The difference between right and wrong

Posted by in September's Magazine

Dear readers, the more sober amongst you will have noticed that I did not, in my last column, comment on the riots which took place in England recently. There is a good reason for this. Such incidents have a tendency to invoke knee-jerk reactions within Governments who can’t wait to unleash their ideological bile and invective. After the initial riots – which took place over a period of 18-hours – politicians couldn’t wait to appear on news bulletins and hammer off columns for the newspapers setting out why the riots had taken place. I decided to wait and see if more sober reflection was forthcoming; unfortunately, it wasn’t.

The Tories, of course, have settled on their default ‘moral collapse’ position.


David Cameron states:
“In the riots there was clearly a hardcore of people who were just breaking the law and had no sense of right and wrong or moral boundaries. But tragically, we also saw people who were drawn into it, who passed the broken shop window and popped in and nicked a telly. And that is a sign of actual moral collapse, of failing to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”

Cameron has more experience of this sort of thing than you think. Cast your minds back to the expenses scandal. While some MPs were simply breaking the law, others, including our current Prime Minister, on noticing that the door to the expenses office at Westminster was wide open, simply popped in and grabbed some public money in order to have their moat cleaned or the wisteria removed from their garden walls. So, supposedly responsible people who would normally run a mile from any sign of trouble with plod, can be sucked into an amoral morass at the drop of a hat? Well, in Cameron’s case, perhaps it’s at the drop of a top hat.

As you all know, he was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club at Oxford University, a club that engaged and continues to engage in, riotous and sometimes violent, drunken behaviour. Cameron has always denied that he took part in any such disorder but fellow members, including London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, have always put him in the frame. Asked if he could see any similarities between his own, morally unacceptable behaviour and that of the individuals tragically sucked into the recent riots, Cameron said: “I think we all do stupid things when we are young.”

Hear, hear. He’s right, we do. But why is it, that what he engaged in is passed off as youthful stupidity while those who became, in his own words, “tragically involved” in the riots are part of some thunderous moral collapse sweeping its way across the country? I’ll tell you why.

The Tories know that a large part of the problem is that the cuts which they have implemented are starting to bite and, inevitably, those cuts will be more likely to be felt in communities like Tottenham and Clapham where many of the riots took place. Unemployment is rising and there is very little prospect of an economic recovery happening any time soon. This is not to excuse the rioters some of whom committed murder in the mayhem, far from it, but to completely disassociate the Government’s policies from what took place a few weeks ago is naive in the extreme. If you embark on an ideological experiment, you had better be prepared for the consequences.

However, the Tories are spending money, make no mistake about that.

For example, they’re happily throwing public money at so-called ‘free schools’. These are schools which can be set up and opened by anyone in the community. The Tories like the idea of such schools because they’re selective which means that parents will have a say in who does and who doesn’t get in. The right-wing journalist Toby Young is due to open one such school in west London next week. He is modelling his school on Eton College, the alma mater of Cameron and Boris Johnston. He is particularly keen to replicate Eton’s practice of ’oiling’ which is learning how to win friends and influence others, and how to clamber over them to get what you want. Can you see how all of this is fitting together now?

David Cameron goes to Eton, learns how to clamber over people to get what he wants regardless of the consequences, and becomes Prime Minister. It’s a success story that should really have Hollywood knocking at his door. But wait a minute. Wasn’t that what the rioters in England were doing recently, following the Prime Minister’s example and clambering over their fellows to get what they wanted? Ah no, you see, you’re missing the point.
Shafting the working class, the middle class and the underclass is simply what the Tories do. They don’t let something as piddling as morality get in the way of a good old ideological rampage. However, as soon as the oiks decide to forget their morals, the Tories start to choke on mock outrage.

It’s a classic case of ‘them and us’; all you have to do is decide which side you’re on. Protempore

Pigticians illustration: Bernie Reid

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