I can remember my parents wearing worn out clothes when I was a kid, they spent all their cash on making sure my siblings and I were always properly dressed. They rarely spent money on themselves, in fact I can’t ever remember them treating themselves, they just treat us instead. The mortgage was killing them and they shopped at Lidl because it was the cheapest. We lived in a nice rural part of the world, but before we lived in a horrible suburb of London. My folks would have to sell the car to pay the bill some months and my dad had two jobs for a while. It was about pride and providing for the family they chose to create, no one forced them but they did not complain.
While policing the local council estate, I find I have nothing in common with my fellow â€˜working classâ€™ citizens. I cannot profess to being working class now, though my parents were blue collar workers which thankfully gave me the springboard I needed. During my childhood they did nothing but work, my dad would leave before I woke in the morning then return when it was dark daily until I was about 16. My mum worked nights in a care home, I spent a lot of time alone or in the company of my siblings.
The reason I spill this story is because the rioters are not working class heroes. A few rioter who came from my patch are comfortable and well looked after. The belief that they live in poverty is a fallacy, why do I find Sky HD boxes in the many council houses I attended when a revenge complaint has been made against the last fuck buddy? Why do they have wireless internet on tap, why do they have luxury furniture and plasma screen TVs? Is that poverty?
I have seen real poverty in this country, I see in care homes and homeless shelters. I see it in the real working class homes of the single mothers working two jobs to keep the lecky on. The rioters we saw last year a generation of pampered teens and young adults. The live off everyone else because we allow them to leech. We actually pay for them to exist at our expense. We actually ensure they are bored enough to bother getting out of bed to riot.
And this same group of people riot on a daily basis, just not in an obvious way. They are a blight on the council estates and a law unto themselves. They are the main reason I wear a bloody stabvest! You know the people Iâ€™m talking about, the youths who eye you up as you timidly step on the tube, purse clutched tight as a pair of eyes stair out of a grey puma tracksuit with black gloves on. Your skin craws as they slink past in their latest nike air trainers that squeak on the floor and you hope to god that you donâ€™t make eye contact. You know youâ€™ll get a face full of abuse and venom if you make the mistake of â€˜disrespectingâ€™ them. You also know no one else will come to your aid when this young personâ€™s mates start on you too. These same people riot everywhere, on the buses, in the schools and on the streets youâ€™re afraid to walk.
Poverty and inequalityâ€¦ the only inequality I see as a copper is when we ignore the phone calls from the genuine victims of crime so we can respond (in a home office approve target of 15 minutes) to another facebook domestic between two former fuck buddies or fighting incestuous over grown children.