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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: London Riots - The Root Cause
Gamaliel
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Sorry Ramarius, but all that stuff about massive reductions in crime and pubs closing etc etc as a result of the Welsh Revival is all misty-eyed myth.

Sure, there were some short term reductions in reported crime in some areas but I've yet to see documentary proof of many of the more colourful assertions as to what happened in Wales as a result of the Revival.

Wales at that time wasn't particularly lawless either before or after the Revival - and there was substantial rioting and unrest in 1910 and 1911 irrespective of the revival of 1904/05.

I really don't buy this pietistic thing that if everyone became some kind of evangelical Christian then the world would automatically be a better place. Mudfrog claims to have proof positive about the widespread social results of SA activity in Newcastle in the late 19th/early 20th centuries that have come from non-SA sources - and I don't doubt that revivalism had an effect on issues like alcohol abuse and the reformation of personal morality - such as fellas no longer spending the bulk of their wages down the boozer etc.

And, of course, these kind of personal transformations can ripple out to affect society as a whole.

But there's a lot of misty-eyed nostalgia and over-egging of the pudding going on with some of these accounts. The Welsh Revival probably alienated as many people as it attracted and its affects were most intense among nominally religious or already committed people in the first place.

But that's another story ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Sylvander
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quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
It's just that they and the bankers tend to get away with it without a lengthy prison sentence. That's the injustice I'm concerned about.

One great crime does not make another less relevant. And the fact you can't punish them all (equally) doesn't mean you ought not punish any (actually iIrc there is some Latin phrase expressing this as one of the fundamentals of our legal system).
In fact I think that the bankers' and many MPs' mentality is an expression of a similar sort of anti-social morals increasing in society.
But have you ever been victim of a personal crime (mugging, burglary ...)? Then you'll know that however much one may rant and rage about corruption etc, this will never feel as bad as the feeling of humiliation, powerless anger and all the psychological after-effects of the latter. Even a burglary in absence is such a violation of one's private space that the victims can be severely shaken for months afterwards.
In that vein I'd say your words sound rather cavalier.

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A martyr is someone living with a saint.
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Gamaliel
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Whilst I'm at it ... and I'm not establishing historical parallels or precedents, there were severe riots which lasted several days in Tonypandy in 1910 during the great Cambrian Coal-strike. Shops were looted and troops were sent in to restore order because the local police couldn't keep on top of things.

When I was a young lad in South Wales there were still people who hated Churchill 'because he sent in the troops against the miners in 1910.' I think he may have been Home Secretary at the time and authorised military action ... although there are still debates about this ...

Whatever the case, there were very violent scenes and the father of an old Pentecostal lady I knew was beaten up by soldiers on the canal bank even though he'd not participated in the disturbances (he had a gammy arm because of a pit accident and was easy meat).

That said, we're not talking about sweetness and light on the miners side either ...

There were also disturbances in Tredegar when, sadly, Jewish shops and businesses were targeted. This may not have been anti-semitism but a more general sense of resentment against the 'shopocracy'.

Then, in 1911 the troops were called into Llanelli when railwaymen, tin-plate workers and miners united to close down the GWR line as part of the bitter railwaymen's strike. A train was stopped and trashed. Troops opened fire and two men were killed. The strikers and their supporters then went on a rampage burning warehouses and GWR property and four people were killed when wagon loads of explosives went up in the conflagration. They also looted shops and warehouses belonging to the main JPs and magistrates in the town and there were pitched battles with police and soldiers in the streets with men and women sustaining truncheon and bayonet wounds.

Of course, it was all blamed on alcohol, lawlessness and loose morals rather than the terrible working and living conditions that prevailed in areas of the town.

Again, I'm not drawing parallels with the recent riots in London, Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere - but if there is any mitigation the South Wales rioters had been on strike for months and were pretty desparate.

I merely cite it to illustrate that all this business about the Welsh Revival transforming the nation's morals and evangelicalism cleaning up whole areas is largely romantic bunkum.

In North Wales there were instances of Anglicans having to move to other areas due to pressure from non-conformist neighbours who'd become more militant as a result of the Revival.

It's interesting how a lot of the energy unleashed by the Welsh Revival was eventually channelled into Labour Party politics, trades-unionism and cultural expressions such as the Eisteddfod. There's only so long you can stand in a chapel singing revivalist hymns. Pietism will only take you so far.

I'd agree that faith, 'righteousness' (however we define it) and concern for others can and does have a transforming effect, both on individuals and communities.

But there are a whole load of other factors.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by ken:
That's because the fact is that loads of people who do talk like that are in fact racists. And even when they aren't the "multiculturalism" they attack is a straw man made up by the right for the purpose of propaganda.


By multiculturalism, I mean multiple cultures living in near proximity to one another. This is simply a fact. People of different cultures have a hard enough time sharing a planet.

quote:
originally posted by ken:
That is the exact opposite of one of the usual "social capital" arguments, which is that ethnic groups or extended families which are to some extent isolated and distinct from those around them can build up valuable reserves of trust - valuable in money terms as well as personal ones (that's why they call it "capital" they are putting money value on family and friendship). Typical examples would be trading networks among extended families or clans - whether its diamond dealing in Hatton Garden or selling vegetables in East Street Market.


You missed Putnam's second study. Putnam noted a correlation between high levels of diversity and low levels of trust. People living in areas of high diversity tend to hunker down. They don't function very well as a community. Putnam wasn't very pleased with the results.

In your examples, you mention groups (extended families and ethnic groups) that are "isolated" and "distinct" from those around them. That isn't diversity. Extended families and ethnic groups are usually relatively similar. In those instances, shared culture and not diversity leads to trust.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
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Ramarius
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Evening Gamaliel. I was aware that the effects of the Welsh revival were localised (get a bit tired of qualifying everything I write....) but were no less significant in those areas. I think there's enough documentary evidence and first hand accounts to confirm that. As with all history, we have to go with the sources available.

You make a good point about mixing revivalism with tolerance. But again, the fact that a positive movement for change had negative side effects for some doesn't then automatically invalidate its positive impact (and I don't think you said it did). And revivalism leading to social change through politics; well I'd say that was all part of the same continuum. Think Ashely Shaftesbury would agree.

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'

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lilBuddha
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BA,

Think, perhaps, as to why "different cultures" exist in close proximity and why those cultures appear not to assimilate.
Might not some of the critics of "multiculturalism" be the same that are less than welcoming of said different cultures?

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
OliviaG on the Huffington Post : No, it's fantasy, made possible because someone hasn't read anything by Charles Dickens. I'd trust his account of Victorian England over that misty-eyed nostalgia any day. OliviaG

Have another read m'dear. The fact that there was much in queen V's Engalnd to despise doesn't mean there's nothing that bit of history can teach us. What did you make of the ideas of social capital for example? How could that principle be re-interpreted and reapplied today?

Be interested in your take.....

Well, since you asked ...

Let's tackle the HuffPost article first. The author is the founder of the London Culture and Cuisine Club "which organizes intimate and bespoke gourmet and cultural events for selected members." She is also the founder of The Rosebush Foundation, "a registered charity linked to London Culture and Cuisine Club. Members of the Rosebush Foundation Volunteer their Time and Skills Mentoring Others." So it looks like mentoring is a big thing for her, and more power to her. Mentoring is a great thing, but it's not easy, especially on a mass level. Mentoring requires a great deal from both the mentor and the mentee. The benefits of mentoring vary greatly, depending on the "chemistry" between the two; what resources the pair have access to - time, money, education, interests and activities; the type of mentoring - career, personal; and so on. I'm not sure that mass mentoring is even possible, and it will probably have highly variable results. However, it can be certainly encouraged by incentives to individuals and organizations that facilitate mentoring directly or as part of their operations.

In her article, she writes:
quote:
In the 19th Century, municipal leaders raised their own revenues and organised the collective life of their communities, built hospitals and schools, sewers, set up public gas and electricity companies and built many of the great Victorian buildings. Citizens actively participated by giving to their communities through local philanthropy.

Yeah, well, we still have that. We still have all levels of government collecting taxes and providing services and infrastructure. What has changed is that most are running yearly deficits and accumulating debt. Either they're providing too much or collecting too little. Yet the loudest rhetoric in the USA, for example, is all about "get government out of my life" and "no new taxes", both of which are equally unrealistic. It would sure be nice to have an honest, mature, broad discussion of what citizens want and how it will be paid for, but I guess that's pretty unrealistic as well. As for philanthropy, it's still going pretty strong, both on individual and corporate levels. If anything, it's even more public. Earlier hospital buildings in my town, for example, were called the Heather or Willow (streets in the area) or Centennial (the year it was opened) Pavilions. Now it's Blusson (spinal cord), Robert N. Ho (hip, prostate, ovary), Pattison and Diamond health care centres. One of our local sporting venues has just changed its name from GM Place (aka the garage) to Rogers Arena (aka the cable box). As a volunteer for a non-profit, I have become very adept at rattling off lists of our sponsors, because they expect a certain level of recognition and publicity in exchange for their donation. (Let's just leave what the Bible has to say about donor recognition for now, shall we? [Biased] )
quote:
A critical rethinking of the education system is necessary so that school curriculums include structured and incentivised ways for children to actively practise social responsibility and regularly take part in charities, volunteering and social entrepreneurship initiatives in their communities.

High school students in BC have to complete a program called "Graduation Transitions":
quote:
Graduation Transitions is intended to prepare students for a successful transition to life after secondary school. In order to meet this goal, Graduation Transitions encourages students to:
•take ownership of their own health and learning
•examine and demonstrate connections between their learning and their future
•create a plan for their growth and development as skilled, healthy, knowledgeable, participating citizens
•exhibit attributes of a model B.C. graduate
All B.C. secondary school students must demonstrate they have met the following requirements for:
•Personal Health - maintain a personal health plan and participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
•Community Connections - participate in at least 30 hours of work experience and/or community service and describe what was learned.
•Career and Life - complete a transition plan and present significant accomplishments.


Of course, that didn't stop some of them from participating in the "hockey" riots a while back.

On to social capital. In the words of Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." I've heard various definitions, so I went to the World Bank. Here are some examples of questions that are asked in order to measure social capital:
  • If you suddenly needed a small amount of money, how many people beyond your immediate household could you turn to?
    Personally, I'd rather not have to borrow from friends and family. I'd rather have stable employment and housing, good public health care, and an income sufficient to allow me to save for a rainy day.
  • If you were caring for a child and needed to go out for a while, would you ask a neighbor for help?; Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people .
    No child, but I am part of an informal cat-sitting network. I would say that most people are trustworthy, but they can also be fallible and unreliable, with no malice intended.
  • Do you help out a local group as a volunteer?; Have you attended a local community event in the past 6 months (eg church fete, school concert, craft exhibition)?
    Check. Check.
  • Are there any services where you or members of your household are occasionally denied service or have only limited opportunity to use?
    OK, now we get down to the nitty-gritty. There is very little actual discrimination in our society, but there is huge economic stratification. People aren't denied services because of their faith or skin colour, but they are denied many things simply because they're not affordable. Whether it's sports and arts programs for kids, or entertainment events, or whatever. And I think it really sucks that non-profit organizations make an effort to reach out to lower-income patrons by offering cheap seats, outreach programs, etc., but professionals like athletic teams and rock stars can charge literally hundreds or thousands of bucks for a seat, and still expect those who won't ever see them live to be fans / supporters.
  • Inquire about the availability of a number of important means of communication and sources of information: post office, telephone, newspaper, radio and television.
    I'd say we're doing ok on this. Public libraries still provide free information access. Pay-as-you-go cell phones are now more affordable than a land-line. Snail mail is still affordable, although parcels can get pricey.
I would still say that the biggest social problem our society has is increasing economic stratification, which has direct impacts on housing, employment, education, health, and leisure. We still have communities and networks, but there are huge walls between them, and each passing generation increases the divisions as parents pass on their social capital (or lack thereof) to their children. I didn't really need to do all this research on social capital to come to this conclusion. I still think we need to increase taxes / reduce subsidies and tax credits on higher-income individuals and corporations; increase fees for certain government services, particularly those that involve use and / or damage to our shared environment and infrastructure; and ensure that people of all incomes have accsss to all the benefits our society offers.

The World Bank also has a detailed page on the positive and negative effects of ethnicity on social capital.
quote:
Ethnic diversity is dysfunctional when it generates conflict. Collier (1998) finds that the likelihood of incidence of violent conflict, its escalation, persistence and reemergence once ceased is greatest when there are two to three ethnic groups in a society (as compared to high levels of ethnic diversity or ethnic homogeneity).

So if our goal should be high levels of either diversity or homogeneity, which should we choose and how should we encourage it? I'm happier allowing others to be "diverse" because that means I won't be forced to "homogenize".

I also see that I haven't received any policy suggestions on how to decrease godlessness. We may very well be suffering from the effects of godlessness and sin, but those are not what I would call "actionable" items, as in, there is no practical action to even measure them, never mind change them.

And since this is so long (but you did ask), I'll finish with a quote from Joss Whedon: "Boy, Joss, you really like to hear yourself type!" OliviaG

References:
Brigitte Sésu Tilley-Gyado

ThE ROSEBUSH FOUNDATION/URL]

[URL=http://tinyurl.com/5xdycy]Overview : Social Capital


The Graduation Program

Measuring the Dimensions of Social Capital

Social Capital and Ethnicity

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Soror Magna
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Oh, crap, I mangled a link. (And missed the edit window.) [Hot and Hormonal]

References:
Brigitte Sésu Tilley-Gyado

ThE ROSEBUSH FOUNDATION

Overview : Social Capital
The Graduation Program

Measuring the Dimensions of Social Capital

Social Capital and Ethnicity

--------------------
"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Ramarius
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Olivier - splendid post! Glad I asked and thanks for taking the time to respond so thoroughly.

On mentoring, what's the potential for the thousands of people retiring over the next three years to become a mass mentoring movement?

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'

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
BA,

Think, perhaps, as to why "different cultures" exist in close proximity and why those cultures appear not to assimilate.
Might not some of the critics of "multiculturalism" be the same that are less than welcoming of said different cultures?

Not enough to make a difference one way or the other. I'm talking about a phenomenon that has existed throughout human history. The problem is rarely one group not welcoming the other with open arms. Both groups usually have grievances that are legitimate and those that aren't. Sometimes the legitimacy of a grievance depends on how you look at it and different cultures look at things differently.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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tclune
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quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
On mentoring, what's the potential for the thousands of people retiring over the next three years to become a mass mentoring movement?

Heaven forefend! Our youth are dumb enough now...

--Tom Clune

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This space left blank intentionally.

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Ramarius
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Tclune - darn cheek sir, how'd you know I ain't one of em don't you know [Biased]

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'

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Pasco
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quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
Mark Steyn sums up exceedingly well in seven words why the riots got so out of hand:

“In Britain, everything is policed except crime.”

With first hand experience in dealing with the police on a few occasions re damage to church property, cars etc, I found police weren’t interested in catching the culprits as the issues did not involve endangering of life. Apart from dealing with attempted murder or murder cases, most of the police find themselves busy on the highways and byways where prosecuting motorists for speeding/reckless driving is/was not hindered by the courts - a zero tolerance operated here towards motorists. Police efforts at prosecuting crime has been systematically thwarted by the judiciary in the past, culprits given community service or lenient sentences often on 'humanitarian' grounds.

With the passage of time and with no inclination for dealing with such issues since through no fault of their own, police find themselves out of their comfort zones when dealing with crime today. Robberies for instance are rarely followed through. Their policy?

"Property or life is considered 'ere."

Police through the inaction of politicians and the judiciary ended up as spectators during the recent looting orgies. Their policy?

"Pouncing on looters isn't considered essential."

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Pasco:
Apart from dealing with attempted murder or murder cases, most of the police find themselves busy on the highways and byways where prosecuting motorists for speeding/reckless driving is/was not hindered by the courts - a zero tolerance operated here towards motorists.

Awwww, diddums!

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Sioni Sais
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Pasco,

I don't know about the rest of the country but the Gwent Police take robberies very seriously. It's fair to say that burglaries and theft from houses and vehicles are another matter as they don't involve violence (or the threat of it). The police issue a reference for insurance, log the identifiable items and troll round the car boot sales, second-hand shops and Ebay to track down the stolen goods, with a fair degree of success. It's routine, boring investigative work done without sirens blaring, but people get pulled in, second-hand shops close and just occasionally goods are returned.

Besides, have you ever been hit by a car or been in a car hit by another car, even gently? If there are laws worth enforcing they are those which regulate the movement of objects at speed.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
On mentoring, what's the potential for the thousands of people retiring over the next three years to become a mass mentoring movement?

Low. The unsurpassed selfishness of the baby boomers is not something that should be encouraged.


Interesting to see a couple of four year jail sentences handed out to two [white] men who attempted to incite riots using social media. This may seem harsh, but the sentences handed down are actually less than half the maximum applicable sentence of ten years.

I would say they are fair sentences, but maybe not the best option for encouraging some form of rehabilitation. A better option might be the maximum sentence of ten years, but with a release after one year only and the remaining nine years suspended to be served if they re-offend or break parole conditions.

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If I give a homeopathy advocate a really huge punch in the face, can the injury be cured by giving them another really small punch in the face?

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Pasco:
most of the police find themselves busy on the highways and byways where prosecuting motorists for speeding/reckless driving is/was not hindered by the courts - a zero tolerance operated here towards motorists.

[Mad] And being tolerant towards reckless, careless and selfish drivers who endanger human life is a good thing? [Ultra confused]

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Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Pasco:
most of the police find themselves busy on the highways and byways where prosecuting motorists for speeding/reckless driving is/was not hindered by the courts - a zero tolerance operated here towards motorists.

[Mad] And being tolerant towards reckless, careless and selfish drivers who endanger human life is a good thing? [Ultra confused]
You're missing the point. Translated properly, the post should read as follows:
quote:
Originally posted by Pasco:
I got a fine for breaking the law on the road and think it shouldn't apply to me.



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If I give a homeopathy advocate a really huge punch in the face, can the injury be cured by giving them another really small punch in the face?

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
have you ever been hit by a car or been in a car hit by another car, even gently?

I have never had a point on my licence, nor have I paid any driving-related fine other than for parking in the wrong place. Furthermore, I have been involved in - but not responsible for - a fatal urban accident and a high-speed pile up on the motorway which very nearly claimed the life of my brother, and I witnesed a school friend get run over while crossing the road.

Basically, I have no axe to grind about prior convictions and I have several good reasons to detest excessive speed. Enough "qualifications" for you?

Good. Because I think the police should focus far more effort on fighting burglary, muggings, robbery, etc than they do on making sure nobody is driving a bit too fast. What kind of fucked-up society sends the message that it's worse to drive slightly too fast than it is to burgle a house?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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aumbry
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I never get the impression that the police are not attending to serious crime because they are policing the roads: as far as I can make out they do neither. Most time seems to be spent doing office work.

I regularly hear that the police have to deploy a significant amount of their time and resources on paperwork and that front line policing increasingly takes a second fiddle. At the same time policemen seem to retire on a full pension quite often in their fifties. Why don't those who are not fit for frontline work do the paperwork instead of retiring early?

The police service was ruined when it introduced a graduate fast stream (but that is another story).

Bring on the American Crimebusters as the politically correct and impotent British police are not up to the job.

[ 17. August 2011, 13:04: Message edited by: aumbry ]

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Pottage
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Presumably though we all think that the police should devote SOME of their effort to enforing the traffic regulations? After all, if there was absolutely no chance of ever being stopped many more people would hurtle around the streets dangerously fast, or drunk, or in cars that are unsafe and the toll of innocent lives lost or shattered by terrible injuries would rise.

Pasco is of the opinion that (aside from homicide squads) "most of the police find themselves busy on the highways", leaving other crimes unpoliced and effectively ignored. But is that true or just the perception of disgruntled motorists?

I've not researched the statistics very thoroughly. I don't have the time and they're produced at local force level anyway, which means they vary considerably both in terms of the absolute size of each force and the way they allocate their resources. But I had a quick look at my local force in the West Midlands. According to their website, including special constables, community support offices etc the total of their non-administrative staff seems to be around 10,000, of which around 8,500 are full time police officers. According to a written Parliamentary answer given in May this year the number of West Midlands police officers with road traffic enforcement as their main focus is 351.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
What kind of fucked-up society sends the message that it's worse to drive slightly too fast than it is to burgle a house?

Possibly because driving too fast is more likely to result in loss of life than a burglary is. Crimes against human life should be treated more seriously than crimes against property. Not that I think burglars should go unpunished.

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Crowd: We're all individuals!
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Gamaliel
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Bollocks, aumbry.

Most police I've spoken too aren't particularly politically correct ... but they aren't nasty, vicious right-wing nutcases either.

They do feel hampered by what they see as overly lenient sentencing etc. They make no bones about that.

What went wrong with the policing of the recent riots was that they were, in the initial stages at least, using tactics developed for policing marches or static protests which would be largely peaceful apart from lunatic fringe violence around the edges.

In those instances, 'kettling' the marches and taking CCTV footage of offenders causing damage was the received policing wisdom. Prior to that they used to use cavalry charges, baton wielding snatch-squads and tactics such as driving vehicles at speed into packed crowds. I know people who saw these at first hand during the student protests of the Thatcher era and they weren't pretty.

So, in the face of public distaste at such tactics - and several people being crushed, injured or killed by police vehicles - they developed a more stand-back approach ... which we saw at the G20 protests and the more recent student protests.

They attempted to use these tactics again when the riots kicked off in London but soon found that they were ineffective against mass looting and arson.

So they changed tack and, as has been said several times, by the Tuesday night they had effectively got on top of things.

There is no need to employ American so-called experts, US police tactics nor call upon the army or anything else. The answer to the policing side of things is to resource them properly, listen to them when they raise legitimate concerns and allow them to get on with their jobs ... with the proper caveats and checks and balances in place.

The judiciary and sentencing issue is another question entirely. I can understand why police officers feel undermined by all that ... in the past I've come across coppers who have deployed considerable skill and initiative to nail particular villains only to see them get off on a technicality or with a minor sentence.

It does need a proper debate and there are complex consideration all round. But knee-jerk reactions are wide of the mark, whether they be:

- Let's bring in US experts, they've got such a wonderful track record over there with gangs and gun crime ...

- If we had a religious revival then all our problems would immediately go away.

- It's all the fault of the bankers. Let's fine them.

- It's all the fault of the last Labour administration.

- It's all the fault of the present Coalition Government.

- It's all Thatcher's fault.

Actually ... thinking about it on the last point ... [Big Grin] [Razz]

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Beeswax Altar
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Bill Bratton and Rudy Giulianni did have success reducing the crime rate in New York. I read an article about recent movies made in the UK about violent crime and the plots reminded me of the American movies being made in the 70's and 80's. It wouldn't hurt listening to what Bratton has to say. The way the police handled the riots was a failure. I'm surprised people aren't calling for the head of Theresa May.

The gun issue is just a pond difference. Most Brits look at the riots and are thankful more guns weren't involved. Many Americans look at the riots and are thankful that American shop owners don't have to rely solely on the police force to protect their property from mob violence. Shouldn't this be enough evidence to convince us that talking about guns for the zillionth time is pointless?

I've seen long lists of potential root causes for those riots. Why choose one? All of them played a role in causing the riots. UK society is sick. US society is sick. Continental European society is sick. A real religious revival would help a lot. So would a bunch of other things. Enacting the talking points of major political parties (spend more money, spend less money, raise taxes, cut taxes...) won't help so much.

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Ramarius
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Yo Gamaliel. You've obviously been following this debate closely and found a lot of stuff you don't agree with. What's been the most productive contribution you've seen so far, and what attracted you to it?
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Gamaliel
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Good question, Ramarius.

I'd find it easier to identify the least helpful posts, to be honest, ie. anything that includes the rabble-rousing ravings of right-wing pundits (especially if they come from Republican circles across the Pond).

That said, I think some of the comments Beeswax Altar has just made about New York ring true -and I've been to New York and found it a lot less scarey than my brother did when he went there 30 years ago. So yes, there are lessons we can learn from the US experience, certainly.

I s'pose the most helpful impressions I've gleaned from this thread comes from an aggregate of various contributions - and by no means exclusively those from political ideologies I share or feel closest to. Politically, I'm similar to Ken in viewpoint but I haven't found his contributions here to be too helpful.

(Sorry Ken [Biased] )

Perhaps if he hadn't provided links to blogs that irritated me as much (in a different way) to the National Review then it would have been different.

Mudfrog's contributions struck me as earnest and heart-felt but I'm less convinced than he is that religious revival in and of itself, is the answer - unless it's supplemented by other influences and processes.

I concur with Beeswax on that one. It'd be nice to see ... but then there are other things that would also help.

I'm not sure I'm answering your question ... which probably suggests that there ain't one catch-all answer just as there ain't one catch-all reason for the disturbances nor one catch-all solution.

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Gamaliel
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Just a point to clarify from Beeswax's post:

He wrote:

'The way the police handled the riots was a failure. I'm surprised people aren't calling for the head of Theresa May.'

I can understand your puzzlement here, but operationally over here, the Police are independent of Government interference, for want of a better term, when it comes to how they tackle particular incidents.

The Police, rightly in my view, have got uppity when politicians have claimed that it was they who sorted everything out - as if coming back from holiday a day or two early brought the disturbances to a close.

Yes, the police did bodge it. They'd say that themselves. But as I've kept saying, once they'd adjusted their tactics they quickly brought things under control. Ok, it's easy for the rest of us to point the finger and I'd agree they botched it up big time on Monday night, but the following day they got their act together - again big time.

As for shopkeepers not simply having to rely on the police to protect them from mob violence - well, mob violence is pretty rare here in the UK. The reason it's played on news bulletins across the world is precisely for that reason. If we had mob violence more regularly it would no longer be news.

I don't want to bring this back to an argument about guns for the zillionth time - far from it. But if you lived in a UK city for any length of time you'd realise why we have such an aversion to the idea of people owning firearms and using them to defend their properties etc etc. It just wouldn't work over here. It doesn't work where you are so why should it work over here with us?

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Most Brits look at the riots and are thankful more guns weren't involved. Many Americans look at the riots and are thankful that American shop owners don't have to rely solely on the police force to protect their property from mob violence.

Comparing the areas that rioted in London with Baltimore as seen in The Wire, my impression is that the equivalent American shop owners wouldn't even operate in the equivalent areas in US cities.

I speak subject to correction from people with more knowledge than I have.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Perhaps if he hadn't provided links to blogs that irritated me as much (in a different way) to the National Review then it would have been different.

Ken did apologise for the "Dave Spart" nature of the rhetoric. (I find that Dave Spart is a parody Marxist from Private Eye.) I couldn't get anywhere with that particular blog either.

I think here is Andrew Brown from the Guardian making a similar kind of point, but without the animosity and with a rather more pessimistic or resigned view of human possibility.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Beeswax Altar
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Brown at least gets the point I've been trying to make for years. I'm sorry he's not happy with it. But, he knows and knowing is half the battle.

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Leaf
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I think this is about the death of Big Ideas. Not that that's entirely a bad thing; Big Ideas have a tendency, in practice, to crush small people under their weight. There are costs and benefits to the loss of Big Ideas, and with rioting we see one of the costs.

There is no Big Idea anymore of what it means to be a citizen. Cameron and his ilk can hardly even remember the lip service they are supposed to give to a Big Idea like citizenship, because they don't believe it themselves. They cannot parrot lines about public service because the idea has become so alien to them. Even if they can find the vocabulary, their actions speak a thousand times more loudly than their rhetoric. Do the rioting yoofs see themselves as citizens with something to lose by inflicting damage on the property of other citizens? Will they receive the disapproval of their peers? Not bloody likely. Other than the faithful remnant with brooms, no one gives a fuck about citizenship. It's a Big Idea whose time seems to have passed.

Same with personal morality. The Big Idea of "family" consisting of two married heterosexuals with their legitimate offspring is truly dead and gone. There are benefits: the pregnant fifteen-year-old is no longer packed off to the horrors of the Magdalene Laundries, gay men no longer consigned to the fate of Alan Turing, etc. But one cost of the demise of this Idea is that there are a lot more emotionally- and financially-stressed single parents, usually women.

Even The Economist, years ago, prescribed what seems a reasonable solution: jobs for young men. But no one wants to provide them. That would require implementation of a Big Idea, and no one wants to pick up that responsiblity. Businesses do not want to take on young men like these. "Citizenship" has degraded to the point where all it means is the right to pick up a cheque.

These young men have only been sold Small Ideas of materialism and celebrity. Why should they get a job? So they can, um, get nicer stuff. Lacking any sort of Big Idea, the only answer we can give resorts to materialism. And, oh look, they can get nicer stuff by just taking it. Why should they not? No one can give them a convincing answer without appealing to a Big Idea that no one, least of all the leadership, actually believes in.

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Beeswax Altar
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Jobs for young men?

Neoliberal economic policies caused many traditional blue collar jobs to go elsewhere. Happened in both the United States and UK. I can't speak for the UK but it would be nice if the US stopped shooting itself in the foot. However, I don't think this is about a lack of jobs.

If there are no jobs, what are all the immigrants coming to do? Some of them have education and training for which there is a shortage in the UK. But, the UK has free education. Why was there no effort to fill those jobs from the unemployed people already in the UK?

A job consists of showing up at a place of employment and doing what the people paying your salary hired you to do. Lot of people aren't willing to do that. The UK already provides decent benefits for doing absolutely nothing. Who is going to work hard at a job they don't like for just a little bit more? Fun, easy, well paying jobs that require no skills and little education aren't easy to come by even in a great economy.

Thatcher and the other neoliberals get some of the blame. The welfare state deserves a share of the blame as well. I'm sorry if that is hard to accept.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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Leaf
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Thatcher and the other neoliberals get some of the blame. The welfare state deserves a share of the blame as well. I'm sorry if that is hard to accept.

To whom is this fauxpology offered? Not me, I hope, since I (kind of, sort of, in a qualified way) agree with you. Perhaps the welfare state worked better when there were still some broader social supports for the idea that citizens work, and some reasonable opportunities for work paying a living wage.

There are costs and benefits with the welfare state - the cost being that, absent "citizens work", you get this morass - but the benefit being that you don't have people starving to death in the streets.

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Pasco
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Pasco,

I don't know about the rest of the country but the Gwent Police take robberies very seriously. It's fair to say that burglaries and theft from houses and vehicles are another matter as they don't involve violence (or the threat of it). The police issue a reference for insurance, log the identifiable items and troll round the car boot sales, second-hand shops and Ebay to track down the stolen goods, with a fair degree of success. It's routine, boring investigative work done without sirens blaring, but people get pulled in, second-hand shops close and just occasionally goods are returned.

Besides, have you ever been hit by a car or been in a car hit by another car, even gently? If there are laws worth enforcing they are those which regulate the movement of objects at speed.

I am sure police do a good job where they are supported by local agencies i.e. the judiciary etc that was my point (line 6 and 7 of my post and a line further down) and when they are well staffed. Despite police efforts at bringing young offenders to the magistrates their hard work locally was often in vain. It was common knowledge here at the time that the local force was depleted, overstretched, overworked and for this reason the locals extended their sympathy.

Our situation we felt did not require a prosecution, despite damage to property recurring for a third or fourth time. It was a formality i.e. to let the police know that things were happening in and around the said church, whose members felt sorry for the immediate neighbours having to deal with situations during the week. During the course of our interactions, the neighbour and I were once told by the policeman, who on this occasion was on his own, that he'd had enough with his job and was due to leave the force the following day, blaming mostly apathy on the part of the local courts, along with too few police on the beat and too many issues to deal with satisfactorily. All said and done, few months later the church unexpectedly got burnt down by the same group of juvenile culprits (whose whereabouts the neighbour knew, but was not followed up before the fire, or satisfactorily afterwards). A separate group of older youth had previously set fire to an OAP flat and a half-finished building across on the opposite site. Subsequently, no one had been made accountable for their deeds.

With police operating on low numbers, quite rightly, if there is an accident etc, priority is switched to the where the greater need is. As for your region fortunate to have robberies dealt with efficiently, you will have yourself to blame for letting this information out in case there are Britons wishing to settle in your region in numbers. [Razz]

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Gamaliel
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To an extent, Beeswax ... but the Welfare State was always intended to provide a safety net rather than a hammock ...

There are anomalies with the system. No-one's saying there isn't. But what's happened with the economy over here - and probably in the US too - is that we're seeing what has been described as an hour-glass effect - jobs at the top end in the managerial/knowledge economy ... and jobs at the 'lower' end in terms of catering, retail and so on.

Diddly-squat in the middle - ie. manufacturing, technical jobs, apprenticeships etc.

The economy isn't the full story, but it is a factor ... like gang culture, like growing youth disaffection, like a lot load of other things ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Beeswax Altar
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Indeed, both countries have bee sold a bill of goods about being a service economy. That said, how many immigrants work at the NHS? What about the plumbers from Poland? I don't know about the UK but in the United States jobs in the trades and health care industry still pay a good salary.

The more benefits the government provide to the perpetually unemployed the harder it will be for them to ever gain employment. Paying more won't be good enough. Right now, the perpetually unemployed aren't doing anything and some still feel the government should provide them luxury items in addition to the essentials. How much will the jobs have to pay before the perpetually unemployed are willing to do work instead of staying unemployed and collecting the benefits?

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
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tclune
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
The more benefits the government provide to the perpetually unemployed the harder it will be for them to ever gain employment. Paying more won't be good enough. Right now, the perpetually unemployed aren't doing anything and some still feel the government should provide them luxury items in addition to the essentials. How much will the jobs have to pay before the perpetually unemployed are willing to do work instead of staying unemployed and collecting the benefits?

BA, this is BS. In the US, we still have something like four times as many people "looking" for work as there are jobs available (and a huge number above that who have stopped looking because there's just nothing out there, and another huge number of "underemployed" who are working at less than full employment because that is all that they could find -- and so count as "employed" in our labor statistics.)

This crap about the government "creating" unemployment by lavishing poverty-level unemployment checks on people is one of the most vicious attacks that conservatives make on their fellow citizens. You should be ashamed of yourself. Our problem is not the attitude of the chronically unemployed -- it is the lack of available work, period.

Perhaps you have never been unemployed. I have, during the last major recession. It is a shattering experience that seriously undermines your self-confidence. And other people tend to avoid you as though you had a communicable disease. I know with certainty that some employers see people who are unemployed as damaged goods. Let's start acknowledging that the problems that we face are not caused by the attitude of this downturn's victims. You're better than that.

--Tom Clune

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Beeswax Altar
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I've met too many of the perpetually unemployed to believe their attitude doesn't have anything to do with it. I hear it. My wife hears it. My mother's life is a living hell working as a welfare case worker. Yes, the great recession hurt lots of hard working people. The policies of US and UK governments for decades have hurt people. The underemployed can complain. People working two jobs can complain. A worker who loses his or her job due to outsourcing or corporate greed/incompetence can complain. A person who has never held a steady job or made any effort to acquire the skills to get a job have no business complaining.

Being unemployed in a recession is different from being unemployed most of your life. Both my wife and I had to find positions over the last few years. My mother in law has been unemployed for most of the last 4 years. She lost those jobs through no fault of her own. Once she decided to accept a job outside her field, she got one immediately. Over the last four years, my wife repeatedly asked her why she wasn't going back to school when the government was subsidizing that. She didn't want to switch fields. She is now in a new field working for a lot less money than she would have if she'd gone back to school.

Proponents of liberalized immigration policies have told us for years that immigrants weren't taking jobs from the unemployed because they were doing jobs that Americans wouldn't do. How can both be true? How can there be no jobs for American citizens but jobs for millions of legal and illegal immigrants? That doesn't make the least bit of sense. Besides, the UK offers better benefits. Like I said, I'm sorry it is hard for some of you to accept the role the welfare state is playing in all of this. The rioters didn't still food or any other essential item. Why bother? Government was already providing all of that.

Conservatives want people to pull themselves up by their boot straps. However, conservatives haven't gotten their way. Assistance to people wanting to make their life better has been available for years. Perhaps, the government could do more. Asking a person to pull themselves up by their boot straps may not be fair but asking the rest of society to carry dead weight isn't either.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
I never get the impression that the police are not attending to serious crime because they are policing the roads: as far as I can make out they do neither. Most time seems to be spent doing office work.

Maybe where you live. I see large numbers of police out on the streets every day both where I live and where I work - though more in the area I live in. Also at the railway stations I use to travel to and from work.

In fact one of the weird things about the Monday of the worst looting was that there were NO police around in the main road I live near. They usually pass by in cars every few minutes and there are often police on foot or bicycle. I went for a walk round the block at about 2am to see how things were going on - nothing much was happening but I got the feeling that maybe for the first time in my life in England if I had dialled 999 no-one would have come.

quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

I think here is Andrew Brown from the Guardian making a similar kind of point...

Not just from the Groejnoiaed but a Shipmate IIRC.

quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Most Brits look at the riots and are thankful more guns weren't involved. Many Americans look at the riots and are thankful that American shop owners don't have to rely solely on the police force to protect their property from mob violence.

Neither do British shop owners. On the whole, with many exceptions, those people who stayed with their shops and kept the lights on didn't get looted. In many streets, including the one I was in, people got together to keep an eye on what was going on and deter looters. Probably one reason (of many) why branches of big chain stores were hit worse than independent shops - pretty obviously if you are workign on a checkoput for mninumum wage and the police advise you to leave because there might be trouble you just walk out the door. If it is your own business you have an interest in staying to protect it (especially if you live upstairs or next door as so many small shopkeepers do) And also, as I said before with hindsight the police advice to clear the streets was wrong - though they had no way of knowing that at the time so you can hardly blame them.


quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
The UK already provides decent benefits for doing absolutely nothing.

Though the value of those benefits has been falling for decades - since at least the mid-1970s (under a Labour goverment unless anyone thinks I am making a party point here). They are also harder to get than ever before. My daughter has been unable to sign on the dole in circumstances where I did in fact get benefits when I was her age. You need evidence for this knee-jerk conservative posturing.

quote:

Thatcher and the other neoliberals get some of the blame. The welfare state deserves a share of the blame as well. I'm sorry if that is hard to accept.

If that was true then unemplyoment would rise when benefits do, or after a short lag. But over the last forty years or so its been the other way round - increases in unemplyment have tended to follow decreases in benefits.

Also the people that unemploy hits hardest are young adults who have never worked (If you are aged between 25 and 50 your chances of having a job have hardly fallen at all in the last three years) And that's *also* the group that the squeeze on the welfare system has hit hardest - though the current war on sick benefits might change that. The people the welfare system helps most are children, single parents, the elderly, and the long-term sick, roughly in that order. But the people who can't get jobs tend to be young, single, adults without kids.

quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
A person who has never held a steady job or made any effort to acquire the skills to get a job have no business complaining.

So my daughter who is currently looking for a job has no rights to complain that she can't get one? So you aren't a real human being unless some boss pays you money? So the poor have no rights to talk back to the rich, they ought to just grovel and before them? How dare you talk like that [Mad]

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by tclune:


This crap about the government "creating" unemployment by lavishing poverty-level unemployment checks on people is one of the most vicious attacks that conservatives make on their fellow citizens. You should be ashamed of yourself. Our problem is not the attitude of the chronically unemployed -- it is the lack of available work, period.

Perhaps you have never been unemployed. I have, during the last major recession. It is a shattering experience that seriously undermines your self-confidence. And other people tend to avoid you as though you had a communicable disease. I know with certainty that some employers see people who are unemployed as damaged goods

Well, if you were a worthy employee, your employer would have kept you, innit. [Disappointed]
Correct me if I am wrong; in the US, doesn't one collect the unemployment one has already paid? how is that sponging then?

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Posts: 17627 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
tclune
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Correct me if I am wrong; in the US, doesn't one collect the unemployment one has already paid?

No, unemployment insurance is assessed to employers. They pay in on a regular basis, but when they have layoffs, their rate goes up to cover the increased amount that the system has to pay out. The cost of unemployment insurance -- and the benefits provided -- vary from state to state. One of the ways that states engage in a "race to the bottom" is to provide as low unemployment benefits as they can, lessening the burden on employers and making them more "attractive" than other states for potential business relocation. FWIW

--Tom Clune

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Posts: 8013 | From: Western MA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by Ken:
Though the value of those benefits has been falling for decades - since at least the mid-1970s (under a Labour goverment unless anyone thinks I am making a party point here). They are also harder to get than ever before. My daughter has been unable to sign on the dole in circumstances where I did in fact get benefits when I was her age. You need evidence for this knee-jerk conservative posturing.


The UK does offer decent benefits for doing absolutely nothing. You just think the benefits should be better and apparently offered to more people. Again, those rioters didn't raid the grocery store.

quote:
originally posted by ken:
The people the welfare system helps most are children, single parents, the elderly, and the long-term sick, roughly in that order. But the people who can't get jobs tend to be young, single, adults without kids.


A system that encourages people who can't afford them to have children isn't a very good idea either.

quote:
originally posted by ken:
So my daughter who is currently looking for a job has no rights to complain that she can't get one? So you aren't a real human being unless some boss pays you money? So the poor have no rights to talk back to the rich, they ought to just grovel and before them? How dare you talk like that


I don't know anything about your daughter. Read the entire post. I sympathize with people who are trying to help themselves and still can't make it. I have little sympathy for those who feel not only entitled to benefits but expect even more for doing nothing.

Look I'm OK with people who say they don't want anybody telling them what to do. I'm fine with leaving people alone to live their life the way they want to live it. My wife has an uncle like that. He thinks all of his siblings are fools for holding down jobs. Only stupid people work for a living. He got by with that for most of his adult life. He and his wife have been mooching off his mother (my wife's grandmother) for the last couple of years.

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Posts: 8411 | From: By a large lake | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
aumbry
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:


quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
A person who has never held a steady job or made any effort to acquire the skills to get a job have no business complaining.

So my daughter who is currently looking for a job has no rights to complain that she can't get one? So you aren't a real human being unless some boss pays you money? So the poor have no rights to talk back to the rich, they ought to just grovel and before them? How dare you talk like that [Mad] [/QB]
That poor girl - I have considerable sympathy for your daughter if she has to put up with you. Presumably your wife must be a blessed martyr too.
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Gamaliel
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Aumbry ... you're treading on thin ice.

Beeswax Altar: Sure, there are people who abuse the system. I've had a few spells of unemployment in my time and can tell you first hand that it ain't much fun. Sure, there are those who know how to 'work the system' but I can cite instances of people the system has let down badly. I'm not including myself in that, of course.

I can also cite instances of people who are working the system and robbing it blind. And yes, action does need to be taken there.

On balance, I'd much rather the Welfare State than the alternatives, but I would agree that there are reforms and adjustments required in some areas. A dependency culture has developed in some parts of the UK but it would be wrong to be too broad-brush about that.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Isn't this a bit tangential?

I'm sure there is a discussion to be had concerning the welfare state, benefits, how they are administered etc. etc. But the substantial proportion of those arrested have turned out to be either in employment or students.

By far the worst places in the country for unemployment are places where there was no rioting at all.

Whatever the risks of welfare entitlement dependency might be, this negative correlation suggests you are barking up the wrong tree in making it a major factor in causing rioting.

[ 18. August 2011, 19:31: Message edited by: Honest Ron Bacardi ]

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Alwyn
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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
That poor girl - I have considerable sympathy for your daughter if she has to put up with you. Presumably your wife must be a blessed martyr too.

[Roll Eyes]

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Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
But the substantial proportion of those arrested have turned out to be either in employment or students.

I see no reason (given the stories of hundreds of arrests and police cells in London full) to think that it's a substantial number of those rioting. A substantial number of those *reported on* maybe.
Posts: 4035 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
But the substantial proportion of those arrested have turned out to be either in employment or students.

I see no reason (given the stories of hundreds of arrests and police cells in London full) to think that it's a substantial number of those rioting. A substantial number of those *reported on* maybe.
Perhaps. But it was certainly true for the first day's court hearings - the rest I will leave open in deference. But my point about correlation elsewhere still stands.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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alienfromzog

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I am so fed-up with this bollocks that people are unemployed because they choose to live on benefits because benefits are too generous.

Whilst it is always easy to find anecdotal evidence of people who play the system, of course it is, that is in fact, irrelevant.

I don't know what the current figures are but several months ago, when I looked it up there were around 2.5 million people actively seeking work and only 500,000 vacancies.

Quite apart from the whole issue of matching skills to vacancies, there were literally 2 million more people looking for work than there were jobs.

Now, if people really are unemployed because it's so much better than working, then logic would dictate that unemployment would still be 2.5 million even if there were enough jobs. Now we don't need to imagine and speculate on this point because we know that before the economic downturn there were less than 1 million unemployed people.

BTW,
Jobseeker's allowance is either £53.45 or £67.50/week (depending on age).

I am longing to hear how someone can have a lavish lifestyle on 70 quid a week. 70 pounds to buy food, clothing, transportation, heating, insurance...

AFZ

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An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:


quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
A person who has never held a steady job or made any effort to acquire the skills to get a job have no business complaining.

So my daughter who is currently looking for a job has no rights to complain that she can't get one? So you aren't a real human being unless some boss pays you money? So the poor have no rights to talk back to the rich, they ought to just grovel and before them? How dare you talk like that [Mad]

That poor girl - I have considerable sympathy for your daughter if she has to put up with you. Presumably your wife must be a blessed martyr too. [/QB]
Host Hat On

That is out of line, aumbry.

ken's post is a critical comment on Beeswax Altar's post and allowable. Your post is a personal attack on ken and crosses the line provided by Commandment 3. No more of that here.

Barnabas62
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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 21397 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged



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