River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Letter to The Editor

August 2011

Dear Mr Editor, I was half dozing and half listening to the Today Programme waiting for the kitchen staff to bring me my early morning cup of tea, when I realised how lucky we are to live in the wilds of Norfolk. Rioting in the streets is usually the province of the French who still passionately remember the success of the Revolution in 1789. The British don’t do revolutions since we failed to capitalise on the success of the English Civil War, we can’t really muster the enthusiasm. And reviewing the shocking actions in our great cities we find that there is no cause célèbre or even a major grievance. Apart from the initial peaceful protest at the unfortunate killing of Mr Duggan, the incentive has been “let’s break some windows, steal some bling and get away with it”. I don’t recall riots in the streets when Charles de Menedes was brutally eliminated and yet here we have what seems to be a national crisis with politicians scurrying home to give their soundbites and mostly regretting having done so. One could argue that when the good the bad and the ugly take to the streets in a mass cultural demonstration we don’t have to like what we see but should be aware that like all art forms, the “artists” are simply holding up a mirror in which to see ourselves staring back at us. We Brits have now seemed to have reached a stage of enlightenment in our civilisation that traditional morality has been replaced by the pursuit, not of happiness, but of the right brand of trainers. The right brand, not just any white training shoe is shorthand code for “ I am in with the In Crowd, I know what the In Crowd knows” I guess in the past morality was dispensed by the church and a cuff round the head by a parent or a policeman. Now the mantra “respect” is sought by those who have done little to earn respect. And I say to politicians, rhetoric does not earn respect; only leading by example earns respect and even then, one will never earn universal respect, simply an acceptance by the majority. Of course, the immediate reaction is to ruthlessly pursue the thieving toe-rags, lock them up and throw away the keys, but we know that this does not even begin to address the problem. A close relative of mine has a house in Enfield not far from where the disturbances took place. This last weekend it was noticeable how “nice, polite and courteous” people were behaving towards each other. I think this is the way we reclaim our streets, simply by being by being nice and yes, showing respect. And in any organisation or civilisation the ethic and the moral code is defined and exemplified by those at the top. If their example is shown to be false, then “off with their heads”. My tea has arrived and now to get on with the day, what shall I watch on telly, “Big Brother “or “Who wants to be a Millionaire”. Ho hum. Yours sincerely Wretired in Wretton

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