From the latest Radio Times:
Last August’s riots provoked a legal backlash that has seen often lengthy prison sentences handed down to those involved. This documentary enters the homes of the some of the families affected, including that of Eileen and Alan Bretherton whose son Liam recently served in Afghanistan but got caught up in the unrest while home on leave. Now he is an ex-offender with a promising military career in tatters.
“Legal backlash” is, I suppose, one way to describe a severe punishment.
But the phrase that really caught my eye in this was where it says that son Liam got “caught up in” the unrest. You hear this phrase a lot these days, to describe what someone did, in a way that suggests that what he did was really done to him, by a malign outside force. The Unrest, you see, forced him to go out looting. The Unrest called round, knocked on his door, dragged him out into the street and there compelled him to misbehave. Liam didn’t do rioting. The rioting “involved” him. There the Unrest was, catching Liam up in itself. How could Liam himself be held responsible for what Unrest did to him?
Truly, we do live in a Wonderland.
And what of that “legal backlash”? (There goes another phrase which makes a bunch of decisions appear like a mere collective emotional spasm.) Well, next time Unrest decides, for its own inscrutable reasons, to reach out and grab people, more of them will surely decide to resist being caught up in it, now that there has been this legal backlash against the last lot of those picked on by Unrest.