Of all the tripe talked about the riots, there is no tripe ranker than that talked by Red Ken Livingstone. His attempts to blame the Conservatives and the cuts show either a cynical has-been resorting to cheap politics or a man increasingly detached from reality. Ellis Wiggins reports.
Many words have been written and many hours have been filled with commentary on the riots which seized the country over the last few days, with analysis of how this situation can be resolved, how it can be prevented from happening again, and why on earth David Cameron had the audacity to take a holiday. Amongst it all, chattering away on every news outlet he could find, lurked a creature of the Left we had long since thought we had finally put to bed. Listening to his incessant whining, I found the one question no-one is answering: what strange world of delusions is poor, mad Ken Livingstone living in?
The great Red troll, eager to jump on the political bandwagon, hurtled straight to the BBC, as the flames of anarchy spread, ready to dust off his worn-out mantra and spout it to anyone who could summon the will-power to listen. “This is about disengagement”, says Red Ken, “no-one at the top cares for these people or speaks for them”. It’s “anger and disaffection” caused by recession and cuts which is causing mobs of young people to go out and destroy their cities, or so he tells us.
It’s safe to say that old Ken has finally lost it. If he truly believes the mindless rioting and chaos on our streets are the result of government policy, then he needs to think again. On the police, despite what he might like to tell the frightened citizens of London, policing hasn’t been affected by government cuts, because they haven’t come into effect. Cuts didn’t cause police forces across the country to take five days to wrestle control of the nation’s streets from the thugs; it was a simple lack of preparation. Who could possibly have seen this coming?
When he turns to just why this happened in the first place, though, it truly becomes clear that Ken has gone round the bend. It’s not social deprivation that drove these kids to the streets, it’s not the cuts, or the recession, or any other aspect of this government’s policy. It was criminal opportunism, pure and simple. Bored kids, with nothing better to do. He’s right when he says that there is something seriously wrong at the heart of our society when children (what else can we call them?) as young as 11 are looting shops, smashing cars and burning people’s homes and businesses to the ground. But this isn’t a result of poverty, lack of jobs, or an uncertain future for some young people. This is about a complete failure on the part of society to make sure these kids were raised in a way that meant they had regard for their fellow human beings.
Somewhere along the way, a certain section of our national community stopped caring about anybody but themselves. Absorbed by their own sense of entitlement and self-gratification, they began to believe that they didn’t need to respect authority. As a country we have failed to instil in these people the idea that to receive something from the state, they need to give something back to society. While Red Ken might believe the attitude of these people has evolved out abandonment by the government, it is in fact the result of a collective failure to give these young people a work ethic: satisfaction through hard work, and a sense of obedience to authority.
What perhaps infuriates people more than anything else in Britain is when our politicians attempt to make political hay out of harrowing and tragic circumstances. And, my, has our Ken been playing politics. Throughout his mind-numbing interview, he made continual links between these riots and those witnessed on the mainland in the 1980s. In his mind, only Conservative governments could cause the ‘deprivation’ that he harps on about. Was he asleep during thirteen years of Labour government? More importantly, what is his excuse for his eight years as Mayor of London? This might come as a shock to him, but the kind of situation that plagues our inner-cities doesn’t breed overnight. Festering for decades, under Labour and Conservative, the running sore at the heart of our society needed only the slightest nudge to burst. Opportunism was the order of the day for the thugs who roamed our streets, and now it seems to be top of the agenda from a cast-out figure of the past attempting to claw his way back into high office.
One can only begin to wonder what’s happened to Ken Livingstone in the years he has spent in the political wilderness. Clearly they haven’t been good to him. The absolute nonsense he has been parading before the public eye is proof enough of that. If someone does not step up soon and strongly refute his claims, there could be serious consequences for how we approach the riots. But we can still cling on to the hope that Ed Milliband, the man of the moment not so long ago, is most probably sat in front of his TV, head in his hands, watching his electoral chances destroyed by the tired, divisive and misleading ramblings of mad Red Ken.