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London riots: a guest post

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, August 10th, 2011 - 229 comments
Categories: uk politics - Tags:

My local high street is on fire and a workmate in Hackney tells me she’s spending her evenings cowering in her flat as rioters vie with Turkish shopkeepers with baseball bats for control of the streets. In parts of London the police seem to have lost control.

It seems pretty clear that there are strong opportunistic elements involved in the looting – it’s certainly no heroic insurrection of the working class – but there’s a reason these events are taking place at this point at this time, and in places like Brixton and Bradford rather than Kensington and Chipping Norton.

At the most basic level the spark was the police shooting (which is increasingly looking like an extra-judicial murder) of Mark Duggan, a young black man from Tottenham. The police originally accused him of firing at them first, but it’s transpired that the bullet they produced as evidence was police issue and eyewitness accounts suggest Duggan was already on the ground when it was fired. Off the back of the suspicious recent death of reggae artist Smiley Culture while in in police custody, the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, controversy over ‘stop and search’ of black youth and revelations of police corruption at the Met it’s little surprise the community was angry and that riots broke out.

But the authorities’ (and in this I include the media) description of the following riots as ‘copycat behaviour’ or ‘organised crime’ is as worthy of derision in Britain as it is when used by Syria and Iran. I even heard one pundit last night saying there was ‘no connection whatsoever’ between the riots in Tottenham and those that have followed.

But I think the reaction in Tottenham has tapped into a wider anger and hopelessness in London (and now Britain) among young males who see no future ahead of them and no stake in British society.

Unemployment is stubbornly high. Wages are stagnant. Inflation is rising. Social housing is decrepit. Social services are being slashed, including youth employment programmes and the education maintenance allowance, which allows kids from poor families to stay in school. And anyone dreaming of getting out of poverty through higher eduction is now faced with fees of up to £9000 a year. And then they face daily indignities at the hands of the police, punctuated by occasional outrages like the killing of Mark Duggan.

Rioting clearly isn’t the answer, but why are the authorities so surprised when kids in this position decide playing by the rules and taking the respectable route doesn’t offer them a future?

The riots aren’t at this stage a protest against neoliberalism, but they are most certainly a product of neoliberalism.

It’s unclear what the outcome will be, both immediately with the riots and longer term politically. It’s possible that Cameron will deploy sufficient state force to end this quickly and that he will emerge stronger, but it’s also possible that longer term it will damage people’s faith in the government’s ability to maintain order and social cohesion (as the Callaghan government found after the Winter of Discontent) and there’s a chance it could give rise to a right-wing backlash. There are reports emerging tonight of racist thugs going after “blacks” and “pakis” in Enfield..

There’s possibly something deeper happening here too. Every institution of the ruling class in Britain has been discredited in recent years – the banks with the financial crisis, politicians with the expenses scandal, and now the cozy, corrupt relationship between the press, the politicians and the police has been exposed by the hacking scandal. I get the feeling that we could be in the early days of something big.

229 comments on “London riots: a guest post ”

  1. Blighty 1

    “The riots aren’t at this stage a protest against neoliberalism, but they are most certainly a product of neoliberalism.”

    great analysis

    • aerobubble 1.1

      neoliberalism breed the one to one correspondance between reality and human ledgers, they never actually meet, the Buddha pretty much emphasis this 2600bc, that the name of a thing is not the thing itself. Therein lies the deception of our monied class elite, they actively push the notion that growth is because neoliberal policies, but any physicist will tell you is energy in, activity out.

      Cheap oil made the unreal neoliberal experiment possible, growth would have happened anyway without the conservative revolution, it was spin. Now the young realise that peak oil means carrying the boomers ‘wealth’ debt and they see no future in it.

      Its called inflation hiding that got so few so much in a short time, million dollar bonuses.
      Well it can’t be hidden any longer.

    • Ianupnorth 1.2

      Best quote

      There is a danger of having any government of whatever composition led by a party which doesn’t have a proper mandate across the country trying to push through really difficult decisions
      Britain could be hit by a wave of “Greek style” unrest if a Tory government narrowly wins the election and brings in big spending cuts, Nick Clegg has warned.

      Also, http://news.sky.com/home/politics/article/15599056 (just ignore the red neck comments at the bottom)
      So Nick Clegg, why did you form a coalition with them when you predicted what would happen?

  2. Bored 2

    Seems to me that every political system ever moves inevitably toward a form of corruption of the elite. It happened in Russia with the end of Communism, it has happened in the Middle East this year, and the political /economic classes of Europe annd America are now under the microscope. Eventually the ordinary people say enough is enough. Unfortunately every elite that is forcibly reformed or removed seems to regenerate in another form and so the cycle goes.

    Maybe something big is in its early days, I am not confident yet as I see no emerging organised opposition leadership against the elite.

  3. jackal 3

    Avoiding Social Disintegration

    There seems to be a huge divide between what the right and left commentators are saying is the cause of the recent riots in England. What I think we can all agree on though is that it would be preferable that such events did not occur. The disintegration of a society is not something that should be celebrated, and cool heads must prevail if similar situations are to be avoided…

    • Gosman 3.1

      You state the following:

      “What I think we can all agree on though is that it would be preferable that such events did not occur.”

      Yet your prescription for trying to ensure these events do not occur seem pretty much to be standard textbook left wing social policies, (which the last Labour Government of the UK seemed to be pursuing prior to May of last year).

      Why would anyone on the right of the political spectrum agree with those when doing so would essentially mean they became left wing?

      • travellerev 3.1.1

        Here we go again. Left-Right and never the twain shall meet. If right is extreme egotism and left is extreme socialism than what we need perhaps is some maturity and wisdom in the middle. Funny how people like Gosman seem to have a problem with the maturity and wisdom principle.
        Bankers have been looting the economy for the last 35 years together with their mates with whom they share the boards of some corporations exporting jobs to third world countries and now young poor people are saying if they can do it so can I.
        I hate crime and in this I’m sure we agree so let’s go for the whole lot. Let’s go for the the banker striped suit white collar scamsters and the jobs in the street.
        No more handouts and criminals go to jail. That way there would be a whole lot more for everybody and perhaps if we make healthcare, and education free of charge more people who now feel dumped on because they are poor would actually get a chance to do something useful with their lives.
        One thing I know, what we don’t need is a small group of people printing money out of thin air and lending it to us at interest. If they can do that then so can we. Money printing back to the people and sod the bankster.

      • IrishBill 3.1.2

        You’re claiming that the Blair/Brown Labour government was left wing? Classic.

        • travellerev

          No I wasn’t?

          I was responding to this sentence and this sentence alone:

          Why would anyone on the right of the political spectrum agree with those when doing so would essentially mean they became left wing?

          From Gosman!

          In politics as far as I’m concerned in the “top” there is only one party: The money party divided in two halves one calling themselves Labour and the other are the Tory’s.

          • The Voice of Reason

            IB was laughing at Gosman, Trav. He said that the Blair/Brown government was text book leftwing, but actually they were much closer to your description of the money party.
            However, while you deny class politics, you’ll forever remain ignorant as to the true nature of our global situation. Which is. I guess, why you align yourself with the extreme left here in Aotearoa and the extreme right in the USA, as if there was no incompatibility between them.

            • Gosman

              Wherdid I say the Blair/Brown Government was textbook left wing?

              I did state that they massively increased social spending in the UK from 2001 to 2008. Do you deny this?

              • The Voice of Reason

                Gosman 3.1

                “Yet your prescription for trying to ensure these events do not occur seem pretty much to be standard textbook left wing social policies, (which the last Labour Government of the UK seemed to be pursuing prior to May of last year).”

                • Gosman

                  Ummmm…. did you notice the word social policy in that statement per chance?

                  I have never claimed that the last Labour government in the UK followed traditional left wing economic policy.

                  You do know the difference between social policy and economic policy don’t you?

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    Comprehension difficulties much? That’s not the question you asked me. Which was:
                    “Wherdid (sic) I say the Blair/Brown Government was textbook left wing?”
                    And then I showed exactly where. It’s not my problem if you don’t remember what you write, but the phrase “textbook left wing” appears in both question and answer. You asked, I answered. I’d expect the TAB to payout on that level of proof, Gossie. Wouldn’t you?

                    • Gosman

                      If you want to play silly word games for no purpose be my guest. You are equating my claim that their social policies from 2001 were textbook leftwing to their entire policy prescription. That is just idiotic.

                      I am interested if you are denying they increased social spending massively from 2001 onwards and isn’t that text book left wing soical policies?

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      It was your question, silly goose! I equated nothing to nothing, just correctly pointed out where you equated NewLabour with being text book left wing. As John Key sez, when you’re in a hole, stop digging.

                    • Georgecom

                      What you jokers appear to be arguing about is how a ‘third way’ type government was manifest in the UK. We had the NZ derivative with the Clark Governments. A neo-liberal economic policy mixed with more left social policies. The hegemony of competition and maintaining ‘market confidence’ was locked in place as economic orthodoxy whilst extra spending was added to the equation in an attempt to rebuild aspects of previous neo-liberal social failures (the list is long). The social programme was fettered by the need for the state to maintain a competitive edge, within a setting of globalism and finance flows, which resulted in various manifestations of policies, such as labour market & welfare policies which equipped the unemployed to be ‘market ready’. I think there is a degree of truth in what you both state, you are really arguing about how left wing/right wing the 2 elements of the ‘third way’ actually were. My contribution to this debate would be to speculate that ‘third wayism’ hit a fairly major speed bump around 2008 as the neo-liberal economic policy prescription reached its expiry date.


                    • Gosman

                      Text book in social policy. There was no mention of economics as well you are aware.

              • Ianupnorth

                Gosman you really are a friggin’ cretin aren’t you!
                I repeat (from yesterday)
                1) Afgahanistan and Iraq
                2) Bank bail outs
                FFS you are a dick!

                • And Jemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Libya

                • Gosman

                  And I put the lie to your views by giving you figures which showed Defence expenditure in the UK hardly moved in real terms between 2001 and 2008 but those on Social policy increased dramatically.

                  Did you not see that? I posted it twice just for you.

                  • Gosman, it always pays to read the primary sources when you link to blogs like the one by the ex-oxford undergrad student that you did yesterday.

                    Here is the source information from Her Majesty’s Treasury that your blogger used. You (and the blogger) are right that government expenditure went up in the ‘social’ areas – health, education and ‘work and pensions’.

                    Note in Table 1.6 (departmental budgets in real terms and including managed expenditures) that the two areas that showed the greatest increase were health and work and pensions. Think about why that might be so.

                    Hint: the UK population demographics are heading in the same direction as many other countries. To quote from the latter link:

                    The Daily Mail highlights that last year the total bill for pensions owed to Health Service staff soared by more than 30% (pound;52 billion) to reach pound;218 billion (Daily Mail, 24th October 2007).” 

                    Also, note the date mentioned in the quote. It’s during the period in which you note the expenditure on ‘left wing social policies’ by New Labour. 

                    The figures cut and pasted by your blogger friend were not that revealing at that gross level.

                    Finally, the one area other than health and work and pensions that went up considerably (in terms of budget but not annually managed expenditure) was ‘education and skills’.

                    Now, if educating people makes them riot that, in itself, would be quite revealing about the nature of a society. 

                    • Thank you Puddlegum; as stated to Gosman yesterday, you were merely trolling, try to rebel rouse by suggesting it was “failed Labour Policies” that were “identical” to what labour are proposing here (you were on about CGT, virtually implying a CGT would cause similar unrest).

                      There is already a capital gains tax as well as a top rate of 50 pence in the pound on incomes over 150,000 pounds in the UK. On top of this they have a number of VAT exemptions and lower rates for various goods.
                      These are all very similar to policies that the NZ Labour party is currently advocating as being central to their next election campaign. Yet for some reason there are riots there because of alienation but not here.
                      It’s a funny world, ain’t it, where countries with more left wing economic policies have greater alienation of the under classes? Gosman yesterday

                      and then later

                      I’m still waiting to see what you would suggest is the solution given the fact that the British have largely followed policy prescriptions over the past 10 years plus which the NZ Labour Party is now advocating.

                      You later (after a dozen or so people attempted to explain things in simplistic ways) came out with this gem

                      The Conservatives have been in power a little more than a year. It is hard to place the blame on them for the conditions that may, or may not, have led to these riot’s.

                      Well Gosman – who increased tuition fees to 9000 pounds per year, thus making university a non-starter for many?
                      Who removed incentives for teenagers to stay in full time education?
                      Who has removed many of the social facilities available for youth?
                      It certainly wasn’t any labour politicians – the kids may have been pissed off two years ago, but they are outraged now.

                  • Gosman

                    Let me get this straight, you think because a bunch of middle class and rich kids have to pay increased tuition fees that leads to inner city deprived kids rioting???

                    I truly dispair of the intellectual ability on the left.

                    BTW I note noone has disputed the fact that defence expenditure hardly moved between 2001 and 2008, something which certain people are trying to blame for the blow out in the UK Budget.

                    • rosy

                      Let me get this straight.
                      -You think poor inner-city black kids have no educational attainment?
                      – You think only middle-class white kids have the ability/would choose to go on to further education or training?
                      – You think increased tuition fees have no bearing on poor inner city black kids?

                      Take a quick look at graph 4 on this page

                      16% of White British pupils eligible for free school meals do not obtain 5 or more GCSEs. This is a much higher proportion than that for any other ethnic group, and combining gender and ethnic group, 19% of White British boys eligible for free school meals do not obtain 5 or more GCSEs. This is a much higher proportion than that for any other combination of gender, ethnic group and eligibility for free school meals

                    • Bored

                      Despair Gos? I thought you would be incapable of emotions such as despair. Heartlessness precludes that. Go on deny it…..tell us what a big nice softy you really are.

                    • lprent []

                      I suspect that needling him about his weight is a little unkind. Mind you I’m probably just a bit sensitive about that myself after gaining almost 10kgs because of having* giving up smoking after the heart attack.

                      Gimme back my hunger suppressants…

                      * Lyn told me whilst I was helpless in a hospital bed that “I’d had the last cigarette I’d ever smoke”. I immediately thought of cigars and pipes…. But alas they got dunned as well.

                    • Ok, let me. Here’s what Stiglitz points out about how the British excursion in Iraq was funded:

                      Before the war, Gordon Brown set aside £1 billion for war spending. As of late 2007, the UK had spent an estimated £7 billion in direct operating expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan (76 per cent of it in Iraq). This includes money from a supplemental “special reserve”, plus additional spending from the Ministry of Defence.
                      The special reserve comes on top of the UK’s regular defence budget. The British system is particularly opaque: funds from the special reserve are “drawn down” by the Ministry of Defence when required, without specific approval by Parliament. As a result, British citizens have little clarity about how much is actually being spent.” 

                    • jackal

                      In a strange way, the so-called terrorists are achieving what I presume was one of their goals, to destroy Western civilization. However those Governments that have manipulated their economies to achieve sustained and un-winnable wars can take all the credit for their own stupidity and demise. There’s a certain irony and lesson involved in such a strange dynamic… I wonder if they fathom their short sightedness? Truly there’s value in not reacting to provocation.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The plutocrats and the kleptocrats have engineered this entire situation, but as it all falls apart as usual it is the underclasses and sheeple ‘aspirational’ middle classes who bear the brunt.

                      And don’t forget the minimum £850B bill for bailing out the still staggering zombie banks.

                      I reckon the Russians, who remember being bled in Afghanistan so well, are laughing.

                    • AAMC

                      It was their specific intention, the terrorists. They succeeded against one empire and so went after the other.

                      Does anybody believe it was a coincidence that a Saudi with a grudge against the imperialist Americans drew the into Afghanistan?

                      The Pashtun have never been defeated, since Alexander the Great, they will not stop fighting as long as a single foreign weapon is on their soil, and so Osama may well, despite how fantastical his ambition may have seemed, end up having the last laugh.

                      We – ISAF – have already lost the prospect of caspian basin energy as the pipelines are being buil east to deliver the energy to China.

                    • AAMC

                      … Juan Cole has an interesting chart in this post that shows the effect of the military and tax cuts on the US economy.


                    • freedom

                      dear gosman
                      i just love how you exclude all working class kids from the tuition fee debate.

                      Do kids from low socio-economic groups not have a want or even a right to attend institutes of higher learning? If they do the fee hikes affect them also, actually they affect them the most.

            • travellerev

              ROFL, TVOR you’re sooo funny!

              I am fully convinced we are in a serious class war and as Warren Buffet says: We are in a class war and it’s my class which is winning!

              As for my alignment?

              How’s this for my alignment: I align myself with the 99% of the under class against the 1% of the upper class and right now I don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing because they are winning.

              They are winning because ignorami like you still go for their asinine right/left paradigm which promises us that as long as we keep to their rules we will be all right.

              Bertholt Brecht once said: Erst kommt das Fressen: Dann kommt die Moral.

              Your homework? Find the fucking translation!

      • ron 3.1.3

        Umm…because they’re better ideas….?

      • bbfloyd 3.1.4

        another half wit pile of drivel from gossy… how hard can it be to recognise an issue that goes way beyond idiotic party political sloganeering to deal with?

        it’s not just the uk that has been a powder keg simply waiting for a spark to ignite.. france is poised on the brink of anarchy. add greece, italy, spain, portugal, and most of slavic europe into the mix and we are looking at a possible repeat of the prelude to the second world war…

        time to stop playing silly word games, and start using our heads before the shit hits the fan here as well..

        • AAMC

          Gosman, how in your narrow “Right” tunnel, do you reconcile the fact that your guru’s of Free Market Capitalism are being subsidized by Communist China and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia?

          If your system worked, they wouldn’t be on their knees, hands out, begging.

          • freedom

            no, no, no AAMC, they aren’t begging.
            They are pre-emptively offerring to promote payment of inverse credit distribution.

          • Gosman

            Who’s begging? Where is the evidence that someone has gone begging to the Saudis and China?

            Have you ever bothered to read Adam Smith and what his views are on Current Account Surplus and Deficits?

            • freedom

              To get the recent deal the US had to admit to over Fifteen Trillion dollars of overdue debt.

              To do that they had to expose the cold light of day truth that they have current liabilities of over Sixty Two Trillion Dollars which is effectively why they were downgraded.

              They are so broke they would be begging your grandma for her gold fillings
              if they could find where you have stashed them

              by the way, i do not care what Mr A.Smith has to say. He died a couple of centuries ago. Not to say his ideas didn’t help form the world we have but the relevance of any particular detail is so out of context as to be inapplicable to the scale of our economies. Hell there is stuff in the last five years that has contemporary experts shaking their collected heads wondering how the hell it all happened. It is a different game today and people like Smith have little to contribute that we are not already aware of, yet refuse to implement.

              In short, I do not need an economist to tell me the world is broke, corrupt and getting worse. I do need a restraining order though, because there are a handful of Trolls that i have a passionate urge to pour into a concrete foundation pad and build a playground atop of. Their incessant and pitiful attempts to distract people from important and relevant dialogues on topics that will alter the future course of human history, is really quite frustrating.

            • AAMC

              The point Gosman is the irony that without Chinese Communist and Saudi fundamentalist Islamic bond buying, your free market system would be insolvent.

              For such an ideologue, that must be a difficult irony to face, which is why your faith kicks in and allows you to ignore it.

      • jackal 3.1.5

        I think travellerev, Irishbill, Ron and bbfloyd answered your question effectively Gosman. I’d just like to add that not all of the ten things I’ve mentioned to avoid social disintegration should be labelled left wing or socialism. There are various capitalist dynamics that are productive, although inherent greed is never beneficial. In my opinion, capitalism works best when everybody becomes wealthy from it. What needs to happen is a move away from generalizations, particularly when they are political and cause division.

        You’re simply highlighting the problem with labeling various social manipulation as capitalism or socialism Gosman. Finding a balance is in my mind the best practice. Both systems have shown failings in recent times, and how much cost is there when society swings back and forth? What cost to Britain when a disproportionate system completely fails? I would presume it far exceeds any cost savings in austerity measures. Give people a stake in their communities, use whatever parts of various political systems to achieve it.

        Why would anyone on the right of the political spectrum agree with those when doing so would essentially mean they became left wing?

        Because London burns.

        • Gosman

          Gosh, you sound like Tony Blair circa 1997. Next you will be telling me we need to find a third way.

          • Colonial Viper

            Fuck ‘Left vs Right’

            Today its the 1% against the 99%

            Time for a new paradigm and societal movement altogether, not a ‘balance’ between Left and Right

            • AAMC


              Now how do we get started with this new paradigm. I’m in!

              • jackal

                If you believe that democracy is alive and well and that nobody is above the law, then you maintain the status quo and allow the system to change gradually. If you believe the right will just implement further policies to try and repress the masses and ignores the majority of people who want an inclusive society, then you undertake other processes to relieve them of their influence.

                The decision on whether that change is undertaken willingly or by force is something that the right should contemplate very carefully. It’s my belief that New Zealand’s democratic process is not closed, and will accept a better system. However, I’ve experienced many instances that make me question that belief.

                The right should be adult enough to accept their divisive system is a failure for the vast majority, and realize the consequences involved to them persevering with archaic and ineffective policies.

                Propaganda based on obfuscation and creating inequality has a disastrous outcome, that I hope they ponder upon. Their policy based on rhetoric should be exposed with the truth and facts. The Standard does well in this respect.

                Judging by recent displays of stupidity by National MP’s, I’m unsure which process will eventuate. It’s been said that NZ is five years behind England.

                @ Gosman. Your an idiot!

      • prism 3.1.6

        @ Gosman – I feel that the policies of both the British and NZ Labour govts recently could not be called ‘standard textbook left wing social policies’. If they were attempting to follow the textbook we wouldn’t be in the dire straits we are in now. Both Brit and us have been infected by the right wing free market policies, and notice the unpleasant results.

        • Gosman

          So what would you classify as standard left wing social policies if not those pursued by NZ and UK Labour?

          [lprent: standard left wing? We have none because there is too much variability of opinion between the authors. Umm perhaps you were not referring to this site? Perhaps you should be a more careful about what triggers moderators? ]

          • freedom

            ok Gosman to state it very simply

            Greed is bad

            now you can use whatever mechanism you want to for the ongoing functioning of a world economy but when greed supercedes need, the imbalance is non-recoverable without loss

            Strangely enough the loss is never from those who instigated the greed

            simple enough or do you have some fantasy world where greed is a good thing?

      • mik e 3.1.7

        like Roger Douglas and Tony Blair you mean Gosman.No wonder the world is in such a mess we need more leaders like these clowns to finish it of . Pragmatic leaders such as Angela Merkal, who use well researched policies succeed where others are failing all around.Britain and NZ are following Greece and US borrow ands hope policies. The Cullen fund has reached nearly $20 billion. Kiwisaver $10 billion yeah good right wing policies aye goose step man!

        • Colonial Viper

          If Angela Merkel leaves Germany on the hook for the entire EU bailout she will screw herself and her country.

          The debt contagion is being pushed from the periphery of the EU to the centre. Surely she can’t be this stupid.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    The ‘lumpen’ proletarian looters may not be class conscious fighters but are surely proxies for millions of alienated Brits. The cops have been caught short in the first few days, will the state forces now use plastic bullets or worse in days to come?

    • freedom 4.1

      Plastic bullets have been authorised by the PM and deployed into Police armouries. The use of the Army has at this time been ruled out by the PM. The use of Water Cannons have been put on a maybe list from all accounts.

      There are currently no reports of major unrest but there are no real reports of anything outside of social networks and a few blog reports. BBC and RT are just replaying old video so either nothing is happening or it is more active than they want to publicise. The deployment of 16,000 Police has possibly acted as a deterrent but how long that can be maintained is open to debate. If there really is a groundswell of anger then it will wait untill the forces retreat a little and then it could all flare up again in a few days or weeks.

  5. freedom 5

    a BBC interview that highlights how the media is still not listening,

    This video has not been on high rotation in the last twentyfour hours of news broadcasting. It has however been blocked, reposted, corrupted, reposted, retitled and reposted that ‘they’ seem to have given up trying to remove it from circulation. It is a simple and damning example of how the message often has another voice that is fair, valid and worth listening to.

    • IrishBill 5.1

      Yeah, I saw that. I’m thinking about posting it later today.

      • freedom 5.1.1

        the BBC interviewer made me want to reach into the Tv, in big screen Videodrome style, and slap a year’s supply of duct tape over her braindead pre-programmed venom soaked gob

        then i remembered she is probably just scared and wouldn’t be able to ask a real question even if she wanted to

        • Colonial Viper

          Interviewer: “You’re no stranger to riots yourself are you?”

          Howe pwned her for that as being disrespectful of an old negro man. That’s when she concluded the interview.

          He’s right though, this is not just rioting, this has the tint of an insurrection.

      • Bill 5.1.2

        Do. It says it all really. I would do it, but am already running way behind and have to dash…

      • The Voice of Reason 5.1.3

        Look him up on Wikipedia, IB. I remember the LKJ song about him, when he was banged up for being a bit too uppity. The man is a dead set legend!

    • felix 5.2

      It’s a disgrace that they turn his mic down whenever she wants to talk over him.

      A fucking disgrace.

  6. Bill 6

    Just a wee observation.

    When there are planned protests by predominantly middle class types (against cuts or whatever), the police contain and control with apparent ease.

    These ‘planned on the hoof’ protests have had the Met on the run for days.

    Wonder if any overtly political types are down there learning a thing or two about tactics?

  7. 340 deaths at the hand of the police force mostly members of minority groups. On average 1 every month and not one conviction of wrongful death may have something to do with it too!

    • jackal 7.1

      Hey travellerev, you’ve linked to a Obama loses the presidential seal Youtube video. I’d be interesting to see info re that many cop killings.

      It’s funny that on the next video, which is a news broadcast that says it’s ethnic minorities who are to blame for the mayhem, pans to some rioters who are all white. In fact I didn’t see any majority of any so called ethnic minorities at all in any of the footage I’ve viewed. Racist bastards!

      • travellerev 7.1.1

        Oh oops. My bad! Here is the link to the interview I was referring too and this is a link to a post I wrote this morning about a series of unexplained events around the riots

        • jackal

          Good article there travellerev. I’m not sure that it’s a false flag operation though, as there’s no definite benefit for the right in the rioting. That’s how governments are overthrown. I had heard there were agent provocateurs but I think the police can take most of the responsibility for sparking the riots off. Killing and harassing people and believing themselves above the law really only has one outcome.

          The right wing is trying to spin it in their favour of course, in particular increasing police funding, but the argument for more social funding is equally relevant. It’s predictable that they would politic the violence in this way, the silly thing is they are advocating for the same thing that caused the violence in the first place.

          There are groups of white supremacists patrolling the streets now, presumably to find and assault any individual or small groups of coloured people they find. These white supremacists have also clashed with police. I believe the premiss that it’s mainly coloured people causing trouble is incorrect.

          • travellerev

            Thanks for the compliment J,
            Yes, twitter has been alight with messages about the EDL wanting to battle it out with the rioters.

            The initial clashes were with primarily black people because they were the ones demonstrating initially. It wasn’t until later than many young white people also started to demonstrate. The video of the guy identifying as an under cover cop shows a large group of primarily young white people suggesting that the divide and conquer strategy didn’t quite work.

            I think there is righteous anger which may have made manipulation of the situation easier but I believe that the final goal is Martial law and that can only succeed if under and middle class are firmly opposed to each other and to entrenched in their mutual hatred to see what is really going on and the middle class asking for more “protection”.

            That is why I think that the upper class is causing these kinds of riots to erupt and that is why I think it is a false flag event.

            • jackal

              I can’t argue against your logic travellerev. What I find hardest to fathom is why would they undertake a false flag operation in the first place? An economy functions better and is far more profitable under a free democracy. It’s a misconception that a change away from inequality would mean a decrease in their wealth.

              What gives credence to your thoughts on the matter is the fact that the Imperial Parliament has given the police free license to undertake any use of force they deem necessary. I presume this means they can kill people with impunity. It’s somewhat of a catch twenty-two in terms of responsibility and causing further mayhem.

              Another dynamic that gives further weight to your argument is that much of the British media is promoting a single video to show how bad the looters are. In this way they are trying to illicit an emotional gut response to sway public opinion in favour of whatever measures are imposed… all the while ignoring any governmental responsibility for fomenting such violence.

              Great Britain appears to still have a certain amount of divide and conquer stupidity going on, albeit internalised on this occasion.

              • This is what Michael Ruppert has to say about it. Michael Ruppert is the man who outed the CIA as drug dealers and who wrote the book: “Crossing the Rubicon”

                Here is a presentation from him from some years ago.

                When Michael speaks I tend to listen.

                For us the economy works better if there is peace and a free democracy. For them it works better if they can cause murder and mayhem so they can loot and destroy at will. And they do this on a global scale not just in the UK.

                • freedom

                  trav, i have had a few discussions on the false flag angle the last few days and generally i am of the opinion the term itself is becoming over-used and that the Tottenham events are not flase flag events. The authorities certainly slowed the response that is normally expected and at a stretch you could form the opinion they were ‘allowing the event to develop’ but in reality i think they just did not have the nounce to deal with the strategies employed by the rioters. They definitely saw and pounced on an opportunity to study the actions at a farly minimal cost as it was only the poor neighborhoods in general that were being attacked. If the rioters had moved near Whitehall or Mayfair you can bet your booties the response would have been more severe.

                  Speaking with a friend living in Tottenham also has helped me to form this opinion, and of course it is only that, an opinion. I will add my friend cannot substantiate the reports of ‘chemical spraying’ from the helicopters which are starting to show up around the net.

                  I do not believe they expected it to spread to other centers as quickly as it did and that the government actually got caught out there and it does look very bad. this is, i believe why the government has now given teh green light to clamp down and that will mean deaths. I don’t see a false flag, i see genuine sparks of insurrection that have been wasted without the education and the leadership to focus the energy into action and steer it away from violence.

                  I see a spontaneous and violent social event that has not run its course

                  • Freedom,
                    Three years ago people didn’t get the “False flag” phenomenon if their lives depended on it. Now everybody has at least heard about it. That as far as I’m concerned is a good thing.

                    If you had read my post and had read up especially on the questions surrounding the death of Mark Duggan (such as a police bullet in a portable radio carried by one police officer which was claimed to have come from Mark Duggan but turned out to be police issued and shot with a gun not at the scene indicating premeditation) , the time between his death and the peaceful demonstration (A week, indicating this was not a hotheaded response to an unfortunate shooting incident) which only turned violent when the police batonned a 17 year old girl the Territorial Support Group (TSG) on stand by while the police claimed not to have been prepared for the events that ensued and the stand down order of the police which only emerged after the riots had been going on for four days all indicate a little more than letting an unfortunate event get out of hand.

                    • freedom

                      of course i read your post, and i have read as many posts as i can get my hands on. I too have watched hours of media and read hundreds of articles since these events began.

                      I have made various comments already about the locals stating Mark Duggan was shot in the head yet it is being reported in the MSM as a chest shot. He is also said to have been prone when it occurred but there is no way to verify that. This fact alone is staggering as the UK has more CCTV surveillance than any other western state. The gun he had was reportedly in a sock when discovered but this is also absent from the media. I had not seen the info about the ‘radio-bullet’ being from a gun not on the scene but was aware that the bullet in the radio was police issue. The possibility of a verdict of an extra-judicial shooting is thankfully being voiced but where that ends up, who knows. I also plainly mentioned the baton attack on the young female that instigated the reaction that lead to the riots.

                      All i was inferring is that there are levels of intent and the actions taken or not taken by the British Constabulary and their superiors falls outside of the premeditation i believe is warranted for something to be titled a false-flag. As i said, i believe this is a sequence of reaction to unforseen events that are being massaged into form rather than engineered from a plan of premeditated action.

                    • Freedom,
                      I don’t presume everybody reads my posts just because I put a link in a comment here.
                      We are generally on the same side so let’s keep that in mind when we debate an issue OK?
                      As a woman who in her foolish and early years took part in some serious riots (Without the looting I might add but seriously disturbing the coronation of the current Dutch queen) I can assure you that if there is so much as the chance of a riot there are armies of police on standby and ready to intervene at any time. Which was the case in the Tottenham riots too as I link to before even though they claimed they were unprepared.
                      For a police force to be put in stand down is an order from pretty high up.

                      I will try to find the link back about the police bullet not being from a gun on the scene of the shooting.

                      One thing that might point toward it being an event being given a spin rather than a false flag is the fact that the original shooting barely got media coverage witch it would surely have had if a policeman had been shot at on that day. They would have used that to diffuse any tension straight away as shooting policemen even for the angry under class is something of a no no. If only because they would come down on you like a ton of bricks!

                      They could have concocted that after the fact to cover any inconsistencies up as the case progressed and the family wanted answers.

  8. freedom 8

    From early, and diverse reports, there was only the one Protest. That was in Tottenham for the Mark Duggan shooting. That apparently got physical after the protestors chose to express their rights to gather peacefully and this pissed off some Police who told them to go home. After an hour or three of stand-off a 17 yr old girl was batoned and that was when the violence ensued from the protestors.

    That led to a complex mish-mash of protestors being overshadowed by vandals and this led to the criminality that exploded throughout London. The rest is a mix of copycat actions fuelled from the catalyst of Tottenham’s actions.

    A very good comment by a black youth in one interview ( removed from YouTube) says simply that last month over 2000 young black men marched peacefully to the Metropolitan Police HQ demanding removal of Operation Trident and the cessation of racially profiled street searches. Obviously this is not worthy of the press asking any questions or showing any interest and the press said not a word. Even many in London are expressing shock at the existence of Trident because it has been kept so quiet. Meanwhile A few hoodlums burn a carpet factory and every kid is having a camera in their face being asked questions about the lawlessness.

    • Here is the article with the interview!

      • freedom 8.1.1

        just got forwarded the article from Laurie Penny, she is also being interviewed on RT right now.

      • prism 8.1.2

        Quote from interview linked by travellerev 2.59pm

        Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

        Says it all really.

  9. clandestino 9

    Gotta say I don’t give as much credence to the view this is entirely the end result of neo-liberalism, even if it plays a part in the atomisation of our societies, and is certainly catastrophic for youth employment.

    But there are cultural issues at play here too, social attitudes and aggression prevalent in my generation that I don’t think have existed to this extent before. I believe there are certain mass-media and fashions that romanticise criminality and unpolitical violence and a ‘get what’s mine’ mindset. These cultural phenomena have a greater impact on those attitudes than is necessarily acknowledged by many on the left.

    There are plenty of unemployed in this country who would never do anything like rioting but have just chosen to peacefully not participate in capital relations.

    • freedom 9.1

      it is a result of rampant capitalist greed and the sideshow labels that everybody throws around only serves to distract the populace from seeing it as a whole.

      “There are plenty of unemployed in this country who would never do anything like rioting ”
      back in April, people in London were saying the same thing after Bristol

      • clandestino 9.1.1

        You say it’s capitalist greed, but a lot of the media we consume in my generation is actually not paid for (so stolen or made available for free) and is most definitely not a plant by our rich overlords who despise it.

        It actually comes from the underclass, and is imbued with an aggression and advocacy of social disobedience (ie. theft, murder, violence). The anger and bitterness felt by many will have much to do with capitalism in its current form, but to ascribe it as a sole reason is too reductionist in my view. Do we really believe there is no moral/societal conscience or freedom of will anymore, what about the sense of solidarity we need to have to make serious change? The lackthereof is not simply the result of economics.

        The logical conclusion of this reductionist mindset is the destruction of the system and everything to do with it, or the politics of negativity rather than of hope.

        By the way, I said there are plenty of unemployed who ‘would never’ do this, which is not to say there aren’t plenty who ‘would’, given the cultural and social attitudes I know are present in many of my peers.

        • freedom

          “but to ascribe it as a sole reason is too reductionist in my view”

          “rampant capitalist greed” as a phrase, does i believe, cover a fair amount of ground in all the areas of concern you raised especially in the domain and the question of free will. Of course there are a million other factors but broad strokes regarding the economic heirarchy are relevant to the discussion. Please consider the context of the comment and also it might pay to remember that your generation (?) are not the only users of alternative media and are definitely not the only creators of it.

          • clandestino

            Yes it covers a fair amount of ground, but only a fair amount, yeah?

            What about that innate (what I thought to be a social evolutionary impulse, a la Hitchens and Harris) sense that theft is wrong, killing is evil, there are objective values independent of capitalism.

            Sorry by media I meant ‘underground’ culture/media not mass or online news media. So many young people are infected with a strain of nihilism unrelated in my view to class struggle, than perhaps we admit.

            • rosy

              The logical conclusion of this reductionist mindset is the destruction of the system and everything to do with it, or the politics of negativity rather than of hope.

              It used to be people defined themselves by what they did (most often a parent, a profession or trade). Now they define themselves by what they have.

              Wealthy role models and corporates promote this, they define status and identity by brands. It’s everywhere – if you haven’t got ‘it’ then you’re nobody. Throw in some legitimate grievance, i.e. a toxic mix of social/economic injustice plus racial profiling in police work, and a spark will set off a rage that is expressed by looting and destruction.

              It’s not just looting for the sake of it. It’s stealing brands for status and identity too. Betcha the big brands were the most stolen.

              In this world, in my view, the innate sense that theft is wrong and killing is evil is time and again shown to be the moral outlook of losers; they are intricately entangled with capitalism. The state is the organisation that has ‘stolen’ the future for these people, and the police? – well they kill.

            • KJT

              A pity that the bankers in UK did not get the idea that theft is wrong.

              Leaders have a responsibility to show values and an example.

              When the leaders, or their puppets, (Key, Douglas, Brash, Blair, Cameron, Bush) show they are self interested, venal, criminal thieves then it is no surprise that the poor and disadvantaged follow their example.

              When leaders are interested in the welfare of everyone else. (Mandela, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Gandhi) they can inspire whole countries to achieve and prosper.

              • clandestino

                See I agree completely with this, and it applies no matter the economic system! That’s the beauty of breaking out from a reductionist mindset.

                In saying that, I don’t necessarily think those who advocate the greed is good capitalism believe themselves that they aren’t doing the right thing. They genuinely believe in free market theory, and it’s societal benefit.

                I hope those who watched Century of the Self also read Freuds thoughts on melancholia and the tendency to scapegoat the ‘other’. You see it all the time, people blowing up at bankers/bludgers/sick benes/ceos, expressions of their inability to deal with their own grievance.

        • AAMC

          “Do we really believe there is no moral/societal conscience or freedom of will anymore”

          Can I suggest you wantch Adam Curtis’s Century of the Self…

          • clandestino

            Yeah and it’s along the lines of what I’m saying, except I don’t necessarily believe it’s entirely implemented ‘from above’, but a social and individual ‘from below’ nihilism facilitated by acceptance of and justification of certain social attitudes working against solidarity.

            • Campbell Larsen

              Solidarity occurs between equals. In a stratified society where some members are almost totally disenfranchised there are competing agendas and no consensus. A discussion of values and context necessarily precedes notions or discussion of solidarity.

              • clandestino

                What about human solidarity, ya know, the notion that stealing and violence aimed at your fellow citizens isn’t justified? I didn’t see any bankers getting punched then robbed. The economic state does not preclude the ideas of Freud and Bernays in any case

                • Colonial Viper

                  I didn’t see any bankers getting punched then robbed.

                  BAC, rank outsiders compared to JPM and G.S., is next on the chopping block. The Countrywide Poison Pill they were required to swallow is about to self destruct.

                  • clandestino

                    They’ll get punched alright, but when they do the robbing it’ll turn out to be monopoly money.

    • Hi Clandestino, I don’t think it is quite so simple to separate out ‘cultural’ from ‘economic’ factors, especially in today’s world. But, let’s say it can be done. Where do “social attitudes and aggression prevalent in my generation” come from? The causes you cite are “mass-media and fashions that romanticise criminality and unpolitical violence and a ‘get what’s mine’ mindset“.

      Why, in previous generations, didn’t these ‘mass-media and fashions’- and their pernicious effects –  exist to the extent you believe they do for today’s youth? Is their arrival a purely random, uncaused event? Or, to put it another way, why did they NOT arise (to this extent) previously?

      My answer is straightforward. Such media and fashions have been given their head by a neo-liberal economic system that says anything can be produced and sold. If there are later, predictable consequences of doing this in the behaviour of individuals then we simply point out that not all individuals reacted in that way therefore there’s nothing wrong with allowing people to produce and sell (and promote and market) anything, no matter how violent, antisocial, sexually aggressive or whatever.

      In most other times and places such open slather conduct has been regulated by pretty stringent formal and informal social sanctions, sometimes to the opposite (detrimental) extremes.

      In summary, the kind of ‘cultural’ factors you point to are part and parcel of the overall socioeconomic arrangements in our modern world. They are ‘cultural’ expressions of the values inherent in a consumerist, individualistic society. Economics and culture are of a piece. (If you don’t believe me, have a look at how cultural traditions and material ways of life are interlinked in hunter-gatherer, horticultural, agricultural and feudal societies both today and in the past.)

      BTW, have a read of this and see if it rings any bells. 

      • clandestino 9.2.1

        I do believe you, at least most of what you say I think is correct. The rise of individualism and its incorporation into capitalist exploitation does play a part. But I note the paper you link to does admit to a ‘moral decay’ (their words) that does exist, and I can’t see the author solely ascribing an underlying economic cause. Do you believe for example that “an enlarged, socially connected individuality that offers us the opportunity to become truly moral beings” is impossible under capitalism? I don’t. It is possible under any system.

        ‘Thinking for oneself and living for others at the same time.’ In a way that says it all. At least that’s how I like to think of myself! 🙂

        By the way I think in the past the homogeneity of society did play a part, and I know I’m gonna get torn apart for that. But I mean it more as a homogeneity of experience rather than anything else.

        • rosy

          Do you believe for example that “an enlarged, socially connected individuality that offers us the opportunity to become truly moral beings” is impossible under capitalism? I don’t. It is possible under any system.

          My partner and I continue to ‘discuss’ this point and after 20 years we still have different interpretations. He believes truly moral beings must be developed within capitalism because all other economic systems have been discredited. I believe it is very difficult to develop as truly moral beings under a competitive, winner takes most system.

          We both agree that the poorly regulated corporatism of recent times creates a world where social injustices thrive and morality is neither role-modeled or valued by those with financial (and often political) power, and this will inevitably lead to social dislocation, poverty and breakdown. Neither of us will support neo-liberal theory or policies because of this.

          Is homogeneity of experience important? The real question is what sort of homogeneity are you reaching for here? Cultural/racial similarities, or something else? My homogeneity of experience would be egalitarianism – that all members of society are similarly endowed with access to health, housing, education and jobs for starters.

          • clandestino

            Yes I think there’s something in all of that. Though I would caution that not all participants in capitalism are either competitive or ‘taking it all’. Many, if not most, simply go along to get along, as I’ve said. That doesn’t mean they don’t make and sell things at profit and use those profits to reinvest, encouraged to do so by the observation that if they don’t they will go out of business, thereby making a better product and on and on…what you and me call competition others see as common sense. And definitely not immoral.

            The plutocratic elite are the problem, we agree. But at the other end of the scale, I would argue we in NZ do provide much of what you list there as rights. I suspect we disagree over why some people choose (for themselves or their kids) not to take advantage of their access to these rights. I see Ed Miliband saying it’s “partly about parental responsibility, partly about gangs and some of that culture” (re the riots).

            • rosy

              We’re all participants in capitalism, but I know what you’re saying and I agree there are many good people who are business owners and employers. However it is a competitive system, rather than co-operative one and there will always be winners and losers. It’s managing that that is in question at the moment. And english-speaking developed countries are pretty poor at it IMO.

              Yes, I believe NZ provides health, ed, housing etc better than many other countries. But I also believe there are serious problems with effective access to these essentials. And yes, I suspect we do disagree on this simply because you assume ‘choice’ and I believe there are significant barriers to ‘choosing’.

              I also read Miliband’s comment and thought it very political and given the situation; but that’s fair enough because stopping riots is the imperative and parents and other leaders must be co-opted into that. Otherwise I thought his statement extremely naive. I won’t comment further on that until he has an opportunity to expand.

              • Tommy Gunn

                NZ is going through the same austerity” cuts & social problems the UK & europe is now. We’ve got a Tory twat PM too! No idea’s how to grow the economy, currently 0.8%, 350,000 unemployed 6.8% -7.5%, massive debt and a dodgy rugby world cup coming! So when the looting & burn’nin finish in the UK come on over to NZ and kick off here!

                It’s grim here and winter and the people in Christchurch that have had 2 earthquakes are getting fuck’d around by the government. Japan had a tsunami & earthquake, built 30,000 temp house in 3 months, this lot millions of dollars in talk-fests & 120 houses built & locked up on-site that nobody can use??

            • Puddleglum

              Thanks for taking the time to read the links I put up, clandestino.

              For me, morality is not best understood at the level of individuals. Moral processes are social processes, not individual ones. In our (‘capitalist’) society of course there are some ‘good’ people – but that’s not a reference to some inner state, just to a convergence of factors that, in one person, produce behaviour that is not too destructive.

              If you look at it at the population level, the fact that some people remain in their behaviour broadly ‘moral’ in a capitalist society is not the issue. It is whether or not the social (including economic) processes tend towards the production of more or less such behaviours.

              Capitalism, in my opinion of necessity, requires just the kinds of social arrangements that reduce the likelihood that a society can reliably generate a ‘morally regulated’ population to sufficient degree that it can avoid severe dysfunction.

              It encourages people to focus on personal projects of advancement in a competitive context. ‘Good’ people then end up excusing actions because “that’s just business” or “if I don’t do it someone else will”, etc..

              It provides ‘incentives’ for people to put a lower priority on connections with others and with places/neighbourhoods than on working, ‘career advancement’ and the like.

              It encourages a dulled empathy, and an apathy about the problems of the world: First through the claim that the best action is NOT to intervene (either politically or interpersonally, the latter because of the importance attached to privacy and the privatised life project, the former because of the notion of economic freedom and the complexity of life); second, because power is tied up with wealth there are clear signals that – for those without power – there is little point in trying to change things (and, so, little point in developing one’s powers of empathy – unless one is masochistic).

              There are other points but, hopefully, you will realise why – rightly or wrongly – I see a link between our economic system and what, traditionally, is called morality.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    As usual we get irrelevant left-versus-right commentary and nit-picking.

    aerobubble got close to the mark.

    The neoliberal agenda was facilitated by cheap oil. Britain was pretty much finished by the 1970s but the extraction of oil and gas from the North Sea was a form of money for nothing – a very good return on the money required to build drilling-extraction platforms etc., so there was a false boom, predicated on ‘money for nothing’ coming from under the sea.

    Well the bubble has now burst. Extraction is falling. Three decades of squandering that once-in-a-lifetime bounty has left Brtian in a deeper hole that it was in 40 years ago, with a much higher population and less room to manouver.

    There has been no truly socialist government in Britian since Atlee/Bevan set up the NHS, nationalised the railways and coal mines etc.

    Without energy nothing happens. Britian may manage to prop itself up for a while longer via inports of energy it cannot pay for, but in essence the game is over.

    NZ is not far behind on the slippery slope, though it does have the advantage of a warmer climate and a lower population that Britian.

    • Ianupnorth 10.1

      Compare and contrast – Norway, kept it’s oil profits, invested it in education, technology, sustainable power generation and superannuation investments, the UK, joined the EU, sold of the state housing stock, sold off state assets, failed to adequately invest in peoples futures.
      You reap what you sow!

    • RobertM 10.2

      Yes but the car industry, textiles, coal mines, shipbuilding etc simply were hopelessly uneconomic in Britain. And the unions speeded their demise. Maybe it was a hoot, an outlet to have a stop work but it didn’t help and neither did the shody workmanship in British cars, British trains etc.
      The boom in the Thatcher and Major years had many causes, North Sea Oil was one of them. Thatcher did cut the proportion of GNp devoted to the state until it was reversed by Brown. Changes to laws governing the finance and banking industries on a global basis caused a huge credit boom from about l986 and later marriage may have meant young people working in South England and London partied till their mid 30s.Personally I find Susan Faludi a bore.

  11. P Schwartz 11

    ***“The riots aren’t at this stage a protest against neoliberalism, but they are most certainly a product of neoliberalism.”***

    That and post WWII immigration policies that lead to the creation of a resentful ethnic underclass in addition to the existing underclass.

    “Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) f*ck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O
    Dead the ends and colour war for now so
    if you see a brother… SALUT!
    if you see a fed… SHOOT!”


    • prism 11.1

      WW2 immigration policies were seen as rational and reasonable at the time. The British Empah was just admitting some of its outlying peoples. It was inevitable that Commonwealth people would look to Britain for advancement. The Empah always held itself up as superior. The riots are the result of not being able to give enough people an education that integrates and offers equal opportunity to respect without racial bias, and for jobs and living standards.

  12. P Schwartz 12

    ***“The riots aren’t at this stage a protest against neoliberalism, but they are most certainly a product of neoliberalism.”***

    That and post WWII immigration policies that lead to the creation of a resentful ethnic underclass in addition to the existing underclass.

    “Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) f*ck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O
    Dead the ends and colour war for now so
    if you see a brother… SALUT!
    if you see a fed… SHOOT!”

  13. Tom Gould 13

    Nikki Kaye told the House this afternoon that the London riots are down to deficit spending and over taxing in the past. What planet is this genius from? A one-woman riot?

  14. KJT 14

    UK, USA, Ireland, NZ.

    Failed States after years of neo-liberal meanness.

  15. Vicky32 15

    TV3 are making a ‘moral panic’ meal of it of course…

  16. grumpy 16

    Not a political thing at all, merely the product of an emasculated unarmed police force.

    • prism 16.1

      @ grumpy – Reminds me of the Simpsons scene. Bart to black officer about truncheon – Is that a truncheon for hitting people? No, it’s a baton. What do you do with it then? We hit people.

      When the police are allowed by government to harrass citizens on the slightest pretext, merely suspicion, then it shows a breakdown in civil society. Having guns increases it.

      • grumpy 16.1.1

        Nah, UK policing has gone way too soft – that seems to be slowly (quickly) dawning on people.

    • KJT 16.2

      An unarmed police force works fine when everyone feels they have a stake in and are a part of society.

      It odes not work when they become troops, defending wealthy thieves against the people they have stolen from.

    • Vicky32 16.3

      Grumpy, are you completely barking mad?

      • felix 16.3.1

        Magic 8 Ball says: “Signs point to yes”

      • grumpy 16.3.2

        How many riots are there in Texas???

        • felix

          Prisoners in Texas have been rioting quite a bit over the last few years actually grumpy.

          Do you reckon the guards are unarmed?

          • grumpy

            But they don’t make it into town and burn down buildings. The problems with British policing go way beyond arming – the whole police culture is fucked and they just don’t have any respect from either side.

            • felix

              They’re in fucking jail you idiot, of course they don’t make it into town.

              You were trying to say that people don’t riot in the presence of heavily armed security forces and you were proved wrong. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

              • grumpy

                “They’re in fucking jail you idiot, of course they don’t make it into town.”

                That is precisely the point.

                • felix

                  Yes it is, but not the one you wanted to make.

                  I’m starting to think this is really all quite beyond you and you’re just reflexively lashing out with nonsense due to your frustration at the situation you find yourself in.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Maybe grumpy thinks unemployed poor ethnic types should be segregated and isolated in specific streets and suburbs in a town, as if it were a prison. That way they can be controlled more easily, and if they riot, no big deal, they’ll never make it to the main parts of town.

                    Hey hasn’t this kind of thing been done before? Warsaw rings a bell…

                    Fucking Righties always go back to the tried and true.

                    • freedom

                      “unemployed poor ethnic types should be segregated and isolated in specific streets and suburbs in a town”

                      as an aside
                      odds are it would be the most fun, caring, helpful and community spirited part of town
                      untill authority did something to cut services, increase costs and destroy opportunities

            • Reality Bytes

              I think they Brit police did a great job and the situation has been mostly difused with minimum loss of life and casualties. If the same thing occured in gun/trigger-happy USA there’d by dozens if not hundreds dead by now.

              I’m not meaning to play down the unfortunate death of that guy that got shot by muggers and died later in hospital, nor the 3 guys in Birmingham that got run down by a car, whilst trying to defend their community.

              I’m just saying I’m surprised it wasn’t much worse considering the scale, I think finely tuned police weaponry that did not aggravate the situation further was a key factor here in the outcome. I consider the way this played out a remarkable success for them given the circumstances and scale.

              I agree there are serious cultural issues that need sorting out in the UK police, I’m just impressed by the success of avoiding using guns and lethal weapons as the answer to quell civilian unrest.

        • Ianupnorth

          They don’t have riots, just loco idiots that go into schools/malls/hospitals and shoot people or blow things up.

    • millsy 16.4

      I don’t suppose the police of Syria, Libya, China, and North Korea are ‘unarmed and emasculated’, grumpy one…

      • felix 16.4.1

        I don’t suppose the London coppers are either, seeing as it’d be a bit hard to start a riot by shooting someone in the face if they were…

        • Carol

          Yes, back in the 80s Brixton riots, when I lived near Brixton, a friend was in a pub when I bunch of plain clothes officers came rushing into the bar looking for someone, and were clearly packing guns under their jackets. Another friend saw a bunch of coppers in a van during the riots. The back doors of the van flew open by accident. The coppers inside were carrying guns.

          Also, many times I walked up Brixton Hill past the prison. They used to have IRA remand prisoners there waiting for trial. Sometimes one of those vans for carrying offenders came out of the prison & stopped to wait to get onto the main road. The cop in the passenger seat was always carrying a big automatic weapon – ones that I used to call sub-machine guns.

          • Ianupnorth

            The reason why all their vehicles have numbers and letters in a very big font is because once upon a time they just jumped out, beat up a few people and drove away – they added the logos so they could be identified.

      • grumpy 16.4.2

        Good point, but those riots are for pure political issues – the noble pursuit of democracy where those involved are prepared to take risks for the greater good (which in the UK case seems to be a new TV or pair of shoes).

        • felix

          Sure, they’re “pursuing democracy” because the system they’ve been living under hasn’t served them at all well.

          Same/same in that sense.

          p.s. don’t mistake the looting, which is a result of the rioting, as being the cause of or motivation for it.

        • millsy

          You seem to be implying that that the cops should be able to torture and gun down unarmed protesters.

          • grumpy

            Dunno about torture……..and there is no way I would condone murder!

            • felix

              Ok you’re either trolling or condoning murder.

              Either way you’re a sick fuck best ignored.

              • felix

                p.s. grumpy changed his comment at (that’s how he managed to reply to my comment under it).

                Originally he said they’d only need to kill a couple of people.

                So yeah, he’s not only a sick fuck but a coward too.

                • grumpy

                  Nah, just highlighting how you guys use “moderation” – or whatever you call it.

                  Anyway, on “closed Up”just now with the world’s worst interviewer, British black activist just stated that the demo started for the right cause but descended into “wanton criminality” – there you go…..

                  [lprent: felix isn’t a moderator. We could try him out? Nah!

                  But in any case moderators tend to be assiduous about not changing other peoples text unless it is clear that they have done so – ie the bold. I tend to bawl then out in public on the few times they have deviated from that. We will spam out first time commentators and people who have previously have collected a ban. But it tends to be pretty visible what we are doing otherwise. ]

                  • felix

                    How is that highlighting moderation?

                    You wrote a comment saying the police should kill some rioters as an example and then you deleted it yourself. Presumably you were embarrassed by it, as you should be. Caught yourself saying what you really think, eh?

                    Still, you did condone murder and torture, and whether anyone else saw it or not, you and I both know it’s true.

                    Aside from the disgusting immorality of what you wrote it’s also just stupid. It seems these riots were sparked by the police murdering someone with a gun, and your answer is what? The police should have more guns and kill more people.

                    Genius, grumpy.

                    “Anyway, on “closed Up”just now with the world’s worst interviewer, British black activist just stated that the demo started for the right cause but descended into “wanton criminality””

                    So you’ll be retracting your earlier comments about the riots being caused by a desire to loot shops then. Goodo.

                  • felix

                    “[lprent: felix isn’t a moderator. We could try him out? Nah! “

                    Hehe, while I’m sure it would be amusing for me, I can guarantee I would not use such powers fairly, judiciously or reasonably in any way.

                    • lprent

                      That would be my reading of it as well. Plus of course the expectation that people have that you are dignified , responsible, and a good role model is constraining to the pursuit of stirring. Mind you I don’t seem to feel that as much as I did 20 years ago…. Must be either getting old, or less interested in what others think of me – or both..

          • grumpy

            refer to comment 16.3.2

            • Afewknowthetruth

              We would probably never know how many riots there are in Texas because the US corporate media has more or less banned discussion of the truth.

              We do know that Texas is currently in meltdown due to climate change and that people who can leave Texas are leaving Texas.


              • freedom

                USA, the land of the free where researching the constitution now gets you on a watchlist

        • KJT

          Seeing stores full of consumer goods. Which they can never hope to own legally because all paths to success have been blocked off. Is political and is a result of mean and short sighted policies which make rich thieves richer.

          • grumpy

            Oh, come on now KJT, your going a bit OTT, have a nice cup of tea.

            • freedom

              and you sir are an highly offensive idiot whose moral compass resembles a macdonald’s toy, cheaply put together, nasty to view and difficult to swallow

              Have you the slightest impression of the chaos that would erupt if one single rioter was shot dead by the Police?

              *walks away shaking head*

            • Puddleglum

              Of course, it may well be that many rioters and/or looters could well afford these goods and just decided to get them ‘on the cheap’. But why those goods?

            • KJT

              Of course it is not OTT to suggest that police murder and torture.

              Even the Soviets pretended to have a trial first.

  17. Bored 17

    Who saw the British PM on the News? What a fuckwit.

    • AAMC 17.1

      Who bears a striking resemblance to our fuckwit of a PM.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        Same Tory playbook + script.

        • felix

          When I heard it took 4 days of rioting before he even bothered to come back from overseas I immediately thought little Johnny Keys.

          • freedom

            this might be a little unfair on the man but if it was Key there would have been an unfortunate mechanical fault with the aircraft, or the weather or the ice machine was broken in the cabin, any excuse would be found to allow him to stay safe in Hawaii and not risk being confronted with the fallout of an imploding system he has been engaged within for a long long time.

            or would they just use a mock-up of his office and stream his smiling waving sense of security live from the sunny isles of Hawaii

    • RobertM 17.2

      Somebody privatelty educated, privately funded and not housetrained by the feminazi’s.
      We will see if their’s still hope for the Eton and Oxford educated. Given that Cameron is both 300 years behind the times and 300 years ahead of them-their may be hope. Essentially I believe he should reverse the cuts to the military and stick to the decision to slash the police by a third.Police tactics have proved largely worthless on countering the’scum and vermin’ generating in these areas of sink slums, to pharaphase Matthew Hooton 2-3 Radio Live.
      Special auxilary military units are needed to deal with these problems as in Kenya and Northern Ireland. Maintaining community goodwill in these areas should not be a priority. Using rubber bullets and water canons is seen as an escalation leaving little future options, if it fails. Of course there are options any US mayor would issue instructions to shoot and call in the National Guard if neccesary. Bilge is said that they’ve raised the university fees. Tertiary education is wasted on people in these areas. They are only suitable to be orderlys, security guards, rent boys or gigolos. Even being dustman or barman may well be beyond their limits.
      Cameron has called for the suspension of human rights laws and for the courts to meet out jsutice 24/7. A message needs to be sent to the garbage promoters like Polly Toynbee. The guardian should get somebody thirty years younger.

  18. RedLogix 18

    My partner tells an interesting tale from the early 1980’s. She’d been out with friend for dinner, and stepping outside afterwards found herself right bang in the middle of the Queen St Riot.

    And within seconds she was caught up in an astounding vortex of mob energy, a wave of destructive frenzy .. she’s said this many times… that she was seized with the desire to pick something up and throw it through a shop window.

    Now here’s the rub… she turned about and realised she was in front of one of her own shops. Only with an act of will did she disengage from the urge to smash her own shop window!!

    It’s a story she’s told often, it left her with a lingering antipathy to being in crowds ever since. She doesn’t even enjoy being at concerts anymore.

    Again it’s not an excuse for the riots. But all of us sitting safely in our warm living rooms on the other side of the world really have no idea of what goes down on these streets… and how easily impulsive and dissaffected youth get caught up in it all.

    • grumpy 18.1

      You might find this a bit hard to believe but grumpy was not always grumpy – once he was very very grumpy and went on a demo to Mount John – the days of Murray Horton’s Progressive Youth Movement, the Anarchist Army etc….

      Anyway, little grumpy had a great time dragging big rocks onto the road, unscrewing guard rails etc.

      I know how your friend felt!

  19. Afewknowthetruth 19

    I find it rather disturbing that there are people like ‘grumpy’ in NZ who seem to be advocating a fully-fledged fascist state (as opposed to the covert lite-fascist state that currently exists).

    He implies that torture is okay.

    The people of Germany -birthplace of many great philosophers and great composers- had little idea how it would all end when they failed to resist Hitler and his gang in the early 1930s. But there were sufficient numbers of people who thought that racism and violence were ‘fun’, especially if they could practice racism and violence under the protection of a uniform, for the culture to dominate German society.

    Once thugs in uniforms gain control it is nearly impossible to unseat them.

    • burt 20.1

      Yes parallel to a point. That that was reported as a reaction to a racist act by police rather than being used as a vehicle for people unhappy with the policies of a democratically elected govt.

      • rosy 20.1.1

        That that was reported as a reaction to a racist act by police
        And the London riots weren’t sparked by the perception of exactly that? Don’t forget the peaceful route to protesting police actions was resoundingly ignored.

        Do you also suggest that there was no social/economic context for this racist act to be the spark for something bigger that it otherwise might have been?

        • burt


          Perhaps I missed the partisan hacks trying to make their points on the back of the LA riots because my biggest memory of that was the dissent was squarely pointed at police being racist rather than pointed at govt policies and socioeconomic conditions.

          • rosy

            You must have missed it. Here’s an analysis written in 1993 (criticises Liberal and Conservatives, so it might suit you).

            First 3 paras:

            The fires that lit up the skies in Los Angeles last spring brought a glimpse of the future we most feared, a diverse society hopelessly divided by economic class, race and ethnicity. Not since the widespread civil disturbances of the l960s have the very assumptions of American life — its promise of a better life for all — seemed so perversely twisted and wrecked.

            Also in ruins are the political and economic strategies that dominated American urban policy over three decades. On one side lies the clear failure of the traditional liberal approach, embraced by many leaders of the old Democratic coalitions, which equates upward mobility with political influence and which seeks to gain leverage over the existing corporate power structure to steer resources to the underprivileged. On the other lies the inadequacy of conservative urban policy, which has largely ignored cities, and stressed tax abatements and regulatory rollbacks as a means of luring larger manufacturing firms back to urban areas.

            Yet these strategies seem increasingly misplaced for minorities, for our cities, and for America. As liberals and conservatives struggle over how to restore the fading large-firm, Galbraithian economy, they have generally lost sight of the underlying need to foster a vibrant industrial base that can sustain the mobility of all Americans, including the urban poor. Unlike the large-firm economy of the past, success in world markets today increasingly depends on sophisticated, flexible, generally smaller companies that collaborate to produce low-volume, high value added goods and services.

      • felix 20.1.2

        “rather than being used as a vehicle for people unhappy with the policies of a democratically elected govt.”

        It absolutely was, burt, by people unhappy with centuries of the policies of democratically elected governments.

  20. burt 21

    Is there a reason why a sector of society unhappy with the govt policies of the day isn’t just told to STFU and accept that the govt was democratically elected and they can’t have it all their way ?

    • IrishBill 21.1

      Like when you STFU about the EFA burt?

      • burt 21.1.1

        I didn’t set fire to shit ! I did however be a real rebel and put a sign on my backpack while cycling to work with “don’t vote Labour” on it without an authorisation though – mind you Trevor Mallard had his entire van painted like that without an authorisation and he wasn’t prosecuted so I guess I never actually broke the law at all.

      • burt 21.1.2


        Are you actually trying to compare my blogging complaints about a law which even Labour wanted repealed once they were in opposition with the actions of rioters in London ?

    • freedom 21.2

      yeah Burt, because unlike yourself they are not Trolls looking for points. They likely don’t even know who is in Dowling St and care even less that you do. They may be violent yobbos looting and burning but they are not blaming the left or the right. They are blaming you. If you haven’t worked out that detail then you may want to revisit where how and what they were looting.

      This is not a political riot in response to policies from a mouthpiece spouting platitudes and eating babies.
      This is social unrest in response to generations of abuse and neglect.

      • Bored 21.2.1

        Burts more of a zombie than a troll. Trolls do sort of sub cognetive things lke reptilian thought…zombies like Burt find that far too great a challenge.

        • lprent

          Nope. burt isn’t a troll (even if I have banned him at least for once for trolling – but is a behavior rather than an intent). He tends more to the repetitive or even obsessive because he will happily repeat the same rather incorrect statements over and over again cheerfully ignoring all attempts to educate him.

          Just look at what happens when you do a search for “retrospective burt” in the comments ordered by relevance like this.

          But that isn’t on all topics and he is sometimes worth reading. So you just have to keep an eye out for when those distinct new thoughts appear.

          But there is a deliberate policy here to attempt to be inclusive of the more conservative in the body politic… And sometimes they are worth listening to. I think about half of the authors here have written posts complimenting (and/or damning) Garth George at one time or another. So you’ll have to put up with in.

    • RedLogix 21.3

      Nah … these riots are NOT political in any normal sense. These people are not so much ‘unhappy with govt policies’…. as just pissed off with their crappy, boring meaningless lives.

      Sure the govt will most likely assert it’s authority sooner or later. I’ve no problem with that.

      But you’d be fooling yourself if you think it won’t happen again. For years we’ve been warned that deeply unequal societies loose trust and cohesion, that eventually the likely result is outbreaks of violence and social unrest ….EXACTLY as we are seeing.

      So now it’s happening you want to pretend you were not warned.

      • Puddleglum 21.3.1

        just pissed off with their crappy, boring meaningless lives.

        When it comes to the looters, that’s (a big part of) it, in a nutshell.

        “To hell with it”; “Who cares?”; “Couldn’t care less!”; “Who gives a fuck?”; “Fuck you!”; “Whatever!”; “So what?!”; “What a buzz!!”; “Why wouldn’t ya?” … and the list goes on (Sorry, I don’t know the latest phrases but I imagine there’s plenty of them in similar vein).

        If they are cries from the heart you have to ask yourself what those hearts are experiencing. Of course, most of us know all too well what it feels like when you’re saying those self-absorbed, anti-social, nihilistic, hedonistic, aggressive phrases. Which is the point.

        Welcome to consumer capitalist culture and all its lovely materialist values and rhetoric.

        Then again, for the original protestors it was almost certainly more about justice and dignity and police harassment. A far more likable cry from the heart of not just individuals, but communities. And, as ever, it gets ignored and walked over by power, which drives another nail into the coffin of the impulse to community.

        Looting electronic goods is then all that’s left. “I’m gonna get me some!”

        Homo economicus off the leash and out on the streets, stripped of middle-class graces and airs.

      • burt 21.3.2


        For years we’ve been warned that deeply unequal societies loose trust and cohesion, that eventually the likely result is outbreaks of violence and social unrest ….EXACTLY as we are seeing.

        Indeed. However I think the key ingredient that gets lost in translation when analysing the situation is the relative rigidity of the class system in the UK compared to NZ. I would go so far as to say a comparison of the inequality of any societies is meaningless unless the class mobility is measured and openly factored in.

  21. Afewknowthetruth 22

    There’s one thing about this forum, it’s a lot more entertaining than television.

    Burt: ‘accept that the govt was democratically elected’.

    Elections in western ‘democracies’ are rigged from the outset.

    Essentially it comes down to this: those with the most money buy the most votes -whether by television advertisements, placards, billboards, mailbox drops blah, blah blah.

    Then we have the rigged so-called ‘debates’, hosted by bought-and-paid-for media clowns.

    Truth-tellers cannot compete.

    I recall the Tony B Liar government ‘winning’ an election on something like 32% of the vote, on a 55% turnout. In other words under 18% of the populace, just over 1 in 6, actively supported the Tony B Liar party.

    I believe the criminals and clowns currently in power in Britian have a similar level of support.

    • burt 22.1

      Essentially it comes down to this: those with the most money buy the most votes

      That’s why we have electoral funding laws – and I guess why we have retrospective validations under urgency from Labour when elections are tight.

      • Afewknowthetruth 22.1.1

        ‘That’s why we have electoral funding laws’

        Yeah, like officially you are only allowed to spend $40,000 per candidate per election buying votes.

        As I said, truth-tellers cannot compete.

    • burt 22.2

      I recall the Tony B Liar government ‘winning’ an election on something like 32% of the vote, on a 55% turnout. In other words under 18% of the populace, just over 1 in 6, actively supported the Tony B Liar party

      So the 45% that didn’t vote can’t complain about the govt they got! (Excluding the percentage of anarchists because they get short changed every election)

      • jackal 22.2.1

        Being that the downtrodden and disaffected are a lot less likely to vote and they are mainly impoverished because of right wing policies, shouldn’t we count those who do not vote against the right wing?

        In New Zealand our media that is meant to inform the public is being digitized, meaning that an outlay is required to continue to be informed. The poor cannot afford that outlay and will therefore become even less informed which will result in less voting.

        Your statement that those who do not vote should not complain has another dimension that makes the simplified reasoning you’ve used incorrect burt.

        At what percentage do you consider a government is not representative of the public? 18% would seem well below the basic criteria of gaining a mandate to me. A government should have public support, without that support it is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship.

        Those who do not gain a majority of support should not govern.

        • felix

          Being that the downtrodden and disaffected are a lot less likely to vote and they are mainly impoverished because of right wing policies, shouldn’t we count those who do not vote against the right wing?

          Sure, you can count them like that if it tickles you.

          Unfortunately the returning officer won’t though, so you’d be better off counting ideas to motivate them into a polling booth I reckon.

  22. Drakula 23


    I feel that there is a very big difference remember not long ago there were huge demonstrations in London and all over Britain against government cuts in education.

    This was organised by university and school students and teachers there was very little rioting only on the fringes and that was petty vandalism not looting.

    Yet the Met police saw fit to treat the protesters with a heavy hand and kettle the protesters.

    This has a whole different feel to it and I find it very disappointing: those looters are undoing years of work that the left, unions, students, teachers and artists etc,are trying to achieve like human rights that the British people are trying to regain from the neo liberal imperialists.

    Those mindless looters are probably being manipulated by agents provocateurs working for British intelligence who seek to undermine and discredit the left. Hence further tightening the noose.

    Comspiracy theory? Well there was such an agent living in Christchurch I’ll just call him C.G. very active in the protest movements and he fainted to be the most militant and provocative, always inciting protesters to go over the edge, telling them to smash windows etc.etc.

    After a while a pattern emerged C.G. never participated in the violence he was inciting and other protesters were begining to suspect his motives.

    Well the upshot of this was that C.G. blew his cover when he gave his log on code to his girlfriend (who was active in the Green/environment movements) and she came across his e-mails to the SIS detailing every movement of every member of the protest movement.

    I will search the Green Party and CAFCA archives but I strongly feel that this may put the British riots in perspective.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Yeah I heard that same story from an independent source close to “his girlfriend”. Horrid stuff, and copied exactly the undercover policemen the UK put into environmental protest movements – as if the protest movements were the same as the bike gangs.

      This has a whole different feel to it and I find it very disappointing: those looters are undoing years of work that the left, unions, students, teachers and artists etc,are trying to achieve like human rights that the British people are trying to regain from the neo liberal imperialists.

      That’s one perspective; the other perspective is that the Left groupings you mention are simply too weak and weakened to create any effective change. All they can do is try and soften the neo-liberal hammerings upon society.

      Unemployed youths who see no future for themselves apart from years of authoritarian harassment and near poverty are not going to wait forever for the “Respectable” left to organise and implement a new societal agenda in piecemeal carefully considered and literature researched bits. They are not going to ask Labour or the Lib Dems what they can or they can’t do. Chances are, if you’re a major political party, you are simply another part of the ^&*%’ing problem, from their standpoint.

      So in many ways the Right Wing kleptocrats and the centrist Left Wing ‘slightly softer version of free market capitalism’ agenda both offer a big fat zero to young disaffected people in those communities.

    • felix 23.2

      “I will search the Green Party and CAFCA archives but I strongly feel that this may put the British riots in perspective.”

      You won’t have to look too far, Drak, her uncle runs this site and she posts here as Rocky.

    • lprent 23.3

      As felix noted, if you look at author rocky then your search will be over.

      Try a search for Gilchrist to pick up posts on this.

      • felix 23.3.1

        Should be “author” 😉 http://thestandard.org.nz/author/rocky/

        • lprent

          Fixed – thanks.

          • Drakula

            Thanks Felix and Inprent, that’s right it was Gilchrist.

            I feel that in the British context it is likely that agents like Gilchrist are putting fuel on the fire in order to serve the global Oligarchys’ agenda to bring about a regime that is really nasty.

            Corporate dictatorship? Fascism? Nazism? Heavy shit!!!!

            CV does have point when disenfranchised youth see no future so to riot will give them the illusion of power even for one night.
            Sadly they are tying themselves to the fetters and cutting their own throats.

            Don’t get me wrong, in order to defeat Globalization it will take a global revolution but that has to be done on the grounds of the left; Lenin said that a strike is worth eleven elections.

            Now lets imagine Lennon’s sleep in, imagine 300,000 people sleeping in, staying at home, not going to work, not even breaking the law!

            How are the police going to deal with that?

            Oh by the way Laurie Penny has just put a good write up on informationclearinghouse on this issue.

            • freedom

              damn, i thought she had written a new piece, that piece has been posted twice already 🙁

  23. Afewknowthetruth 25

    There are undoubtedly elements of frenzy and opportunism (and perhaps agents provocateur) associated with the riots but the crux of the problem comes back to ‘the system’ itself and the frustration those at the bottom feel as a consequence of lack of opportnity and lack of means to change ‘the system’.

    A timely reminder to those in power everywhere who promote the transfer of wealth upwards and blame the victims of ‘the system’ for circumstances largely beyond the control of the victims:

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’

    John F. Kennedy, in a speech at the White House, 13 March 1962, Address on the first Anniversary of the Alliance for Progress

  24. rosy 26

    jeez it’s just got a whole lot worse

    Police in Birmingham have launched a murder inquiry after three British Asian men were killed by a car in an incident that has raised fresh tensions over protection for neighbourhoods and businesses from young looters.

    A tearful and resentful crowd gathered outside the City hospital following the incident early on Wednesday morning, with police protecting the building against any incursion as feelings ran high.

    A man has been arrested and a car impounded following the crash near a mosque in the Dudley Road area of England’s second city. Neighbours said the men had just left the mosque and were among large numbers of local people determined not to allow the fluid series of grab-and-run attacks in the city centre to spread to their area.

    • prism 26.1

      @rosy – I’ve been listening for some more information about the car and driver who killed the three men. So far I have heard they were on the pavement, and the car came out of nowhere. The news and interview on Radionz I’ve heard haven’t mentioned any details about this disgraceful murder. I would have thought that information would have been sought and given but no.

      • prism 26.1.1

        Right I’ve got more from guardian that didn’t seem to have reached NZ morning radio. I looked at the video of robbery of an injured Malaysian student. It was undertaken by a tall black man but the others there were white, it seems that the continuing thing is that the riots are of young men They are just a continuance of the type of behaviour that has been witnessed around football matches etc. There was a very good undercover doc made for television about the type. Young blokes who may actually be working, have no morals, are aggressive and ready to injure, and live to the degraded level of human action on impulse, sensation-seeking, self-oriented, no control, no empathy.

        • freedom

          actually prism the black guy initially appeared to help the kid and it is a white guy that unzips the young malayan’s packback and rummages, then the big black guy also sticks his arm in. it is the white guy who leaves with the malayan’s possessions.

          also be assured there are many girls in these groups as well, it is not just a male thing.

          • prism

            @freedom Sure confusing to place what’s going on.

            • freedom

              Various reports are in agrreement that it was a ‘gang’ and they knocked him off his bike, presumably the one seen in the video, and the onlookers (who were a fair distance away and i do not believe where in a postion to offer assistance) began filming just after this part of the incident. The behaviour of the group around the victim does appear to be of people who are known to each other and lends the ‘gang’ story some credibility. I am not convinced, despite what some commentators suggest, that this particular incident was racially motivated. The malayan who is an exchange student recovering in hospital with a broken jaw, had stuff the others wanted. A pack mentality drawn from poverty and ignorance. One of the incidents in these riots that deserves all the discussion that it is generating.

  25. Carol 27

    And this academic who has been studying youth culture in the UK, says, the current unrest was predicted by some in the UK 2 or 3 years ago because of the way youth have increasingly been shut out of things like employment & education:


    Canterbury University academic Bronwyn Hayward has been based in England studying political issues affecting youth culture for the past three years.
    “It feels as though I have been watching a slow train wreck for three years,” she said.

    “I’m not surprised it’s come to this, but I am really sad. So many social commentators warned the British Government it would end in this. They were told it would be a summer of violence, but they were in denial and no-one listened.”

    Hayward, a senior lecturer in political science who has been awarded a $1 million international research grant, said the rebellious youths represented an angry generation that had “no stake in the future and nothing to lose”.

  26. Carol 28


    Dear Mr & Mrs Cameron,

    Why did you never take the time to teach your child basic morality?

    Even worse, your neglect led him to fall in with a bad crowd.

    There’s Michael Gove, whose wet-lipped rage was palpable on Newsnight last night. This is the Michael Gove who confused one of his houses with another of his houses in order to avail himself of £7,000 of the taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled (or £13,000, depending on which house you think was which).


    There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it. The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter.

    David Cameron was entirely right when he said: “It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to think that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities, and that their actions do not have consequences.”

    He was more right than he knew.

    And I blame the parents.

  27. Tommy Gunn 29

    I’m pretty sure the looters & anarchists, opportunists aren’t stopping to think that deeply about it! It is what it is, rioting, looting,rebellion, social unrest, the under-classes all taking what they can. Simple really. The problem with the media & the psycho-babblists are all trying to rationalise the behaviour of the masses on the the streets.
    It ain’t rocket science!
    12 million unemployed too thrown in the mix with a tanking economy doesn’t help. You have an arrogant PM who stays on holiday while London burns and then comes back from holiday and tries to deliver a “Winston Churchill” style speech! What a dickhead! Funny that we’ve a PM that matches that profile too here in NZ!

  28. freedom 30


    one young man grasping his opportunity and making a whole lot of sense
    will it change anything? probably not, but that does not alter his emphatic,
    articulate message to the Lord Mayor of london

  29. freedom 31

    How can you begin to put trust in a media machine that will not even retract information now proven to be false. Note the date is August 11 on the header, yet the article is from August 6. The Sun just reprints the lies it stated five days ago that Mark Duggan shot at Police even after the head of the Met has stated the bullet in the radio was from a Police issue firearm. That is how tensions remain high and get driven higher. This sort of behaviour does not assist a society to understand and resolve conflict.

    • The Voice of Reason 31.1

      That’s an article from the 6th of August, freedom. When you bring the article up, it has its publication date on it, but the page on which it is framed also has the current date on it. That doesn’t mean it is a current article, it’s just archived.
      The most recent article is here. They explain how the police bullet went through Duggan and went on to hit the police radio. Never thought I’d be rushing to the Sun’s defence, but Murdoch needs all the help he can get at the moment.

      • freedom 31.1.1

        thanks btw busted link tvor, just getting a blank page

        there is some debate on that as the bullet in the radio has been said to be from a gun not at the scene, which is kind of wierd and i doubt any of us will ever know what really went down. The dispute of reports of how he was shot have a big elephant in the room. Public reports say he was shot in the head. Official reports say shot in the chest. Still no CCTV footage of the incident from the most surveilled city on the planet, yet several hundred rioters have been arrested based on CCTV footage

        i just tried on The Sun directly and no stories are coming up at all past the front page. Does the paper not allow foreign readers? Have never looked at their paper online before, i mean why would one?

        addendum 2: seems you can access celebrities though just nothing on the riots

        • The Voice of Reason

          Oh, that’s weird. I’ll try and find the link. The article is headed something like ‘fatal Duggan shot hit police radio’. It looks rather like a standard police shooting. Two shots, both aimed at the torso, though one missed the body and hit his right bicep. This will be the one that went on to hit the radio, I guess, as there there is less mass to slow the bullet down.

          Edit: Lets see if this one works:


          The saddest bit in the article is his girlfriend asking why they just didn’t shoot his hand if they thought he was going to fire a gun.

          • freedom

            thanks, i am well used to wierd.

            that report definitely raises more questions than it answers. the operational position of the officers for one. Also the small issue of giving Police hollow points which are usually a military or hunting ordinance as they have a higher assured kill ratio than regular ammunition.

            Oh well, stay safe people and look out for each other

            • The Voice of Reason

              Good call on the ‘stay safe’. The deaths really sadden me.
              The first night was at least motivated by a sense of an injustice being done in a specific community and noone was killed AKAIK. But since then, it’s been like Mega-City One on Dredd’s day off.
              Re: the hollow points, when Police shoot, they shoot to kill. Two shots to the torso. They are trained to fire in that way and they are hardened up to the fact that death will follow. That’s pretty much standard worldwide, I believe. Tazers are the softer alternative in close contact situations, but dodgy for all that. Hollow points have significantly more stopping power, so even if there isn’t a fatality, forward momentum is stopped.
              It’s all pretty clinical and I guess that the cop that shot him will be given the benefit of the doubt, especially as Duggan was actually packing heat. It’s not hard to imagine him reaching for a fag or a mobile phone or just unbuckling his seatbelt and getting unlucky. But more likely, it’ll be said that he exited the car aggressively despite being ordered not too by officers with guns drawn.
              Anyhoo, if the stopping and searching of youth in the street by barely older pc plods, based on nothing more threatening than skin colour, comes to be stopped as a result of Duggan’s death, then at least some good will come of this week’s events.

  30. My childhood was in East Dulwich .Reports that a local pub was burnt down make s me wonder if it was the Plough . Opposite the flat I lived in .Anyone know. ?

    • The Voice of Reason 32.1

      Looks like a cosy nook in the photos, postie! Appears to have undergone a tarting up since your time. There is nothing in the news about a pub being hit, but this guy has written up what he saw in ED (as I see the locals call it). He does mention ‘the londis’, whatever that might be.

  31. Tanz 33

    It’s just people playing up and trashing property for no good reason. So, in the name of socialism, the left condones such lawlessness, even though innocent people got killed and London etc got trashed. This really makes sense….not. How would you feel if it was your city, your neighbourhood, your car,

    • freedom 33.1

      show us one single post which condoned the actions of the rioters. There is universal condemnation of the actions against person and property. Do not confuse that with the questions and statements that naturally and correctly are raised when such violence eventuates.

    • rosy 33.2

      Even a good Tory should be able to make some connection with “idle hands are the Devil’s plaything”. Yet instead of solving the problem of youth with no future, and the problem of intimidating police practices, the main concern that has come out of the riots seems to be backtracking on the police cuts.

      No mention by the Tories of re-opening the job centre, discussing the role of the educational maintenance allowance that was cut, or of providing jobs at all. Did no-one in the Conservatives see the connection between youth unemployment and the requirement for extra policing? If not, they are incompetent. Or did they cynically factor it in to their austerity measures, but miscalculated? That wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

      All well and good to ensure an adequate police force and to condemn the rioting and looting, but massive youth unemployment and under-investment, is the context of the police protests that set this whole thing off. And that massive under-investment in youth was set-off by austerity measures because the banks needed bailing. The bankers have had their multi-million pound bonuses reinstated. Go figure.

      • mik e 33.2.1

        Tories are quite happy to see the unemployed poorly educated join gangs fill their private prisons sell drugs do thieving. rather than invest in their future . While their mates get out of jail free for steeling from the tax payer and when the tax payer bails them out {not out of jail unfortunately]they give themselves a nice fat grotesque bonus1

        • Colonial Viper

          I’ve said it before, but there is a difference between old fashioned conservatives – who would love NZ youth be given opportunities to “sort themselves out”, get some self discipline and work from 8am to 5pm in demanding jobs, and sociopathic neoliberals who don’t give a shit.

  32. johnm 34

    As AFKTT says the UK is rapidly becoming a poorer country with the rapid depletion of its North Sea Oil Fiesta aprox 1975 to 2000 when it started into rapid decline. Inequality is huge now since all the Neo-Liberal regimes beginning with Thatcher. The UK insanely and stupidly has followed the Useless U$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ model by privatising and corporatising British Society. Tax evasion and avoidance is 100 billion pounds a year by Corporations and the wealthy while at the same time a cruel campaign is waged my the Murdoch press against citizens receiving legal entitlements who are deemed part of the underclass and who are “scum, scivers, workshy, scroungers” you name it! Making things worse is the UK is very overpopulated: Now that we have Peak Oil 2005 and World supply depletion starting in, the UK has a very grave crisis without any end in sight!
    My approach would be the adoption of Social Democracy with an immediate huge effort to distribute wealth and income more justly.Immigration has to stop and one child families as in China adopted or even less. We and the UK are heading into the rapid decline phase of Industrial Civilisation.Thankfully we have a manageable population level still.

    What follows is a clear talk that GDP growth is at an end on a finite planet. We can’t grow our way out of social problems any more!

    GDP Is Dead: Will The World Be Happier
    Without It?
    “Memo to politicians: Stop promising to grow GDP and start targeting social benefits you can actually deliver—or prepare to face angry mobs. Nothing grows forever on a finite planet, not even the US economy.” Or dare I say it the NZ economy!

    “GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a number indicating the total spending occurring in a national economy annually. Since WWII, policy makers have used GDP as their primary index of national economic health. During the late 20th century, with the world awash in cheap energy to fuel ever more industrial output and transport-driven trade, the numbers kept going up—and most economists concluded they’d continue doing so forever

    Trapped in a failed paradigm

    There’s no way out of this dilemma if we stay trapped in our current economic paradigm. More government debt and spending give only temporary symptomatic relief, while slashing government spending greases the chute to economic hell for millions of poor and middle-class families. We have arrived at a historic moment when none of the solutions we are familiar with works, and we are forced to examine our basic premises. Premises like these:

    >> The notion that we can run an economy sustainably by perpetually increasing the rate at which we extract and burn non-renewable resources such as petroleum;

    >> The notion that we can use debt as money—a practice founded on our assumption that the economy will always grow, enabling us to repay both debt and its accrued interest; and

    >> The notion that we should chart our progress as a nation just by totaling up how much money we are spending annually.”

    Refer link: http://www.countercurrents.org/heinberg090811.htm

    • johnm 34.1

      The Irish Left Review has written a very insightful commentary on the UK riots:
      Refer link: http://www.irishleftreview.org/2011/08/10/tottenham-neoliberal-riots-possibility-politics/

      A sample:
      “On the other hand, the neoliberal state functions primarily as a way of facilitating the accumulation of wealth and hence luxury goods. The purpose of the state, neoliberal theory tells us, is to enable business and industry to function profitably and to this end it must undertake certain activities that business and industry cannot reasonably be expected to make a profit from – road building, for example, or providing a police force – although, as profit margins shrink and markets are flooded by competitors, even these sacred state functions are being ‘de-regulated’ or privatised to allow for profit-making companies to take them over. The proposed privatisation of the prison-service is an example, as is the continuous drive to open education up to exploitation by computer companies. It’s hardly worth mentioning the crazy argument that the NHS in the UK is ‘broken’ and the Tory programme of opening it up to supposedly cheaper and more efficient profit-making companies – despite the fact that all the studies show that the NHS is the most efficient and cost-effective way of delivering health care.

      So capitalism is looting the public sphere. Services that citizens have for a hundred or more years considered to be public goods and not to be exploited for the profit of a few – health care, care of the elderly, education, unemployment benefit, old-age pensions, fresh water, sewers, waste disposal, roads and footpaths, urban and rural planning, the postal service, the telephone service, the police, and so on – are subject to systematic and sustained pressure aimed at breaking the link between the citizen and the service. No longer should we think of these things as ‘ours’, except in the sense that we can say a bank is ours. These things are provided to us as goods and services by companies which exercise their right to make a profit out of them – out of us really, out of our pain, our parent’s old age, our children’s childhood, our money troubles, our environment. Citizens are to be redefined as consumers of services. The sole function of the state is to regulate the activities of companies so that monopolies do not develop.”

      Make no mistake this rubbish ideology proven to be disastrous is continuing to be actioned here in NZ by our Americanised,image sucks them in everytime (Just look at the Obama’s betrayal of all who hoped for decent change from him), PM John Key. He intends to “FINISH THE JOB”, that Roger and the boys couldn’t, until ordinary kiwis are serfs to financial wealth overlords who are protected by the police force.And it looks like the NZ sheople dumbed down by the media and right wing opinion presstitutes will vote him in again!

  33. Colonial Viper 35

    Neighbourhood Protection Vigilantes

    Looks like locals aren’t relying on the Bill to turn up.

    David Cameron confirms further that he is a Tory twat.

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