By Dr. Abdul Wahid
Many people will be searching for answers as to why these riots have happened. But the default position from Whitehall is that this is all down to a specific group of feckless youth and their neglectful parents; and whilst in the long-run this underclass needs addressing, the short term response is a ‘Sun-pleasing’, ‘Mail-friendly’ approach to ‘bang ‘em up and throw away the key’. If they weren’t quite so hostile to Islam, some of the newspapers might be pressing for Cameron to introduce Islamic punishments for the rioters.
When Cameron made his speech addressing the riots he said he wanted to “build an ownership society in which everyone feels they have a stake”.
Yet this is simply impossible when large sections of the public see rank hypocrisy from the political class.
In recent years, it was the sight of MPs looting Plasma screen TVs, laptops, second homes etc that sickened the public. But most of the MPs got off very lightly.
There was certainly no ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the MPs who flipped homes and claimed thousands on false expenses. A cursory glance at the expenses records of the current Cabinet is proof enough of this.
Bankers and hedge-fund managers made fortunes from reckless trading, destroy the financial system, walk away with their profits, and let the taxpayers take up the losses. Which of them has been up in front of a magistrate?
Tabloid newspapers, it has been revealed, routinely paid the police for stories – the same police that are supposed to enforce the law on rioters and looters.
The same newspapers cared little for the law when they broke into voicemail accounts – yet the same papers condemn the breaking into shops.
The hypocrisy becomes all the more obvious when we hear that someone once convicted for arson as a teenager is now Deputy Prime Minister; and his boss – David Cameron – is asked questions about his presence at a Bullingdon club function where a restaurant window was smashed in an act of criminal damage.
People are left with a feeling that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor – and that is no a way to make people feel part of society.
The attitude of the political class resembles this remark written by Shelley in 1812:
“The rich grind the poor into abjectness & then complain that they are abject!”
The elite make policies that widen the gap between rich and poor in society, and market base values for corporate profit – and then complain that they are feckless, feral and amoral.
The Prophet [peace be upon him] once became upset when asked to excuse a rich and prominent person from a crime they had committed. He told people ‘nations before you were destroyed’ because they exacted punishments on the weak but let the powerful off – and that no one, not even his own closest family, should be above the law.
That is the standard of a civilised society; one in which people would genuinely feel they had a stake.
Dr. Abdul Wahid is a regular contributor to New Civilisation. He is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain.