Socialist Worker

Jail the Tories, not young people

Issue No. 2265


The Tories want to get their own back for last week’s riots. They are ripping up the rules of the legal system and filling the jails.

They are parading around the country spouting bigotry and trying to shift the blame for what’s wrong onto ordinary people.

And as the Tories drag the national political debate to the right, they are pulling sections of Labour and swathes of the media with them into a new consensus of crackdown.

This can open the door to increased confidence for racists and the far right.

David Cameron lectured us on the “moral collapse” in the country on Monday. How dare he? This public school millionaire is driving through severe attacks on the poor in generations.

Where was his horror at the state of morals in Britain when he and his greedy pals in parliament were caught raking in thousands in illegal expense claims?

Did Cameron talk about “moral collapse” when the Tories were exposed as being knee‑deep in the phone hacking scandal involving their friends at Murdoch’s News of the World? In fact, Cameron now wants MI5 to hack everyone’s Blackberry.

And what about the morals of the police who shot a young man, Mark Duggan, dead in the street in Tottenham?

Mark’s death, and the way his family were treated by the police, was the issue that brought people out onto the streets.

The riots spread because so many young people shared that deep bitterness. They feel like they have no stake in society, and nothing to lose. Politicians treat them, and their lives, as disposable.

Harassment

Young people have lost benefits and the chance to go to university. When youth centres close they have no alternative but to hang round in the streets, where police racism and harassment is their everyday experience.

But in order to distract from the real problems—poverty and racism, deepened by the cuts—the Tories have launched a right wing ideological offensive.

Cameron wants to whip up a moral panic about the poor, gangs on council estates, the breakdown of the family and parental discipline. In his keynote speech he even attacked the Human Rights Act and health and safety legislation.

The right are falling over themselves to see just how far they can push this agenda. One Mirror journalist has even pitched in by blaming rap music for violent behaviour.

We cannot let the politicians get away with this backlash. It is their rotten system that is to blame for the inequality and hopelessness in society.

Capitalism is dominated by the chaos of competition and the constant drive for profit. Every time it lurches into crisis millions of ordinary people suffer.

It is time to put the case for socialism—for a society in which everyone has a stake and that looks after the vulnerable.

The riots showed just how alienated and angry people feel. But anger isn’t enough. If we are to stop the Tories’ plans it will mean getting organised as a class. It will mean hitting the politicians and bosses where it really hurts: their profits and their power.


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