(Re. next month’s parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom. There’s likely similar sentiment here in the United States, but well-cultivated fear, scapegoating, and media invisibility obscure it.)
“There is something missing from this image of a pierced wall and a pilfered fortune. It is empathy. Most people find it easier to identify with the criminals – to imagine them as witty desperadoes led by George Clooney – than to feel for the wealthy folk who left valuables at Hatton Garden. Behind our armchair detective fun lies a sense that no real harm was done here, except against the rich.
It is the same emotion of our time that is making it so hard for the Conservative party to establish a solid lead in the election despite a run of good economic news and dire warnings by business against a Labour/SNP government. Because we hate the rich. The financial crisis has left a real and justified sense of inequality and the scandal of runaway financial capitalism across the world; in Britain it makes it hard, perhaps impossible, for the Conservatives to convince enough people they are running the economy for the many rather than the few. And that same outrage at unfettered wealth turns the Hatton Garden robbers, whoever they are, into perverse folk heroes.”