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What a riot.

Written By: - Date published: 11:16 am, December 17th, 2011 - 14 comments
Categories: class war, crime, law and "order", uk politics - Tags: ,

Back in August, a post commented on the four year sentence handed down to a couple of kids in England who had used Facebook posts to incite a riot. At the time, I commented how two Scottish kids had been arrested on the same charges. Bearing in mind that there were no disturbances in Scotland and that it has an entirely seperate and independent judiciary from England and Wales, I thought that after the dust had settled the kids would quietly be given a proverbial ‘clip round the ear’ and advised not to be so bloody stupid in the future. They didn’t set up the facebook page. They were merely administrators.  And there is no way that riots in Scotland were ever going to happen off the back of events in England…and yet, they each got 3 years.

So how frightened is an Establishment that hands down such draconian “deterrent” sentences on the back of absolutely nothing happening anywhere in the country?  Using sledgehammers to crack nuts smacks of desperation and fear. So, okay. We know social conditions are going to deteriorate. But I wonder how bad the Establishment reckons things are going to get when they are pre-emptively throwing this level of shit around?

P.S. Meanwhile, Jeremy Clarkson announced on national TV in the UK that striking workers ought to be shot in front of their families. And was merely required to apologise.

14 comments on “What a riot.”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Yet if you were to steal £100M pounds via the banking system, you would get a knighthood.

    Just watch how the UK sanctions mass theft and anarchy via the banking system (Keiser Report). The massive failures associated with Lehman Bros, AIG, MF Global all centred around the weak regulations placed on the City of London financial district.

  2. newsense 2

    riot and break them out

  3. johnm 3

    The U.K. is a deeply divided class based society. These sentences remind one of the extreme punitive sentences handed down to the working class in the 19c. transportation for life. Hanging. Prison with hard labour. They were severe on those who wanted to change the system politically. This is Dickensian stuff. British Upper classes live in a parallel universe to their poorer relatives one which never interacts protected by rich areas and the police force.

    Well done Bill in highlighting the difference in treatment between those kids and Jeremy Clarkson. Colonial Viper also illustrates the rich parallel universe of the banker scam universe. John Key worked in London for the Ponzi Scheme Merryl Lynch outfit that went bust as all Ponzi schemes eventually do but he got out $50,000,000 richer!!!

    Banker occupation with their neoliberal scum ideology severely infects us as well: Selling off our precious publically owned Power Companies that’s ultimate insult while being hypnotised by Key’s flash suits and airs and graces! The following article talks of Corporate domination especially in the seizing with the connivance of Governments of Public Wealth:

    Banker Occupation and Europain By Stephen Lendman

    December 16, 2011 “Information Clearing House” – – Bankers rule the world. A new Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study says so. Written by Stefania Vitali, James Glattfelder and Stefano Battiston, it’s titled “The network of global corporate control,” saying:
    “We find that transnational corporations from a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic ‘super-entity’ that raises new important issues both for researches and policy makers.”

    The study says 147 powerful companies control an inordinate amount of economic activity – about 40%. Among the top 50, 45 are financial firms. They include Barclays PLC (called most influential), JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and other familiar and less known names.


    John Key is our very own Bankster Occupier who will Privatize everything he can: He’ll be alright, millionaire 50 times over, but less fortunate Kiwis will find life getting harder and harder without any democratic effective redress as our English style class system that immigrants were desperate to escape from has done an coup d’etat in this Land. But like the Queen the upper class will continue to patronise and condescend smile and wave to you assuring you :”This is no other way”!

    [lprent: Edited to get rid of the cut’n’paste (except for a teaser) and to make it clear what was a quote and what was your opinion. Next time it just gets trashed. If you don’t know how then look at the FAQ. Pasting when you can link is irritating. I tend to put such irritants into auto-spam. ]

  4. Ms X 4

    It’s funny but I lived in the UK for 30 odd years and never really noticed a class system – that’s not to say I was at the upper end either. But, in fairness, things have grown progressively worse since Thatcher’s rule.
    It’s not very different here – the main classes being haves and have-nots.

    • Carol 4.1

      When I lived in London, in Thatcher’s time, students I taught in colleges in middleclass areas claimed there was no class system. When I taught in areas like Brixton and the East End, students were very aware of their status in the lower ranks of the class system.

      • Wild Colonial Boy 4.1.1

        Yep, I had the same experience.

        I found an interesting account of the issues over which Cameron broke with the EU.

        John Key would be very familiar with it.


        I have yet to hear him questioned on it with any vigour.

        • Colonial Viper

          Cameron is protecting the interests of The City of London financial district i.e. the interests of the top 0.1%.

          This is the same lax financial area which allowed financial operations leading to the collapse of Lehman Bros, AIG and MF Global.

          For those interested google “hyper-rehypothecation”.

      • rosy 4.1.2

        My public school partner reckons there’s a class system. He enjoyed returning to the UK after a decade in NZ, with a perceived NZ accent and having people engage in terms other than his public school accent. He’s very aware of the doors that open due to a public school background.

        I think NZers have extraordinary class freedom in the UK that native Brits don’t have. Sort of colonial pets.

    • seeker 4.2

      Agree with you Ms X – never really noticed one either, I think two world wars and the 1944 education act sorted much of it out, dismembering “Downton Abbey” for good. Until Thatcher.

      Now it definitely rears it’s head again with the new classes of haves and have nots. I believe New Zealand is fast becoming one of the world leaders in this two class system thanks to Nactuf’s class creating policies. However I noticed a slight receding of this divisive tide under Helen Clark. Oh that she had stayed. Wise leadership is needed to lead us out of this two class mire.

      • Carol 4.2.1

        Well, apparently UK is leading the charge on increasing income inequality:


        Income inequality among working-age people has risen faster in Britain than in any other rich nation since the mid-1970s, according to a report by the OECD.

        The thinktank says the gap has come about due to the rise of a financial services elite who, through education and marriage, have concentrated wealth into the hands of a tiny minority.

        • rosy

          Agree Carol. I’ve been reading a lot of the Guardian’s investigation on the riots and it’s pretty clear that the separation of the haves and have-nots is almost complete and understanding of what drives disorder is is split depending on status. If you’re an ordinary middle/lower-middle person in the UK these days you’ve probably got no idea of the lives of the have-nots.

          The maps of where the rioters, overlayed with unemployment, police ‘stop and search data’ and where the budget cuts have impacted most says it all really. And these people who are going to have an added sense of injustice due to the excessive sentencing that’s been handed out in many cases (when a sense of injustice seems to be a recurring theme in the cause of the riots). All the while the politicians and the middle-classes tut-tut about gangs when the data shows that gangs are the least of the causes of these riots.

        • seeker

          Thanks for that link Carol. Good old UK ahead in inequality again eh? The article said that “wealth hoarding’ had not seen the like since WW2.

          I also thought the following was interesting

          “To rebalance society “for the 99%”, the authors call for a series of measures focusing on job creation, “increased redistributive effects” and “freely accessible and high-quality public services in education, health and family care”.

          When it was pointed out that British government plans would instead lead to public sector job cuts of 710,000, more child poverty …………the OECD’s authors said debt was an issue for governments but urged them “not to cut social investments”.

          Sounds as though we will definitely be following suit as our government has similar short sighted policies.

          Lack of social investment will surely lead to more social unrest. Britain’s long history is no stranger to this unfortunately. Injustices like the ones described in Bill’s post
          will fester and fuel further unrest if Cameron is not careful. As I said, Britain is no stranger to social confrontation over the centuries and nothing inflames Brits like injustice-nor do I blame them.

  5. Georgy 5

    I was intrigued to read that Ms X lived in the UK for 30 odd years and didn’t notice the class system. I lived there for one year and it was patently obvious both within the schools and in the wider community. Its rather like people who refer to the good old days in NZ when we had an egalitarian society and no racial problems, yet Maori were not allowed in the private bars of many hotels in the 1950’s and if you grew up in a “working class” area you certainly didn’t get invited to the Rotary dinners. Individuals could certainly break the barriers, however, more easily in NZ than in UK.

  6. Dave Stringer 6

    The law is the law, and nobody should be above the law. BUT. The law is an ASS!

    Let’s look closer to home.

    Did the banks/finance companies break any laws that resulted in the 2009/10 NZ Financial System meltdown? If you believe the answer is yes, you MUST lay an information with the police. Unfortunately, the reality is that they didn’t, and so, except for the few individuals who did and who are being dealt with now through the ocurts, there is no inequality – those who break the law should be punished, those who don’t should get on with their lives as best they can.

    If you think “there ortta be a law” then why, in the 9 years of the last Labour government, weren’t some passed?

    As for the 3 years handed to the Scottish ‘boys’. They’re lucky the charge wasn’t one of inciting mutiny – I think that still carries the death penalty!

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