England has been alight, literally, as thousands of Britons take to the streets in revolt. Among muggings, robberies and police/civilian riots it isn’t entirely clear why all of this is happening; but you can be sure it’s not just “criminality pure and simple” as Prime Minister David Cameron says.
The events that have happened in England, specifically since the coalition government took over, give an idea of whats going on here. One of the big problems is the massive chasm that exists between England’s rich and poor. According to the Guardian “the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest. With personal debt being pushed as the only way to keep the economy afloat, the average household debt has been skyrocketing for years. Add to this the recent brutal cuts to government services and people can’t afford to live anymore.
There’s also a lot of mistrust for the Metropolitan Police. Everyone can trace the first riot to the shooting of Mark Duggan last Thursday, but police mistreatment has been happening since long before that. The Metropolitan Police have an unfortunate habit of mistreating ordinary Londoners, especially those of black and minority backgrounds. The IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) also opts to protect police rather than convict those guilty of wrongdoing. Of the 333 deaths in police custody since 1998, no police officers have ever been charged.
It’s this severe inequality and mistrust that plays a part in the recent uprisings throughout England. It’s no surprise that when citizens already struggling to survive as it is are confronted with an injustice like the death of Mark Duggan, their patience fails. England needs change. They’re unhappy with living in poverty, unhappy with their coalition government, unhappy with high unemployment and unhappy with discrimination by police officers. These are people for whom regular political discourse and outreach has failed. Everything thats happening in England is a desperate attempt by the people to have their voices heard.