Britain in a peculiar mess

Before the hoodlums struck in London, I had perfected my plans to visit the Lauterpacht Center for International Law, at the University of Cambridge, England. I also intended to acquaint myself with the Advent of British Explorers and Missionaries (1788-1860), at the Institute of African Studies at Cambridge University.

Certainly, those miscreants, who touched people’s homes, looted their shops and vandalized buildings, do not possess the adventurous spirit and the bravery of Mungo Park, Hugh Clapper ton, the Lander brothers, William Baikie and Heinrich Barth.

These British explorers helped “to discover inland highways for trade into West Africa, as a means of satisfying Britain’s need for new markets for her manufactured goods”.
Those noble men helped to create the wealth, built the houses and shops that the hoodlums destroyed during the riots which spread quickly around the country.

I unmistakably condemn the red-eyed hoodlums, who have committed atrocities against Her Majesty’s domain.

I have observed that there has been a decline in the civilized attitude, which people acquired by living in England and the finesse that inevitably rubbed off on people simply by imbibing British courtesies.
These cultural traits have wantonly been eroded by the hip hop culture, crude films and the debauchery they propagate, mass culture hits, the ascendancy of burnt-out artists, renegade talk-show hosts and glib commentators, who’s ranting have no intellectual worth. The lack of meditative thinking on the part of governments often leads the youth to a medley of riotous insanity.

The social problems of modern societies are very complicated. Serious thinkers must be commissioned to map out strategies for the resolution of the on-going societal crisis world-wide.
The exclusion of academics and intellectuals, who are, at best, given mundane and obscure positions, has had the result that simple-minded party lieutenants perform in jobs that they are ill-equipped to handle.

The poor performance of governments in most states has been identified by researchers as having a direct link with poor academic standards, non- exposure to the international system, parochialism, stunted intellectual prowess and putting round pegs in square holes.

This global phenomenon has damaged the growth of states in the last twenty years. Until sound intellect is given the pride of place in human affairs, the peculiar mess that states find themselves, will not abate.

Very often the tabloid newspapers ridicule men of letters and extol the virtues of those politicians, who pass envelopes to pressmen. “Wash a pig and comb a pig, a pig is a pig.”

The riots in the Arab World and North Africa seem to have reached the shores of Euro-American states. Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, France and Portugal, have more or less witnessed one protestation or the other, in varying degrees of destructiveness.

Recently in Wisconsin, U.S.A, some people took to the streets, because they did not subscribe to the political theatre in Washington over the US debt crisis.

Some sociologists attribute the riots in England to a break-down in the British social system. During the riots, which had gone over the top and over the bend, there were perfect murders, perfect lootings and extremely rough behavior unexpected of English gentlemen.

Obviously, the looters were no gentlemen. Their language was obscure, their mien, ghoulish, their disposition were adorned with savagery.

One angry Briton pointedly told the Mayor of London that their discontent stemmed from the fact that there was unemployment in Britain and the reversal of social policies had robbed them of their social benefits, yet their government was spending billions of pounds in Libya.

The anxiety caused by the cutting of social benefits, which could lead to the erosion of social justice, may have pushed the desperation that could be the remote cause of their discontent.
In the internet age, political awareness and social consciousness are being stoked by the social media. Demagogic rankings by agitators can now do a lot of damage since they leave no moment for rational thinking nor calculated thought.

In Britain, the anxiety of British youths over education has “turned into dread and dread into despair”
Charles Dickens second novel, NICHOLAS NICKELBY, exposed the “monstrous neglect of education and the crying evils of the cheap boarding schools for boys at the time still common in the North of England”. There are no longer Dotheboys Halls in England, but the reminiscence is both anecdotal and allegorical.

While the pangs of hunger and hopelessness in the Third World are veritable annoying indices, the thought of being an illiterate compound the vision of future life for the Caucasian.
In my essays, I have warned against supporting rebellion, because bad habits are quickly learned and putting them into practice requires a little cause. Loud noise, hysteria and the attendant mayhem leave scars of regrets.

During the London riots, I was chilled and overwhelmed by the sights of a bleeding young boy, who was robbed by some youths with misplaced consciences. Man’s darker side emerged “triumphant.”
The Kaddafi regime, in a taunting, revanchist fashion, claimed that “the Cameron government had lost its legitimacy.” Because tomorrow is pregnant with uncertainties, that is why it is not wise to ridicule a nation’s plight.

The world economic down-turn and its effects on Britain are acute. Amidst these interlocking circles of misery, one can hardly understand the British engagement in Libya.

British structural dislocation may be traceable to some austere policies under Margaret Thatcher, who privatized British companies enriched the already rich , encouraged the outsourcing of British companies, the immigration of British experts to foreign lands, all these led to a decline in British development as the mental power of its best brains left its shores. Britain has to make do with Indians and other races, which are willing to accept lower wages.

Thatcherism was defeated and the Labour Party tried to salvage the British economy, without much success.
As Noam Chomsky observed, “The ideological triumph of free market doctrine” had eaten deep into the British psyche.

As I watched the rising flames, Dante’s Inferno came to my mind. There was this eerie, ghoulish feeling seeping down my spine but the gates of Hell shall not prevail!

Just as Nero blamed the Christians for burning Rome, David Cameron blamed the situation on political and social mal-contents. He may have to take another look at his recent policies and do a turn-around.
It will not be enough for the Prime Minister to speak in the language of privileged government. This may not go far enough because there is no effect without a cause. The VAN Commission must examine the sociological underpinnings of the youth discontent and recommend sweeping measures to alleviate the sufferings of the masses.

People are pushed to revolt when “the government can no longer govern except in the old way and the people can no longer live according to the same old way”, V.I Lenin.

The British government, an amalgam of Conservative and Liberal politicians with unclear ideological orientation, may wish to find a new path through which the British society can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Written by
Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
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