London’s Burning: A Fool’s Hopeless Speculation

Posted on August 9, 2011

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A Tottenham block burns through the night

Scenes of destruction in Tottenham and other outskirts of London have shocked the British public this week.

Naturally the riots in London and the Midlands have been at the center of attention in all news outlets. Upon reading, I saw the words: “YOUTHS” and “RIOTS” used in conjunction with worrying banal usage and I despaired. Why do they always pick on us, I said.

Then I sat down to actually watch the news. The videos offered such clarity on the situation and I was even more outraged…IT WAS YOUNG PEOPLE RIOTING. Looting, smashing and burning property. Let me be clear, there was no misrepresentation in the coverage of the stories… at least on the BBC. Young people were doing the damage (naturally it wouldn’t have been elderly folk would it have?) Here take a look at some of the chaos, make your own mind up…

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Sacrificing a neat, tidy article I have decided to use both videos to show you what happened…

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In response to the unrest, PM David Cameron returned from his break in Corsica to address the havoc, he said:

“We will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets”

Speaking directly to rioters, Cameron threatened:  “You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment.”

In order to clamp down upon attacks more than 16,000 officers will be on London streets tonight. Police leave has been cancelled and they will be reinforced by other forces and community support officers.

So far, in London alone 525 people have been arrested in connection to the riots.

Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol have also seen riots, mostly resulting in the same consequences… ruination.

The riots sparked during a peaceful protest in Tottenham on Saturday over the police shooting of Mark Duggan, 29. Duggan, father of four children, allegedly opened fire on officers after they tried to arrest him, resulting in a single bullet to the chest killing him.

Whether the riots, are a result of the Duggan’s death or just circumstantial is yet unknown, it is only known that the first riot occurred during a supposedly peaceful protest in response to the shooting. The family of Mark Duggan are known to have condemned the riots.

One rioter commented: “It’s all about showing the police and rich people we can do what we want. “ Whether the outbreak of violence is as simple as the simpleton said is unlikely.

Disenfranchisement, disillusionment, distress and “gettin’ dissed by police” seems to be at the root of the youth revolts. All the “dis” words by the looks of things.

I joke, but whilst I write this, blocks of  burnt-out buildings leave people homeless, with nothing. Their dwellings now just crumbled shells, almost unrecognisable, except for the blackened skeletal supports heralding what the buildings once were. And what for, why did this happen?

Throughout the whole affair there is an underlying hidden problem. Something stinks. Is there an issue with police racism, are these communities being treated unfairly?

Or with millions of pounds cut from government services, high levels of unemployment and an international economic slump, the fragmentation of London’s society may have been imminent. The anti-establishment attitude of the crowd shows a deep-seated hatred of the police and (probably) of the conservatives. Let’s not forget the miner strikes under Thatcher’s reign, this may be the same primal anger, applied differently.

Where do the government go from here?

The coalition clearly intend to crush the riots tonight which is all fine and well but when will the actual issues that caused the destruction be addressed. It would be fair to say that all the areas affected by riots are poverty zones. From what I have seen, disadvantaged youths of all creed and colour united under the banner of anarchy, looting the likes of PC World, leaving the shops with HD definition Televisions and other assorted goodies. These riots need to be handled sensitively, or the police may have another generation of disgruntled youth to deal with. One day these young people will grow older, their hatred of the establishment will be passed on to their kids. Elton John sings of the circle of life. This is it. The feeling of injustice of the masses must be corrected, before it spreads. Unfortunately, let’s be honest, that is not going to happen overnight. Maybe not even in my lifetime.

Gilmour swinging from the cenotaph during student protests

No doubt, comparisons between these riots and the student protests will take place. And that will indeed be monotonous.

Lets just say that the Cambridge-going, upper-class, Charlie-Gilmoresque twats who tormented society during the student protests will not be making an appearance at these gritty street wars. These rioters occupy the other end of the monetary spectrum. They have no clear political point, there are no goals other than lashing out in anger at the Government.

The metropolitan police have also been heavily critisised for their slow response times in getting to the riots…which I think is rather unfair. The riots appear to have been spontaneous, disorganised and just as unpredictable. Also I would like to say, in the face of powerful adversity, from what I have seen, police brutality has been minimal… and in this case offensive police tactics could have been permitted, even encouraged by many people.

David Cameron’s Big Society seems like a pipe-dream from where I am sitting. I just hope this is all resolved peacefully before anymore damage is done…

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