Anyone who has watched the film Elysium (starring Matt Damon & Jodie Foster), can appreciate the logic of gated communities; peaceful, secure, enclaves cut off from the community at large via electric gate and intercom systems manned by security guards, anybody who lives within that cloistered paradise is there because they can afford to be there.
And If you happen to be one of the many unfortunates peering in through the gates? Get yourself off benefits and into a bloody job! Then you too can enjoy the many advantages of living amongst honest, honourable, law abiding folk. Except what I notice most about the kind of people who like living in exclusive, affluence, surrounded by electric boundaries is that they tend to be distinctive individualists, with equally individualistic views very few of which, appear to encompass helping the vulnerable within society at large. Unless of course, like the poor, their homes are drenched and ruined by floods with the roads rendered impassable even to a Land-Rover, at times like that money it seems is no object.
Reflecting on Danny Boyle’s film classic ’28 Days Later’ you know, that film in which a comatose patient awakens to find the hospital empty, collects several other survivors, and after running for the hills (for forty minutes), eventually settles down on that gated-community to beat all gated-communities (an island). I was struck by the eagerness of the Conservative party to bring ’28 Days Later’ one step closer to reality. Witness the massive drop in police numbers since they have come to power. Why in Harrow alone police numbers have been cut by 27% in the last four years. Whilst across London 3,000 police officers’ jobs have been axed.
Lest we forget why our police are needed, in September 2013, a young ‘Harrovian’ was reported to have, on his crazed wanderings, beaten up his next-door-neighbour (for no conceivable or rational reason), have visited his parents so he could assault his 70 year old dad and then to have idled down to the local high street where he tossed beer and abuse over three young muslim women. Eventually, he was arrested, eventually…meanwhile four benefit fraudsters were promptly arrested in a joint operation between Harrow Council and the DWP. Equally as prompt to comment Harrow Council leader, Susan Hall, reminded us all that benefit fraud is not ‘victimless, it is a kin to stealing from one’s neighbours’ thank you Suzy.
And so to that estimable movie (or not) ‘Creep’ where our heroine (Franka Potente) gets on a tube train, falls asleep and finds herself locked up for the night, not an open ticket-office in sight. This bodes ill for Franka since she is being stalked by the mutant creation of a mad scientist. This week’s tube strikes is proof positive, that mad scientists are about as exclusive as gated communities, when it comes to ill thought out ideology. Do we need ticket-offices? Not according to Boris Johnson, times have moved on. Funny that, because all it took to change his mind (so it would seem) was a forty eight hour tube strike, called by workers who, whilst afraid to lose the means by which they pay their bills, went on strike, because quite frankly the Mayor had given them no other alternative. More power to Bob Crow and the RMT for calling their workers out and forcing the Mayor to rethink his decision to close all of London’s ticket-offices.