Riots in London

London’s Burning

London’s burning and the rising anger felt by most about the three nights of viral riots that escalated across the Capital and other major British cities is understandable. It’s easy to take a lock ‘em up and throw away the key attitude to those stupid people binging on recreational looting and casual arson. Even a bleeding heart pinko liberal like me feels a sense of revulsion when witnessing inner city hoodies in designer trainers, wielding iron bars and Blackberries and rampaging through the streets. I’ve read calls for social networks like Twitter and Facebook to be closed down as if this was the problem. It isn’t. I’ve heard people ask ‘Where are the water cannons?’ There aren’t any. I’ve read calls for the army to clear the streets. I’ve even heard calls for the imposition of martial law. Britain isn’t Syria. However, Britain is France and these riots bear an uncanny resemblance to those that engulfed Paris and other French cities in 2005. Let’s try and keep a sense of proportion. Of course, law and order must be firmly restored but then we need to examine the why. Is this a case of sub-class, out of control feral kids with little care for their families or communities? Or is it a case of a lost-generation, disenfranchised youth with few prospects and a bleak future? Like most things the truth lies somewhere in between.

Also:

Their Daily Bread

Defiant Blighty

24 thoughts on “Riots in London

  1. I enjoyed this post, the riots in london are disgusting and I am shocked. At the moment I am living in New Zealand so am not up on the latest news from home but it is sad that the riots have gotton to that extent!
    James

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  2. It’s so very sad. The family and friends of the young man shot by police in Tottenham have appealed for calm, if only these idiots would listen.

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  3. We’ve been tracking this ever since riots broke out in Tottenham. It’s deplorable, with so many innocent people harmed in the process. I agree that the causes are deeper than just a bunch of thugs and thieves and need to examined; at the same time, people need to feel safe and protected, with a sense of order and calm restored. The photos are heartbreaking.

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  4. I cannot and do not condone any violence of any kind, but must say that I am not at all surprised at what is going on in London and many other inner city areas in Britain. It is an enormous build up of pressure and stress that is being felt across all generations. Unfortunately, due to perhaps lack of maturity, lack of adequate parenting, education or even just trying to express the frustration of their parents? It is the younger generation that spring into inappropriate action and then are blamed for the breakdown of our society! I do not pretend to have any clever answers but think it is time that the powers that be look within their own practice and accept some responsibility for the disgusting behaviour being currently displayed by what seems to be a very frustrated generation.

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  5. I agree with Linda above – my daughter is a Social Worker in a London Borough and is faced with mounting problems that children and teenagers face being bred and reared by young parents with no behavourial or social skills of their own who have been let down in the grand scheme of things by the powers that be. She has remarked that this situation today was only a matter of time and was like sitting on a ticking bomb. The policitians in their Ivory Towers making cuts daily across the board, including the police, surely cannot afford to be so ignorant of the likelihood of rebellion! Which brings me to the good citizens of Blighty who at the same time rely on protection. Am I old fashioned Jack or have I been away too long to think that “yes” bring in the water cannons to disperse the thugs more effectively and assume that there are some to use OR maybe you are right there isn’t any – they are probably hidden somewhere with the snow ploughs and salt piles – cos it hardly snows in the UK does it? I say to Britain time to wake up and start investing money wisely on their own citizens and think about the future. Times are changing so should attitudes!

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  6. I have been away from London and many of the big metropolises for such a long time now I can hardly comment however that’s not going to stop me from trying. From what I see with the UK tourist frankly I am not that surprised. The one thing which strikes me as very strange is the action of the police or should I say the non action of the police. If you look at it they waited a long time before using any kind of force, sorry I know this must sound a bit crazy but it looked very set up as if they were just waiting for this moment so that they can easily put through a new law enforcement law to restrict citizens from expressing themselves and this will give them exactly what they need to push through some new big brother type control. Could it be at all possible that there was something behind all of this and some official secret body has been pushing the inevitable a little closer? ‘Being paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being followed’ a famous saying from my partner, his theories are even more outrageous than mine.
    Total paranoid….. living in Turkey

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  7. I just can’t agree with many of the comments here. I also work with young people from all sorts of backgrounds, some in very impoverished situations. Most would not dream of engaging in this type of behaviour. Most just want to get on with their lives as best they can. The problem with our society is that we have bred a sense of entitlement and when the expectations are not met these thugs think they can just help themselves to whatever they want. I think the tide is turning away from creating dependancy and some people who see that they can no longer continue taking but must start contributing just do not like it.

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  8. This is nothing new-a bit bigger and a bit more violent than in the past but certainly nothing new.Who remembers the riots in many cities in the very early 80’s?At that time the consequent enquiry said the main causes were unemployment and a disenfranchised generation.The enquiry board’s recommendations were either nor put into practice or only half heartedly carried out.The result is what we are seeing now-that generation grew up and gave birth to a second disenfranchised generation.History repeating itself and I am sure that in another 25 or 30 year time we’ll see it repeat itself yet again sadly 😦

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  9. I was waiting for a post on the riots from you Jack. Reading the comments as well, I feel that everyone has some good points to make. I saw this coming when I was a teenager and it is no surprise. I do not codon their actions but I can understand the situations that gave fruit to the rioting.

    I heard London was quiet last night and they think it is down to the huge amount of police presence. My concern is what happens when the police presence goes down. Is rioting going to be a normal every day activity? After all lets face it, the police are saying the people will be punished but cells and prisons are full. So the only choice is a fine.

    IMO these riots are the beginning of a turn in society and we have so much more to come. Britain is broken and it has been for a long time. If only the government would see that instead of poking their noses into other country’s business.

    PS – Did you see the statement from a Libyan newsreader? Expressing solidarity with the riots. I laughed! They really do not have a clue what is going on.

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    1. Most countries around the world have problems. Around 1,500 rioters have been arrested in the UK. Even if ten times that amount have been involved in the riots, that represents 0.016061% of the UK population. Yes, there are complex underlying problems in Britain but, in my opinion, to say the UK is ‘broken’ is a vast and simplistic exaggeration.

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  10. Thank you all your thoughtful and well considered comments. Not a ranter among you, thank God, unlike Faceache which is full of people saying the most ridiculous things. I was heartened by the mass cleanup in Clapham Junction organised on Twitter. It gave me hope.

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  11. Good God I love you already and I just got here. You live in Turkey? I can’t wait to hear more. Your perspective on the London riots was a good post for me to read, esp. re: the why of it – we in the US barely know what the hell is going on there. I’m subscribing, voting for you, the whole shebang. Glad I found you (through Linked In)

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    1. I suspect people aren’t that interested. I stumbled a post on Amy Winehouse and got nearly 4,000 hits, mostly in the States. I also stumbled my riots post and barely got 10. Says it all really.

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  12. We’re currently in London on our travels and have been keeping an eye on the riots. I am not educated in the details of the social problems confronting Britain at the moment and I do agree with Natalie that this is the “beginning of a turn in society and we have so much more to come.” As the divide between rich and poor becomes greater across the world, which it will, I shudder to think of the unrest that will come. I do not, however, condone any of the actions taken by the young, foolish children who are mostly involved. Young people who have no stake in property or work and have absolutely no idea what it takes to create a business or save to acquire property or what happens to the people whose businesses were destroyed need to be educated. And shame on their parents for not being aware of their activities on these evenings. The saddest thing is that many of the people who were harmed by the riots in terms of their businesses and livelihoods were not large corporations or bankers or governments who are at the root of these problems, but hard-working shopkeepers and small business owners who may suffer permanent losses due to the time it takes for insurance payments to be settled or things that aren’t covered by insurance. Lives were also lost, which is the most heartbreaking effect of the violence.

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    1. The disturbances look like they’ve mercifully abated so I’m sure you’ll be fine especially if you stay in Town rather than travel through some of the more deprived areas. As for the bigger picture stuff, alas, I have no answers. I wish I did.

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  13. I am interested in this topic Jack but knew I would rant if I posted before I calmed down .I am telling my friends from other parts of the world who are asking me for my opinion on what is happening to Blighty to read Melanie Philips columns ,she always sums it up nicely for me.

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    1. Hi Jo

      Melanie Philips has some strong views and is entitled to them. Sadly, she has written some vile things about gay people and strongly opposes civil partnerships. She likens my union with Liam to people wanting to marry their dogs. Ms Philips has suggested that teaching children about certain animal species (such as emperor penguins and sea horses) where the males take a lead role in raising their young is all part of a dastardly plot to undermine traditional family values. I’m sorry to say I would never look to Ms Philips for a balanced, well argued explanation about anything.

      Jack

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  14. Apart from the criminality, political leaders need to ask that question, “Why?” But they haven’t had the will or interest in exploring such complex issues up until now. Saying we are going to “fight back” (not a good choice of words) just isn’t going to cut it. I love your blog, found it through the LinkedIn writers’ group. You might like mine: petchary.wordpress.com. All the best from Kingston, Jamaica (British by birth…)

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    1. Welcome Petchary.

      Thanks for the complement. Yes, I agree with your analysis. David Cameron’s ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches,’ speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street made me despair. Cameron is no Churchill. I’ve taken a tour of your blog. I love your random musings on your life, the world and Jamaica.

      Jack

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      1. Thanks Jack! Isn’t the life of an ex-pat peculiar (and interesting)? I will continue to read yours and hope you continue to read my random musings. I just get things stuck in my mind and have to “get them off my chest”! All the best.

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