David Cameron is trying to seize media attention by playing the morality card in response to the recent outbreak of riots in the United Kingdom. In an Al Jazeera English report taken from wire sources this morning, there are five instances of the word “moral,” most of which are enclosed in quotation remarks citing Cameron. Listening to another version of this story on the radio this morning, I could not help but recall how Marc Blitzstein had translated had translated one line from Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera into English:
First feed the face, and then talk right and wrong.
In a way this is corollary to my general assessment of the increase of protest (whether violent or nonviolent) in a time of economic crisis. My point has been that the origin of protest is with an educated younger generation facing the prospect that it may not have a future, and any question of whether or not one has a future at all is predicated on whether that future includes the ability to provide food, clothing, and shelter. Otherwise, it is not a future worth considering. According to the Al Jazeera English report, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband seems to have grasped that the viable prospects for such a future constitute a prerequisite for any sense of moral standards; and, in the current context, that may be the critical factor that distinguishes the Labour Party from the Conservative Party. Whether or not the Liberal Democrats will take a stand of any significance remains to be seen.