Society has developed extensively over the years but in some ways our country can seem more backward than ever. As a democracy, we’re meant to be represented by a government that’s ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ but is this really the case? Our prime minister was educated at Eton and Oxford and whenever the news shows clips of happenings in Parliament, more often than not, it involves the parties (who consist mainly of men) jeering at each other in a ‘public-school-boy-manner’ across the room. Are these really ‘the people’? Pre-election, Nick Clegg pledged not to increase tuition fees and his decision took a U-turn once elected — there is nothing to stop MP’s going back on their policy promises once they are in office. Couple that with the expenses scandal and it’s not hard to see how people have lost faith and trust in those supposedly representing us.
It’s not only this way in which we could class ourselves as living in a country gone mad as the London riots proved. There was much criticism of the police during this period which I thought was incredibly unfair. If the police are too lenient then we criticise, if the police are too harsh then we complain, which is what sparked the pre-riot-protests in the first place. After the riots, everyone demanded harsh punishments for those caught and convicted. An e-petition calling for those convicted to lose their benefits is still the most signed petition on the website. Yet after the courts started dealing out harsh sentences there was an outcry that they were too severe. How can the system win? There were other issues that the riots threw into light, one being the benefits system. People can earn more through receiving handouts than from working a minimum wage job, and if we allow people to believe they are entitled to something-for-nothing then we can hardly be surprised if the events of the summer repeat themselves. One heart-warming outcome of the riots was the overwhelming response to the campaign ‘Riot Clean Up’ on Twitter with people flooding into affected areas armed with brooms to clear up the mess left behind by the looters. However, I was saddened to read that while some people were being incredibly helpful, some banks were being the opposite and not allowing people breaks in their mortgage payments while they tried to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Now I don’t think anyone would be surprised by this behaviour but it did make me feel rather indignant when you think that many banks have been bailed out by the tax-payer and now have made it harder to receive a loan and if you do get one, you have to pay extortionate interest. It’s even more infuriating when you know that they are still spending billions on bonuses for their employees! A little insensitive to say the least.
The madness continues in the form of ‘Health and Safety’ . If you have an accident at work (in some industries) after you haven’t received a proper safety speech or ‘proper instruction’ then in some cases you can sue your boss even if the reason you had an accident was a simple lack in common sense which your boss assumed you had, hence the lack of pointing out the obvious in the first place!
The last thing that I read in the papers that got me thinking about ‘a country gone mad’ was the title “Terrorist We Can’t Kick Out”. A man who assisted the 7/7 bombers was released from jail and human rights activists have stopped him being deported to his homeland because he might face punishments and have his human rights violated. He is now riding the London tubes and staying in a bail hostel which is supported by welfare benefits. None of this article made sense to me. This man clearly has no affection for Britain and no regard for the human rights of others but there are those that’ll support him rather than concern themselves with the feelings of the families of the victims of that tragic day and the safety of other Londoners. By allowing him to stay in a bail hostel, the welfare system is supporting him, and people like him, while people who want to do something with their lives and contribute to society by doing things like apprenticeships and mind-numbing minimum wage jobs get nothing. For me this was the final straw- we’re living in a mad Britain.