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Hang 'Em, Flog 'Em, Film 'Em - Rethink

I watched the film again last night, the whole thing. Indeed my reading of Ryan's parents was incorrect. I'm not going to defend the riots, in fact I don't know any progressive speaker that has. Smashing up communities for material goods is giving the Tories and the rich elite what they want. It's self defeating.

In fact it's obvious that none of the people in the film, taken on face value, are bad people. They were just guilty of stupidity. Unfortunately the venomous Tory party and their programmed followers are functionally incapable of understanding events like these - how dare people riot? There's no poverty in this country, blah blah blah, we live in a meritocracy blah blah blah. Unfortunately they don't see how wrong they are. The utterly futile incongruity of stealing trainers and xboxes is proof of this: it's capitalism gone mad. The only thing that should surprise people is that this hasn't happened sooner.

The zealousness of the responses from the authorities toward some of these kids, that's what they are really, even Lee (who really doesn't come across as a thug whatsoever), is the worrying part of this. A young man with a promising army career forced onto the dole, a young girl guilty of picking up (and then discarding) two trainers from an already looted shop out of stupid curiosity, and another that smashed a paving slab (his case is left vague and his mohter has written him off, worryingly), all in jail or given some jail time.

Like the facebook provocateurs their lives will now be forever blighted (especially a conviction for arson, which in reality turned out to be setting fire to a waste bin - inexcusable, but incongruous with the scenes of house aflame). What does this achieve but to further polarise society? The opprobrium was in furious supply when Danielle's (the trainer 'thief') mother appeared on a local radio station to talk about it.

The frightened enclaves of Middle England would rather see a young man's entire career ruined than countenance the dire consequences of not punishing him for buying a stolen guitar in the heat of the riots. This country specialises in excoriating people like catholic flagellants, no forgiveness no surrender. The disproportionate level of the responses achieves nothing only to up the ante for next time. That's how the likes of Ryan see the world, his only mistake is the naivete of thinking smashing up his community will change society.


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