Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Children of Albion

Children of Albion, the future is yours,
It’s safe now to wander and gambol outdoors,
The streets are all empty, the shops are all bare,
There’s nothing to take but a breath of fresh air,
And nothing is broken that time won’t repair,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.

Children of Albion, the future is bright,
There’s plenty of fire to light up the night,
The goods are all free, the watches, the shoes,
The TVs, the iPhones, the music, the booze,
There’s plenty to gain when there’s nothing to lose,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.

Children of Albion, your life is your own,
You’ve nothing to do with the lives you have blown,
You can blame it on God, the Tories, the state,
On parents, on culture, on school, or your mate,
On coppers, on joblessness, weather, and fate,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.

Children of Albion, you can take off that hood,
The world is your oyster, you’re out of the wood,
Directors and bankers have run off with more,
They’ve been there before you, they’ve cleaned out the store,
They’ve lit their own fires on the trading room floor,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.

Children of Albion, sleep well in your beds,
There’s nothing to fear, no price on your heads,
No price and no buyer, you’ve romped and you’ve played,
And there in your hands is the loot you can trade,
Let none be deceived, let none be afraid,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.


Andrew Shields said...

You nailed it, George.

Kathleen Jones said...


Kathleen Jones said...

Interesting post on Rosamicula's Live Journal by ex teacher whose personal experience is sobering.

George S said...

Thanks for that, Kathleen. Articulate and fascinating.

Gwilym Williams said...

English yob culture, has for the last 2 or 3 generations been encouraged. This is official policy. For something like 40 years the ghettoising of the petty criminal community by lumping them all in vast housing complexes and estates which are basically nothing more than open prisons. If you live in many inner-city postal code areas you won't even get a job interview never mind a job. And as for decent schooling in such areas, you can basically forget it. These people have no chance to develop to their potential. They are not born wicked but they find themselves in a wicked environment and many of them fall in with this wickedness which they find in their neighbourhoods, in these quasi-no-go ghettos, It's the simple instinct of the herd that is at work here.

Andrew Shields said...

I think of Joy Division as the band that fully expresses the barren world Gwilym describes.

George S said...

Gwilym, yes. Riots in Cardiff too. Far from everyone among the looters came from such a background, if you read accounts from the first magistrate hearings. You're right of course that many do - though interestingly nothing in the poorest areas of the north-east like Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Darlington. It is a complex phenomenon.

And the lad being mugged in the clip below was a Malaysian, in this country a month. Held up at knife-point. No bleeding from thigh. Not a looter, it seems.

Anonymous said...

In the poorer areas some councils have stated that they will evict looters or the families of looters. So the people who thought they had nothing to lose have some small fragment that can still be taken away from them. On one level it could work as a deterrent but I can't help feeling appalled. Now three young men are dead in Birmingham and all over what, ipods and trinkets (not even food for the starving).
Are these children the canary down the coal mine, the eruption of feelings of dissatisfaction and resentment from the wider society.

George S said...

Story of mugged Malaysian student here. Broken jaw, missing teeth:

I am not sure about that route either, Anonymous. I think the teachers who have written blogs and letters are interesting. They are talking about more than material deprivation or unemployment.

Gwilym Williams said...

George, thanks for the story of the Malaysian student.

As others see us:

Today's headline in Heute the free daily commuter newspaper on the Austrian newsstands in the U-Bahn etc., is: CHILDREN IN ENGLAND PLUNDER SHOPS! 9-year old boy goes looting - see p.2 / and indeed on p. 2 is a picture of a 9 year old white skinhead (followed by one who could be his elder brother) running from a wine shop with a bottle of plonk. The article goes on: ". . . in the hands of a 9-year old a bottle of wine. Already on Wednesday an 11-year old was before the court. Dramatic is also the video of a bleeding student, whom no-one helped, only helped themselves from his rucksack. The worst riots for 25 years have already claimed 4 lives . . . " The article is accompanied by colour photos of flaming cars, broken windows, and youths running with their ill-gotten gains. The photos are labelled BIRMINGHAM, MANCHESTER, LONDON.

On the same page:
WC-paper in Vatican colours.
When Pope Benedict XVI visits Spain toilet paper supplier Renova will produce toilet paper in official Vatican colours.

Better than using old NoW's I suppose :)

Gwilym Williams said...

ps - the Welsh police should get back to Cardiff where they belong - and the Manchester police should get back to Manchester where they belong. Cameron/Clegg and the 16,000 con that is!

George S said...

There is an old fashioned word 'decadence' that might apply to the condition, or to the condition as perceived by outsiders. I myself am an outsider, of course, not as a Hungarian but as someone living in Norfolk, though yesterday afternoon getting the bus home from Norwich I heard four young boys at the bus station talking saying 'When the shit kicks off...' and wondered for a second. And, just before that, descending the steps from the Forum building into the piazza below, the place was filled with kids and I thought of The Village of the Damned. 'Could they be damned too?' Interesting what such events make you think of. Then you dismiss the thought and get on the next bus.

Vatican-coloured toilet paper. Has it been properly blessed?

Gwilym Williams said...

Apropos the coloured bog rolls have you read the first few chapters of Graham Greene's Monsignor Quixote? More to do with purple socks but makes the point!

And as to the point, this is something that Bull Dog Cameron and his ilk will never pick up on. They are so blinkered they cannot see the paint on broader canvas. As you say, George, the yobs are hanging around here and there waiting for things to kick-off so they can get stuck in, in a land where "an official caution is like a badge of honour" as one reporter said on RT. And the great danger is - that now the free swimming pool tickets have been taken away and the youth clubs closed and many other such cutbacks - that the other, more normal, youths will become frustrated and join them next time.

I saw a video of a 27-year old university graduate who can't get a job earning more than the 23 pounds he is left with at the end of the week after boarding at his parents. And also he has 1,000's of pounds of educational loans to pay back in prospect!

30billion for a war? No problem. 10billion for a casino bank? No problem.

The rot as we all well know began when Thatcher started selling off the school playing fields to Tory-friendly property developers. It was all down hill from there.

lillyanne said...

Terrific poem, George. Thank you. I love it when poets can make best sense of things.

NicoleS said...

I saw a TV interview with a black youth worker (I think) who said the riots were not about deprivation but about senseless violence. So there we have it. To which I would add people rioted because they could. Apart from that, I agree, terrific poem.

George S said...

Enough senseless violence. Let it at least be sensible violence. Or senseless harmlessness.

It's an interesting proposition that people would riot if they could. Some do - and did - get high on it.

Billy C. said...

History has taught us that violence is the only way to bring about radical change. Although in this instance I don't believe the riots were anything to do with wanting change, I do believe that change is needed to stop them happening again. Once those with a few sparks of IQ digest the results, they will not have failed to notice how easy it is to organise chaos. And they will have new tools to use rather than the bullet. Blackberrys used to be classed as a fruit. Now they're also a weapon.

Those foreign buggers have the audacity to close down internet access and the like when they want to quell disturbances, and our goverments are up in arms about it. Any bets on how long it will be before ours do the same?

Hi George. A wonderful poem.