Paul Stainton’s Indepth Analysis and Solution to the Problem of the Youth of Today

07:40 Tuesday 9th August 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: I’m just amazed that so many of these kids have got a Blackberry, 40% of them. It just, you know, it destroys their claims that they’re broke, and they’re skint, and they’ve got no money. It absolutely destroys it. Because, you know, you’re not broke if you’ve got a Blackberry, are you? You’re broke if you can’t afford to eat. You’re poor if you’ve got no carpets on your floor. Is it time, you know .. we’ve got the youth on the streets. They’re angry. They’re disillusioned they say. They’re full of pent up energy. Is it time to have a real discussion now about bringing back National Service? Is it now time to put a uniform on these kids? If they get arrested, that’s where they go. Ship them off to Afghanistan. If they want to fight, there’s fighting going on there. There’s kids their age defending this country. Whilst they’re burning stuff on the streets, kids their age are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq.

2 thoughts on “Paul Stainton’s Indepth Analysis and Solution to the Problem of the Youth of Today”

  1. I have a friend in Texas, who asked me if I think this might result in real change in society. I answered him and decided I wanted to publish this somewhere, so here goes… (In the unlikely event that you want to post this to a wider audience that I don’t know how to reach, go for it. No need to ask, just copy and paste the lot in one piece if you think it will do any good).

    There will be change, because this is part of something bigger. Right now, it’s not just the rioters that are running around like headless chickens, most of the media is doing it too.

    Most of the answers are already known, but people WILL persist in inane black-and-white models of reality, they think the causes and answers are simple, so they answer the problem first with dumbfounded outrage, then brutality, so this will escalate now, until the rioters decide it’s not worth the risk.

    I know what the answers are, most people do, when they have the time to consider them. We’ve had ten years or more of aspiration. But WHAT aspiration? Trainers. Alcohol. Bigger, better TV’s. Life in Britain has been about holidays, home ownership, having stuff. Working. Limited visions, working blindly to maintain them. People doing this at the expense of their own children, who look around at this world and wonder where the magic is, the worth. We don’t need to go down the religious and moral lines of argument, it’s a purely animal thing, the question of WHY BOTHER TO LIVE? Those who riot are those who have not been given a good enough reason to live. So they see no value in building because they see a world that tells they that they should have it NOW. Who wants to build when they can take a building and throw it away in the same instant? As most of their parents have lived on credit, a buy-now-pay-later culture, then hit the hard times and have to work longer hours to pay off this mindless consumption, all the aspirations that make life worth having, have been perverted. People who are told at the same instant that they MUST own this stuff, and that they CANNOT own it, are doing what seems to be the only way they can satisfy both imperatives at once.

    The state will try to criminalise them now. The problem with that is that it will punish before asking questions. Well, it will if it’s as stupid and cruel as I think it is. These people have taunted a generation with their profligate wealth and consumption, and now the world gets mean and hard again, they pull up their drawbridges and seal themselves in their towers with all their remaining privilege. So far this rioting has been about the base consumption issue, but what happens next? Once this blast is over, people will ask what next? And even tonight, if policemen start hitting kids with sticks regardless of whether they are actually smashing their way into shops or not, that’s when it will become explosively political. If this polarises a nation into a divide between those who have, and those who haven’t, then forget the Olympics, what the world will remember of Britain is one of the most barbarous nations on Earth, one that will beat its children in the streets till the blood flows. How this develops, depends entirely on this one thing: How will those who lived the lives that created this possibility, deal with the results. Will they get self-righteous and blame their children? Or will they accept that they have made impossible contracts with those children in an attempt to maintain something that couldn’t go on as it was?

    I was in the same position. I left home because I couldn’t find my own life while trying to live an ideal that forced me to choose between compliance or rejection. I will never be accepted by my mum because of how I handled this choice. But I did not riot, even though I chose to walk around during one to see what happened. I knew people who burnt cars and looted shops in 1986, but all that concerned me was that I wanted to find my own way, to build what I wanted once I got the time, and the space to do it, and to understand the world I was supposed to do it in. Not every lost kid wants to destroy, even when caught up in the fire. The question is: will our infamously self-righteous ‘hardworking society’ have the balls, and the wit, to know what it really is, or will it beat those children into submission tonight just to force its own perverted sense of order? Judging by the amount of willful ignorance, I don’t have high hopes for good results. Most policemen don’t want to hit children, I guess that’s partly why they sometimes stood around and did nothing to stop some events. But tonight they’ll have to, and I hope they can do it with lines drawn, not blood.

    I could go on about how the Olympics, the eyes of the world, fast comms, the loss of authority in police, government, press, and judiciary, all conspire to make this happen now, but all that’s just confluence of circumstances. All that stuff is about how the charges got fired, NOT about how they were laid in the first place! All the talking heads in all the world will have no answer if they think this just happened ‘out of the blue’ because no bomb this big can be ignited in a moment unless it was already laid and primed long beforehand.

    I think the eventual answer will be to let people have a lot more choice in how they want to live. To compel people to ‘fit in’ and make them automatically criminal if they cannot do this, is wrong. Not just on principle, but in every detail. A nationwide theme park of work and morality, of compulsion to order imposed from above, is useless, it makes class war, ageism, all the crap that stokes these fires.

    Maybe in the end the best answer is that people should STOP having kids unless they are genuinely interested in the lives those kids will have. To do it just because they can, or for prestige, or another working pair of hands, or because they can’t be bothered to consider the results of sex, or whatever, is not a good reason. We don’t need morality plays, we just have to ask: why do we want to live? And if we don’t know any reason beyond some blind social imperative, should we be having kids, and expecting them to do what WE cannot and will not do? And then blaming them for perpetuating our failures? I’m lucky, I decided to have any so I don’t have to agonise over this myself, but those I admire most are those who try for a life of their own, bring a child into that, then if something goes wrong with the child, demanding care beyond any most children ever need, and instead of blaming the child, are haunted with a sense that they themselves have failed when they haven’t. If society’s hard times cause the more privileged to take away help for those people while blindly forcing people to fit with aspirations based purely on possession and consumption, then it’s stopped bothering to ask what it means to be human, which is the worst possible error.

    I mean, WHAT ARE WE? Should we breed like the bacteria that Agent Smith eloquently despises in the Matrix? That’s where we’re headed. No-one’s doing this to us. We do it to ourselves, if we’re stupid enough to persist in it.


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