They look at pictures of their boys when they were young and innocent and after discussing what sweet children they were, one mother sighs and says: “Kids, they blow up so quickly these days”.
A cheap gag, but in a week that has changed the generation gap for, er, generations, there are a lot of aggrieved adults who wish they could do the same to certain bad-ass children. Don’t spare the rod, strap some bombs on to the little blighters and be done with it.
Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, I used to go to school with them, but they’ve been in control for too long. Lord of the Flies? More like Uberkinder of the Western World. Raised on consumerism, tweaked by SMS (or BBM), padded by iPods, muted by TV and bedevilled by consoles, they run the show.
Parents, be they the venal rich or the utterly f*cking lazy f*cks who don’t even have a latchkey to throw at their over-issue, have let them stomp their trainers all over their distracted faces.
The streets (especially the High Street) are owned by da yoof and parents, spoilt and desperate to rediscover their own youths, have bowed to them. They (we) have been the architects of our own gravedigging.
So, this week was no big surprise. A society that was bifurcated three decades ago by a zealous woman from Grantham and created yuppies against non-yuppies finally came up against the inevitable. A crescendo of chaos, a terribly sad spectacle and, just as inevitably, dead people.
In the recent older days there were riots across the country that spat anger at the Police and their racist policies. The SUS laws deserved to be challenged in the streets, but these riots have been all about eBay sales and kids who thought they were above the law.
Some might say that the Police allowed this to happen. Let the kids run wild and then nick them all, enact more repressive laws and let the aghast middle-classes allow them to do so. Those people with brooms were just as frightening as any jackboot.
Maybe, but perhaps the Police were just having a massive sulk because of how they believe they’ve been undermined by culture and Government. If they won’t stump up for pensions, why should we risk censure when nicking people, they say.
Naturally, the clampdown is now here. Songs by The Clash such as White Riot, the aforesaid (Working for the) Clampdown and The English Civil War spoke of this, several years before British Telecom was privatised.
The right-wing media are in their utter element now. Bring in the water cannons, bring back National Service, bring on the repression, they’ve never had a better chance to set the agenda. It’s Shock and Awe, as beautifully written about by Naomi Klein, and in your back yard now.
So, the pendulum will swing and the corporate punishment squad will take control until all the rules are in their favour. Once laws are made, they are never repealed and like the mothers of suicide-sons, we bemoan the innocence we probably never used to have.