I’ve been trying to rationalise the reasons behind the carnage we’ve seen in North London this weekend. I’ve been doing so tonight while ugly scenes take place a stone’s throw from my home in Enfield.
The only thing I can come up with is the perceived collapse of the capitalist promise.
The dream we’ve all been sold for 25 years is that it’s possible for anyone to achieve their dreams. We’re drowned in images and narratives of the rich and the famous. The public is obsessed with the lives of celebrities. And at heart it’s an aspirational sell.
But that dream us being exposed. After a decade of financial growth and encouraged decadence, we’re suddenly getting poorer. And hopes that it’s more of a blip than a sociological are becoming harder to sustain.
Jobs are becoming increasingly hard to get. Education has been priced out if the hands of the masses.
But we’ve been bred to be consumers. We want to consume. We’re compelled to. Films, games, iPods, TVs, cars, labels, lifestyles. But now we can’t because the weekly shop has soared in price. Fuel prices continue to spiral as oil prices tumble. Insurance has rocketed. Credit suddenly costs.
We’ve been taught to want for nothing yet now we’re told to do without. And for many it doesn’t compute.
So people loot. And they loot comfortably. The police aren’t there to stop them. They walk calmly down the steer with their booty underarm. There’s no shame. They do it in numbers. That normalises it. Willingness becomes consent.
When all respect us lost for society, there’s nothing left to stop us. And we’re at that point.