Looting and arson? You shouldn’t be surprised


1:41 pm - August 13th 2011

by Guest    


      Share on Tumblr

contribution by Ruhi Khan

Now that the violence has stopped and the streets are safe, we should ask ourselves – was it really so shocking?

Looting and property destruction have always been a part of rioting. Looting is a mass recruiter and maintains the momentum of the riots. Looters are often called the foot soldiers of a riot. In either case it wouldn’t generate much interest in the issue in the media, political circles or among the general public.

Arson too has often been a part of riots.

The Swing riots of 1830 saw English farm workers facing layoffs and wage cuts burn farmhouses and barns to make their point. Several riots since have too seen arson.

Looting and arson are the catalysts in riots. In almost all riots, it begins with bottle and stone throwing, followed by looting and then burning. Shops are seen as the state’s property and any damage to them is a hit on the government.

Just like in a war, burning cars, shops and buildings are all considered as enemy (state) targets. This is how riots happen everywhere across the globe for centuries. So why was there so much shock and horror?

And why are we so surprised that among the looters we find ‘teaching assistants and grammar school girls’. Why are politicians and commentators using this to show that the riots have no legitimate reasons as ‘these people seem not so poor’.

Instead of using this to say the riots were nothing but ‘greed’, the diversity of people involved should be seen as a real cause for worry.

Were the politicians and society leaders so out of touch with their community that they did not see this happening? Or does it serve better to just call the young boys and girls who took to the streets as ‘criminals’ and ignore the underlying causes?

The right is afraid of its political implications. Its time the left and centre-left took a stand and asked pointed questions.

It seemed no lessons were learned from the experiences of the riots in 1980s. The underlying factors seem eerily similar.

Between April 6-11, 1981, the police rampantly stopped and searched 943 people in the Lambeth area. Out of which more than 50% were from the black community and were young men. 118 people were arrested and 75 charged. But only 1 was charged for robbery, 1 for attempted burglary, 20 for theft or attempted theft. This created anger among many innocent people who felt victimized.

As my work involves constant interaction with the disadvantaged youth in Tottenham, Edmonton & Enfield, I am aware of such incidences. I have written more about their hatred for the police on my blog.

If you still need a good reason to delve deep into the youth’s grievances – then remember that you can prevent the mayhem today by putting 16,000 officers on the roads but what happens tomorrow when we go back to one fifth of that number?

Unless you nip the reasons for the riots in the bud, what stops the youth from doing it again?

—-
Ruhi Khan blogs here. She has worked as a journalist in Mumbai and London in both print and broadcast media. A Jefferson fellow and recipient of the Mary Morgan Hewitt Award for Women in Journalism in 2008, Ruhi currently lives in London and writes on campaigning issues.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Crime ,Our democracy

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Huw Spanner

Surely it is a fallacy to assume that all riots are more than superficially similar, any more than all wars? And surely there may be as many motives for burning and looting as there are individuals involved? Why does there have to be a single “cause”, let alone one that can be compared or aligned with the supposed single cause of previous riots?

Some people have a genuine grievance and are angry. Some are just angry anyway. Some are envious. Some just want some fun. Some are showing off. Some are sociopaths. Some are professional criminals who think they see a good opportunity. Some are impressionable and do what their peers are doing. Some get carried away on the spur of the moment. Wall-to-wall media coverage and text messaging help to get things rolling. It doesn’t seem to me such a mystery.

Why does a house burn down? Because it’s full of flammable stuff. But why does it catch fire on one day but not the day, the week, the year before? Because something out of the ordinary provides the spark. In this case, it seems to have been the shooting in dubious circumstances of Mark Duggan.

London riots? What’s new? Historically, London has had some spectacular riots. Try:

The sacking of London by the Iceni in revolt against Roman rule, led by their Queen Boudicca c. 60 AD
http://www.angelfire.com/wi/THECELTS/page4.html

The peasants’ revolt 1381:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasants'_Revolt

The Gordon Riots 1780:
http://www.bl.uk/learning/artimages/maphist/war/gordonriots/gordonriots.html

The Old Price Riots 1809:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Price_Riots,_1809

Etc.

3. George Hallam

Your heart is in the right place but your analysis is weak.

Attacks on property are a common feature of riots but this is not the same as arson which causes indiscriminate destruction. Read the literature on food riots.

“Shops are seen as the state’s property and any damage to them is a hit on the government.”

This is attributing quite a high level of consciousness to participants. If there is any evidence for this I would be interested to see.

Alternatively one could say that not all ‘rioters’ are the same. Some may have political objectives while others are looking for opportunities for material gain. Quite a lot of people who are there, and therefore participants as far as the law is concerned, are just curious. These days quite a lot are journalists and photographers. There might even be some people who join in for a bit of fun.

“Just like in a war, burning cars, shops and buildings are all considered as enemy (state) targets.”

This is confused. The destruction of enemy property is sometimes an objective in its self. However, burning of cars and buildings etc. is done for tactical reasons: their ownership is irrelevant.

Looting has not “always” been a part of rioting.

If one thinks about it for a moment then one can see that if you have political objectives then looting is not desirable.

What have stop and search figures from 1981 got to do with last week’s trouble?

Now that the violence has stopped and the streets are safe, we should ask ourselves – was it really so shocking?

Excellent! I had been dying to use this Chesterton quote, and here is the perfect excuse.

“Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked. . . . It may mean that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal; and that you are a paralytic.”

G.K. Chesterton, “On Dialect and Decency”

“118 people were arrested and 75 charged. But only 1 was charged for robbery, 1 for attempted burglary, 20 for theft or attempted theft.”

What’s your point? That the other 53 crimes were not important? Pillock.

“Or does it serve better to just call the young boys and girls who took to the streets as ‘criminals’ and ignore the underlying causes?”

Strawman. The underlying causes are precisely what is under dispute, and you’ve shown you haevn’t a clue what they are.

Over half of those processed by the coiurts have been schoolchildren. Judges have commented that hardly any of the parents have even deemed it worthy of turning up in court. This isn’t about disadvantage, it’s about feckless, selfish, stupid parents. That’s why there is such a broad social section of people involved, because bad parenting is a cross-societal problem.

But of course, blame ‘society’. That suits such parents and their kids down to the ground. Their behaviour is always someone else’s responsibility. Unfortunately for them and for hand-wringing apologists like yourself, most people in the country don’t share that view.

“Or does it serve better to just call the young boys and girls who took to the streets as ‘criminals’ and ignore the underlying causes?”

When you say “took to the streets” do you actually mean “went out setting fire to cars, rubbish bins and shops, stealing from properties and people, committing assaults and scaring the shit out of the non – participating majority of the local populace”? Because, since you ask, it seems pretty reasonable to call them criminals. Idiot.

@Ruhi Khan, OP: “If you still need a good reason to delve deep into the youth’s grievances – then remember that you can prevent the mayhem today by putting 16,000 officers on the roads but what happens tomorrow when we go back to one fifth of that number?”

My prediction is that nothing exceptional will happen, just as nothing exceptional happened on most of the 4,200 odd days that comprise this century.

I hate adopting the expression “moral compass”, but recent events compel me to do so. Some people rioted because they have a grievance and many more people who lack a moral compass used it as an opportunity to steal or to commit criminal acts for the jollies. Lack of a moral compass cannot be predicted on the basis of class, race or age. Torturers, child abusers and con artists come from a variety of backgrounds in the same way as petty looters.

Four people were murdered during these riots. Those four people had nothing to do with the state or perceived grievances. And their sad deaths have reduced the likelihood of imminent reoccurrence.

@4: “What have stop and search figures from 1981 got to do with last week’s trouble?”

They are the excuse used by activists when inciting the riots.

Its sad that anyone who asks to look at underlying factors is called an apologist. Just because I say that looting & burning are common in riots doesn’t mean I believe that those who committed them should go unpunished.

But now that the violence on the streets has stopped and the prepetrators are being handed their punishments; its time to move the discussion from the ‘shock & horror’ of the looting & burning to why there was so much hatred against the police & the establishment.

Operation Swamp of 1981 and the many other operations that use stop & search have created a great deal of discontent. A survey as recently as last year on British Social Attitudes found that the police was seven times more likely to stop and search you if you were black than if you were white.

I have written about the failed family and the education system, gang culture and the political & economic factors that I believe have contributed to the destruction of morals and principles among the youth in A Generation Lost on my blog.

A survey as recently as last year on British Social Attitudes found that the police was seven times more likely to stop and search you if you were black than if you were white.

Yes, but why?

I’ll have to look at your blog, but it strikes me as perfectly reasonable for police to stop and search proportionately more black people in any area where gang membership has a similar racial profile.

Back in the 80s the police force was completely different. It hadn’t been long since they seemed more inclined towards National Front marchers than their required neutrality. We had the murder of Blair Peach and its cover up and suspicions about the New Cross fire. “Sus” laws were being abused to racially harass black people, causing real tension.

Since Macpherson’s report after the murder of Steven Lawrence the police have improved a lot. I have issues with how the Met behave sometimes but to deny that they have improved is hard to justify.

One thing that has changed is the pervasiveness of an unhealthy subculture based on crime and violence. I do not want to whitwash the problems of the 80s, but today is much worse.

What hasn’t changed? The lack of opportunity, the isolation and alienation of people in some areas that might as well be ghettoes. It seems to me that until a co-ordinated, resourced multi-agency approach to dealing with these problems using evidence from succesful measures in similar places is introduced then we will have done nothing to prevent a recurrance of riots, or helped people in deprived areas to live better lives, or removed a lingering source of criminality and violence from our cities.

14. Name Required

The right-wingers that infest the Guardian comment section seem to be under the impression that if only criminals can be brutalised and subjected to enough torture in prison, they will come out meek, pacified and ready to accept their life of poverty without complaint or misbehaviour. How on earth could they believe something so contrary to reality? All their solution would do is create sociopathic maniacs who will despise society and whose first resort will be to the most extreme violence.

Its sad that anyone who asks to look at underlying factors is called an apologist.

Not just an apologist. Most of them have been referred to as wingnuts on LC; see e.g. here: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/08/12/whos-to-blame-for-riots-play-the-right-wing-bingo/

@11 “Operation Swamp of 1981 and the many other operations that use stop & search have created a great deal of discontent.” 1981? Anyway, any chance of answering a few of the questions that have been asked, rather than whining about them? You could start with this one:

“118 people were arrested and 75 charged. But only 1 was charged for robbery, 1 for attempted burglary, 20 for theft or attempted theft.”

What’s your point? That the other 53 crimes were not important? Pillock.

Someone asked it in post 6.

Also, “A survey as recently as last year on British Social Attitudes found that the police was seven times more likely to stop and search you if you were black than if you were white.” Did it? Link to the study, then.

@14 “The right-wingers that infest the Guardian comment section seem to be under the impression that if only criminals can be brutalised and subjected to enough torture in prison, they will come out meek, pacified and ready to accept their life of poverty without complaint or misbehaviour. How on earth could they believe something so contrary to reality? All their solution would do is create sociopathic maniacs who will despise society and whose first resort will be to the most extreme violence.”

And the evidence to support this view would be what, exactly?

@11: “the police was seven times more likely to stop and search you if you were black than if you were white.”

BTW, how much more likely is it for a black young man to carry a knife or other weapon than for a white young man?

And, how much more likely is it for a black young man to die, stabbed to death by another black young man, than for a white young man to die, stabbed by a white young man? (Let’s now ignore inter-racial and inter-gender violence.)

With the former criteria, I suspect the ratio is not too far from 1 to 7 – though official unbiased statistics are hard to come by – so the police seems to be doing just about right. With the latter criteria, I think the odds are high that the police is not doing enough stops and searches of blacks.

Of course, I’m not really suggesting that the police should stop and search people because they are black. I think their skin colour should be ignored, and decision to stop and search should be based on time, place and behaviour.

Consider the stop and search as a service, not harrasment – a service meant to keep you alive.

18. Dan Factor

I had an argument with someone from the Socialist Workers Party in town today who was handing out newspapers and leaflets. He said he totally agreed with smashing and looting stores like Tesco because they are big capitalist empires!
I made the point that just because you don’t like a buisness doesn’t give you the right to smash their windows and loot their products.

I think some people are over egging the significance of looting. It is not political it is largely driven by people wanting something for nothing regardless of economic status.

What a strange article. Of course it’s not particularly shocking, *given that there has been widespread rioting*, that we’ve seen looting and arson. But the occurrence of that rioting is shocking in itself. It’s as if someone wrote an article asking why we should be shocked that a freezer full of children’s heads has been discovered, given that trophy collection has always been a part of serial child murder.

Oh, and this point:

“Looting is a mass recruiter”

- undermines your point about these riots having to do primarily with participants’ grievances rather than their greed. Presumably the reason looting works as a mass recruiter (if it does) is that it attracts people who don’t feel they have any reason to participate in disorder other than getting their hands on a new telly.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 pjt

“BTW, how much more likely is it for a black young man to carry a knife or other weapon than for a white young man?”

Problem is, the best data you can find on this is going to be based on arrests – and if black people are stopped and searched more often than white people, you’ll have more black people being arrested for carrying weapons that white people even if there’s no difference in the number that actually carry them. Even if the disproportionate number of black people searched is because they genuinely more often carry knives, it becomes a vicious circle and completely screws up the statistics.

As to profiling-based stop-and-search in general: it’s a bit of a thorny issue, as searching people who are demographically very unlikely to be guilty seems like a massive waste of police time (e.g. randomly searching a load of old ladies to balance out all of the searches you’ve made of young men). But I can definitely understand why innocent people who find themselves being targeted based on their age, race, gender and fashion sense feel like they’re suffering prejudice and being unfairly treated like criminals. And this has side effects in making people resent the police – it’s hardly a way to win hearts and minds.

21. Paul Newman

History is also full of mass crimes, the entire City of Bristol was taken over by Brigands once for a period of weeks and the fact of brigandry was a fact of life in isolated parts of Europe especially certainly into the 19th century. Looting and Property damage as a political statement has usually been associated not with the state but with a particular class seen as exploitative of the looters , say factories during Luddism or farms during the corn riots . In this case the idea that the rioters had such a relationship with the shops they removed high value items from is comical.
Poverty ? I noticed few poor pensioners out looting and many deprived areas forgot to play their assigned role . Cuts ? Our spending is over 50% of GDP , tax take about 38% , we are living in your Swedish paradise ,like it ?
True ,this outbreak of looting and vandalism has something in common with the 80s when the BBC unforgivably treated the vast majority of people in Brixton , WHO DID NOT RIOT and did not appreciate the looting as non existent . Your memory of the ordinary law abiding black and white people who suffered has been obliterated by the white lie that this was political it was mostly tawdry theft .

No left wing voice seems able to treat the worst scum in society as other than misunderstood heroes who in some way expressed some great truth. Supposed root causes cannot be other than to shift blame from the individuals and “Blame society”. I do not accept that I am in any way responsible for these actions and resent your lazy ill thought out corrupt suggestion otherwise .Why corrupt ? I have no doubt that what you want to is more money diverted from shop keepers to people like you and your “Clients “.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 21 Paul Newman

“No left wing voice seems able to treat the worst scum in society as other than misunderstood heroes who in some way expressed some great truth”

Given the amount of lefties on this site alone who have condemned the looters, you evidently have a gift for ignoring all “voices” that do not fit into your world-view.

It’s quite clear none of the party leaderships have any interest in investigating the precise nature and motivations of these riots. Cameron and Clegg are just exploiting them to push the government’s agenda and Miliband wouldn’t dare risk being painted as soft on rioters by the media and the right.

Aide memoire:

“The Riot Act (1714) (1 Geo.1 St.2 c.5) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that authorised local authorities to declare any group of twelve or more people to be unlawfully assembled, and thus have to disperse or face punitive action. The Act, whose long title was ‘An act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters’, came into force on 1 August 1715, and remained on the statute books until 1973.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_Act

John Wilkes was a hugely popular Lord Mayor of London until he invoked the Riot Act to quell the Gordon Riots of 1780 – which were effectively an anti-Catholic pogrom. Troops came out and fired into a crowd of the rioters near the Bank of England. Wilkes’ popularity sank.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wilkes

@23 “It’s quite clear none of the party leaderships have any interest in investigating the precise nature and motivations of these riots.”

Well, either that or their views of “the precise nature and motivations” don’t match yours.

I thought Cameron had already issued a definitive statement on the causes of the riots:

David Cameron on the riots: ‘This is criminality pure and simple’
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2011/aug/09/david-cameron-riots-criminality-video

What can possibly be wrong with that?

The rioters are criminals who riot.

@21: “Problem is, the best data you can find on this is going to be based on arrests”

Yes, there is the bias problem for investigating minor crime. That’s why serious crime, the type that is investigated always and consistently, is a better indicator. So, stabbing deaths (who dies and who kills) and convictions for grievous bodily harm should be looked at. How do those numbers look like?

I’m no expert but a random Google gets me this:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7856787/Violent-inner-city-crime-the-figures-and-a-question-of-race.html
So the likelihood of blacks to end up as victims is at least twice that of others.

And it seems that many black people have themselves recognized that this is a problem – this is almost 10 years old:
http://gangsinlondon.blogspot.com/2002/11/wild-west-mentality-is-killing-black.html

If the society decided not to do anything on this, because both perpetrators and victims are black, I think that would be racism.

28. Paul Newman

Chaise- Its no good saying , theres no excuse ,,but …After the’ but’ is the excuse ,and its a lot like like I am not a racist but … Or I `m not saying the woman asked for it “but “….
Thats what I read and see , Livingstone , Harman , Toynbee … the last hardly bothers with a cursory nod to the victims. .

And withdrawing police protection from particularly minority groups was a classic tactic of the Nazis, of course.

Anyway, a random google brought this:

“Twelve per cent of London’s men are black. But 54 per cent of the street crimes committed by men in London, along with 46 per cent of the knife crimes and more than half of the gun crimes, are thought by the Metropolitan Police to have been committed by black men.”

So if black men in London are 5 times as likely to commit “street”, knife and gun crimes, the stop and search stats sound, well–exactly right.

Paul Newman

“Supposed root causes cannot be other than to shift blame from the individuals and “Blame society”.”

Everyone seems to be making this assumption, but it doesn’t stack up for a second. There is no contradiction (obviously) between blaming the Nazis for the Holocaust and asking what were the root causes of the rise of antisemitic fascism in Germany. There is no contradiction (obviously) between blaming journalists for hacking the phones of murder victims and asking what were the root causes of such practices becoming widespread. Indeed, we all understand the importance of asking such questions. So why do people have this blind spot when it comes to blaming rioters for rioting at the same time as asking about its root causes?

G.O.

Isn’t that a bit of a straw man though? I think you’ll find that, say, conservatives are just as interested in the causes of the riots as liberals and other leftists. In fact, there is a post on the front page mocking the wingnuts for their oh so crazy and hyperbolic explanations: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/08/12/whos-to-blame-for-riots-play-the-right-wing-bingo/

@20: “Problem is, the best data you can find on this is going to be based on arrests – and if black people are stopped and searched more often than white people, you’ll have more black people being arrested for carrying weapons that white people even if there’s no difference in the number that actually carry them.”

Exactly although the sad fact is that young blacks are disproportionately the victims of gun crime.

“the information that is available suggests a similar pattern to that observed in the analysis of ‘knife crime’ undertaken by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) in 2006 (and updated in 2007): it seems that children and young people, those living in poor areas and members of black and minority ethnic communities are particularly likely to be the victims (and to be convicted) of firearm offences”

Gun crime – A review of evidence and policy
http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/opus713/ccjs_gun_crime_report.pdf

vimothy

OK, maybe that ‘everyone’ was ill-advised. Although it does strike me that some of the people who’ve been putting forward their own views on the ‘root causes’ of these riots have also, absurdly, been criticising any talk about ‘root causes’ as an attempt to justify the riots. I’ve heard rather a lot of ‘Root causes? Humbug! It’s criminality pure and simple. Oh, and its root causes are poor parenting/a lack of discipline in schools/absent fathers/gang culture etc’.

The take-home message seems to be ‘maybe there *are* root causes, but they’re all to do with gang leaders/teachers/rappers/parents – the Government certainly has nothing to do with it’. Which is just absurd on its face; how could everyone else have so much influence and the Government so little?

34. Paul Newman

Everyone seems to be making this assumption, but it doesn’t stack up for a second. There is no contradiction (obviously) between blaming the Nazis for the Holocaus etc.

The Nazis were widely supported and anti-Semitism was part of main stream European culture, the practice of using illegally obtained information was ubiquitous, and in my view not in itself an unambiguous evil.
Looting is pastime of a tiny minority.Your examples are the wrong ones. A better way to approach it is to look at the despised groups who the BBC , in particular , do not approach with a view to “Understanding ..not condoning ”
The Orange men of Northern Ireland
The whites if South Africa
Likud
The Northern League
Mr. Le Pen`s Supporters
American Fundamentalist Christians

They are simply condemned whereas Islamic Terrorists and the IRA have endless opportunities to be “understood” if not “condoned”- and these criminals immediately the recipients of “understanding ” if not “condoning ”

It is clear then that this janus like attitude carries a message and if you look at those without a POV it is clear it depends on an existing agenda . So if you choose to try “understand ” it is a message in this case a bizarre and deceitful one.
The point is to tie moral chaos to the government and illogical though it might be remember Blair and Brown ran an entire election campaign on the back of the Bulger case .

I was not impressed then. I am not impressed now

G.O.,

Agreed on both counts.

Paul,

Looting is pastime of a tiny minority.Your examples are the wrong ones. A better way to approach it is to look at the despised groups who the BBC , in particular , do not approach with a view to “Understanding ..not condoning ”

That’s a very interesting point, actually.

@11
Here is the link to the survey highlights on police stop & search.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2010/jun/17/stop-and-search-police?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Another international survey in the same year said this number was 26 times more for the blacks.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/oct/17/stop-and-search-race-figures

@6
As for Operation Swamp and your question, let me quote Lord Scarman, who the UK government appointed to hold an inquiry into the Brixton riots of 1981. Lord Scarman reported that ‘Swamp 81 was a factor that contributed to a great increase in tension’ in Brixton and in short, ‘was a serious mistake’. (Ref: The Brixton Disorders para 4.43 & 4.76)

The reason we are talking about stop & search is because of a man called Mark Duggan who was stopped, searched and shot under suspicious circumstances. His family and friends who protested last Saturday felt ignored. There was widespread discontent among the community against the police for this reason which sparked the riots.

Looting & burning came later. It was police discontent that triggered the riots and we mustn’t forget that.

37. blackwillow1

@34: You forgot the KKK, Aryan Brotherhood, EDL, BNP, Hitler and Nanny Plum from Ben and Hollys’ Little Kingdom(she’s very Elfist and hates Gnomes). All those you listed are clearly understood; you hate people who are’nt like you, we get it. Lean any further to the right and you’ll become circular.

Paul

“It is clear then that this janus like attitude carries a message and if you look at those without a POV it is clear it depends on an existing agenda .”

Clearly there’s something in this, but I’d draw the opposite conclusion from you. Rather than saying we shouldn’t try to understand the roots of Islamic terrorism and urban rioting any more than we should try to understand the roots of American fundamentalist Christianity and French fascism, I’d say we should try to understand the roots of (ahem) all evil. Which is entirely consistent with condemning it.

For meaningful analysis, the stop and search stats can’t be regarded separately from the victim stats. Blacks – and Asians – are disproportionately victimised by violent crime. The Trident Operation was set up in 1998 specifically to deal with black-on-black crime. If blacks are mostly killed or injured in consequence of attacks by other blacks, it isn’t too surprising if the police tend to stop and search blacks looking for guns and knives.

Riot commentary = people who were just as surprised as everyone else saying you shouldn't be surprised. Fuck off! http://t.co/erafP0V

I dont think that people understand just how much David Cameron and this Deceitful Coalition have become hated.

Why is it that we have experienced the Worst Riots in British History and David Cameron has only been Prime-Minister for Fifteen Short Months.

The shooting of one man was just the spark that led these Riots to spread like Wild Fire across Britain.

This Coalition of Evil and Misery is built on the foundations of Deceit, Spin, Hypocrisy, Greed and constant lies.

It is not surprising that those without a voice and that are not listened to became Angry and Demonstration/Rioting was their way of letting this Evil Coalition know that they are Sick and Tired of the abuse and had to put a message across. It was sad that this was the only way to let this Coalition know how large numbers of people feel.

I personall feel that it is time for David Cameron to step aside because he is out of touch completely. The man has become a Diabolical Disgrace to this country. He should also consider a long holiday with his good friend Andy Culson that was involved in crime and had to resign his post at Downing Street.

42. the a&e charge nurse

[36] “The reason we are talking about stop & search is because of a man called Mark Duggan who was stopped, searched and shot under suspicious circumstances” – according to the Gruniard the shooting of Mark Duggan came about because of a ‘pre-planned’ arrest that ended in violence.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/05/man-shot-police-london-arrest

Surely there is a world of difference between officers from Operation Trident acting on intelligence, as opposed to random harassment, which in some cases has been attributed to skin colour – if you can’t recognise these important distinctions then you risk undermining the credibility of other points you make.

I must admit I have no idea why it all kicked off, but how is the injustice against Mark Duggan (if this is the case) assuaged by a plasma screen telly, or injury (or worse) to those seeking to protect all they have worked for? – I mean aren’t there more legitimate ways of expressing solidarity with Mark Duggan’s family rather than torching a landmark building that survived the blitz?

@42: “I mean aren’t there more legitimate ways of expressing solidarity with Mark Duggan’s family rather than torching a landmark building that survived the blitz?”

To quote David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham who said: “that 45 local residents had lost their homes to arson. They were running out of their homes carrying their children in their arms, and their cry is, ‘where were the police?’.”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/54c83e10-c42a-11e0-b302-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz1UkpXefJh

“Why is it that we have experienced the Worst Riots in British History and David Cameron has only been Prime-Minister for Fifteen Short Months.”

Possibly because there is a whole lot more to this than just a government which has only been in power for fifteen months. It unlcudes the mismanagement of previous governments, both Labour and tory, and a cuklture of greed, entitlement and irresponsibility which has grown up across generations and classes, particularly as a result of poor parenting. There are all many of factors, from right and left, rich and poor, private and public sectors.

Not to mention the bankers who have been ripping off their depositors.

The insurance companies are now reckoned to have to pay out £200m in compensation for riot damage, theft and losses. Compare this:

Lloyds Banking Group has set aside £3.2bn to cover the cost of compensation for mis-selling Payment Protection Insurance, followed by Barclays (£1bn), RBS (£850m), Santander (£548m) and HSBC (£269m).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14371756

Any chance of the bankers being prosecuted or having their benefits withdrawn by IDS? The bankers aren’t worrying:

“The financial and insurance sector paid out £14bn in bonuses in the last financial year, unchanged from the year before, despite government pressure on banks to curb excessive pay-outs.” [FT 20 July 2011]
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e2e673ae-b22a-11e0-9d80-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Ts0pwPgt

Not to mention the bankers who have been ripping off their depositors.

The insurance companies are now reckoned to have to pay out £200m in compensation for riot damage, theft and losses. Compare this:

Lloyds Banking Group has set aside £3.2bn to cover the cost of compensation for mis-selling Payment Protection Insurance, followed by Barclays (£1bn), RBS (£850m), Santander (£548m) and HSBC (£269m).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14371756

Any chance of the bankers being prosecuted or having their benefits withdrawn by IDS? The bankers aren’t worrying:

“The financial and insurance sector paid out £14bn in bonuses in the last financial year, unchanged from the year before, despite government pressure on banks to curb excessive pay-outs.” [FT 20 July 2011]
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e2e673ae-b22a-11e0-9d80-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Ts0pwPgt

Interesting article. I agree that too much hoopla on looting has taken away from the bigger issue – of Tory cuts and its effects.

Lets ask the bankers why they are looting from us?

Lets us the MPs why they are looting from us?

Lets us Cameron why he is looting our money to bomb Libya?

Any punishments for these looters?

Lets ask the bankers why they are looting from us?

Someone explain how the banks “looted” the rest of the country? It’s nonsense. The banks faced huge losses, the government took action, according to the wishes of most people, to stop their collapse.

Presumably, if the banks “looted” the rest of Britain, the Greeks and Irish have “looted” the rest of Europe.

@48: “Someone explain how the banks ‘looted’ the rest of the country? It’s nonsense.”

C’mon.

Lloyds’ £3.2bn PPI compensation bill for mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance is the largest of any UK bank. Barclays is setting aside £1bn, RBS £850m and HSBC £269m.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14399176

A City banker who amassed almost £600,000 through insider trading with his wife and a friend has been jailed for three years and four months.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12345373

It’s difficult and costly to prove insider trading so that could be the tip of an iceberg.

Bankers are ripping off their shareholders as well – Alan Greenspan’s testimony on 24 October 2008 to the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee:

“Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122476545437862295.html

Compare the cost to insurance companies of paying up for the riot damage and losses, currently put at £200m.

But the bankers aren’t worrying:

“The financial and insurance sector paid out £14bn in bonuses in the last financial year, unchanged from the year before, despite government pressure on banks to curb excessive pay-outs.” [FT 20 July 2011]
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e2e673ae-b22a-11e0-9d80-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Ts0pwPgt

I was disappointed not to see any rioting Poles or Philippinos. Perhaps they were too busy working, doing the jobs that “unemployed” British yoof can’t bring themselves to do, to go out on the streets. Disappointed to see no Chinese rioters too. And what have they done wrong in Herefordshire? Why didn’t the disaffected yoof riot there? What are they doing wrong in Herefordshire (Shropshire, Wales, Scotland, Cumbria, Lincolnshire etc etc) that they were not afforded the privilege of some disorder.

Bob B — so, nonsense then. Not a single credible example from you of the banks “looting” the population. Apparently it’s looting to pay yourself more than the typical Guardian reader thinks appropriate? Pathetic.

@51: Skooby: “Not a single credible example from you of the banks “looting” the population. ”

Why then are the banks having to pay out billions in compensation to their depositors for mis-selling Payment Protection Insurance as reported by the BBC in the link @49 ?

When I started reading this I thought you were going to say the opposite of what you did ! As it stands I am really glad to see people that(without being rude) seem a different class than me, and by your language a lot more intelligent , actually point out that it’s not just poor people that riot, loot or steal.

Ive seen too many websites with pure hate at the looters when they are blind to see that they do the exact same, however they don’t look at it like that because they arn’t stealing by smashing something first..

I have saved up and have opened a blog. I’m new and have wrote my first post about the riots. Perhaps you could leave me some feedback as you seem to have experiance. I have wrote it from the point of view of someone that was like these kids at one stage, now I have a job and I can see how I still am like them, but (and its hard to accept) we all like to pretend we are not just because we are more clever about how we decieve people now.. Hope you like it http://www.mcshoebox.me/blog/in-the-news/how-do-you-compare-to-the-looters


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Looting and arson? You shouldn't be surprised http://t.co/SbWcViT

  2. David Jones

    Looting and arson? You shouldn't be surprised http://t.co/SbWcViT

  3. Stephe Meloy

    Looting and arson? You shouldn't be surprised http://t.co/SbWcViT

  4. CAROLE JONES

    Looting and arson? You shouldn't be surprised http://t.co/SbWcViT

  5. Sandra Paiva

    Looting and arson? You shouldn't be surprised > http://t.co/R0guOfS

  6. Rachel Hubbard

    #Riots #Looting #Arson ?UShouldntBeSurprised @LibCon http://t.co/GaH2Ysn NotNewPhenomenon,GoingOnFor100sYearsInResponse2SocioEconomicFactors

  7. Lauren G

    Looting and arson? You shouldn’t be surprised | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/QK0zxWT via @libcon

  8. Ruhi Khan

    Looting and arson? You shouldn’t be surprised | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Yj1jvvw via @libcon

  9. Thoughts on tHE ONGOING DAVID STARKEY CONTROVERSY!!!11! « "we carry death out of the village"

    [...] a certain type of person for whom widespread criminality and the destruction of our great cities is not at all shocking, but for whom speech unencumbered by the requisite quantity of euphemisms is the most offensive and [...]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.