Saturday, 23 March 2013


by Colin Bloom

"You are a stylish hooligan entering a new decade of grievous bodily harm, car- jacking and general thuggery. Drive, run and shoot your way into all sorts of trouble with the law, rival gangs and civilians. Thirty-two new missions, thirty new vehicles and unlimited criminal opportunity." 

This is Japanese technology giant Sony's own 'manufacturers' description' of their 'Grand Theft Auto: London Mission' software for their ubiquitous Play Station games console. During the summer of 2011 when we saw gratuitous violence, mugging, arson and looting across the country it was tragically ironic that it was a Sony distribution warehouse that was burned to the ground in Enfield. You can take to the bank that Sony executives won't be calling the people responsible 'stylish hooligans'.

So what can be done? David Cameron has been consistent on two key points: firstly that Britain is broken and secondly that to fix broken Britain, we need a 'Big Society'. For both he has been derided by the left, mocked by liberals and misunderstood by many in his own party. In the light of the masked cowards, cynically robbing and trashing their way through town centres and the post looting, broom wielding furious majority that reclaimed their streets, wasn't the Prime Minister proved right?

We saw the worst and best of Britain as the stark chasm between the mainstream decent majority and the feral and selfish few gets ever wider. Some will argue that we need to bring these two faces of the United Kingdom closer together, to somehow cathartically create a healing betwixt the two. Perhaps the decent majority should work harder to try and understand why people, who evidently can afford top-end smart phones, felt the need to steal trainers from a sports shop before  burning it down. It's a thought, but maybe the problem is that mainstream Britain has already been getting far too close to the dark satanic mills of things that we should have been running away from. Like Sony's Grand Theft Auto...

Along with trying to end slavery, my hero William Wilberforce wanted a reformation of manners. Simply put, he wanted goodness to be fashionable. It could be argued that despite the great work he did, he left the anti-slavery task unfinished and as for making goodness fashionable, well... look around. When decent households have misogynistic, barbaric and selfish music, films and video games under their roof, aren't they unwittingly legitimising the things we also condemn?

Speaking as a sinner, perhaps we should reintroduce the old fashioned and biblical term 'sin'. Yes it's absolutist in creating a clear divide between right and wrong, but there can be no shades of grey when it comes to setting fire to people's homes and businesses. 

It's time for the majority who care to shun the violent culture of the mob. That means an end to violent computer games, and the 'Get rich or die tryin'...' attitudes. It means that we do some moral DIY and repaint the boundaries between right and wrong and as a society be prepared to point them out, firstly in our own lives and homes and then elsewhere.

The solution is not a legal one, we already have enough laws. The solution is a moral and spiritual one. So it's time for us all to look again at our own lives and the lives of those we may be responsible for and clear out the junk and furnish our minds with beautiful things. In the same book that talks about sin, you will find in Philippians 4:8

'...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things'.

Just maybe we can start with ourselves and begin to create a new generation of people that aren't 'stylish hooligans'.

1 comment:

Roger Metcalfe said...

My thoughts - CCF members I feel sure need not self flagellate over this. Leaders need to take their powers of leadership and take the young firmly in hand. The Big Society will fail because it is a poor substitute for the declining reputation of the institutions of our country, the components of our Constitution. The first step must be to get the right people into the leadership positions in our institutions. Next we must educate the young properly, and empower teachers to discipline the little darlings. I agree that violent games should be given 21 ratings. The young deserve a great education and our comprehensive system has failed 2 generations, getting on for 3. Time for change, and change is coming, piecemeal, with new academies. The country needs sorting - fast, and we need to get God on the side of urgent reform. We don't need to feel guilty ourselves, not for one moment; we just need to organise and get on with sorting out the youth of this wonderful country of ours. RM