Ghost Town

So, the inevitable has come to pass. It was fairly easy to predict but, oddly, no one in Westminster seemed to want to think about it. As horrible as these scenes are, it isn’t too difficult to understand (without condoning) why it’s happening. Much will depend on Cameron’s reaction to the violence when he gets home. Already his reputation is tarnished, following the first wave of News International revelations.  I rather suspect he will revert to old style authoritarianism to appear decisive, though I think this will only make an already widening schism between parts of this country even greater.

Back in 1981 The Specials had their final hit with the totemic and iconic song Ghost Town. It painted a picture of a desolate country with vanishing hopes of any kind of future for the young (unless they came from wealthy backgrounds). It isn’t a song of historical record any longer, it’s current all over again. So much seems as it was thirty years ago at the moment.  The economic convulsions are taking place against a blizzard of political infighting. Politicians are as despised as the press and the bankers; the centre of many towns are becoming the desolate hulks the song portrayed (especially in the North); the economy creaks under the weight of political inertia and people are worried about their future. The difference this times that people are even deeper in debt than before and ever more fearful of the precipice.

However, the actions of idiots, who have seen this as a ready excuse to steal, loot and destroy, have given the political classes the excuse to ignore the underlying problem. The focus will move to clamping down on the symptom and will not even look at the underlying problem of the breakdown of our society. It’s noticeable that the Prime Minister has stopped using the phrase “Broken Britain“. As an ex-PR man he knows all too well that that phrase can now be hung around his neck as the effects of government economic policy begin to bite. We don’t need to guess; we’ve seen it before and it was horrific for many.

But what do we have to lead us now? A complacent, disconnected and distant political class, whose understanding and knowledge of the rest of society is dwindling as the years pass. The big surprise is that the anger that has built up so far has not exploded earlier. And we still haven’t felt the full impact of the government cuts, the cuts that local authorities will have to continue, spiralling energy prices for homes and worse.

Do you remember the good old days before the Ghost Town?

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