unhappy with the Menezez debacle, the Tomlinson death, the botched Forest Gate raid and other incidents of rough treatment. The police have been the subject of huge suspicion and do not have carte blanche from the public to exert more force.

And you're wrong about the hacking scandal. There were one or two MPs pursuing the case when others wanted to let it go but the 'extra pressure' in the end did come from the public, whipped up into a frenzy about Millie Dowler. That gave the MPs the confidence to go on the offensive.

claig Fri 12-Aug-11 15:01:59

The public doesn't have much influence, that's a charade. 2 million of the public marched against the Iraq war and hundreds of thousands against cuts, but nothing changed.

Who found out about the Millie Dowler phone tapping? Do you think it was MP Tom Watson? Who released that info and at what time? Only when Murdoch was about to win control of BSkyB.

The public doesn't prevent the police doing anything. The papers, media and politicians inform the public and stir the public. Without them the public would be none the wiser. The public want more tougher policing, they always have. Most want tougher sentencing and many even want the return of hanging, but they can whistle in the wind. The public were in the streets berating Boris and Nick Clegg saying where were the police.

Takver Fri 12-Aug-11 18:44:55

Very good article, thanks for posting the link.

The 'feral rich' fuck up the lives of others just as much as the feral rioters who burn down houses, they just do it more discreetly.

Cogito, for me its nothing to do with 'two wrongs make a right', and everything to do with 'stop the wrongs at the top as well as the bottom' if we want a decent society.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 19:22:50

I'm not disputing that there are wrongdoers throughout society or that bad behaviour should be condemned wherever it occurs. I am disputing the way the article seems to be attempting to make a straight-line cause and effect connection between the actions of politicians or bankers and the actions of looters last week. It completely disregards any notions of personal integrity and implies that we are mostly mindless, amoral sheep, incapable of making decisions for ourselves. It's just too pat for me... and highly inaccurate.

Do you set your moral compass by what bent politicans do? Honestly? Or do you have the strength of character to maintain a higher standard of integrity?

claig Fri 12-Aug-11 19:34:58

'Do you set your moral compass by what bent politicans do?'

Certainly not. That's why I choose to vote Tory.

claig Fri 12-Aug-11 19:36:09

Frankly we are lucky to have a choice. Some countries don't have that luxury.

ttosca Fri 12-Aug-11 19:42:47

Certainly not. That's why I choose to vote Tory.

Bwhahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 20:56:17

Do you set your moral compass by the actions of bent politicians ttosca? Or is it just everyone else?

Takver Fri 12-Aug-11 21:01:27

Now I didn't read the article as saying that the actions of the rioters were caused by bent politicians.

I thought it was saying - only too truthfully, IMO - that it was considered equally acceptable to steal by the very rich and the very poor.

Frankly, it seems sometimes as if its only the mugs like us in the middle that feel an obligation to behave honestly and decently towards the rest of society.

ttosca Fri 12-Aug-11 21:12:44

I thought it was saying - only too truthfully, IMO - that it was considered equally acceptable to steal by the very rich and the very poor.

In fact, it's considered more acceptable for the rich to steal than the poor: Labour MP who was convicted of stealing £6000 in taxpayer's money from illegal expenses got 4 months in jail, where a recent juvenile rioter with no previous convictions, who stole a £3.50 bottle of water, got 6 months in jail.

sprogger Fri 12-Aug-11 21:17:18

Quite right. Looking out for Number One is the way our society has been going, from top to bottom. Now we're seeing what happens when a bunch of amoral teens who don't give a toss about the big picture take what they want.

One of the things that's really disturbed me about American politics over the past decade is the way that self-interest has taken over everything, even religion. There are churches who now preach that Jesus wants Americans to be rich. Accumulating wealth is the be-all and end-all, and if that means bending the rules or tax-dodging (or "getting your taxes back" by nicking tellys & booze, apparently), so be it.

Somewhere along the line, we've become so admiring of people with money we've stopped caring too much about how they've acquired it. "It's not illegal" seems good enough for us. We used to care about whether it was actually moral.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 21:17:40

The 'mugs in the middle' have the moral high ground and if that means we can look at the dodgy people above and below us in society with equal contempt, I don't see that as a problem. There is certainly a nasty element of schadenfreude when the upper layers are shown to be behaving badly... how we like to fold our arms and tut when a Lord or an MP is sent to prison. "No better than they ought to be" we cluck.

Oborne was claiming a link ... is it any wonder they behave like this when they see the rot at the top of society?.... and I think, whilst some people will use any old thing as an excuse, there are a vast majority that don't ape the worst examples but have enough backbone to live decently.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 21:20:15

@ttosca... you know very well that the two cases you mention have to be judged individually, in context and with all the information available. The price of the good stolen does not determine the severity of the offence

sprogger Fri 12-Aug-11 21:21:16

CogitoES, I don't think the mugs in the middle have the moral high ground at all. Most of us have less opportunity than those at the top, and more social capital to protect than those at the bottom. But that doesn't go uniformly for all of us, hence the presence of a few grammer school types in the riot charge list.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 21:22:11

So what stops you looting a shop Sprogger?....

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