As a large number of idiots decided to shit on their own doorstep over the weekend, the self-obsessed Twitter commentariat wet themselves* with the excitement of the flames and broken glass being shown on Sky News (the Murdoch boycott having been long forgotten). While open, instant media are obviously great for spreading information I can’t help wonder whether they are potentially dangerous when bullshit is being touted around as fact. Stacks of ignorami compared the theft from high street chain stores to the freedom fighters in what has been patronisingly named the “Arab Spring”.

The differences between the Brixton and Enfield copycat thuggery and the more substantive uprisings in Egypt and Syria highlights the rather different situations in Cairo, Hama and Zone 2.

In Egypt and Syria, the changes are being brought about by an educated middle class who have had enough. In Britain the inner city middle classes are staying safely inside their Victorian conversions, sharing their opinions based on information sourced by other couch vegans.

The intellectual difficulty for the supporters of an inner city uprising in Britain is that there is nobody being oppressed. Sure, the economy is hurting but the welfare system takes the edge off inflation for those at the bottom of the heap. Of course there are fewer jobs around, but for people with a bit of self-motivation there is always something productive to be doing. No, for the supposedly-disaffected youth of Haringey and Lambeth this is very a simple case of “the lights have been turned off, let’s see what we damage we can cause and what free shit we can get our hands on before they come back on”. Shame on the educated hand-wringing “social democrats” for coming up with excuses.

What the champagners cannot seem to grasp is that the people who involve themselves in this kind of thing are not indulging in a fight of principle against oppression but are acting simply and rationally in their own self interest. They know that they could not normally get away with ram-raiding Currys, but while the CCTV cameras are pointing at the kids with bricks and burning stuff they can chance it. If they get caught the courts will only give them a slap on the wrist anyway. What’s another suspended sentence amongst friends?

Of course the statists will be telling us that the way to keep everyone happy is to redistribute yet more money from the productive part of the economy to the unproductive sullen ill-educated scum. It’s like a modern form of Danegeld where the opinion-formers of the local Labour and Co-operative Party and their friends fall over themselves to buy the peace of an ever-growing band of people who know they will always be looked after by the people with the keys to the till. One vox-pop quoted a resident of Broadwater Farm saying that last time we rioted we got a new swimming pool. QED.

No, the only additional public funding which should result from this latest example of Britain’s total lack of institutional organisation should be channelled towards building prisons, beefing up the courts and getting the police out of their offices and onto the streets. Anything else is just a sop to the criminals.

* Thanks for the surge in stats though, you Twits!

UPDATE: great link supplied by @BuenoSam: Insp Winter.

11 Responses to “Riot!”

  1. 1 AJS
    8 August, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Well, there should be a few job opportunities opening up very soon for the unemployed locals — repairing all the damage they caused in the first place.

    Then, there’s a chance that, just maybe, they might not be quite so keen to see any harm come to it in future.

    • 8 August, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Isn’t the broken window economic theory rather discredited these days?

      However you are right in the main point, people have no sense of ownership of their local area if they have everything handed to them on a plate. I would never tear up my city because I work incredibly hard in order to pay to live here. Look what happens when you give people a “right” to cheap housing and handouts!

  2. 8 August, 2011 at 10:45 am

    ” Of course there are fewer jobs around, but for people with a bit of self-motivation there is always something productive to be doing..”

    An ‘Indy’ article notes that ‘recent government figures show 54 chasing each job’. Strangely, they never seem to catch one…

  3. 8 August, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Why bother with the facts!! Duggan was contained in the back of a taxi by armed Police. That was monumentally stupid in a busy shopping area. Nobody has said, as yet, if he was armed. As no trophy has been produced then I suspect that he was not.
    At least one Police gun was discharged. The bullet hit a WPC’s radio!! it could have gone anywhere. Do these Rambos get no training whatever??? There are more and more armed Police moving about nowadays. in years gone by requests to issue and carry had to be made and agreed. Now too many cops have handguns and hangovers!!
    Was Duggan a wanted man? Was he being followed? or was he going about his business, in a taxi, when police decided to subject him to a stop and search, while waving their guns about??
    Let’s have some facts!!

    • 8 August, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      We don’t know what happened, that is why there will be an investigation. When we know what happened then we can decide who did what right or wrong.

      On a secondary point, even if Mr Duggan was shot dead with no justification whatsoever, even if he was shot dead for the sole reason that he was black, would rioting be the answer? Or would a criminal investigation and prosecution be the correct response.

      The simple question is: do you want to live in a country with “due process” and “the rule of law” or a country where if something we don’t like happens we start setting light to Footlocker?

      You idiot.

      • 6 MTG
        8 August, 2011 at 12:59 pm

        Of course we all know what happened….we were given the very best early accounts, made public on police blogs, that “Duggan tried to murder a police officer and got what he deserved”.

        I slept in today – did I miss ammendments of any import?

        • 8 August, 2011 at 1:02 pm

          To be fair, we know what first accounts told us and mainstream media outlets (supposedly more reliable) reported that the officer had been shot first. However I am more cynical than some so I will await the full results of the investigation. However I am not as cynical as you, Dr Melvin. Or at least I am more willing to change my view depending on the facts.

          • 8 MTG
            8 August, 2011 at 1:39 pm

            Yes, let us wait for the facts, Blue. A caution I advocated on Gadget which was greeted with customary police abuse. Nevertheless I am almost impatient for a full independent report from someone of Freddy Patel’s standing.

  4. 8 August, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    But it’s important not to conflate the two different events: a protest about a man shot by police that turned into a riot – which demands questions about the police’s relationship with people in the area, and maybe a bit of carefully spent public money; and a bunch of opportunists who were, as you said, ‘acting rationally’ when they went a-looting.

    There also may be some questions to be asked about the police and firearms – it reminds of that thing David Simon wrote in ‘Homicide’ about the myth that a good cop will never accidentally shoot someone – but as you say, it all needs to wait until we know what on earth happened.

    Really good blog post about it from a copper here, incidentally: http://wintsays.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/tottenham-enfield-brixton-polcing-and-public-disorder/

    • 8 August, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Agreed. But did the peaceful protest turn into a riot or did opportunists come in behind the protesters? We just don’t know. I am trying not to conflate but I can only go on what I have read.

      Just seen that link via Twitter, was about to link to his site!

    • 8 August, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      PS the point about good officers making bad shooting decisions is one of the many reasons I absolutely do not support the general arming of police.

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