ROME, September 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When in August thousands of British youth started spontaneously rioting and looting shops in some of the country’s largest urban centres, a great deal of ink was spilled assessing the reasons for the riots. For those not watching out the window, videos were almost instantly available on YouTube of hoodie-clad children, teenagers and twenty-somethings kicking in shop windows, cheerily smiling and laughing while they helped themselves to an array of popular commercial goods.
During those strange few days, buildings, shops, homes and warehouses were burned to the ground and four people were killed. No one in Britain or the whole world could have been left in any doubt as to the social disaster that has been brewing in Britain.
After it was all over, Prime Minister David Cameron came rushing back from his Tuscan holiday to tell Parliament that the riots were a symptom of “Broken Britain,” (a slogan understood as a jab at 13 years of Labour Party rule) and that the solution was a “return to traditional morality.”
When I heard this, I am sorry to say that my first reaction was a smirk. Could the honourable gentleman, a dyed-in-the-wool modern secularist liberal, please provide this esteemed house with a definition? I was instantly reminded of that line in the Princess Bride, “You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
These fatherless, rootless, maladjusted young people – what the British press has for years referred to as “feral youth” – are largely products of single parent households, multi-generational dependence on state benefits and Britain’s revolving-door criminal justice system. It was as though they just woke up and realised one day that there was no political will, and therefore no power for the police, to stop them.
Indeed, one of the most memorable quotes from the political class while the riots were still going on was from Home Secretary Theresa May after the police had asked to be allowed to use water cannon. In a mind-boggling demonstration of the political class’s novocained insensitivity to the public mood, May replied that water cannon was not going to be considered because, “The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.”
One police chief in Manchester was heard to respond wryly at a press conference that he was hard pressed to imagine that the shop and home owners had given their consent to being looted and burned.
Pundits who have been warning for years about the dissolution of British society indulged in a flurry of I-told-you-sos, the peak of which was, as usual, Melanie Philips writing in the Daily Mail. She called the looting the “all-too-predictable outcome of a three-decade liberal experiment which tore up virtually every basic social value.”
“The married two-parent family, educational meritocracy, punishment of criminals, national identity, enforcement of the drugs laws and many more fundamental conventions were all smashed by a liberal intelligentsia hell-bent on a revolutionary transformation of society.”
And she was just getting warmed up. It’s worth reading the whole thing.
Years ago, I learned the cardinal rule of politics: the devil is always in the definitions. I thought it best to restrain my enthusiasm and wait to see what actual policies would be offered, and sure enough, the New Tories didn’t disappoint. This month the government announced it would launch a “public consultation” on introducing “gay marriage.” This is David Cameron’s idea of championing traditional morality. (Those who have watched Cameron’s career could not have been surprised.)
This incident is useful, however, in helping to understand the lockdown liberal mindset that has become the norm in British politics. To David Cameron, who probably does genuinely regard himself as a social conservative, what the country needs more of is marriage, and what better way to get that than to extend the franchise to homosexual partners.
In the meantime, and with little political opposition, it continues to be business as usual with the aggressive secularisation of Britain. New cases appear with depressing regularity of Christians being threatened by the state if they should dare to express their beliefs in any public venue. The latest is that of café owner Jamie Murray of the sad and crime-infested northern town of Blackpool, who was threatened with arrest by police for showing silent bible verses on a flat screen TV in his establishment.
Two officers arrived at lunchtime, the café’s busiest, and told Mr. Murray that he was showing materials that were offending someone, and that was against the law. Mr. Murray, having visions of himself being handcuffed and frogmarched down to the police station in front of his customers, pulled the plug on the TV, an act that he said “felt like a betrayal.”
Mr. Murray told the Daily Mail, “They left the shop and told me they would continue to monitor if we were displaying inflammatory material. At no stage had they spoken to me like I was a law-abiding citizen trying to earn a living. I felt like a criminal.’” Mr. Murray said he was not told who had complained or which verses of the New Testament had caused the offence.
Britain’s slide into moral, social and economic chaos is the result of its total acceptance of the entire leftist, cultural Marxist worldview. This outlook has such a death grip on British thinking that it is simply absurd to expect any member of the country’s ruling class to have the ability to think outside that tightly locked and windowless box. The hope, if there is any, lies with the whole business becoming so outrageous that the ordinary British person, who is not and never will be totally hornswoggled, finally starts saying enough is enough.
How remote is the possibility? I don’t know. But I know a lot of English people, and I know that under the placid obedient exterior, there is a breaking point. A place where he will draw the line and no power will induce him to cross it.
The Brits are not a rioting nation, certain elements of the inner city notwithstanding. There really has never been a violent popular uprising in British history. But there have certainly been movements, and on the whole they have been movements towards the good.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the English had a well-deserved reputation for drunken rowdiness that would make a modern football hooligan blush. How did the stiff-upper-lip, reserved and sensibly-shod reputation come about? It was the Victorian period, one of enormous, radical social and economic changes, that helped the country forget its boozing, whoring past, a shift so huge and so all-encompassing that it is hard now even to imagine what went on in the Georgian period.
A few months ago, I had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing Lord Nicholas Windsor, a member of the Royal Family and cousin to Queen Elizabeth II. He confirmed that things in Britain are grim. But I asked him, “Is there hope?” and without hesitation, he said yes. It will take a leader of courage and genuine conviction, he said, but the great stoic, fair-minded and sensible British character has not been lost and is ripe for a revival. Poll after poll shows that British people want more law and order, less political correctness, less European Union and more direct democratic rule. They want, in other words, the old Britain back.
At least since the riots, together with the threat of impending collapse of the European economic system, it can no longer be denied even by the most determined latte-sipping, Guardian-reading London elitist, that the socialist experiment has emphatically failed and something new is required.