I've often wondered if and when every citizen in the country being financially squeezed, cut and taxed from every direction under the current government, except for the 1% superwealthy in secret charge of it all allowed to dodge taxes offshore and preserve and enhance their wealth in every which way (if Michael Moore is to be believed in 'Capitalism - A Love Story'), would lead to civil unrest.
However I hesitate to dignify the current riots as any kind of 'civil war' as they are so random as to cause little but bafflement amidst the general national alarm, not being directed at the obvious targets responsible for our nations' dire state such as the banks, the rip-off energy and petroleum companies and of course the government for treating the country like some giant train set they can play with, trying various things just 'to see what happens' and how far they can push us all before we retaliate, but evidently counting on terminal national apathy until now.
And as so many media pundits have pointed out, the rioters are largely formed of the dispossessed and the disenfranchised on the fringes of society, those who have seldom if ever held down jobs, have an average reading age of around 8, but in possession of computers and mobile phones and the ability to co-ordinate their mayhem via social networking sites. Many of these people are also dab hands at ultraviolent street war games on their X-boxes, so why not take it to the next level and give street fighting and cop killing a go for real?
Since pre-Victorian times, British society has recognised the need for the poor to be granted a certain quotient of bread and circuses if they are to placidly accept their lot, toe the line and be governed, if not granting them an actual 'Welfare State' until 1948 as national reward for WWII victory.
Now benefit cuts have started to bite as many begin realising they will not be able to continue to enjoy their 'bread and circus' quotient without turning to crime to finance it. Nor are they being offered the support, training or jobs they have been directed to obtain to replace their benefits, so what are they to do other than panic?
And let's face it, perfectly job-ready and job-functional individuals are being flung out of their jobs in ever increasing numbers, often without sufficient support and employment opportunities in their own right, possibly to end up joining the rioters, so what chance do the disenfranchised have?
It is a shame the lessons of history are so easily forgotten by governments, even if they live on as gene memories in the populace.
No doubt the army will be drafted in soon with their water cannon and other tactics.
Whatever happened to the dignity of the Jarrow hunger marchers of 1936?
The current rioters will not garner a fraction of the sympathy expressed by the nation towards the Jarrow marchers, even if it did take WWII a few years later to really change workers' lives for the better and see the introduction of a Welfare State intended to make sure no one ever need starve again.