The suburbs surrounding Gotham City are populated with wealthy, well-intentioned, well-educated people who make excuses for the criminals in Gotham City. Christian Walker describes the parallels between Batman and Britain and tells us exactly how the liberal-left created the conditions for the August Riots.
One of my favourite comic books is ‘The Dark Knight Returns’, by Frank Miller. It is considered (one of the) blueprints for much of the grittier, harder-edged comic book adaptions you now see at the cinema.
Whilst I enjoy its plot, I love it for its politics. It depicts a Superman, unthinking, supercharged all-American lackey of Ronald Reagan; a Joker, the enigmatic personification of chaos; and between them, a simple man with the sigil of a bat – committed to fighting criminality in all its forms, and for this seemingly noble virtue, forever the outsider.
It also depicts where a caring society can get you. Peppered throughout the stories are intelligent fools; doctors, philanthropists, well-meaning citizens. People who think psychopaths should be given another chance; who think it is society which should be blamed for criminality, not criminals; who think our beloved Dark Knight, Batman, is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Of course, these people do not live in Gotham City, a dark urban sprawl, plagued by crime: they have very nice careers, and live very lives, out of the city. But this does not stop them commenting on the problems which plague that city: and because of their education, and their role in wider society, they are listened to, even though they speak from a position of ignorance.
Those who speak from a position of experience are, by defition, ignored – if they were learned and powerful, why, they wouldn’t be stupid enough to live somewhere like Gotham City, now would they? This dynamic – a disconnected elite which cares, because it can afford to care, leading a mass which is apathetic, because it is simply trying to survive – runs through the entire comic.
In the comic, these people are (like all comic-book characters) larger than life – utterly implausible in the real world.
Or so I thought. Seeing the reaction of many leftists, led by that great champagne socialist Red Ken, I could be forgiven for thinking I’d wandered into the pages of a comic book.
A group at the apex of society, socially liberal, independently wealthy and completely disconnected from any city apart from the bit of London where the offices of the Guardian and BBC are located (I presume they’re in the same building now given the similarity in both reporting styles and staff), have come to our rescue in this hour of darkness, and taken it upon themselves to fix things. They are our White Knights.
To fix things, of course, we must first have a cosy national chat about it. We must, apparently, ‘without condoning, understand the causes’. Well, I say have a cosy national chat about it – what I mean is, get on board with the predetermined programme. In case you didn’t get the memo, it’s been decided that the causes of the August Riots are, in no particular order, the unforgiving harshness of modern society (how could a teenager possibly be expected to cope in a society incapable of providing every 15 year old with a lifelong career in the mines, for goodness sake?), the expenses scandal (I remember many chavs telling me at the time how disillusioned they became with the democratic process after reading their MP’s expenses claims in the Telegraph), and of course, that great, all-encompassing bane of the Independent Newspaper, ‘consumerism’.
Oh, and class. In seventh century Italy, all roads led to Rome; likewise in twenty-first century Britain, all roads lead to class.
It’s at this point I’d like to interject with a couple of pointers. Firstly, the use of the term ‘underclass’: I have no problem with it, but what I do object to is the idea that there was no such class before the Education Maintenance Allowance was cut. Left or right, capitalist or planned, social democratic or demonic libertarian – in every country in every part of the world throughout history, society has been ordered. This means you have someone, or some group, at the top. And what, logically, accompanies this? Well of course, someone at the bottom. This is how it has always been, mainly because there’s no better way of running things. It used to be the case that those at the bottom was determined by social standing; now, it is determined by education. I’ll leave you to decide which is worse.
What is unique, however, is the extent to which those at the bottom are coddled, preserved, showered with money, subject to unending positive reinforcement, and otherwise maintained by both their guardian(s), and a state which, both at the Ministerial level and at the ground-level, has an interest in finding new and exciting ways it can interfere in people’s lives. In the nineteenth century, those that weren’t sent to the workhouses were sent to fight Napoleon; the standard-of-living for ‘the underclass’ has improved considerably since then.
Oh, and I am quite happy that we’ve moved on since then. Those who would advocate sending rioters into the army have clearly not considered the effect such a policy would have on those already in the army. I think troops in Afghanistan have enough to contend with without wondering where to keep their iPod after the latest shipment of angry munchkins arrives.
But, more importantly, this revolution means it is quite possible for ‘the underclass’ to be independently wealthy. A society where stupid people are left to starve to death is, quite rightly, considered barbaric – but so too is a society where sloth is, if not rewarded, at the very least tolerated, and maintained. Times are tough, and jobs are hard to come by – I understand that – but what was the excuse for the unemployment figures in the boom years, when the country had so many jobs we were importing Eastern Europeans to pick our strawberries for us? ‘The system’, led by both parties, is so eager to avoid the aforementioned barbarity, that it now indulges idleness. This is something new, and it is something the self-appointed problem solvers in the media and the Elect Ken campaign office don’t really want to recognise or tackle, mainly because they helped create it.
The other revolution is technological in nature. I know, I know – ‘technology is changing the world’ is how a good 60% of all political articles begin, but it has very real relevance here. The mobilisation of the masses previously required organisation, infrastructure, money, and weeks of planning – indeed, it’s why political parties were invented in the first place. How do I know we conservatives are going to be at a particular place at a particular time on a particular day? Why I get a letter through the post several weeks in advance informing me of this fact, after a nice chap from the Conservative Party asked me for my name and address and put it in a filing cabinet at Central Office, that’s how. Not anymore. That same mobilisation can now occur near enough spontaneously, through a mobile phone, and with no real planning or foresight.
And what is wholly unique – completely unprecedented, and constitutes the principal cause of the riots – is these two factors combined. Young people, mostly boys, who consider themselves to be a part of an ‘underclass’ because it validates the comforting sense of victimhood foisted upon them by the likes of Ken Livingstone, have the money to acquire the latest technological advances and use them with well-practiced ease against the society which furnishes them with the means to buy that technology in the first place.
But don’t expect our learned elders to recognise this. For them, causation is defined by ideology; expect a narrative which emphasises how society has failed our young. Sending them to prison? That’s far too hard on them. It’s OUR fault, after all. You know how some morons believe rape is the fault of women for wearing short skirts? Well some other morons believe this mass-criminality is the fault of shops for putting fancy shoes in the window. They were asking for it, really.
Those same morons believe we need to understand criminals, not punish them. We need to agree with them, on some level; and then hopefully, they’ll agree with us on some level. This is called compromise. And that’s how a respectable society, led by the self-aggrandising, faux-respectable Ken Livingstone’s of the world, should respond to criminality: with compromise.
It should go without saying, I’m not on the side of the Ken Livingstone’s of the world: I’m on the side of Batman. And that’s why I’m a conservative.