Troubles in Britain

My first act on booting up the laptop is to scan the internet for news of how Britain is coping with the rioting and mindless thuggery that is spreading like a stain across the country. It makes me feel anxious and angry at the same time, scared for what is happening to the country I have called home for 27 years, and angry at the people who just see a way of taking advantage of a situation and lay the blame elsewhere. So many British youth seem to have no moral compass. Is this true? Or do they just chose to ignore it.

Britain is seeing out tough times right now. I know from before we left that wages had been frozen for more than a year, no job was secure and if you were thinking of promotion you were living in la-la-land. So many cuts, so many lay-off’s, libraries closing, school playing fields being sold off. But I have no idea how it must be, to have gone from 15% VAT under Gordon Brown, back to 17% and now 20% under the coalition government. If you are living on the edge of your means a hike like that must make so much unaffordable – and I’m not talking luxury goods, I mean groceries. Global food prices rose again in June and are at a record high.

Although those irresponsible, greedy bankers have a lot to answer for, other factors are involved. The food crisis mentioned above, and, an out of control blame-culture. People need to take responsibility for their own decisions and choices. If your gut is telling you that mortgage is unaffordable but the bank says “yes”, who are you going to listen to? It’s not the bank that’s going suffer if it all goes Pete Tong. Individual freedom is the teenage stage of maturity. Sometimes you have to overlook your own desires in favour of what’s better for everyone. It’s not OK to torch Tottenham, Hackney or anywhere else and turn around and blame the government. There are ways of articulating a genuine problem and encouraging support from those sympathetic to your cause – what is happening in Britain now is pure criminality, nothing more. I hope the police force and the government can find a way to stop this headlong rush into anarchy and punish those who are kicking their own country when it’s already on its knees.

Left unchecked, the situation in Britain could become a platform for all manner of groups with questionable agendas to recruit and reach a wider audience…

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


    1. Good question, so much hangs on how the police and government deal with this – it could prove an opportunity for the security sector to shine, or it could do irreparable damage. Have the Olympics ever had a last minute change of venue?

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