Wednesday, 10 August 2011

"A state of anarchy"?

Our state newspaper, like so many others, loves to set up dramatic headlines. These often bear very little relation to what is actually going on. This morning's paper suggests that the United Kingdom is in "a state of anarchy". Nonsense.
Yes, there has been trouble over there. The problems are serious, even very serious. The UK government has had the unenviable task of trying to find cuts to spending after years of over-spending. The far left has used a police shooting to stir up trouble. It did not take much to mobilise the discontent felt by some young people. They have been fed a diet of "your rights" in school and in the media. They have not taken in the message of "your responsibilities" which should have been given equal weight but has sometimes been ignored.
Australia is no better. Our schools and our media have gone down exactly the same path. So far we have managed to avoid serious trouble. Trouble has been avoided because the current government is still in a "spend" mode with respect to social welfare. Although there are talks of cutting back no serious cutbacks have been made.
The government is unpopular and knows that serious cutbacks would make it still more unpopular. The Treasurer still talks about a "surplus" in 2013. If that happens it will only happen through creative accounting and cutting back in areas which are not vote winners. Any incoming government is going to have to make unpopular cuts. We are living far beyond our means and have been for a long time.
Trouble has also been largely avoided because we have a small population spread across a wide geographical area. Pockets of trouble can be relatively easily contained. Local media may report incidents but they will not always make the national media.
It is far from a state of anarchy, just as the UK is far from a state of anarchy. Anarchy requires far more people to be involved in the senseless violence. The vast majority of people in the UK condemn the violence. Many ordinary, decent young people have used social networking sites to the good and are trying to assist with the clean up.
There will be trouble here in Australia. How far it will go will depend on a great many things but we are not immune from it. I also believe that the vast majority of ordinary, decent young people will condemn it and contribute to the clean up.


Anonymous said...

Could not agree more!

Nicola Morgan said...

Very good sense, Cat. I must say that when I saw your headline I thought, "Grrrrrrr" but it immediately became obvious that you also didn't agree with the description!

For all that good people here are ashamed and shocked that some of our people could behave like this (the cruelty and ignorance have been a disgrace), we are also proud of the great majority, many of whom have got off their backsides and done great good.

It does show how thin the veneer of civilisation is, though. We must protect it.

Donna Hosie said...


When we went back to the UK at Xmas/New Year, the one thing that shocked me being back in London was just how densely populated it is. I had never really felt that claustrophobia before, but I guess 4 years of open land in Oz made me see it for what it is.

Too many people living in too small a space.

JO said...

I agree, up to a point - there is not anarchy here, just a minority of young people who are totally out of control and behaving disgracefully.

But it worries me that the press jump to conclusions - looking for reasons without taking any time to reflect. There is a jumping to conclusions about causes - without anyone really stopping to think what this is all about. We can - and must - condemn the behaviour. And it's brilliant to see so many people coming together to do that. But when the looting stops (as it will) then we must take a more measured approach to thinking about it that is nothing to do with headlines and instant solutions.

Anonymous said...

Yes it needs thought Jo - but that won't suit the media. They like slick headlines and instant solutions.
Cat I see you took an excellent shot at Piers Morgan on Twitter. How he has the nerve to criticise when NI caused so many problems I do not know. Just scares me that Murdoch might demote him back to the Advertiser! Chris

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Anonymous (whoever you are), Nicola and Donna. Jo, interesting thought.
Chris. what an horrendous idea - that is the stuff of nightmares!