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Aug 13

The Meaning of the British Riots

Corruption At The Top Leads To Lawlessness By The People

Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

I’ve repeatedly noted that corruption and lawlessness by our “leaders” encourages lawlessness by everyone else. See this, for example.

Peter Oborne – the Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator – wrote yesterday:

The criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up.It is not just the feral youth of Tottenham who have forgotten they have duties as well as rights. So have the feral rich ….

***The so-called feral youth seem oblivious to decency and morality. But so are the venal rich and powerful – too many of our bankers, footballers, wealthy businessmen and politicians.

***

The sad young men and women, without hope or aspiration … have caused such mayhem and chaos over the past few days. But the rioters have this defence: they are just following the example set by senior and respected figures in society. Let’s bear in mind that many of the youths in our inner cities have never been trained in decent values. All they have ever known is barbarism. Our politicians and bankers, in sharp contrast, tend to have been to good schools and universities and to have been given every opportunity in life.

Something has gone horribly wrong in Britain. If we are ever to confront the problems which have been exposed in the past week, it is essential to bear in mind that they do not only exist in inner-city housing estates.

The culture of greed and impunity we are witnessing on our TV screens stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media. It is not just its damaged youth, but Britain itself that needs a moral reformation.

Osborne also gives specific examples of corruption, such as the prime minister’s involvement in the Murdoch scandal, and members of parliament abusing expense accounts.

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