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Ella-Henderson
Is that the pot calling the kettle black?

CONVICTION: As a teenager Clegg was sentenced to
community service for arson

NOVELIST AND essayist Kurt Vonnegut Jr once said true terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your classmates are running the country.

One month on, the riots and reasons behind the civil unrest are still making headline news. Central to the conversation are folks trying to find the right tick-boxes for the ‘feral’ behaviour of some of today’s youth and the root causes that led to such destructive behaviour.

As the Government and its advisors go around and around in circles trying to figure out the problems I would suggest that the answers may be closer to home than they might think. As is often the case the answers we seek are often right in front of us if we care to look.

It is known, yet not widely publicised that some our esteemed leaders and captains of industries were members of the 150-year-old Burlington Club, an exclusive albeit notorious dining club at Oxford University. Notable former members of the Burlington Club include Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

The club has no permanent rooms and is notorious for its members' wealth and destructive binges where posh eateries and bars are smashed. According to Wikipedia, membership was (and still is) by invitation only, and prohibitively expensive for most, given the need to pay for the uniform, dinners and ensuing damages that go with trashing restaurants and bars. Boris Johnson was said to have tried burning down a restaurant toilet!

Although not a member Deputy leader Nick Clegg had his own issues too – he has a criminal conviction for arson. Yes people, arson. As a result the then 16-year-old exchange student in Munich, was given community service for setting fire to a rare collection of cacti in what is affectionately described as a “drunken prank".

ANSWERS

My point is that if Cameron and Co were to cast their minds back to what they would describe as their “high spirited days” they may just find the answers as to why some people feel the need to destroy and trash other people’s property and livelihoods. They also need to ask themselves why they felt the need to join the posh boy’s gang, The Burlington Club. Was it peer pressure? Was it a need to fit in? Or was it simply because they could?

Of course this will be of little comfort to those currently languishing in prison for the sheer stupidity of stealing water or two scoops of ice cream. It is something though when you realise that perhaps the tipping point for rioters and the politicians are really not that unlike. The main difference for the latter group however is connections, money and power.

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