As the assorted peoples of the internet gather around Facebook, Twitter and the rest of them watching violence unfold in several major English cities, a couple of things cross my mind. And let's be honest about them.
The first is that the situation is utterly out of control, and that this is not really the police's fault. Not only have their numbers been drastically cut in recent years, but ultimately there are too many people in the country to control effectively when the shit hits the fan like this.
On a non-violent but wholly more spectacular scale, trying to keep up with the sheer volume of status updates, photos and amateur editorials (yes, yes, I know) is utterly impossible. Facebook groups demanding that the government listen to them are pointless, as it is not humanly possible to track — let alone respond to — the thousands of updates posted every 30 seconds or so.
Ultimately this is an argument for devolving power to local communities, something that the coalition government has always been in favour of. Personally, I think that more drastic steps are necessary: are we starting to see the fallout of encouraging globalisation alongside a decades-long population boom? Will democracy and "equal representation" now finally be crushed under its own weight? How can you represent, let alone control, sixty million people from a room that seats just thirty-three?
The second issue that comes to mind is that of who is out there committing this violence. Who are the gangs of "hooded youths" swaggering up and down the streets of the capital, trousers at their ankles, showing us that England's equivalent of Egypt's fighting for freedom is fighting for a free telly?
The truth is that they are simply the underlying current of society, the tax-reliant chavs and bored malcontents that scream by you on their bikes day after day, blaring trash out of their Blackberries. Usually their widely-reported criminal activities are limited to shootings in gangland areas and the occasional bout of bravery in a more "civilised" part of town, but it only takes a few to spread courage. And that entire subculture has now spontaneously erupted into a mob with sufficient courage to run around and do exactly what they were always capable of. It's not that the coalition Government in particular has failed them (why should these kids give a flying frak who the Prime Minister is?) or that Twitter/BBM is destroying our children: it's just that far too many parents from the 90s didn't raise their children properly, and now there are too many to control.
How about this: shoot them. Just… shoot them.
The really scary thing is that, though an article like this might have been mildly controversial ten years ago, I reckon that people are kind of starting to get the point now. (Even if I am being tongue-in-cheek… slightly. Maybe.)
In the words of James Corden's Craig, I never saw the point in London. I generally avoid trips there, probably for no good reason.
But frankly, tonight, part of me wants to go down there and help out the thousands of law-abiding citizens who seem to be properly banding together to defend their homes and businesses, and who are preparing to clean the damned place up in the morning. Odd though it is, the whole situation is actually creating something hugely positive on the other side of the coin: a "community spirit" that's pretty rare nowadays.
Realistically, I have work in the morning. What would be really cool, though, is if those law-abiding citizens could do me a favour, find the little chaps who burned down somebody's dearly loved 100-year old family-run furniture shop, and stab them repeatedly in the genitals with a flaming dagger made of coarse diamonds. That'd be great. Cheers.
Oh, and whilst I'm at it (and I do realise that I'm being a complete hypocrite here in a sense), whilst I'm grateful for the fantastic live coverage from the BBC and from Sky News, what we really need is a media blackout. Twerps aren't quite so loud when nobody's listening, surely.
And I have no comment about the "we're getting our taxes back, innet" lady, except… no. No, you're not.