Thread: Purgatory: London Riots - The Root Cause Board: Limbo / Ship of Fools.


To visit this thread, use this URL:
http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=11;t=000833

Posted by matthew_dixon (# 12278) on :
 
We're hearing a lot on the news at present of the terrible and shocking riots in London, and doubtless feelings have been running high of sheer outrage to the people who have been looting shops, setting fire to buildings and destroying livelihoods, homes and in some cases potentially even people's lives.

However, we do need to think that these are still people, and there must be a serious reason as to why they're doing this. I mean, after all, I personally don't feel the need to go and trash my local area. So, what are the underlying reasons behind this, and most importantly - how can we deal with them to stop this happening again?

Amongst the things I've heard as issues behind this are:

Inherent racism in the Met police
Potentially this was the first issue. There are many in the black community - and particularly the black community as opposed to the asian community - who feel that they are unfairly targeted by the police. Is this actually true? If so, what can be done? If not, what can be done to make it known that this is not the case?

Government cuts
They've flared up other issues, but are they partially responsible for this? Clearly the government has to make cuts - only look at the USA, Italy, Greece or Spain to show what happens without cuts! However, what can be done to cope with those who don't agree with the cuts.

Lack of opportunity
Potentially quite a hard one to deal with, but one that is quite definitely being blamed today. The people in question have no prospects at all in life and are wanting to take it out on someone.

Why is this largely coming from areas where there are large ethnic minority communities? That's another question - whilst it's far from exclusively one ethnic community, it does seem to be coming from those areas.

[ 02. December 2011, 09:20: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by matthew_dixon:

Government cuts
They've flared up other issues, but are they partially responsible for this? Clearly the government has to make cuts - only look at the USA, Italy, Greece or Spain to show what happens without cuts! However, what can be done to cope with those who don't agree with the cuts.

The question is, if cuts are necessary, what should be cut and who should suffer? These riots are taking place in some of the poorest boroughs of a rich capital city, and the majority of people involved perceive themselves (probably rightly) as suffering disproportionately from the cuts after never really sharing in the rest of their city's wealth. Social facilities and youth work have already been cut back. People see MPs fiddling expenses, failed bankers continuing to reap big bonuses, a Government (and London Mayor) seen as living in a different world, so not surprisingly when there is an opportunity of looting they think 'only doing the same as that lot, only not nicking as much'.

None of this is to condone the violence of course. But it happened before in the early years of the Thatcher government, so nobody should be surprised.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
Many of the government's cuts haven't actually been implemented yet, have they? It seems a bit rash to blame violence on cuts which haven't yet occurred.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
May I add another, briefly? I think it might even be the principal cause of the rioting (as opposed to the non-violent protesting): opportunistic thuggery and theft.
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
I have had the rolling BBC news on all evening, and two things have been said which stick in the mind. One is the degree of cuts to the council money in these areas by comparison with the more lush parts of the country. No riots reported from Dorset yet. Or Chipping Whatsitsname. It was said that Lewisham has had to cut 30% of front line services.

(Just watching the weather - no rain for a while, unfortunately.)

The second was Simon Hughes reporting that some of the looting was organised, and suggesting that police had the idea that some of the preceding action was deliberately organised to enable the looting, that the young people were being manipulated.

Penny
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
I don't buy into the idea that burning someone else's business, smashing up someone's car, stealing other people's property and destroying walls to thow concrete at policemen is someone else's fault.

Cuts and racism are serious issues and right to be debted somewhere like these forums. But too much of what's happening as I write is nothing more than opportunistic violence, wanton destruction, and looting.

OK - got that off my chest, calmer reflection now needed on the questions you've raised....
 
Posted by Joan_of_Quark (# 9887) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by matthew_dixon:
...there must be a serious reason as to why they're doing this. ...

(my emphasis)

A fallacy, I think. When you get a large mob of people together reason tends to be the first thing to go. So we really need to look into the motivations of the more conscious instigators.
 
Posted by matthew_dixon (# 12278) on :
 
I think the concern though is just HOW many people are involved in this. If it were just a small situation, I'd say it was mindless thugs, but are there really THAT many mindless thugs around?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Given the opportunity (and perhaps some deliberate incitement)? Most certainly, it would appear. Why? "Lack of moral fibre", I think it used to be called. I'm serious, by the way.
 
Posted by Sandemaniac (# 12829) on :
 
Somewhat tangentially, I wonder if it will affect the choice of anthem for the Olympics? Suddenly, an oldie is very, very relevant again...

AG
 
Posted by Daron (# 16507) on :
 
The glamorisation of criminality and organised crime in popular black culture combined with viral social media trends is the root cause.
 
Posted by Quizmaster (# 1435) on :
 
Bored youth with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

Anything is more exciting than that.
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by matthew_dixon:
I think the concern though is just HOW many people are involved in this. If it were just a small situation, I'd say it was mindless thugs, but are there really THAT many mindless thugs around?

Not that many in any particular group showing up on the views from helicopters. Some of them don't quite qualify as mindful - there was a man with a large video camera filming people looting an off-licence, even going into the shop, and no-one stopped, turned away, tried to stop him, or behaved as though he was a threat at all.

But the number that there were is certainly scarey. Even when they have stopped, I won't feel quite as safe crossing Sarf Lunn'on.

Penny
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
Many of the government's cuts haven't actually been implemented yet, have they? It seems a bit rash to blame violence on cuts which haven't yet occurred.

If we know about them, they might, too.

quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
I don't buy into the idea that burning someone else's business, smashing up someone's car, stealing other people's property and destroying walls to thow concrete at policemen is someone else's fault.

Cuts and racism are serious issues and right to be debted somewhere like these forums. But too much of what's happening as I write is nothing more than opportunistic violence, wanton destruction, and looting.

This logic would make the French Revolution all about the selfishness of the lower classes. The aristocracy had nothing to do with it; can't blame them at all.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
This logic would make the French Revolution all about the selfishness of the lower classes. The aristocracy had nothing to do with it; can't blame them at all.

Are you making a serious comparison here?
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
They aren't rioting at the gates of the gated apartments of the rich, are they? They are rioting at the shops of the middling and ruining the homes of the not very well off. Not the revolution yet.

Penny
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Why, yes. Yes, I am. Ramarius blithely dismisses any question of whether the violence in the streets is provoked by anything political going on: blame it entirely and only on the rioters, s/he says.

That's blind. If we applied that same thinking to the French Revolution, we'd entirely miss the Point. Why should it be applied here? It's an a priori justification of the political status quo, a washing-the-hands of any blame the power mongers might have for any of the rage of the people.

In a word, it's irresponsible and comes across as rather self-serving.

We need to look beyond "they're naughty boys" to find the causes of this. Naughty boys have existed for millenia. Rioting in the streets is fairly rare. Why now? Well, we can't look at the political situation and the way we're treating the poor, Ramarius is clearly saying. I'm saying, why not?
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
I do hope that the sentences when the cases come to court are proportionate by comparison with those for earlier protestors.

Penny
 
Posted by malik3000 (# 11437) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Daron:
The glamorisation of criminality and organised crime in popular black culture combined with viral social media trends is the root cause.

Those are certainly very real and very unfortunate trends in society today. But they most certainly are not the root cause.

<generality alert>The root cause remains being Black in a White world. Or more precisely, as a member of a socially dominated group, having to put up with the politico-socio-economic disrespect of the system doing the domination.</generality alert>

To understand this it helps to have been familiar with experiencing it, one might suppose.

The above statement is meant as an observation and does not mean it excuses the rioting.

[ 08. August 2011, 21:41: Message edited by: malik3000 ]
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by malik3000:
The root cause remains being Black in a White world. Or more precisely, as a member of a socially dominated group, having to put up with the politico-socio-economic disrespect of the system doing the domination.

Forgive me, but what on earth is this supposed to mean?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Because none of that justifies this thuggish criminality. Way to miss the point. These are just mindless hoodlums out for a ruck.
 
Posted by Pre-cambrian (# 2055) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by malik3000:
<generality alert>The root cause remains being Black in a White world. Or more precisely, as a member of a socially dominated group, having to put up with the politico-socio-economic disrespect of the system doing the domination.</generality alert>

The first sentence here wouldn't explain the significant number of white people in the films of looters, although the second sentence might.

But yes, my guess is that what Matt Black says goes for the majority of those involved.

[ 08. August 2011, 21:49: Message edited by: Pre-cambrian ]
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Why, yes. Yes, I am. [...] If we applied that same thinking to the French Revolution, we'd entirely miss the Point.

And what is the Point? That the rioting youth are starving, repressed and completely without access to political representation or personal development?
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
In a word, it's irresponsible and comes across as rather self-serving.

And the rioting isn't, right?
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Naughty boys have existed for millenia. Rioting in the streets is fairly rare.

Hardly! When opportunity arises, like at the recent student proetsts in London, people (especially stirred-up young people) do all sorts of stupid, violent things that have nothing to do with political injustice. This surely can't be news to you?
 
Posted by tomsk (# 15370) on :
 
This sort of stuff doesn't come out of the blue. There are problems with social fragmentation, family breakdown, poor academic performance, and unemployment. It bubbles over sometimes. The problems are endemic and need sorting out. I'm not sure how.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Well, destroying local businesses is really going to improve the local unemployment stats!
 
Posted by jrrt01 (# 11264) on :
 
It is my understanding that cuts have already affected the original scene of the riots. In particular, the youth services have been severely cut. At the same time, the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was cut.

So you have growing unemployment (apparently 50 applicants for every job), with less money, less motivation to stay in education, and less to do if they aren't in education and don't have a job.

That's part of the context, without even looking at race. It doesn't excuse the rioting and looting. But it does make it far more likely.

(I seem to remember a Joseph Rowntree report from years ago that showed that the most cost-effective form of crime prevention was investment in youth clubs)
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by matthew_dixon:
I think the concern though is just HOW many people are involved in this. If it were just a small situation, I'd say it was mindless thugs, but are there really THAT many mindless thugs around?

There are seven million people in London. Probably around half a million teenagers. It doesn't need a huge proportion.
 
Posted by rugbyplayingpriest (# 9809) on :
 
My guess would be well organised anarchists manipulating impressionable and angry young people via social media
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by tomsk:
This sort of stuff doesn't come out of the blue. There are problems with social fragmentation, family breakdown, poor academic performance, and unemployment. It bubbles over sometimes. The problems are endemic and need sorting out. I'm not sure how.

Absolutely. But in order to avail themselves even of fairly equal opportunities (and they haven't often in history been more equal than now) young people need to have the kind of minimal strength of character that usually only comes with a tolerably stable and supportive background, a background of social cohesion and, well, discipline and decency.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Daron:
The glamorisation of criminality and organised crime in popular black culture combined with viral social media trends is the root cause.

Except that loads of them aren't black.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
There's a section of British society that really, really hates the police. Look at the way Raoul Moat was lionised.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
young people need to have the kind of minimal strength of character that usually only comes with a tolerably stable and supportive background, a background of social cohesion and, well, discipline and decency.

All of which have been undermined by current (and previous) Government policies. Not that they are the only factor of course.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
young people need to have the kind of minimal strength of character that usually only comes with a tolerably stable and supportive background, a background of social cohesion and, well, discipline and decency.

All of which have been undermined by current (and previous) Government policies. Not that they are the only factor of course.
The current ones, though, have scarcely had a chance to have any such effect yet though! Previous ones, quite possibly.

I still think the main issue is the deterioration of family life, and I don't think that one can be laid at the door of govenment neglect of the poorest off - more likely in fact to be (in part) the result of well-meaning but misguided social "engineering" policies.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
These are just mindless hoodlums out for a ruck.

I'm inclined to think they are entirely minded - but just minds filled with different suppositions about law, rights, property, entitlement and self-definition than middle-class you or I. Behaviour is adaptive and rarely 'senseless' to those carrying it out. That 'sense' may be appalling to us, as burning people alive for their opinions now seems - but in the time and place (most) people agreed it was the thing to do.

Or you could say there was no 'sense' in The Troubles, but there were and are reasons nevertheless.
 
Posted by jrrt01 (# 11264) on :
 
quote:
The current ones, though, have scarcely had a chance to have any such effect yet though! Previous ones, quite possibly.
Within the past year and a bit the youth will have seen the youth services cut and their EMA cut (both immediately affecting them). This will have been in a context where they will be aware that bankers are still getting bonuses, where politicians have fiddled their expenses and where the press lie and cheat their way to stories. Other council services are being cut, and they are being told 'we're all in it together'.

If those with little perceive those at the top to be lying and cheating, it shouldn't be too surprising if some help themselves from JD Sports etc. Wrong, but not surprising.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
The root cause? Autonomy.
 
Posted by Socratic-enigma (# 12074) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rugbyplayingpriest:
My guess would be well organised anarchists manipulating impressionable and angry young people via social media

An observation which would appear to have some support.

S-E
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
These are just mindless hoodlums out for a ruck.

I'm inclined to think they are entirely minded - but just minds filled with different suppositions about law, rights, property, entitlement and self-definition than middle-class you or I. Behaviour is adaptive and rarely 'senseless' to those carrying it out. That 'sense' may be appalling to us, as burning people alive for their opinions now seems - but in the time and place (most) people agreed it was the thing to do.

Or you could say there was no 'sense' in The Troubles, but there were and are reasons nevertheless.

Thank you, Firenze, you have expressed far more elegantly than I could what I was vaguely thinking!
 
Posted by jrrt01 (# 11264) on :
 
On the context for the riots, you can catch this prophetic video, filmed in London after the closure of the youth clubs but before the riots. It is the voice of a number of London young people. One predicts that 'there'll be riots...'

It is from a Guardian web page.
 
Posted by Jigsaw (# 11433) on :
 
It'll be interesting to see whether this spreads outside London to other socially deprived areas where the cuts are already beginning to bite. I believe there was some unrest in Birmingham earlier tonight.
However, the idea that the cuts in public spending is/are a key factor in the violent disorder doesn't sit well with me. I can't believe that the looters and the arsonists are excusing their criminal behaviour by saying "it's because they've closed our local public library.."
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Well, destroying local businesses is really going to improve the local unemployment stats!

Not to mention the loss of shops where people can buy bread and milk locally.

I notice that the rioters are not the family members who do the grocery shopping.

Moo
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I don't think it makes much sense to say that the rioters are sufficiently politically aware to have major grievances against Government policy, but that they're not aware enough to choose targets that have any influence on the Government.

I say it's about the police. These riots started after a protest against police actions. Some people really hate the police. My guess is that the rioters are committing crimes because crimes are an act of defiance against the police. The specific targets don't matter.

[ 08. August 2011, 22:58: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
Gangs of teens and older people are targeting department stores and other shops with desirable goods.

This isn't political protest!

This is selfish greed, and a failure of parenting.
 
Posted by jrrt01 (# 11264) on :
 
quote:
Gangs of teens and older people are targeting department stores and other shops with desirable goods.

This isn't political protest!

This is selfish greed, and a failure of parenting.

It may not be political protest, but that doesn't mean that politics hasn't contributed to it happening. It may be selfish greed, and a failure of parenting, but that doesn't explain why it's happening now, and why it started where it did.

There are selfish greedy people everywhere (see recent banking crisis) who can cause immense damage when out of control (see recent banking crisis). But what are the conditions that lead to riots? And in particular to these riots?

Saying that people are selfish and greedy explains one aspect of the riots. But only one aspect. And not necessarily the most important one for trying to prevent future riots.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
Gangs of teens and older people are targeting department stores and other shops with desirable goods.

This isn't political protest!

This is selfish greed, and a failure of parenting.

It goes back at least one generation then. Some of the looters in the Saturday riots in Tottenham were well out of their youth. If their parents are still alive they must be well into pensionable ag.

You can't blame The Yoof for everything. Who else is going to kill people in the national interest for a start?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Its not a riot. Its mass burglary.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Totally sporadic. Birmingham and Liverpool too now. I'm afraid to say that social media sites certainly seem to be being used to spread this.

How long before all sorts of horrible assaults and fatalities? People's businesses and local shops and homes are already amongst the premises attacked - neither the police nor other political targets seem to be high on the rioters' agenda.

If this is "really" about a burning sense of social injustice, it's being remarkably well concealed so far. It seems to be more about looting and burning buildings.

Jesu mercy.
 
Posted by kankucho (# 14318) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I do hope that the sentences when the cases come to court are proportionate by comparison with those for earlier protestors.

Penny

How much earlier are you thinking? I've heard Australia is a much cushier number these days than when all that Tolpuddle riff-raff were sent there.
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jrrt01:
It may not be political protest, but that doesn't mean that politics hasn't contributed to it happening. It may be selfish greed, and a failure of parenting, but that doesn't explain why it's happening now, and why it started where it did.

There are selfish greedy people everywhere (see recent banking crisis) who can cause immense damage when out of control (see recent banking crisis). But what are the conditions that lead to riots? And in particular to these riots?

Saying that people are selfish and greedy explains one aspect of the riots. But only one aspect. And not necessarily the most important one for trying to prevent future riots.

They are opportunists. It's holiday time, more time to organise + warmer nights.
The only political aspect is that they don't feel they have much to lose if they get caught seeing as there are few good jobs around at the moment. But many others could say that & they aren't looting, it's probably more peer-group pressure, the "shame" of going home to mummy & daddy.
Now that people's neighbourhoods have been smashed they will see it is in their interest to take their children's behaviour more seriously, you can't expect "the government" to do it all for people!.

Prevention?
1) Society at large, parents especially must be a bigger / better "gang" than they are in.
2) Deterance - people that choose better behaviour will be chosen by future employers.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
Now that people's neighbourhoods have been smashed they will see it is in their interest to take their children's behaviour more seriously, you can't expect "the government" to do it all for people!.

It's quite likely that many of the rioters do not live in the neighborhoods they are trashing.

Moo
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
...If this is "really" about a burning sense of social injustice, it's being remarkably well concealed so far. It seems to be more about looting and burning buildings.

"Well, I seen the fires burnin'
And the local people turnin'
On the merchants and the shops
Who used to sell their brooms and mops
And every other household item
Watched the mob just turn and bite 'em
And they say it served 'em right
Because a few of them are white...

You know we got to sit around at home
And watch this thing begin
But I bet there won't be many live
To see it really end
'Cause the fire in the street
Ain't like the fire in the heart
And in the eyes of all these people
Don't you know that this could start
On any street in any town
In any state if any clown
Decides that now's the time to fight
For some ideal he thinks is right..."

Trouble Every Day
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Not to mention the loss of shops where people can buy bread and milk locally.

Mostly they seem to have gone for sports clothing, jewelry, TVs and computers.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It's holiday time, more time to organise + warmer nights.

FWIW tonight is the coolest night in London for about weeks.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Mostly they seem to have gone for sports clothing, jewelry, TVs and computers.

Yeah? So what? Is this supposed to be evidence that their rioting morals aren't quite up to snuff?

"Excuse me, Mr. Rioter! That Play Station you're looting will make the mob look a bit less than moral! It may jeopardize the mission, sir! There's a good egg! Put it back! Now let's sweep up that glass like a good citizen."
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
The view of a local victim.
(contains some strong language).
 
Posted by Apocalypso (# 15405) on :
 
Sorry, this Murkan couldn't decipher her accent. Can someone explain what she said?
 
Posted by Wesley J (# 6075) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Apocalypso:
Sorry, this Murkan couldn't decipher her accent. Can someone explain what she said?

Extract:
quote:
This is about the f***ing man who got shot in Tottenham. This is not about having fun on a riot and busting up the place. Get it real, black people, get real. We fight for a cause, we're fighting for a cause, let's fight for a f***ing cause.

 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.
 
Posted by Timothy the Obscure (# 292) on :
 
Large numbers of unemployed, disenfranchised young people (especially young men) is a recipe for chaos. The rioters themselves may not have any political analysis of their actions, but that doesn't mean there's no political significance.
 
Posted by bib (# 13074) on :
 
In times past it would not have been as easy to summon up the mobs, but social media has now made it so simple as has been shown in other places which have experienced unprecedented riots. Even simple teenage parties are taken over once the message gets out. I would suggest bringing in the army and sending the ring leaders of the riots to compulsory national service, but the civil libertarians wouldn't like this.
 
Posted by comet (# 10353) on :
 
what Timothy says.

I know these kids. (well, not these ones, obviously, I live a bit too far away. I know kids like them. of all ages, by the way.) Yes, they're shitting in their own back yard and that's stupid. yes, it's not going to fix what's wrong. But they're not necessarily ransacking the shops out of some sense of getting a message across.

It's about being angry. generally. the reality is, folks who are in a good place in their lives don't do stuff like this. something's wrong. societally, culturally, politically, something. And the rioters have anger in there somewhere. Enough pent up anger and frustration that given an excuse to act out they'll take it. even if they're acting in a way that is ultimately self-destructive. If they feel there's no hope in their future anyway, then why bother doing the good thing? they'll just get fucked in the end anyway.

And if there's no way they'll ever legitimately own that playstation, because they'll never get ahead enough for luxuries like that, well then they're just going to take it. because it's the only chance. and to the minds of those in the throes of rioting, they're taking from "The Man"; not from Mrs. Smith who's just trying to make ends meet by running a little electronics shop.

We all want stuff. but if we feel we have a reasonable chance of ever getting it, we work for that. if we feel we'll never get that chance, for whatever reason, it builds up resentment.

Sure, we (general, computer-owning, warm-home-living, literate and semi-functional "we") can see ways that people can get ahead. over here it's all talk of the american dream and pulling yourself up by our own jockstraps (kidding!) and how anybody can one day be president. But there are people raised in fucked up families or no families or families who themselves have given up hope. and they go out to school and are given "the eye" because people heard about them, or their uncle the drug dealer, or the folks from "that" neighborhood. and doors close. and teachers give up on them. and employers turn them away. and it starts to feel a hell of a lot like you're assumed to be a thug. so you might as well be.

I'm just saying this in response to the "it's just a bunch of thugs" concept. because, yes, that's right. But thugs are caused by something.
 
Posted by tomsk (# 15370) on :
 
Theresa May appealed to parents to get their children to go home. Home life for many simply won't function that way. Gang life may set the boundaries and give sense of belonging that isn't there at home. Community projects help fill some of the gap but I guess they've been cut back.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
I would suggest bringing in the army and sending the ring leaders of the riots to compulsory national service, but the civil libertarians wouldn't like this.

And once they're in the army they can be called out to quell outbreaks of rioting whose leaders.....ah.

Unless you're going to keep them enlisted until they're pensionable, they come back to Civvy St and it's the same one they left with the same prospects, the same people, the same policing.

Quite apart from the fact that the MoD doesn't want to spend its cut-back resources on being a boot camp for delinquents.
 
Posted by AberVicar (# 16451) on :
 
rpp had it just right.

Anarchists and profiteers using modern means of communication to stir up existing disaffection.

Yet much of the anger of 'respectable society' is being targeted at the disaffected, rather than the instigators of the violence and looting.

The fact is that a significant section of the UK population is completely disaffected and detached from those who seem to hold the purse strings and make the decisions that affect all of us. For several generations there has been a failure to engage effectively right across social and racial strata.

Re-engagement, which doesn't happen overnight, is the answer to removing the powderkeg. Then the really evil people can be isolated and dealt with.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.

This is exactly what our Home Secretary is saying this morning [Frown]
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.

Can you really not tell the difference between the revolution of starving masses in a country governed by an autocratic king and the looting in a lush welfare state?

I lived in Peckham (one of the trouble spots now) 2000-2002 and found an amazing degree of state tolerance for habitual anti-social behaviour even then. Many (most?) young people grew up in messy family situations and seemed to be lacking any ethical framework that I'd regard as normal. There was a widespread disrespect for the police even among ordinary, law-abiding middle class blacks to the point where they'd cover criminals. Bafflingly attacks on ambulances and fire brigades happened repeatedly.
The more money you poured into Peckham (shiny library, nice parks, social benefit payments) the less people valued these things (and some destroyed them) because they were well aware that they had not earned them but were recipients of state mercies and however great this support is it will never fulfill your desires. Habitual receiving does not generate gratitude but resentment generates anger generates riots
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
This is also true Sylvander - so what is your answer - cut all benefits and cut these people loose?
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jrrt01:
It is my understanding that cuts have already affected the original scene of the riots. In particular, the youth services have been severely cut. At the same time, the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was cut.

So you have growing unemployment (apparently 50 applicants for every job), with less money, less motivation to stay in education, and less to do if they aren't in education and don't have a job.

Re. the EMA - these are people who aren't likely to get through Year 7/8 let alone go into further education to benefit from the EMA.

Re. unemployment - it was noted just how young some of these people are - 13-15 some people say. They aren't likely to have a job anyway.

There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting. The root causes are simple:

1. The breakdown of the family.

2. The loss of God/religion in society.
 
Posted by Spike (# 36) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
I would suggest bringing in the army and sending the ring leaders of the riots to compulsory national service, but the civil libertarians wouldn't like this.

The army wouldn't like it either. They are a highly trained force and can do without the sort of wankers who are doing this.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:

There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting. The root causes are simple:

1. The breakdown of the family.

2. The loss of God/religion in society.

There have been large stretches of time where the working classes have not been particularly religious without these sorts of problems. The key is generally jobs - giving people more of a stake in society.

If you want to blame a lack of respect for the common good as a proximate cause, then that is a malaise that extends throughout society (see bankers essentially holding the state ransom, and MPs cheating on their expenses).

"We smashed the place up and Boris set fire to the toilets." -- David Cameron, June 1986
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wesley J:
Extract:
[QUOTE]This is about the f***ing man who got shot in Tottenham. This is not about having fun on a riot and busting up the place. Get it real, black people, get real. We fight for a cause, we're fighting for a cause, let's fight for a f***ing cause.

"And I took all this expensive hi-fi in memory of that dead geezer - what's his name again?".
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
I say if they're out rioting again tonight we should call in the Air Force and napalm the fuckers. Sure, it'll cause some damage to property, but no more than leaving them to it.

Yes, I get that they think their life sucks. Yes, I get that they don't have much hope for the future. But that does not in any way justify or excuse this kind of wanton destruction. The way some people on this thread are talking you'd think they wanted this to happen.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting

Really? What the teenagers 'constantly' before the courts, 'mainly' for theft from shops and the 390 cases of looting reported to the London police during the first eight weeks of the Blitz?
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting

Really? What the teenagers 'constantly' before the courts, 'mainly' for theft from shops and the 390 cases of looting reported to the London police during the first eight weeks of the Blitz?
Well done for exposing a classic case of "back in my day..."
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
My opinion is there are several different factors that may all have different roles in the producing this. To get a fire going you need: oxygen, tinder, spark and fuel.

Firstly the oxygen:
This is not government policy it is government rhetoric. It is not that cuts are biting it is that the talk of cuts is seen as creating a no win situation. This is leading to a mood of depression and disinheritance in the urban priority areas.

Secondly the tinder:
Summer holidays, dry weather and groups of teenage lads who have very little to do. The unemployment figures don't help as they fall disproportionally on this sector of society. Bored, hopeless and with energy not going anywhere. They feel themselves discriminated against. To some extent this is true, but the feelings are more important than the reality.

Thirdly the spark:
In this case it seems to be a police arrest, which sparked the outrage amongst a group of lads. That is the trigger.

Fourthly fuel:
Almost crucially for this there have to be other people ready to use the situation for their own advantage, whether looters or anarchists. These are not in it to release emotion they are in it for what they can get out of it. However without this wider pool the police would soon be able to contain the tinder youths.

Now something that is not the case. Social media has not quicken the speed at which the violence has spread to other cities. The speed is totally usual. A day after the Brixton riots, were the Toxteth riots and the day after that the Mosside riots. This all in the 1980s largely pre internet.I was living on the edge of Mosside at the time which is how I remember how quickly it spread. I am afraid the news media (papers and TV) are the principle method of spreading riots.

Jengie
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
I have just returned from a week away, and come back to this. Root causes? Its a warm Summer, the government is unpopular, which seems to produce social unrest. Because some people are areseholes, and they pick up justified causes of unhappiness to cause chaos.

We were in Slovenia for a week. The country has an interesting history. It was invaded by the mongols, overrun by the Romans, annexed by the Germans, occupied by the Hungaro-Austrian empire. Then their salvation should have come from the united Yugoslavia, joining with other Slavs in one country. But the Serbians and Croatians took power to keep arguing with each other, and keepign the Slovenias out.

They finally achieved independence with the loss of only 66 lives. They had thousands of years of oppression, abuse and disregard, and they achieved their aims with little suffering. I wish we had the same attitude.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
And it'll be interesting to see how CCTV and social media get used to round up the protaganists.

I do feel just a bit sorry for some of them: they genuinely think they're hard done by because too many people have told them so. My wife taught ten year-olds around Tottenham ten years ago. She remembers one of them saying "university ain't for the likes of us". Unwittingly true, but perhaps not in the sense he meant. It was an option realistically open to them, if they worked, but the sad probability was that most of them would have eschewed it. She wonders if many of them have been out in the riot.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
She remembers one of them saying "university ain't for the likes of us".

But who is it that's telling them that? I'll tell you one thing for certain - it ain't no University Admissions Tutor! With the amount of government-set targets for admissions from the lower socio-economic groups, overseen by the Office For Fair Access*, we'd love to see them achieving the grades needed for admission. And yes, we do have schemes and funds dedicated to helping them achieve those grades.

Is it the teachers who are telling them that? I don't know how things work in schools these days, but I'd be very surprised if it was.

Is it their priests/imams/rabbis? I shouldn't have thought so.

So whence comes this idea? Who is promoting it? Who is to blame?

*= Hm. Guess it ain't the government either.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
To be honest, I think the role of social networking has been overplayed. We had riots like this in the 80s when mobile pones were only just coming in and would have more use for throwing through windows than organising the mob.

I think there is a lot of pent-up anger against the government and the police at the moment. The police shooting of Mark Duggan and the protests which followed it just provided the spark which lit a very dry tinder-box.

Police handling of legitimate protest in London is heavy-handed, and successive governments have made it harder and harder to make any effective protest - look at the restrictions in Parliament Square, for example. Kettling is nothing short of illegal detention. It reminds me of the treatment of soccer crowds before Hillsborough. Pen them all up, and then see what happens - tragedy.

Young people (and a large number of older ones as well) are having a hard time getting a job, whether educated or not. All employers are offering is part-time or zero hours contracts. These give no financial security and often leave you worse off than on benefits, and worse still, dipping in and out of the benefits system, which is hell on earth. Meanwhile, bankers seem to be doing better than ever.

None of this is any excuse for arson and burglary, but it does explain some of it. To explain is not to excuse - these are criminals who must be caught and punished. However, lawlessness on this scale is caused by society being divided sharply into haves and have-nots, with the have-nots seeing no realistic prospect of changing their lives for the better by legitimate means.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.

Can you really not tell the difference between the revolution of starving masses in a country governed by an autocratic king and the looting in a lush welfare state?
Have you really not read anything anybody has said on this thread about the reasons behind the riots? And you still think there's no reason other than greed? Really? REALLY?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
I am afraid the news media (papers and TV) are the principle method of spreading riots.

I agree. I'm not sure how this can be addressed, but I really think the media makes it worse. Crises are good for ratings [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
I can't help thinking it's rather like 'mischief night' - word gets around that tonight / this week it's okay to fire and loot, because 'everyone's' doing it. So although there may be several reasons for the initial conflagration, the joining in of everyone else is down to a much more simple understanding of human nature. How else to explain normal hard-working students who went temporarily crazy during the recent Student riots? Later on they must pinch themselves and wonder 'How did I get caught up in that?'
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
She remembers one of them saying "university ain't for the likes of us".

But who is it that's telling them that? I'll tell you one thing for certain - it ain't no University Admissions Tutor! With the amount of government-set targets for admissions from the lower socio-economic groups, overseen by the Office For Fair Access*, we'd love to see them achieving the grades needed for admission. And yes, we do have schemes and funds dedicated to helping them achieve those grades.

Is it the teachers who are telling them that? I don't know how things work in schools these days, but I'd be very surprised if it was.

Of course not - the very opposite in fact. School teachers encourage the highest aspirations.

If a six year old says 'I'm going to be a vet/doctor/pilot/lawyer etc (and they do) I say a heartfelt "Go for it, you can do it". I teach in the most deprived ward in the country.

I have a strong feeling it may be their parents who give them the 'It's not for the likes of us' attitude.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
What Marvin said. At least arm the police with tear gas, baton rounds and watering cannon to use on these bastards
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
How else to explain normal hard-working students who went temporarily crazy during the recent Student riots? Later on they must pinch themselves and wonder 'How did I get caught up in that?'

quote:
The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there

 
Posted by daisymay (# 1480) on :
 
And quite a lot of us in London are feeling worried that the rioting will come right to our living areas - it's got more and more moving rioting.

What can we do to protect ourselves and our homes and some work in shops...? ...the fire workers haven't always been able to save places that have been burned... there are violent mainly young people around and the police are working, working, working, and being hurt loads of time. And so other nasty things might also happen...
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
.......... lawlessness on this scale is caused by society being divided sharply into haves and have-nots, with the have-nots seeing no realistic prospect of changing their lives for the better by legitimate means.

Added to this is an implication of blame - that the have-nots are somehow responsible for their poverty and lack of future. It may not be put this way explicitly but it comes across in the sub-text of much of the media and of government pronouncements.

I'm not surprised by the riots.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I have a strong feeling it may be their parents who give them the 'It's not for the likes of us' attitude.

Me too, Boogie. Me too.

Which, of course, means the root cause of the rioting is bad (or absent) parenting.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
What Marvin said. At least arm the police with tear gas, baton rounds and watering cannon to use on these bastards

There's probably no money left after the cuts to policing budgets.

Or, quite possibly, the police aren't bringing out the big guns yet because they're quietly making a point about the resources they need in these circumstances. The police are not big fans of the government at present, and they have their little ways of making that known. It's worth remembering that the Chief Constable/commissioner of the Met has operational control, and can't be ordered by the government to do anything. Boris has overall strategic control, but not operational.

By the way, it's interesting how phlegmatic the Londoners on these boards are compared to those from the provinces and elsewhere. Could it be that we've seen this coming?
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.

Can you really not tell the difference between the revolution of starving masses in a country governed by an autocratic king and the looting in a lush welfare state?

I lived in Peckham (one of the trouble spots now) 2000-2002 and found an amazing degree of state tolerance for habitual anti-social behaviour even then. Many (most?) young people grew up in messy family situations and seemed to be lacking any ethical framework that I'd regard as normal. There was a widespread disrespect for the police even among ordinary, law-abiding middle class blacks to the point where they'd cover criminals. Bafflingly attacks on ambulances and fire brigades happened repeatedly.
The more money you poured into Peckham (shiny library, nice parks, social benefit payments) the less people valued these things (and some destroyed them) because they were well aware that they had not earned them but were recipients of state mercies and however great this support is it will never fulfill your desires. Habitual receiving does not generate gratitude but resentment generates anger generates riots

The problem is that in the inner city state education educates many young men to a level slightly above moron. Even with remedial training they still stand little chance of getting jobs most of which are taken by keen well educated foreigners. Inevitably large numbers of these unemployable youths fall into petty and not so petty crime. Governments are unwilling to face up to this and take the necessary action to break the cycle. The law abiding will sooner or later wake up and realise that the Blair-Brown-Cameron-Clegg generation of politicians are both responsible for this mess and incapable of doing anything about it.

An example: £10 billion has been spent on the Olympics but will any of London's dispossessed actually get tickets or any real benefit for this?

If it is a wakeup call then the riots may not be a bad thing.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.

You wish this shit on other people until they start agreeing with your "analysis" of the situation? Screw that, mousethief. You get away with this kind or rhetoric if and when it's happening in your city to your property and to people you know and care about - which, regardless of its "wake-up" effect on you, may God forfend.

The causes almost certainly aren't political in any sense that the government could fix or could have fixed. Plenty of the people doing this have zero political awareness and are far too young to have been affected by the supposed "issues". This particular shit is purely opportunistic.

Post-facto "explanations" such as that it really is about the dead youth are obviously desperate and patently false. The girl quoted is clearly frustrated and merely wants this to have been done for a "cause" - I think even she knows it wasn't. The rioters and looters would laugh in the face of such attempts to explain their behaviour. For every one person attempting them there are dozens of others I have heard who are furious and disgusted by the inexcusable wickedness of all this - and they have actually witnessed it themselves too.

The root causes for people allowing themselves to behave in this way are deeper than passing political conditions, at the level of the family, it seems to me.

Basically, Sylvander has it dead right.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The problem is that in the inner city state education educates many young men to a level slightly above moron.

If you have any ideas of how the education system can be modified to avoid this problem, please share them.

quote:
Even with remedial training they still stand little chance of getting jobs most of which are taken by keen well educated foreigners.
An interesting point. One wonders how much sympathy the rioters would be getting from the usual sources if they were protesting against immigration...

quote:
Inevitably large numbers of these unemployable youths fall into petty and not so petty crime. Governments are unwilling to face up to this and take the necessary action to break the cycle.
again, if you have any ideas of what should be done please share them.

quote:
The law abiding will sooner or later wake up and realise that the Blair-Brown-Cameron-Clegg generation of politicians are both responsible for this mess and incapable of doing anything about it.
Surely if they're incapable of doing anything about it that means they're unable to be responsible for it?
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
[qb]
There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting. The root causes are simple:

1. The breakdown of the family.

2. The loss of God/religion in society.

There have been large stretches of time where the working classes have not been particularly religious without these sorts of problems. The key is generally jobs - giving people more of a stake in society.
QB]

Except that as I mentioned, many of the reports speak of 13-16 year olds, some as young as 8 year olds, running riot. They're not normally looking for long-term employment at that age.

I do know people who are unemployed and have little realistic prospect for future employment. They're not running riot.

So the question to ask is - why these (very small numbers of) people and not others - the great majority of poor, unemployed people who do not support this lawlessness?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
In times past it would not have been as easy to summon up the mobs, but social media has now made it so simple as has been shown in other places which have experienced unprecedented riots. Even simple teenage parties are taken over once the message gets out. I would suggest bringing in the army and sending the ring leaders of the riots to compulsory national service, but the civil libertarians wouldn't like this.

I would suggest that your last sentence shows that you don't understand your first.


quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:

There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting.

There was vast looting of bombed-out parts of London in the War. Especially towards the end. Reported break-ins and burglaries went up by over 70% in 1944.

quote:
Originally posted by AberVicar:
Anarchists and profiteers using modern means of communication to stir up existing disaffection.

Anarchists? [Confused] [Confused] [Confused] [Confused] What have they got to do with this?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I can't help thinking it's rather like 'mischief night' - word gets around that tonight / this week it's okay to fire and loot, because 'everyone's' doing it. So although there may be several reasons for the initial conflagration, the joining in of everyone else is down to a much more simple understanding of human nature.

Zackly.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:


quote:
The law abiding will sooner or later wake up and realise that the Blair-Brown-Cameron-Clegg generation of politicians are both responsible for this mess and incapable of doing anything about it.
Surely if they're incapable of doing anything about it that means they're unable to be responsible for it? [/QB]
Your usually sharp logic seems to fail you. You can be both responsible for something and be unable to do anything about it. Government education policies (both parties) have been the engine of educational decline and current governments have no answers to put these right.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I can't help thinking it's rather like 'mischief night' - word gets around that tonight / this week it's okay to fire and loot, because 'everyone's' doing it.

Yes. I only saw the edge of it walking from the station to the pub. There were about 15-20 people trying to break windows of a big chain shop, Crowd as described so often on TV - mostly but not all teenagers, mostly but not all black, mostly but not all male. Daring each other to try something then taking photos of it. They seemed to be having a sort of desperate fun. That little crowd was not political and not in fact rioting.

And on any other night would have been chased off by a vanload of police arriving. But last night no police came - there were hundreds of them round the corner in the high street
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
Government education policies (both parties) have been the engine of educational decline and current governments have no answers to put these right.

And you do?
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I have a strong feeling it may be their parents who give them the 'It's not for the likes of us' attitude.

Me too, Boogie. Me too.

Which, of course, means the root cause of the rioting is bad (or absent) parenting.

Absolutely.

My first thought last night was 'Where are the parents'

If you had a 15 year old in London last night there's no way they'd be anywhere but home with you.

It must start young - as soon as they first learn the word 'no'. I run a parenting course at our school, it's incredible how basic the stuff is that I'm teaching these young mums and dads.

By the time children are in their teens it's way too late to start good parenting.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
It must start young - as soon as they first learn the word 'no'. I run a parenting course at our school, it's incredible how basic the stuff is that I'm teaching these young mums and dads.

By the time children are in their teens it's way too late to start good parenting.

Absolutely. Bloody great big chunks of kudos to you for your parenting work, Boogie.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
Government education policies (both parties) have been the engine of educational decline and current governments have no answers to put these right.

And you do?
Durand School in Stockwell is doing something about it: relocating an inner city school to become a state boarding school in the country. It stops the most vulnerable kids from ending up taking part in street crime and associated antisociability. Trouble is it is one of a thousand schools.

I would also favour selective schools for inner cities but haven't got the energy to debate that anymore. It does make a difference to a community even if only a few of its children are seen to be academically successful as opposed to none of them.

The British do not have the stomach to sort out their festering social problems - they are too comfortable with the status quo.
 
Posted by The Revolutionist (# 4578) on :
 
Terrible events, though it's now heartening to see how people are coming together to clean up after the rioting, using Twitter and the like to spread the word.

There are lots of questions we need to ask... Understanding is not excusing. We need to both hold the rioters morally responsible, and see the wider social and political problems.
 
Posted by Balaam (# 4543) on :
 
A peaceful protest in London turns into a riot.

This riot is followed by several more, many by people who have nothing to do with the original cause.

Does this sound familiar? But I'm not talking about 2011 here, I'm describing the Gordon Riots of 1780.

The copycat riots are not about social media, there was no 1780 Facebook, you couldn't retweet in the 18th Century.

But there are similarities. Britain in 1780 was suffering a recession. Recession leads to anger.

Here are some of the most sensible words I've seen on the issue:
quote:
Originally posted by comet:
It's about being angry. generally. the reality is, folks who are in a good place in their lives don't do stuff like this. something's wrong. societally, culturally, politically, something. And the rioters have anger in there somewhere. Enough pent up anger and frustration that given an excuse to act out they'll take it. even if they're acting in a way that is ultimately self-destructive. If they feel there's no hope in their future anyway, then why bother doing the good thing? they'll just get fucked in the end anyway.

As an aside, the only difference the use of social media will make is to make identification of the ringleaders easier. I would be very surprised if the Police have not already gone to the Magistrates to get permission the hack the internet and phone accounts of those they have arrested for rioting.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Revolutionist:
There are lots of questions we need to ask... Understanding is not excusing. We need to both hold the rioters morally responsible, and see the wider social and political problems.

This. I've read and heard too many comments over the last couple of days from people who seem to think these two things are in opposition to each other.

There's a kind of mantra with events like this, isn't there; anyone seeking to investigate the root causes has to preface their comments with something like, 'I totally condemn these acts of mindless violence'. Otherwise they get accused of being an apologist for violence, or a wet liberal.
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
1 small point. I remember a few years ago drunken fighting friday nights on Godalming high street! Someone on the radio mentioned that Burlingham Club members aqre no stranger to the occasional night of losing self-cvontrol.

... getting wealth isn't the answer to stopping animalistic behaviour.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:

I lived in Peckham (one of the trouble spots now) 2000-2002 and found an amazing degree of state tolerance for habitual anti-social behaviour even then.

That's another thing that is local in London. Or in this particular case one sector or segment of London, the inner South East. When I first moved round here in the 1980s I thought of it as "The Old Kent Road Effect". Behaviour which would be stamped on a mile away in any direction seemed to be tolerated in an area roughly bounded by the Elephant, central Brixton, Peckham Rye, Lewisham, Deptford, and the river at Rotherhithe and Bermondsey.

In those days it was after-hours drinking, boxing matches in pubs, openly smoking dope, squatting, football violence, and a general background of a sort of low-key possibly-quite-legal wheeler-dealering. People always seemed to be buying and selling things off each other, from drugs to building materials to frozen meat that fell off the back of a lorry. We seem to have lost the boxing matches but added smoking in pubs & sports stadiums.

A few years ago the police announced that they were not going to arrest people for small amounts of cannabis in South London. Press outrage, and sensible policy withdrawn. But the truth is that is already how things were and it still is. I don't think that is the case all over London though. Its localised down here to some extent.

Mostly, to be honest, I quite like that state of affairs. In my more cynical moments I reckon it must be deliberate policy, a "safety valve" a place where bad behaviour is tolerated so that it can be suppressed elsewhere. If you want some blow go to Brixton. In my very cynical moments I think they allow it so they can send police down here to practice on us. I've seen Birmingham and Thames Valley cops policing Millwall matches, along with the usual contingent of men in black uniforms without markings or badges. Maybe its a training excercise.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Nah, the small amounts of cannabis being ignored is true out here too. To the point that it's impossible to teach kids that it's illegal because they don't believe you.

The kids I know who will have been a part of this are what comet says, angry, disaffected, from dysfunctional families, no futures as they see it, on the fringes of drug use if not using themselves, already in trouble with the law and police. They call the police "Feds" and regard them as the enemy, not as people to help. And to be honest, if you saw the way many police deal with these kids when innocent, I'm not surprised the kids become angry at the treatment they get and lose all respect for the police.

I'm not surprised it's happening either. The Government cuts to council spending here, in this county, have meant:
The cuts for school spending have meant that:

No, the kids who are looking for an excuse to be violent should not be doing this, but there are very deep seated problems that aren't going to take much to trigger into a conflagration.
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
There is an element of deja-vu. In The Ikea Riot of 2005 a mob of 6-7,000 ransacked the new local superstore.

"Tottenham MP David Lammy said Ikea should have known offering cheap prices in a deprived area would cause a rush."

The motivation is a combination of desire for new stuff and feeling bored/frustrated with life, lack of hope.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I blame the parents - too many expensive goods and they didn't teach their children how to shop excessively
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
Unlike the student riots & other riots, there are no placards, no clear voice from the rioters.

Will there be a reaction mob of locals holding up placards "rioters go home"?
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Nah, the small amounts of cannabis being ignored is true out here too. To the point that it's impossible to teach kids that it's illegal because they don't believe you.

The kids I know who will have been a part of this are what comet says, angry, disaffected, from dysfunctional families, no futures as they see it, on the fringes of drug use if not using themselves, already in trouble with the law and police. They call the police "Feds" and regard them as the enemy, not as people to help. And to be honest, if you saw the way many police deal with these kids when innocent, I'm not surprised the kids become angry at the treatment they get and lose all respect for the police.

I'm not surprised it's happening either. The Government cuts to council spending here, in this county, have meant:
The cuts for school spending have meant that:

No, the kids who are looking for an excuse to be violent should not be doing this, but there are very deep seated problems that aren't going to take much to trigger into a conflagration.

Wow - how different it would be if they could be spending more time in the library, getting careers advice and learning to cook.

If those things have been cut it would have made no difference whatsoever.

As for the education budget money has poured into that in the past with no discernable improvement. These are really about providing jobs for the middle classes.

[ 09. August 2011, 11:46: Message edited by: aumbry ]
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
The problem is not not having jobs its believing you are in a position where you have no stake in the future of society.

High unemployment in an area engenders it, but so does government rhetoric, so does the way they are treated and so on.

What is more it effects 13 to 15 year olds. I know I saw it first hand at that age back in the 1980s. I was at school with the younger sisters of those involved in the Mossside riot. The class I was in was bright, today each and everyone of them would be capable of going to University, most of them didn't even get to sixth form. Some left without O'level as any job was better than no job. That's what you are dealing with and that is what makes the tinder so dry.

Jengie
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
Government education policies (both parties) have been the engine of educational decline and current governments have no answers to put these right.

And you do?
An analysis of a cause is not validated or devalidated by the fact that the speaker does or does not have a remedy up his sleeve, is it?

quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
if you saw the way many police deal with these kids when innocent, I'm not surprised the kids [...] lose all respect for the police.

Are you really sure this is why they lose respect? I'd expect you to hate and fear someone powerful treating you badly (I doubt the British police do, though) but you will generally respect them out of necessity.
What I understand from the police here at least is that their powers are so curbed that even kids arrested red-handed (drug dealing, burglaring, mugging) literally laugh in their faces and insult them (I have witnessed this several times at short distance). They have no respect because they know the police have virtually no power over them and will have to let them go after the paperwork is done.
It is a mistake to think (resp. a cheap excuse to claim) that law-abidance depends on police behaviour. Law abidance starts much earlier as Boogie and Chesterbelloc among others pointed out.
Or do you stick by law and ethics out of respect for the police?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Not to mention the loss of shops where people can buy bread and milk locally.

Mostly they seem to have gone for sports clothing, jewelry, TVs and computers.
I wasn't talking about looting; I was talking about torching buildings. I assume that many of the small shops that went up in flames sold food.

I remember during the Los Angeles riots some years ago, a man who lived in the area said that people he had never seen before burned down the only store within two miles where he could buy milk for his kids.

Moo
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spike:
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
I would suggest bringing in the army and sending the ring leaders of the riots to compulsory national service, but the civil libertarians wouldn't like this.

The army wouldn't like it either. They are a highly trained force and can do without the sort of wankers who are doing this.
Although without the 'kind of people who are doing this' who would the army recruit? The army, but not necessarily the navy and air force, relies on there being a substantial number of young men inclined to violence and frankly short on morals to do the dirty work. Brave and vital it may be, but let's not get hung up on the grunts being Nice Guys.

Show me an area with high youth unemployment and I'll show you an army recruiting office.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
There has been poverty before - think of the world war - without the associated looting

Really? What the teenagers 'constantly' before the courts, 'mainly' for theft from shops and the 390 cases of looting reported to the London police during the first eight weeks of the Blitz?
What? Simply going back to the gold old days doesn't work because the good old days are not like people think they were? A few Brits on here are sounding very Tea Partyish.

Poverty, and its accompanying powerlessness, more especially the awareness of being poor when others are not, is the root cause, but the reasons for that are so complex and individualised as to defy simple answers.

Coming back from your holidays in Tuscany and giving stern warnings and sending out more cops with expanded powers to beat back isn't going to resolve it though.
 
Posted by MarsmanTJ (# 8689) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
What? Simply going back to the gold old days doesn't work because the good old days are not like people think they were? A few Brits on here are sounding very Tea Partyish.

Poverty, and its accompanying powerlessness, more especially the awareness of being poor when others are not, is the root cause, but the reasons for that are so complex and individualised as to defy simple answers.

Coming back from your holidays in Tuscany and giving stern warnings and sending out more cops with expanded powers to beat back isn't going to resolve it though.

The problem is that many, if not most of the poverty-stricken don't want a resolution to become 'middle class'. They either want to be fantastically wealthy (i.e. win the lottery) or remain in poverty. The idea of being careful with money, working hard at a job, making a difference is alien to many of the people who live in council flats on the dole, etc. And schools can only do so much. They cannot deal with the fact that many of them have had parents who encourage them to be academically lazy, do no work, and remain on the dole for the rest of their lives. A few of them escape the system, but that has more to do with either parents who somehow manage to work out good parenting, luck, or children with amazing backbones despite a complete lack of parenting. I've been in council estate schools where the entire class of six year olds is practically switched off from asking questions. Why? Because no-one at home ever answered their questions, so they gave up asking, and normally trying to stop a six-year old from asking questions is like trying to persuade water to run uphill. Many if not most teachers who work inner-city/council estate schools are saints who somehow manage to re-ignite the natural curiosity that exists, I believe, in every child. All too many of them, however, are simply ignoring the 'lower spectrum' of their class and just working with the few that can make it out because they've given up hope. But many of them have been so switched off at home where they are plonked in front of the TV whenever they ask a question that they are dis-enfranchised from society. Many of those who do escape the system have to completely relearn skills that I take as writ. One of my friends at university who was on a full hardship scholarship, etc, etc. was bitching about the fact that I have a relatively expensive mobile phone. I had a chat with him and he realised that he had nearly twice the income coming in each month that I do, and he was just letting it trickle through his fingers, eating out, drinking heavily, etc. I had a budget for things I wanted to buy from the age of seven. The idea of a personal budget was totally foreign to him, and this was not a stupid person, AAB at A2, etc, left uni with a First, etc.

Whoever it was that suggested boarding schools might have a good idea. These riots are a result of the fact that teenage pregnancy with absentee fathers, no money and no parenting skills has become an accepted norm. My university was not far from one of the high spots for teenage pregnancy in the UK, and the buses are frankly frightening, the normality of it. The acceptance that having a baby is possibly the only way to get out of a home that they hate, parents they hate... and unfortunately starting the cycle all over again as they have no model of parenting to work from for their own children.

I wish I had an answer. I really do. I believe in freedom, I believe in equality, I really do. But the jobs that those children who grow up into being men and women could have had fifty or a hundred years ago are no longer in the country, primarily because their parents were unwilling to work for a pittance as the Chinese, Taiwanese and Indians are now happy to do. So low-ambition has become no-ambition, and many of their parents actively discourage them from being high-ambition. Sometimes it seems like the only solution would be to stick contraceptives in the water supply of the council houses and let them die out--and I've heard that idea suggested--but that idea is so utterly repugnant that it sickens me.

[ 09. August 2011, 12:44: Message edited by: MarsmanTJ ]
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
It's about being angry. generally. the reality is, folks who are in a good place in their lives don't do stuff like this.
I don’t think its anger that is stirring the looting. The reality is, most folks who are not in a good place in their lives also do not do stuff like this!

It’s not poverty either – how much abject poverty is there amongst the looters who use blackberries to communicate, and dress up in Nike trainers and sweats? These people were not stealing a tin of baked beans or food, they were stealing plasma TVs.

It’s not cuts either – in fact government spending has actually increased this year compared to last. These people were unlikely to take advantage of local authority services, or libraries, or NHS change for life programmes. This group were unlikely to go to university even if there were no tuition fees.

It’s greed and jealousy and probably laziness as well. They see people having things that they want, and instead of thinking that I should work for it, they decide they’ll just take it.

I wish people would stop trying to rationalise the “give us what we want or we’ll smash stuff up” brigade. Saying that they’re doing this because they’re poor and unemployed only ignores the vast majority of poor and unemployed people who are decent human beings who do not engage in criminal activity.
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Although without the 'kind of people who are doing this' who would the army recruit? The army, but not necessarily the navy and air force, relies on there being a substantial number of young men inclined to violence and frankly short on morals to do the dirty work. Brave and vital it may be, but let's not get hung up on the grunts being Nice Guys.

Show me an area with high youth unemployment and I'll show you an army recruiting office.

There is a lot of truth in this. The Army do tend to recruit a lot of those who are socially deprived. And I think the idea that the army - that is, those we train and pay to kill those we don't like - are not the most socially refined people in our society. Having said that, the army do focus that agression into obeying orders and attacking "others". I do not necessarily think that it would be a good idea to involve them without consideration onto ones own citizens.

Particularly as some of our forces are involved in attacking regimes around the world who are involved in turning their troops on their own citizens.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Sometimes it seems like the only solution would be to stick contraceptives in the water supply of the council houses and let them die out--and I've heard that idea suggested--but that idea is so utterly repugnant that it sickens me.
This is an example from public health which has been tackling health inequalities for many years now, but it has been shown that one of only measures to have ever worked and actually reduced inequities is fluoridation.

The people who take advantage of programmes, campaigns, services, etc. that are set up tend to either be motivated / ambitious or from the ‘upper’ social strata of the deprived population anyway. What then happens is that the true hard-to-reach groups, the people who are disengaged remain disengaged while those who see a way out, take advantage of these opportunities thus furthering inequalities – the very thing these programmes are meant to tackle in the first place.

This is why I am very dubious that the recession / cuts to services, etc. really had an effect on the so-called ‘underclass’. Cuts to libraries, social clubs, etc. hit the working and middle class hardest because they were actually using these services. Increasing unemployment hurts the working class because at one time these people were employed. The evidence indicates the group in question – the so-called underclass - were never using these services in the first place, were never employed in the first place, weren’t intending to go to further education in the first place.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
quote:

The problem is that many, if not most of the poverty-stricken don't want a resolution to become 'middle class'. They either want to be fantastically wealthy (i.e. win the lottery) or remain in poverty......[some crap about dey took ur jewbs]......

Oh please fuck off.
I'd call you to hell but my working class social ethic has kicked in and now I just can't be arsed.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
This is why I am very dubious that the recession / cuts to services, etc. really had an effect on the so-called ‘underclass’. Cuts to libraries, social clubs, etc. hit the working and middle class hardest because they were actually using these services. Increasing unemployment hurts the working class because at one time these people were employed. The evidence indicates the group in question – the so-called underclass - were never using these services in the first place, were never employed in the first place, weren’t intending to go to further education in the first place.

The 'underclass' didn't suddenly appear from nowhere. These areas are full of people whose families would have worked in factory jobs etc. now all a thing of the past. With 50 unemployed people for every vacancy the problem isn't going to get better soon - even if they were out there job hunting.

And in this post and your previous one you ignore the fact that cuts affected youth clubs, which the 'underclass' do in fact make use of.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2011/jul/31/haringey-youth-club-closures-video
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
quote:

The problem is that many, if not most of the poverty-stricken don't want a resolution to become 'middle class'. They either want to be fantastically wealthy (i.e. win the lottery) or remain in poverty......[some crap about dey took ur jewbs]......

Oh please fuck off.
I'd call you to hell but my working class social ethic has kicked in and now I just can't be arsed.

Total lack of aspiration does exist and is a mark of the underclass and not the working class. Some of these people make Waynetta Slob seem more like Dame Anna Neagle.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
I think a cause of the riots continuing and getting worse is too much hand wringing and not enough shooting.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
I don't know if this is a technical word that I've read somewhere, or a term that I've coined myself, but the phrase I use to describe what I think is happening right now is 'aspirational poverty'. By this I mean whole communities become completely devoid of aspirations. As an example, my wife once asked a girl in her infant school class what she wanted to do when she grew up. The reply was "I want to talk on my mobile all day like my mummy". This response was representative of a large number of the kids. I think that it's no surprise that in such an environment, the kids don't seem to know how to interact with society. I have absolutely no idea what can be done about it on an institutional level, but I fear that this segment of society is only going to grow, not directly because of the austerity measures currently being implemented, but indirectly as more people are out of work, as benefits are cut, and as services which can help the motivated to get back into work are shelved.

Finally, let me share a quote from Jean Baptiste Clamence. (I think it was written on a blog or forum post on the Le Monde website, but I'm not sure)
quote:
There exists in England an underclass that does not exist anywhere else in Europe. White, little educated, without any means of social evolution, they are a perfect example of the results of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and its dehumanising program. The English perversion is to make this population proud of their misery and their ignorance. The situation is hopeless.
I fear he may be right.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think if you're going to stick your head up your ass and completely ignore any possible factors for why these riots are going on right now other than "greedy people out for a nice night's shoplifting" then you deserve a riot a day for 100 years.

Can you really not tell the difference between the revolution of starving masses in a country governed by an autocratic king and the looting in a lush welfare state?
Oh dear. Can you find where in the words you quoted I mentioned revolutions of starving masses? No you cannot. You are importing something I said before into this quote. Which means you really didn't real this quote for what it said. Not everything a person says is a parroting of what they said before, or intended to make the same point.

Here, I'll make it simple:

There are reasons for these riots other than greed. Denying this is dangerous folly.

Square?
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
I think a cause of the riots continuing and getting worse is too much hand wringing and not enough shooting.

Social worker.....30000
Job scheme......100000
Killing somebody because they are rioting....priceless.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
[QUOTE]I wish people would stop trying to rationalise the “give us what we want or we’ll smash stuff up” brigade.

Well, I don't.

I think, long-term, sitting down and actually thinking about the problem is the only way to solve it. It might be an unpalatable fact that British society has a (for want of a better word) underclass, but I have a feeling that merely beating them down and taking away what little they have isn't going to solve anything...

Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
Social worker.....30000

These people view social workers as "the enemy" every bit as much as they do the police or the government.

quote:
Job scheme......100000
And they don't want jobs. They want "to talk on my mobile all day".

The more we give them, the more they'll just take. Offer them a job and it's all "nah fuck that I ain't doin that every day wot'ya fuckin fink I am a slave". Robbing a few TVs under cover of a riot is probably the closest any of them have got to providing for themselves in their lives - and it's probably as close as they ever want to get.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
I love how people call rioters "they".

Makes suggesting just shooting somebody or sending them to the army that much easier I suppose when you don't think about them as somebody's kid, friend, lover etc.

Kinda like that 26 year old who got shot by the police that started all this.

Yeah, and the disaffection has nothing to do with being personally ostracised by society....not at all. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
Are you really sure this is why they lose respect? I'd expect you to hate and fear someone powerful treating you badly (I doubt the British police do, though) but you will generally respect them out of necessity.

Not that we've ever said it to the kids themselves, but we have dealt with teenagers who have spent the night in the cells for getting into an argument with a police officer on the street, and when we unpick it and try to help them understand how to avoid the situation, the kids have regularly been provoked. Teenagers in groups sitting on a bench regularly get abuse and provocation from local police officers. I used to be somewhere safe to come for my daughter (graduate engineer) and her friends (most of whom went on to further education) when she was still home because they couldn't sit out anywhere without getting moved on or hassle and abuse from the police. That treatment continually meted out does remove respect in even the most middle class of children
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I love how people call rioters "they".

Makes suggesting just shooting somebody or sending them to the army that much easier I suppose when you don't think about them as somebody's kid, friend, lover etc.

As an aside, I love it when people refer to bankers, aristocrats and royalty as "they". Makes suggesting stripping them of all their assets and dumping them on a council estate that much easier I suppose when you don't think about them as somebody's kid, friend, lover etc...
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
A headline in the CBC website states:

quote:
Cameron vows London riot 'criminality' will be punished
Parliament to be recalled Thursday to address violence that is quickly spreading

Well, that's all right then. Let Parliament deal. Those guys (and gals) will keep the underclass in their rightful places as All things bright and beautiful informs us.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
As an aside, I love it when people refer to bankers, aristocrats and royalty as "they". Makes suggesting stripping them of all their assets and dumping them on a council estate

I don't think anyone is calling for the law not to be enforced - even amongst those who are talking about taking a wider view to the problem.

Whereas with the banking crisis the priorities were the opposite way around - even in the face of widespread evidence of criminality.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:Job scheme......100000
And they don't want jobs. They want "to talk on my mobile all day".
Oh come on, that's taking my example rather out of context: The person who said that was a 7 or 8 year old.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PeteC:
A headline in the CBC website states:

quote:
Cameron vows London riot 'criminality' will be punished
Parliament to be recalled Thursday to address violence that is quickly spreading

Well, that's all right then. Let Parliament deal. Those guys (and gals) will keep the underclass in their rightful places as All things bright and beautiful informs us.
Indeed. His solution to the fact that people are pissed of because (rightly or wrongly) they perceive the police as being against them is to ask the police to hit them harder. Tool.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
Wow - how different it would be if they could be spending more time in the library, getting careers advice and learning to cook.

If those things have been cut it would have made no difference whatsoever.

As for the education budget money has poured into that in the past with no discernable improvement. These are really about providing jobs for the middle classes.

Aumbry, I don't know where you get your knowledge from, but the funding I was talking about was to fund additional provision at one of the places David Cameron took as his blueprints of the Big Society and Free Schools, you know the shining examples of places that "change things for the better".

The complete cuts of the Connexions services do matter, it's where teenagers between 16 and 21 in this area sign on and get their support in applying for jobs, or has been. Completely cutting it sends out helpful messages about young people not mattering.

And the library is used by very unexpected young people, it's free access to the Internet - which actually, nowadays, in a town where you have to travel to the nearest job centre, is how you apply for jobs. And Jobs Centres being cut means that they are fewer and farther to get to, too.

Vocational college places meant that kids who weren't academically minded could study Motor Vehicle maintenance or Construction and get qualifications aged 14-16, and for some, that kept them in school. You know, the practical skills that are quite useful too.
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Oh dear. Can you find where in the words you quoted I mentioned revolutions of starving masses?

I see. If you (rightly) think that your earlier words were such nonsense you don't want to be reminded of them a few hours later, why say them in the first place?
Or is it a case of Konrad Adenauer's Disease: "Why should I care for what I said yesterday?"

quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:

Not that we've ever said it to the kids themselves, but we have dealt with teenagers who have spent the night in the cells for getting into an argument with a police officer on the street, and when we unpick it and try to help them understand how to avoid the situation, the kids have regularly been provoked.

I often hear this and am usually doubtful. Our prisons are full of rapists and violent offenders who have invariably been "provoked" aut sim.
Really? No, they mostly haven't. They have become violent against a victim Fullstop But they make themselves believe that really, really they are not to blame but someone else, often the victim, the circumstances etc etc. And some are so sensitive they even have learnt that they'll find sympathisers who'll implicitly excuse them by believing the "I have been provoked" approach.
Maybe you do not need to "say it to the kids themselves", you'll still convey the message non-verbally. And for all your good intentions and laudable commitment that may well be part of the problem.

[ 09. August 2011, 14:28: Message edited by: Sylvander ]
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
posted by Doc Tor:

quote:

Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.

I'm gonna presume that the 'us' to whom you refer in the above paragraph is a small select crowd on Ship of Fools rather than everyone on Ship of Fools; or in fact anyone reading this thread?

Otherwise your paragraph is so loaded with the most sickening assumptions about people that I wouldn't even know where to start.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I love how people call rioters "they".

Makes suggesting just shooting somebody or sending them to the army that much easier I suppose when you don't think about them as somebody's kid, friend, lover etc.

As an aside, I love it when people refer to bankers, aristocrats and royalty as "they". Makes suggesting stripping them of all their assets and dumping them on a council estate that much easier I suppose when you don't think about them as somebody's kid, friend, lover etc...
And I did that when?

Stick to the point....you find it easier to think of the poor as one big gigantic group that does the exact same things all the time. I'm not sure why, but it certainly makes the curmudgeon routine easier not to have to bother with subtleties.

I find it hard to believe that 100% of the poor in Britain act with that much group think.

I've worked now in two of the poorest parts of Toronto, one known nationally as a troubled area. I've also had the job of monitoring the thoughts of social workers in those and other neighbourhoods across this city; admitedly, our urban poverty only goes back 160 years so maybe not everything correlates.

Not once did I hear somebody say that the group thinking discussed in this thread was 100% true. If anything 100% said that there were pockets and idividuals that make choices that were different from the neighbourhood stereotyping group think.

And social workers are hardly 100% liberal hand wringing types. Some of the harshest critics of criminal activity and proponents of get tough policies I have heard came from them. They just didn't throw out all the poor with the trash, which some on here seem to be advocating.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
There is an element of deja-vu. In The Ikea Riot of 2005 a mob of 6-7,000 ransacked the new local superstore.

If we can believe the news reports that is more "rioters" than were out in London last night.

Apart from possibly Tottenham and Hackney (where there were political protests going on. at least to start with) the numbers seem to have been really, really small. News reports were talking about crowds of fifty or a hundred. (The only one I saw probably wasn't even twenty) Its just that they popped up everywhere and the police were bogged down in other places and couldn't get to them.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
And I did that when?

Just pointing out that it works both ways.

quote:
Stick to the point....you find it easier to think of the poor as one big gigantic group that does the exact same things all the time.
No, just the ones that think looting is a valid way to improve their lot. There are plenty of poor people who accept their lot, get on with whatever work they can find and strive to better themselves. I have no problem with them at all. But they weren't the ones on the streets last night.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
I often hear this and am usually doubtful. Our prisons are full of rapists and violent offenders who have invariably been "provoked" aut sim.

Interesting that you snipped the part of my reply when I pointed out my graduate daughter also had this happen to her when she was at school

quote:
they even have learnt that they'll find sympathisers who'll implicitly excuse them by believing the "I have been provoked" approach.
Maybe you do not need to "say it to the kids themselves", you'll still convey the message non-verbally. And for all your good intentions and laudable commitment that may well be part of the problem.

The kids don't come in saying they've been provoked actually, and a good half of the time whatever is going on is their fault, so we are fairly good at not making assumptions. But the police are human too and some of them are as good at many people on this thread at labelling all teenagers as trouble and treating them as nuisances and problems that need cleaning up, and it doesn't matter how they do it.

A lot of the time when we are listening to a tale of woe from some teenager, we do usually get them to accept that they were in the wrong and need to apologise. I've taken a lot of teenagers to teachers to apologise as a way of getting the student back into a lesson, even though I know that it wasn't all the student's fault.

The police are not all whiter than white and blameless, some are themselves mindless thugs, and some are lovely upstanding members of the community. You can't make sweeping assumptions that all teenagers are wrong and all policemen are right.
 
Posted by Chamois (# 16204) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I can't help thinking it's rather like 'mischief night' - word gets around that tonight / this week it's okay to fire and loot, because 'everyone's' doing it.

Over-heard some local young people talking this afternoon. They're expecting more trouble tonight, they're excited and they're going over to watch as soon as somebody texts them where to go. They didn't admit intending to join in....

I don't know about the root cause, but it seems to be continuing because "it can". The police haven't been seen to do anything effective yet and the media hand-wringing adds fuel to the flames. They're on top, they're the man and there's a good chance they're going to be FAMOUS!
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:

Not that we've ever said it to the kids themselves, but we have dealt with teenagers who have spent the night in the cells for getting into an argument with a police officer on the street, and when we unpick it and try to help them understand how to avoid the situation, the kids have regularly been provoked.

I often hear this and am usually doubtful. Our prisons are full of rapists and violent offenders who have invariably been "provoked" ...
What the?? The post you responded to talked about youth involved with altercations with the police and even somebody who's daughter ended up an engineer.

And you then talk about rapists and murderers as proof that these youth are lieing?!?!?!

Stick to the issue.

Do police bother youth in Britain? According to the peoople who deal with youth in Britain, it happens.

It may bother you that there isn't a simple overarching good vs. evil answer to the rioting but life isn't simple.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
It may bother you that there isn't a simple overarching good vs. evil answer to the rioting but life isn't simple.

Rioting and looting is evil. Seems pretty simple to me.
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
What the?? The post you responded to talked about youth involved with altercations with the police and even somebody who's daughter ended up an engineer.

Yes, and what exactly does that prove? That she and her friends were always right goody-two-shoes? Never kept company with people that the police may have had good reason to check out? How can you know?

quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
And you then talk about rapists and murderers as proof that these youth are lieing?!?!?!

A rhetorical question. But still a real answer: No.
But it illustrates that human psychology tends to be thus that we do rather like to find fault with others than ourselves.
If this goes even for serious criminals whose guilt is not in doubt I assume it would go even more for small time miscreants. People like to make excuses and they often even believe them.

Yes, there will be police misdemeanour and incompetence (a London policeman once said to me: I am glad we are not armed, I would not entrust half my colleagues with a pistol) but on average I'd still assume there to be far more bad apples among those arrested than among those arresting. I won't know for sure in any individual case but in general it seems safe to go by that rule in assessing the world around us. Is that unreasonably naive?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:


Finally, let me share a quote from Jean Baptiste Clamence. (I think it was written on a blog or forum post on the Le Monde website, but I'm not sure)
quote:
There exists in England an underclass that does not exist anywhere else in Europe. White, little educated, without any means of social evolution, they are a perfect example of the results of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and its dehumanising program. The English perversion is to make this population proud of their misery and their ignorance. The situation is hopeless.
I fear he may be right.
And I reckon an external observer, unfettered by a lifetime of being English has nailed it. While the (mostly white) middle and lower-middle-classes must keep their jobs to pay mortgages they will grumble, whinge and write to their MPs about parliamentary expenses, Royalty, Rupert Murdoch and whatever non-issue has been promoted above the economic shitstorm we are in, but go no further for fear of losing said jobs. The majority of those involved in the disturbances don't have jobs let alone mortgages, so they have few if any scruples: just as absolute power corrupts, so does absolute lack of power.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
Seems most here have never been pulled to the side of the road for the colour of their skin or the perception of their appearance. Never had the cops cease their conversation to observe you get a coffee in Starbucks.
There are root causes built of inequity, real and perceived. The total causes, and their solution, are not easily solved and difficult for some to understand. So, I suppose, it is easier to put it off to poor parenting, a lack of moral fibre within "certain" classes.
Yes, there are those taking advantage of the situation, those out for a bit of trouble. That does not negate a very real sense of frustration, and fear, at the base.
Hats off as well to those who completely fail to perceive the dynamics off the mob. Did every partisan truly wish to behead everything in sight, including each other? People join in, it is our nature. That you are not rioting today is more to your trigger not being pulled than to your moral superiority.
Does this excuse any of the behaviour? No.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.

Oh FFS. You know nothing about the people posting on here. I grew up in a dog rough council estate in Ireland in the 80s (single mother with alcohol problem), was raised mostly by grandparents on benefits and money earned from low income menial jobs and went to a sequence of fairly useless state schools. By background I am the bloody underclass. And I grew up watching my grandparents and other vulnerable people on our estate being bullied and intimidated by the kind of thugs who are now busy terrorising their own communities in London. Who do you think uses the buses that are being trashed or works in the shops being burnt out? It isn't generally The Privileged. Its locals of all ethnicities who are probably quite poor themselves.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
And in this post and your previous one you ignore the fact that cuts affected youth clubs, which the 'underclass' do in fact make use of.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2011/jul/31/haringey-youth-club-closures-video

One would have to be dubious about the efficacy of these clubs in promoting social integration if when they close then there are riots. All it does is merely indicate that they're not really addressing the problems in the first place. This is regardless of the fact that many people who are affected by cuts and who do use these services do not go out and riot.

In any case, even if your point was accepted that the riots are somehow causally related to the closure of the youth clubs and cuts in general - what then is the answer? So we give them what they want and open the youth clubs againw want because they've now rioted? Isn't this just pandering to the entitlement mentality that sees people thinking they can break open a shop and take what they like? Surely the answer is to teach them that rioting will get you no where. You have a problem with your local council, you write a letter/see your MP/show your discontent at the ballot box.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Does this excuse any of the behaviour? No.

Then why are you saying it? Seems to me like your whole post was one long "if you were in their situation you'd be rioting as well", and if that isn't an attempt to blame the situation rather than the culprits then I don't know what is.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Does this excuse any of the behaviour? No.

Then why are you saying it? Seems to me like your whole post was one long "if you were in their situation you'd be rioting as well", and if that isn't an attempt to blame the situation rather than the culprits then I don't know what is.
I genuinely don't see what you can mean by that. It sounds as if you are saying that thinking about the bad behaviour is the same as approving it.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:

What I understand from the police here at least is that their powers are so curbed that even kids arrested red-handed (drug dealing, burglaring, mugging) literally laugh in their faces and insult them (I have witnessed this several times at short distance). They have no respect because they know the police have virtually no power over them and will have to let them go after the paperwork is done.

Well I've watched a young man get arrested for fighting in a shop. He was certainly insulting people. And the police grabbed him very fast, picked him up, handcuffed him, and genuinely threw him in the back of a van, quite hard, and slammed the door, and said something like "shut the fuck up until we get you back to the station". So YMMV.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
What the?? The post you responded to talked about youth involved with altercations with the police and even somebody who's daughter ended up an engineer.

Yes, and what exactly does that prove? That she and her friends were always right goody-two-shoes? Never kept company with people that the police may have had good reason to check out? How can you know?
Said daughter is reading this spluttering with indignation because she was keeping her nose clean and aiming for university, so was staying very firmly out of trouble. She's talking about stuff that happened to her as a girl of about 12 or 13, sitting with friends having a chat. And those aforementioned friends were doing their best to stay out of trouble too.

(She was not out and about from 14 to 17 as she was sick and in a wheelchair for much of that time)
 
Posted by BroJames (# 9636) on :
 
I think for certain sections of society who are disaffected, and hostile to the police there is a long history. It affects all kinds of people within that social group. It is, frankly, an endemic and problematic use of power.

The strong and influential have some (limited) means of legally redressing their humiliation. Most do not. It is not surprising, then, that when there is a flash point there are a number - albeit a very small minority - who are only too willing to strike back, and a much larger number who do not feel much inclined to help or co-operate with the police.
 
Posted by malik3000 (# 11437) on :
 
I should have known there would be pages of responses since my last post. I certainly felt it was my responsibility to respond to the comments that would be made concerning it. But it was a long, brutally hot, day and I was tired and haven't gotten back to the Ship until this morning. I haven't had time to read pages 2 or 3, only most of page 1. So please forgive me if a pertinent remark has been addressed on later pages. Since my post was way back on page one i will reproduce it here:

***

quote:
Originally posted by malik3000:
quote:
Originally posted by Daron:
The glamorisation of criminality and organised crime in popular black culture combined with viral social media trends is the root cause.

Those are certainly very real and very unfortunate trends in society today. But they most certainly are not the root cause.

<generality alert>The root cause remains being Black in a White world. Or more precisely, as a member of a socially dominated group, having to put up with the politico-socio-economic disrespect of the system doing the domination.</generality alert>

To understand this it helps to have been familiar with experiencing it, one might suppose.

The above statement is meant as an observation and does not mean it excuses the rioting.

***

The original post specifically asked for a discussion of the root causes of the current situation.

And please note: finding the root cause of a situation is NOT the same as determining a person's culpability for their actual actions.

And please note: my previous post specifically was speaking in GENERALITIES. I don't know how I could have made that any clearer.

Nothing in my post defended the actions taking place. If anyone saw any attempt at justification it is because they wanted to see it, especially since I specifically stated that people have responsibility for their own actions. Root causes can cause all sorts of irrational response. A legitimate demonstration protestesting misconduct was partially hijacked by idle, thuggish thrillseeking youth. But also by the rage and anger of people sick and tired of continually being the target of police misconduct at a documentably higher rate than other groups.

And yes it is the small merchants that are disproportionately hurt, and indeed the neighbourhoods themselves. But that's partly because if they tried to attack the homes of the rich or the big Wall Street/City financial institutions you can bet that they would be up against far more massive security.

At this point, we don't know if there was police misconduct. But it's hard to get too high on one's high horse in assessing the anger of members of group that have been the target of police misconduct at a higher rate than average.

What got my goat in my 1st post was that no one was even talking about the man who was killed and his family.

And no one was talking about the issue of police systemic misconduct against certain socio-ethnic groups.

"Opportunistic thuggery and theft" was indeed there. But it was not the original root cause.

"Lack of moral fibre" is another reason given. That's a quaint one. Do the rioters have any less moral fibre than those who commit white-collar wheeling and dealing crimes that destroy thousands of peoples' lives?
"The glamorisation of criminality and organised crime in popular black culture combined with viral social media trends" is NOT the root cause. This glamorisation certainly is very much a phenomenon which has disgusted, angered, and above all pained me. I can see it's pernicious effects every day on many youth, but it is NOT the root cause! Also, the claim that this occurs only in the Black community is flat-out WRONG. For the USA, definitely. And it would seem so for the UK as well, from observing the behaviour of more than a few UK football fans.
<START OF BROAD GENERALITY BASED ON PERSONAL OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE>Specific individual situations aside, it's easy for individuals in social groups that have NOT been the subject of centuries-long disdain and oppression to make glib generalities about social groups that HAVE been the subject of centuries-long disdain and oppression, while failing to notice . </ END OF BROAD GENERALITY BASED ON PERSONAL OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE>
Re-reading page one I see Mousethief's posts immediately above mine really says better what I have been trying to say: "This logic would make the French Revolution all about the selfishness of the lower classes. The aristocracy had nothing to do with it; can't blame them at all." And yes, this is a most serious and valid comparison. We're not talking about the degree or intensity of the disorders, but the similarity of the type of reasoning. Thus, I totally concur with Mousethief's statement:
[QUOTE}We need to look beyond "they're naughty boys" to find the causes of this. Naughty boys have existed for millenia. Rioting in the streets is fairly rare. Why now? Well, we can't look at the political situation and the way we're treating the poor, Ramarius is clearly saying. I'm saying, why not?[/ QUOTE] I would only add the situation of ethnicity-based discrimination

[ 09. August 2011, 15:42: Message edited by: malik3000 ]
 
Posted by krautfrau (# 16537) on :
 
What an utter load of tripe is being spouted on here.

The underclass has nothing to do with poverty. It has been an organised destruction of the social structure in this country, to disenfranchise the masses due to liberal educational policies and social manipulation.

I have lived in Berlin for the last three years where unemployment is much worse than over here. Even professionals cannot get work and it is common to put money in with work applications.

The young people are repectful and law abiding. You never see gangs of them roaming the streets which are safe for anyone to be on late evening on weekends apart from a few immegrant areas.

The social structure has not been destroyed like it has here and the family is regarded as priority. It has all been going on under our noses for a long time and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Read http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Bottom-Worldview-Makes-Underclass/dp/1566635055

if you want to understand what has been going on.
 
Posted by malik3000 (# 11437) on :
 
Apologies for the double post but i only noticed my mistake after the edit time had past.

Instead of:
<START OF BROAD GENERALITY BASED ON PERSONAL OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE>Specific individual situations aside, it's easy for individuals in social groups that have NOT been the subject of centuries-long disdain and oppression to make glib generalities about social groups that HAVE been the subject of centuries-long disdain and oppression, while failing to notice . </ END OF BROAD GENERALITY BASED ON PERSONAL OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE>
I meant to say:
<START OF BROAD GENERALITY BASED ON PERSONAL OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE>Specific individual situations aside, it's easy for individuals in social groups that have NOT been the subject of centuries-long disdain and oppression to make glib generalities about social groups that HAVE been the subject of centuries-long disdain and oppression, while failing to notice the beam in their own eye. </ END OF BROAD GENERALITY BASED ON PERSONAL OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE>
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
At this point, we don't know if there was police misconduct.
The first role of the police is to protect the public. The public were left unprotected and unsafe last night. There was police misconduct. Just not aimed at the group you were thinking about.

The police have failed the vast majority.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
It sounds as if you are saying that thinking about the bad behaviour is the same as approving it.

The only thinking that needs to be done is about how to bring the guilty to justice - all of them - and hopefully stop shit like this from happening again.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by krautfrau:


I have lived in Berlin for the last three years where unemployment is much worse than over here. Even professionals cannot get work and it is common to put money in with work applications.

The young people are repectful and law abiding. You never see gangs of them roaming the streets which are safe for anyone to be on late evening on weekends apart from a few immegrant areas.


And they are German.

It's fair to point out that the British as a whole and the English in particular are a lot more contrary, bloody-minded and disobedient than the Germans. Most of the time this is a Bad Thing.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
I reckon that whatever the root cause was, it was probably more or less the same as the root cause of the 2005 Paris and 2008 Athens riots.

The possibility that the root cause of the 2011 London riots might be similar to that of the 2005 Paris riots slightly challenges the idea that it might have anything to do with current government spending austerity programmes - because, as of 2005, the 2007 credit crunch was yet to occur.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Surely The Ship can do better than outraged splutterings?
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
I reckon that whatever the root cause was, it was probably more or less the same as the root cause of the 2005 Paris and 2008 Athens riots.

Evidence?
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
I reckon that whatever the root cause was, it was probably more or less the same as the root cause of the 2005 Paris and 2008 Athens riots.

I disagree. There appeared to be a legitimate cause to the Athens riots. In any case, there was a complaint and a message they wanted to get across.

I watched the news yesterday of a reporter trying to speak to one of the looters, who subsequently ran away. These people do not have a message. They do not want to be heard. They want to steal.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
I reckon that whatever the root cause was, it was probably more or less the same as the root cause of the 2005 Paris and 2008 Athens riots.

Evidence?
I'd have thought that the fact that early outbreaks seem to be concentrated in areas of higher than average deprivation, whilst not actually evidence of a similar cause, is at least a sign of some similarity with the development of 2005 Paris unrest.

To put it another way, so far there doesn't seem to be any significant differences between the development of 2011 London unrest, and the development of 2005 Paris unrest.
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The only thinking that needs to be done is about how to bring the guilty to justice - all of them - and hopefully stop shit like this from happening again.

I would agree, but how many people have been arrested in the riots? The news reports seem strangely quiet on this aspect. Even the BBC (scroll half-way down the page) are offering the suggestion that police procedures are not helpful (aka totally obstruct) arresting anyone involved. If there is no down-side to rioting (i.e. I might end up in court and get a meaningful penaly) and plenty of up-side (look at these shiny new toys I looted last night), why should anyone not riot?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.

Oh FFS. You know nothing about the people posting on here. I grew up in a dog rough council estate in Ireland in the 80s (single mother with alcohol problem), was raised mostly by grandparents on benefits and money earned from low income menial jobs and went to a sequence of fairly useless state schools. By background I am the bloody underclass. And I grew up watching my grandparents and other vulnerable people on our estate being bullied and intimidated by the kind of thugs who are now busy terrorising their own communities in London. Who do you think uses the buses that are being trashed or works in the shops being burnt out? It isn't generally The Privileged. Its locals of all ethnicities who are probably quite poor themselves.
Well done. *clap clap clap*.

Ship of Fools is mostly - and I stress the mostly - scrotum-clenchingly educated middle-class professionals, whereever they happened to have grown up. I'm a country boy, me, grew up with the sons and daughters of farm labourers and manual workers. It's not where I am now, and I bet it's not where you are now either. And surprisingly enough, those burnt out shops and buses are just like the ones I use everyday in my city.

I'm not looking for excuses, I'm looking for reasons, followed rapidly by solutions. Marvin thinks we should napalm the council estates. I disagree.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
It sounds as if you are saying that thinking about the bad behaviour is the same as approving it.

The only thinking that needs to be done is about how to bring the guilty to justice - all of them - and hopefully stop shit like this from happening again.
Well yes. And "how to stop shit like this from happening again" would have to include thinking about why some peopel do these things and others don't. Because if you don't do that you end up with always and only reacting.

quote:
Originally posted by krautfrau:

The underclass has nothing to do with poverty. It has been an organised destruction of the social structure in this country, to disenfranchise the masses due to liberal educational policies and social manipulation.

What ignorant bollocks!
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
To put it another way, so far there doesn't seem to be any significant differences between the development of 2011 London unrest, and the development of 2005 Paris unrest.

Plenty. For a start, the Paris unrest was confined, mostly, to the banlieues where it's hard to find anything more than the most basic shops (no mobile phone or designer sportswear outlets), and where the violence was directed largely against the forces of law and order.

I'm not sure why the problem has not boiled over again, since nothing much has been done. I speculate that France has a better domestic, more intrusive and more discreet intelligence service than the UK and that reporting has something to do with it.

The Interior Ministry ordered the papers to postpone reporting statistics on the traditional New Year's Eve car burnings across France to inhibit the copycat effect, and it seems to have worked. I still think hysterical media reporting puts fuel on the fire.
 
Posted by krautfrau (# 16537) on :
 
Well its what this guy says

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Bottom-Worldview-Makes-Underclass/dp/1566635055

and he should know working as a doctor in a high under class area in the midlands. I guess you are a white middle class professional? I grew up on a council housing estate in the north east where there was high Irish immigration and know that every word this guy says is true.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
I reckon that whatever the root cause was, it was probably more or less the same as the root cause of the 2005 Paris and 2008 Athens riots.

I disagree. There appeared to be a legitimate cause to the Athens riots. In any case, there was a complaint and a message they wanted to get across.

I watched the news yesterday of a reporter trying to speak to one of the looters, who subsequently ran away. These people do not have a message. They do not want to be heard. They want to steal.

If we can believe the news reports its pretty obvious that different people were doing different things for different reasons.

There was the peaceful protest in Tottenham that started it which was one load of people with one motive, which was to make a point about the man who was shot (who may or may not have been a violent scumbag himself, but that's not really relevant)

Then that seemed to have kicked off into a riot against the police, involving a largely different group of people who started burning things. That had some connection with the original cause and some political idea behind it (though maybe it was just the politics of anger) Something similar may have started the trouble in Hackney the day after.

And then there seem to have been people taking advantage of the way the police were caught up with those situations to attack shops and steal. For example at Wood Green on Saturday, well over a mile away from the original protest. Different people in different areas with different motives. Some of them seem to be more or less organised thieves, like the ones who looted the Sony warehouse - which is out by the M25 and no-where near any of the other trouble, others just kids having an odd sort of fun. And some might have been little moro than passers-by seeing a broken window and joining in.

So no one root cause. Because its not one thing, its at least three or four different things.

And its not just done by one sort of person - some of them will look like part of this imaginary "underclass" but others are much more normal I think. Some of the looters will turn out to be the sons and daughters of quite ordinary people with jobs, maybe even doing well at school themselves. Not all of course, probably not most, but some.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by krautfrau:
Well its what this guy says

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Bottom-Worldview-Makes-Underclass/dp/1566635055

and he should know working as a doctor in a high under class area in the midlands. I guess you are a white middle class professional? I grew up on a council housing estate in the north east where there was high Irish immigration and know that every word this guy says is true.

I've read some reviews of his books on Amazon and it's quite clear that he's a prejudiced cunt.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
I've read some reviews of his books on Amazon and it's quite clear that he's a prejudiced cunt.

[Roll Eyes] I would be very reluctant to go to the stake over every word uttered by the mouth of Anthony Daniels, but you're just making his case for him.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
I've read some reviews of his books on Amazon and it's quite clear that he's a prejudiced cunt.

[Roll Eyes] I would be very reluctant to go to the stake over every word uttered by the mouth of Anthony Daniels, but you're just making his case for him.
If his case is that intellectual dishonesty is 'destroying civilisation as we know it' then I'm pleased not to be intellectual. Just as Dawkins should stick to science, Daniels/Dalrymple should stick to medicine.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
To put it another way, so far there doesn't seem to be any significant differences between the development of 2011 London unrest, and the development of 2005 Paris unrest.

Plenty. For a start, the Paris unrest was confined, mostly, to the banlieues where it's hard to find anything more than the most basic shops (no mobile phone or designer sportswear outlets), and where the violence was directed largely against the forces of law and order.
Hmm. Well, from where I'm standing, it looks as though the same is true of London.

Okay - so designer sportswear outlets and mobile phone shops have been hit. But, for the most part, these are still designer sportswear and mobile phone shops in shopping centres that are close to areas of high deprivation.

I don't know why it is, but the more fashionable areas of London and the Home Counties tend not to have such a high concentration of designer sportswear and mobile phone shops. Perhaps the more privileged classes think that sportswear and mobile phone chain stores are slightly chavvy, so the nimbys are more likely to object to them opening in the first place. Or maybe there's some other reason. I don't know.

So far, we have heard of Tesco and Lidl stores being attacked - but we have yet to hear any reports of any John Lewis stores being looted.

Never say never though. I still think it's early days yet.

Mind you, one key difference I've noticed between London now and Paris in 2005 is that the police numbers have been ramped up far higher far earlier this time.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
While the situation continues,ISTM tha the root cause can't be really sensibly faced. Obviously folk are cross about the damage.

When tempers on all sides cool though, maybe we might want to ponder on the wisdom of a media that promises Live Updates.....

Which brings us back to the roots cause: Because they can.


(which is why all of us sin.... but most of us are more circumspect about it)
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
One would have to be dubious about the efficacy of these clubs in promoting social integration if when they close then there are riots.

Why dubious? You have a bunch of teens hanging around with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Skip all the studies that show that youth clubs are one of more effective means of addressing youth underachievement, even an Empire as non-lefty-liberal as the Romans understood that you couldn't crucify the entire mob - bread and circuses for some.

quote:

So we give them what they want and open the youth clubs again want because they've now rioted? Isn't this just pandering to the entitlement mentality that sees people thinking they can break open a shop and take what they like?

Right. So what do you suggest we do? One protester, one bullet and charge the family? Arrest and stick them all in prison? For how long? What do we do when they get out?

If it's cost you are worried about, then a bunch of bankers getting massively subsidized by threatening to break the national economy when their criminality comes home to roost is actually far more expensive in real terms (and is arguably why we have to make the cuts in the first place).
 
Posted by Geneviève (# 9098) on :
 
From Marvinthe Martian:
There are plenty of poor people who accept their lot, get on with whatever work they can find and strive to better themselves.

There you have it. If poor people--in every country no doubt--, would just "accept their lot", etc...there wouldn't be any problems.
I can't comment on the British situation because I don't know it, but I have been wondering when the riots will come here--in America where everyone is supposed to have a chance to grow up to become president.

If you are poor and you rob and/or riot, you are a thug. If you are rich and you take advantage of the laws enacted to benefit you to screw others, you are smart, richer, and not responsible.

I'm not defending rioting and looting just pointing out the difference in language. I agree with Malik that the dominant group or class gets to define the terms used and the way the discourse goes.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Oh dear. Can you find where in the words you quoted I mentioned revolutions of starving masses?

I see. If you (rightly) think that your earlier words were such nonsense you don't want to be reminded of them a few hours later, why say them in the first place?
You're kidding, right? Nobody is ever allowed to change their mind? Just absolutely fucking priceless.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Warning for all posters analysing this in terms of poverty:
quote:
From the BBC:
32 people have appeared in court charged with offences such as burglary and criminal damage during the previous riots.

Among them were a graphic designer, college students, a youth worker, a university graduate and a man signed up to join the army.


 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
I've read some reviews of his books on Amazon and it's quite clear that he's a prejudiced cunt.

You have it in you to be a true Millwall supporter sir.

While I might not use the same language, I think I agree with the assessment of Dr Dalrymple's politics. I have read his columns in the Spectator and elsewhere - my feeling it its 20% interesting observation, 30% common sense, 50% bigoted elitism.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
I think I have made the mistake of assuming that there are more John Lewis stores in the Greater London area than there actually are. And the presence of a John Lewis store can't be used as a marker for an area being privileged. After all, Croydon has got one. And there have definitely been riots in Croydon.

quote:
Originally posted by Geneviève:
There you have it. If poor people--in every country no doubt--, would just "accept their lot", etc...there wouldn't be any problems.
I can't comment on the British situation because I don't know it, but I have been wondering when the riots will come here--in America where everyone is supposed to have a chance to grow up to become president.

If you are poor and you rob and/or riot, you are a thug. If you are rich and you take advantage of the laws enacted to benefit you to screw others, you are smart, richer, and not responsible.

You're quite right - but the thing is, actual rioting tends to be somewhat scarier.

Then again, maybe it's all just FUD created by the press. I don't doubt that there has been some real losses - but I suspect there's been a lot of FUD as well.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Oh shit.

Here I was, hoping and praying that things might calm down and someone at the IPCC lets this out.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Does this excuse any of the behaviour? No.

Then why are you saying it? Seems to me like your whole post was one long "if you were in their situation you'd be rioting as well", and if that isn't an attempt to blame the situation rather than the culprits then I don't know what is.
When people do bad stuff, there's usually a reason for it even if it's a twisted one. If I bludgeon my granny to death and bury her under the rose bush, that may be because I want her Staffordshire tea set or because her cat wee'd on me once too many. It's unlikely to be just because it happened to take my whimsy.

So I don't see why it's such an outrageous question to ask why people want to burn shops and cars. I mean I can see you might not regard it as the most pressing issue but I don't see why it draws such howls of rage from you, or why you feel the need to put the worst possible implications on it.
 
Posted by Sarah G (# 11669) on :
 
I suspect the main reason people are rioting is because it's fun. And you get to nick stuff.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Does this excuse any of the behaviour? No.

Then why are you saying it? Seems to me like your whole post was one long "if you were in their situation you'd be rioting as well", and if that isn't an attempt to blame the situation rather than the culprits then I don't know what is.
There are reasons and there are excuses.
A reason is why something happened.
An excuse is why one should receive no blame for that which happened. I was addressing reasons. Without understanding the underlying reasons, one will have limited success preventing future occurrences.
My comment regarding triggers was more aimed to human nature. To think one is inherently above such bad behaviour is to fail to understand the dynamics. To be clear, this is not offering excuse.

ETA: Additionally, what Malik said.

[ 09. August 2011, 17:49: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarah G:
I suspect the main reason people are rioting is because it's fun. And you get to nick stuff.

Agreed. And it has an added buzz if you're angry and frustrated.

What overriding biological mechanism causes us to not do this stuff all of the time? Is it peer pressure and fear of the consequences, which could be losing our freedom, if we get caught?
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.
Why is this wrong though? That's what I've been thinking about these last few days actually.

Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
To put it another way, so far there doesn't seem to be any significant differences between the development of 2011 London unrest, and the development of 2005 Paris unrest.

Plenty. For a start, the Paris unrest was confined, mostly, to the banlieues where it's hard to find anything more than the most basic shops (no mobile phone or designer sportswear outlets), and where the violence was directed largely against the forces of law and order.
Hmm. Well, from where I'm standing, it looks as though the same is true of London.

London simply has nowhere that is like the Paris banlieues any more than it has anywhere like some US cities ethnic ghettoes. Its all much more mixed up than that. Though I suppose Thamesmead might look a little like some fo the grottier suburbs of Paris.

quote:

Okay - so designer sportswear outlets and mobile phone shops have been hit. But, for the most part, these are still designer sportswear and mobile phone shops in shopping centres that are close to areas of high deprivation.

True, but pretty much everywhere in inner London, and almost everywhere in Greater London is close to areas of high deprivation. Just as all the poorest areas are near to wealthy areas. Battersea (which is where Clapham Junction is) is right next to Clapham, and over the river from Chelsea. Brixton has its own posh bits. Peckham has its own posh bits, and the top end of it is only a mile or so south of the City, and the southern end a couple of miles north of Dulwich. Lewisham and Deptford are adjacent to Blackheath (& there is some pretty upmarket housing at Brokley and Telegraph Hill as well). Hackney also has its own posh bits, and its walking distance from the City. Tottenham and Enfield are a aort of industrial pseudopod of the East End up the Lea Valley but are overlooked by leafy suburbia on both sides. (A few years ago I took this photo here not far from Tottenham Hale where last week's shooting happened - I I walked past that very spot on my way back to the station - if you look carefully you can see Stamford Hill in the distance looking weirdly rural)

quote:

I don't know why it is, but the more fashionable areas of London and the Home Counties tend not to have such a high concentration of designer sportswear and mobile phone shops. Perhaps the more privileged classes think that sportswear and mobile phone chain stores are slightly chavvy, so the nimbys are more likely to object to them opening in the first place. Or maybe there's some other reason. I don't know.

True, there aren't a lot of posh shops getting looted. That might be because posh shops tend not to be in residential areas and most of this looting seems to be being done on foot - these kids don't have cars (though some have bicycles) and lots of them aren't old enough to drive. Also they know that it is easier to escape from the police on foot than in a car. And maybe they have no use for whatever it is they sell in Richmond that you can't get in Tooting.


The looted shops certainly look like a litany of grotty chavdom. If we can believe the blog I linked to earlier South East London's toll last night was:

New Cross: Curry's (looted)

Lewisham: Game Station (broken window), Superdrug (broken window), Mothercare (looted), Sports Direct (broken windows)

Peckham: Payday Loans, Corals bookies, Western Union, a chemist's, The Money Shop, Ladbrokes, Burger King, Poundland, Phones 4 U, Iceland, Primark, Clarks

Its not exactly Knightbridge or Mayfair is it?

Also notable that - at least in this area - they seem to have gone for chains rather than locally owned shops (though of course some of those may have been franchises branded as chains). I can think of half a dozen reasons why that might happen, not all mutually exclusive.

quote:

Mind you, one key difference I've noticed between London now and Paris in 2005 is that the police numbers have been ramped up far higher far earlier this time.

I think London may have more police than any other city in the world. Not sure how I would test that. The Met is definitely larger than NYPD - it has about 50,000 employees of which over 30,000 are trained police officers.
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
quote:
In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?
Well all the rage and frustration of being disenfranchised will eventually seek catharsis in the forms your seeing now and since they have no investment in your lovely world they'll think nothing of watching it burn.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Oh shit.

Here I was, hoping and praying that things might calm down and someone at the IPCC lets this out.

No, I think that's good news.

First, everyone already believed that anyway it can't make things worse.

Second, any other announcement would be treated as a provocative lie. (There are still people who think the New Cross fire of 1981 was murder and the police are lying about it)

Third, it justifies the stance of the original protestors so it enables them to stand down with honour.

Fourth it lets people see that "questions are being answered" and there may not be a cover-up and that the IPCC might not just be a tool of the police - which is probably what most Londoners think of it (including me to be honest)

But, as we have all said, it seems that the vast majority of these looters are not connected with the protest about Mr Dugan anyway, so it might not make much difference.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:


In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?

There's a thread elsewhere in Purg about whether Christians should be 'better' which has descended into a pointless argument about what it means by 'better'. It still has some relevance here and if you're a parent you will know that while there are times you don't like your kids, you still love them. That's what we are called to do for our fellow man, despite the injunctions of certain populist politicians.

If you don't like the Christian arguments then the John Donne quote 'No man is an island' might satisfy you.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
On the BBC news website Dr James Treadwell - a criminologist from the University of Leicester, suggests that the argument over whether this is about a reaction to deprivation or the chaos of a "feral underclass", is missing what's actually happening.

He says the looting -


quote:
Is much less about riot and protest and much more about opportunistic theft, usually by young men.

There are not the pitched battles between police and protesters that marked riots in the 1980s, or even the recent student protests, but are sporadic outbreaks of looting.

"It's about the acquisition of goods, it's quite planned, it's about getting hold of a new laptop," he says, describing this as a kind of violent materialism.

He describes this as "lawless masculinity", akin to football hooliganism, fuelled by excitement and consumerism, grabbing the items that give young men status - mobile phones, computers, trainers, jewellery.

"This is where having a new pair of trainers is the most important thing, where success is measured by the mobile phone or the jacket you're wearing,"

I think he's on to something there.
 
Posted by malik3000 (# 11437) on :
 
"a litany of grotty chavdom"

Politically incorrect, Ken, but quite a turn of phrase. [Snigger]

[ 09. August 2011, 18:38: Message edited by: malik3000 ]
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
True, but pretty much everywhere in inner London, and almost everywhere in Greater London is close to areas of high deprivation. Just as all the poorest areas are near to wealthy areas. Battersea (which is where Clapham Junction is) is right next to Clapham, and over the river from Chelsea. Brixton has its own posh bits. Peckham has its own posh bits, and the top end of it is only a mile or so south of the City, and the southern end a couple of miles north of Dulwich. Lewisham and Deptford are adjacent to Blackheath (& there is some pretty upmarket housing at Brokley and Telegraph Hill as well). Hackney also has its own posh bits, and its walking distance from the City. Tottenham and Enfield are a aort of industrial pseudopod of the East End up the Lea Valley but are overlooked by leafy suburbia on both sides.

All very true.

Which is what makes it all the more remarkable that the rioting appears to be concentrated in areas of high deprivation.

If the rich and the poor were living that closely cheek by jowl, then you'd have thought it wouldn't be possible to tell the difference.

I for one can't pretend I'm not scared. And I can't pretend that alleviating the fear is what motivates me to play the omen-spotting game. But trying to leave that aside for a moment, I can't help think it's a bit of a tragedy that people seem to be shitting on their own doorsteps.

Then again, targeting retail premises is arguably always going to net you richer pickings than residential properties. Even if those residential properties are in the leafier areas. It seems to me that the residential properties that have so far borne the greatest brunt of the unrest have been those above retailers - and above home furnishing retailers in particular.

quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
On the BBC news website Dr James Treadwell - a criminologist from the University of Leicester, suggests that the argument over whether this is about a reaction to deprivation or the chaos of a "feral underclass", is missing what's actually happening.

I agree. But the thing is, regardless of whether we blame the poor for their own poverty or not, and regardless of whether we think the poor are to be more pitied than the rich or not on the grounds that they're less likely to have insurance for this sort of thing - it still seems to me that we live in at least two cities.

You trash a shop just to half-inch the latest gadget, and it seems to me that the people who get caught in the cross-fire are far more likely to be poor than rich. It seems to me that rich people tend to live much much further away from shops than poor people.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
lawness masculinity ....isn't quite it though, is it?

our young women were out last night and the night before
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
quote:
In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?
Well all the rage and frustration of being disenfranchised will eventually seek catharsis in the forms your seeing now and since they have no investment in your lovely world they'll think nothing of watching it burn.
So is that all it boils down to?

Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
I for one can't pretend I'm not scared. And I can't pretend that alleviating the fear is what motivates me to play the omen-spotting game.

Damn my own bad proof-reading of my own posts. Should read, "And I can't pretend that wanting to alleviate that fear does not motivate me to play the omen-spotting game." Or something like that, anyway.

Ah, the whole sentence is confusing. Sorry about that. What I was trying to say is that I try to reassure myself that things aren't that bad, by looking for parallels with previous unrest, and in particular with the developments that brought such previous unrest to an end.

I'm confident that it will end eventually, I just hope it's sooner rather than later.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by malik3000:
"a litany of grotty chavdom"

Politically incorrect, Ken, but quite a turn of phrase. [Snigger]

I'm allowed to say that, I live here [Smile]
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

No it's not. Talk of fairness is the essence of being human.

But if that's too idealistic for you, the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" is no worse than "work like a slave for a pittance of a wage or I'll sack you".
 
Posted by shamwari (# 15556) on :
 
My parents lived in fairly run down rented properties.

My Dad died when I was 12.

My Mum brought me up as a single parent in straightened circumstances.

I was taught that covetesness was a sin, so was the ""get something for nothing" attitude. That I should work for what I wanted. That I should respect "authority". That I should stand up for what is right and strive for justice both economic and social.

It was a hard life. But at least it was a moral life.

And I have no sympathy nor would I attempt to justify/excuse what is going on in these riots.

The root causes of this madness seem to me to lie in a breakdown of basic morality inculcated by a breakdown of community and family.

And a loss of God.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

No it's not. Talk of fairness is the essence of being human.

But if that's too idealistic for you, the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" is no worse than "work like a slave for a pittance of a wage or I'll sack you".

And it seems to me both should be condemned, both the thugs who exploit labour are wrong, and also the thugs who riot and loot because of disengagement from society. Instead it seems to me that what we are saying is that labour exploitation is wrong (and rightly so), but that we should appease the other group you give through mechanisms which foster less social inequality? Why pander to any group?

You want to live in a society, you live by that society's rules surely. You want to disengage yourself from that society, fine - I don't think anyone is stopping you. But don't then come back creating havoc and whining about how you've been excluded from society.

Where does personal responsibility (and personal culpability) come in? Why should society (and myself as a member of society) share the blame for what is going on - most of us just go about our daily lives minding our own business without exploiting these people or bothering them in any way.
 
Posted by shamwari (# 15556) on :
 
I may add that I was left as the only white on a mission station when black students rioted in protest at Ian Smith's policies in Rhodesia ( the rest of the mission staff fled) and I know what it is to be beleagured and scared stiff and in danger of my life.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
You want to live in a society, you live by that society's rules surely.

Except that "work like a slave for a pittance or I'll fire you" is society's rules. It's inherently unfair.

But let me be clear: I do not for a second condone the looting, attacks on police, vandalism or any of the other violence that has happened since Saturday. Not for a single second. All I am trying to do is point out where the attitudes driving it come from. Expressing those attitudes in this way is wrong, but I believe that the attitudes themselves are not far wide of the mark.
 
Posted by Geneviève (# 9098) on :
 
So the question still remains: what are the root causes? And just because the looters are not all poor, I don't think simply calling what's happening "greed and opportunism" explains everything.....unless of course you are willing to say that same thing about members of parliament, etc...without the perjorative leaning so heavily on the looters.
I do wonder about a breakdown in society's morals. I don't see--in the US at any rate--and this is a GENERALITY--a sense that the common good is important. What's important is getting it for me and then for my group.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Geneviève:
So the question still remains: what are the root causes? And just because the looters are not all poor, I don't think simply calling what's happening "greed and opportunism" explains everything.....unless of course you are willing to say that same thing about members of parliament, etc...without the perjorative leaning so heavily on the looters.
I do wonder about a breakdown in society's morals. I don't see--in the US at any rate--and this is a GENERALITY--a sense that the common good is important. What's important is getting it for me and then for my group.

I still think that opportunism is a big part of it - however, I agree with you that this doesn't fully explain it - because it doesn't explain why every city all over the world doesn't have year round rioting, and why, when these riots do start, they tend not to run for more than a few weeks.

Mark Duggan was seen as a martyr. Mistakenly, perhaps, but whether the view is mistaken or not is beside the point. People were frustrated at being fobbed off by the police, a few people allowed those frustrations to spill over - and a bunch of rubbernecking onlookers thought, "hey, the police can't handle this", and decided to make the most of the situation. As you do.

I still suspect that a lot of the people who have perpetuated the rioting probably think they have little or nothing to lose. Whether they think they are fighting for a cause or not may have been relevant in the early stages, but I don't think it's quite so relevant to the continuation of unrest.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
You want to live in a society, you live by that society's rules surely.

Except that "work like a slave for a pittance or I'll fire you" is society's rules. It's inherently unfair.

Not in modern Britain. People do receive a fair wage, most people are not expected to work like a slave, and there are employment tribunals for things termination without just cause. And when people do find themselves unemployed there are jobseekers allowances and assistance to obtaining further employment.

The mechanisms and structures are in place for people to use them. There's education, health and assistance in employment. This is why many people from abroad, myself included, come to the UK and enjoy a very decent standard of living.

I'm unsure what more it is that do people want? It seems to me that they also have Blackberries, and Nike trainers - so they're clearly not living in abject poverty. In fact in the CCTV photographs of the looters on various websites, you can see on some of them clearly the trademark white earphones demonstrating possession of a not inexpensive apple technology device whether an iphone or an ipod. How can these people be compared to 'slaves'?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.
Why is this wrong though? That's what I've been thinking about these last few days actually.

Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?

It's funny, but there's a class above you that thinks exactly the same way (except for the paying taxes and obeying the law bit).

I suppose it depends what you're prepared to do to isolate you and yours from the 'others'. Will you be suggesting culling them at some point, either actively hunting them down or passively walling them up and starving them? Both of those, I'd argue, are sub-Christian responses.

So given that a) you have a vested interest in making sure sporadic rioting doesn't become a feature, and b) you're not proposing some sort of Final Solution, you're going to have to engage with the problem at some level.
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
quote:
So is that all it boils down to?

Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

I guess if "what you have" is equal access to education and opportunities for promotion and growth, freedom from race/ethnicity based profiling and violence by authorities, a place at the political table where legitimate concerns are heard and inclusion into the larger community without demands for complete loss of identity, then yes, I guess fairness comes down to giving them what you have.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.
Why is this wrong though? That's what I've been thinking about these last few days actually.

Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?

It's funny, but there's a class above you that thinks exactly the same way (except for the paying taxes and obeying the law bit).

I suppose it depends what you're prepared to do to isolate you and yours from the 'others'. Will you be suggesting culling them at some point, either actively hunting them down or passively walling them up and starving them? Both of those, I'd argue, are sub-Christian responses.

So given that a) you have a vested interest in making sure sporadic rioting doesn't become a feature, and b) you're not proposing some sort of Final Solution, you're going to have to engage with the problem at some level.

I sort of see your point.

I guess if people were phrasing it in this way - i.e. we have to help them because we have an obligation to ourselves, rather than we have to help them because we have some sort of inherent obligation to them / or that we are in some way also responsible for their situation - then I think it makes it easier for people to swallow. The inverse blame card, where somehow we are partly to blame for this situation just feels like a harder sell for me personally.

Having said that we help them because if we don't they riot and it's cheaper this way also somehow feels - there's that word again - 'unfair'. Why should they be rewarded for potential misbehaviour? We don't reward a child for throwing a tantrum after all.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
People do receive a fair wage, most people are not expected to work like a slave, and there are employment tribunals for things termination without just cause.

You honestly think the minimum wage is a fair wage? Or that people working hard to make ends meet can't be kinda-bullied into taking extra shifts without overtime? If you do then I suspect you're in fantasy land.

quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
And when people do find themselves unemployed there are jobseekers allowances and assistance to obtaining further employment.

Well that's partially true. Except that in the area of north London where the first violence was on Saturday, there were 54 people registered as unemployed for every job advertised. Getting from jobseekers into a job is a very difficult task in that environment.

quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
How can these people be compared to 'slaves'?

Okay, so that was slightly hyperbolic language, but you knew that, and the fact that you pick up on my rhetoric means that you don't really have much to say about the main point. Perhaps 'captives' would be better than 'slaves'. People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves. I think I'm right in saying that a recent study had Britain dead last for social mobility amongst developed nations. If I was in that position, I would lose hope. I would feel that society was out to get me, and that the institutions that make society run (like the police) were not acting in my interest. I would be angry. And while I would like to think that I wouldn't resort to looting, I can't be absolutely sure of that. And that is especially true if I had grown up in that environment and it was all I had ever known.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
quote:
So is that all it boils down to?

Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

I guess if "what you have" is equal access to education and opportunities for promotion and growth, freedom from race/ethnicity based profiling and violence by authorities, a place at the political table where legitimate concerns are heard and inclusion into the larger community without demands for complete loss of identity, then yes, I guess fairness comes down to giving them what you have.
But many of them can achieve all that without burning the place down?

There are many from much poorer backgrounds than what we know about those looting, particularly those from East Asian immigrant communities, who have achieved significantly in the education, politics, have good relations with the police, and have managed to preserve their cultural identity.

This appears to be a problem with certain individuals/groups rather than entire communities.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
I guess if people were phrasing it in this way - i.e. we have to help them because we have an obligation to ourselves, rather than we have to help them because we have some sort of inherent obligation to them / or that we are in some way also responsible for their situation - then I think it makes it easier for people to swallow. The inverse blame card, where somehow we are partly to blame for this situation just feels like a harder sell for me personally.

But I feel like I do have an obligation to 'them'. I am the product of privilege. I was born into a family which valued education, which taught me a work ethic, the value of money, and that you should take all reasonable steps to be a constructive member of society. I am thoroughly grateful for that. But a lot of people didn't have that headstart in society. Some people make it despite circumstances, and they should be applauded. I feel like it is incumbent on me to work to extend the opportunities that I had to everyone. That is not to say that I am to blame for the opportunities that I had, or that I am to blame for the lack of opportunities afforded to someone else. But it is right and proper that I do my bit to make society more equal, and that I use the products of my privilege to help me do so.

But I guess you disagree with that, because it's not in your immediate self-interest.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves.

But that's the thing - there are people who do make a better life for themselves! Surely it's incumbent upon those who don't to examine the causes of why they don't starting with themselves first and then pointing fingers at others? What I've seen (first hand) is that when a new centre was built in a deprived school, it quickly became vandalised, hardly anyone took advantage of (free) Saturday lessons offered by teaching staff, teachers who do try to go the extra mile by befriending pupils are subject to verbal abuse. It seems to me that people need to want to help themselves first surely?
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
Two things have occurred to me while reading this thread.

One is what I saw during riots in Brixton which I accidentally drove into and had difficulty getting out of. I never imagined I would be so pleased to see a line of riot police. (We were behind them.) At one point we were stopped in a network of streets off Water Lane, where people were running about in and out of houses, carrying bottles (which I presumed and presume were intended for Molotov cocktails). The behaviour looked like the Hungarian rising. The faces looked like carnival. They were having fun, and that was scarey.

The other is much earlier, and is contributory to that attitude to the police you may have spotted above, and I post it in support of the account above of the girl who felt harassed by the police.

I am white and middle class, daughter of a teacher and a chartered accountant, brought up in a Congregational Church environment. I became a teacher myself. One day, soon after I bought my first home, I took a colleague back home for tea. It would have been in the late 70s, and we would have been about 30. She too was middle class and white. Just to make the background clear.

After tea, I drove her home to a house near the school, in my turquoise Hillman Imp, taking only my keys. On the way we drove past a garage where a police car was drawn up. My impression was that the occupants were eating something which might have been fish and chips. I turned right just after the garage, then left, and set off down the road towards my friend's home. Suddenly I saw the police car behind, blue lights flashing, and pulled in. The two officers got out and strolled up. I tried to remember whether the advice for drivers in that situation was to stay in the car, or to get out. I elected to stay in.

What followed might, if the boys' conversation had been more intelligent, have been described as Kafka-esque. One checked the rear lights, where there was no problem. One suggested that they had to check to see if the car had been stolen. I said that it had not been reported stolen, as I was the owner. They demanded identity proof. They said they could not let me go until I showed it. I was pretty sure that they had no right to do this, but no proof, and their reaction to me was getting edgy. I suggested they went to ask at any of the houses with toys in the garden, where the parents would identify us as teachers at the local school. This was not acceptable. I suggested that one of them got in my car and we went to the police station to sort out the situation. This was also not acceptable. Eventually, my friend produced her credit card, and off we went.

I have been angry, in a subdued way, ever since, that I did not then go to the station and report them. I believe the two of them spotted us and thought we were younger, and it was an attempted pick up. I remember it every time I see a car stopped and the police with a black guy. I've even seen that outside my old home, where I'd never seen a black driver. I know that they are not supposed to stop black drivers preferentially, but I see more black drivers stopped than white, even where I see more white drivers than black, and some of them driving illegally. Being stopped unjustly rankles. And if once rankles me still, how much more must the more frequent stops rankle?

Penny
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
On the news today they showed Boris trying to do his "one of the people" act with a broom, helping in the tidying up efforts ( which are not being reported as much, of course, because this is normal people doing good things, and so is not newsworthy ). The general reaction seemed to be "Fuck off and provide us with proper police protection, you arrogant tosspot".

Which, TBH, I support. The cleanup is an example of people making a stand for their own local communities. Boris is trying to make some political gain from this, and people saw through this, and realised that Boris was part of the problem, not the solution.

The root causes of the disturbances are significantly political - in the sense that the political decisions have caused real suffering and real problems.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
...People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves...

Bull puckey. There are always choices to make a better life and create opportunities for yourself. It's too easy to accept a defeatist attitude and blame environment, economics, social status, government, crappy parents, etc., etc. At some point, the individual has to step up to the fact they are ultimately responsible for making the best of circumstances, however dire.

There's no sense in throwing a monkey wrench into the works by giving up and looking for easy excuses. Bah!
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
Xpost with angelicum
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
Here's an interesting article on what turns people into looters.

Whilst on the one hand I am scared, and very much wish that the unrest will end as soon as possible - on the other hand, when I read stories of the looting, part of me thinks, "Damn, why aren't I there too, picking up free stuff for myself?"

In all honesty, it's because I think the practical arrangements that are necessary to get the looted stuff back to my flat with minimum risk of getting injured or arrested are too difficult to put in place. Especially given the fact that there are other things important to me that I have planned over the next few days, and I would rather those plans were not derailed by me being arrested or injured. Indeed, those same plans are also part of the reason why the continuation of unrest scares me.

So I can quite understand that a person who does not have the same plans for the next few days that I have, will have a different cost-benefit analysis about looting, and may therefore make a different decision.

So I can't honestly say I'm a better person morally. And I suspect that those who pretend that they are better people, are talking out of their arses. The stuff that Paul says in Romans about no-one being righteous springs to mind.

Then again, some people might say that having plans for the future of yourself and the people around you, is what "community cohesion" means.
 
Posted by shamwari (# 15556) on :
 
Imaginary Friend evidences the typical patronising attitude which is a part-cause of the problems.

(s)he says that they must use their priveliged upbringing to ensure justice and fair play for the deprived and dispossessed.

And in so doing condones and excuses and justifies the mindless excesses which the so-called dispossesed engage in.

Come off it. Try living in a country where there is no minimum wage (sneering written off as hopelessly inadequate); no state benefits and you might have a point.

What constitutes the "poverty line" in the UK represents riches undreamed of in the 3rd World and Imaginary Friend would be better off getting a sense of perspective and a proper sense of priorities and using their "guilty" sense of privelige to direct their angst towards 3rd World poverty and deprivation.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
At this point, we don't know if there was police misconduct.
The first role of the police is to protect the public.
The first role of the police is the same as the first rule of doctors, and is 'first, do no harm'.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

Why should somebody respect property where it doesn't necessarily align with their own admittedly selfish causes?
Looting is certainly selfish. For one's own short-term benefit it trades the long-term common good. But what else is wrong with it? Why should you care about society's rules if society's rules were made only to benefit people who aren't like you?
It seems to me that what we are saying is that property damage is wrong (and rightly so), but that we should appease the propertied classes and business by respecting property. Why pander to any group?
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
But that's the thing - there are people who do make a better life for themselves!

quote:
Originally posted by Alfred E. Neuman:
There are always choices to make a better life and create opportunities for yourself. It's too easy to accept a defeatist attitude and blame environment, economics, social status, government, crappy parents, etc., etc. At some point, the individual has to step up to the fact they are ultimately responsible for making the best of circumstances, however dire.

All I'm saying is that if I faced those odds, I don't know that I'd make it. So while you're right that personal responsibility has to come at some point, it makes me pause before I judge those in that situation too harshly.

shamwari, I do not condone or excuse anything, and I have not said that at any point on this thread. I would appreciate it if you don't put words in my mouth. And your point about third world poverty is merely a tactic to avoid the issue at hand.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
Since my last post, I have become ever so slightly more cynical.

It has occurred to me that perhaps people make a pretence of not understanding why people riot and loot, in order to appear more civilised than the mob, when in fact they know full well why people do it, but simply don't want to let on. It's a game of collective denial.

It has also occurred to me that perhaps it might be a good idea for me to make such a pretence myself too, lest anyone mistakes me for one of the rioters. Can't have that, now, can we?

quote:
Originally posted by shamwari:
What constitutes the "poverty line" in the UK represents riches undreamed of in the 3rd World and Imaginary Friend would be better off getting a sense of perspective and a proper sense of priorities and using their "guilty" sense of privelige to direct their angst towards 3rd World poverty and deprivation.

Good point. But the trouble with your reasoning there is that if the only thing that causes riots is absolute poverty, then these riots would never have happened in the first place.

I think we have to make a distinction between the cause of the rioting, and the cause of the looting. It's all very well to say that people in Britain are better off than people in the third world - but that's no good if you honestly think the police care so little about you that they would put a bullet in your head on the flimsiest pretext. All the Blackberrys and flat screen TVs in the world won't compensate for that.

But supposing for a moment you've got over that one, and have come to develop a fatalistic attitude to your own mortality as a result. Being bombarded with constant advertising for stuff you know you can't afford is likely to get your goat after a while, especially when the people around you seem to be bragging about what they've got that you haven't.

Put the rich and the poor close together, and it potentially makes things very explosive.
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
Just a thought. A poor household probably means that one or both parents are out of work, so they have now, and in the past, had time to spend with the children.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
And still we puzzle as to the root of these events. I have been particularly struck by the international comparisons. Others it seems are far worse off off than the communities affected in London, but still retain a general level of lawfulness.

It reminds me of a sermon where the speaker was musing on Jesus's teaching on the sermon on the mount about how God sees the human heart. Lust is equated with adultery and anger with hate. The inner motivation is treated as seriously as the outward act. Why? Well in the opinion of the speaker it's because the motivation is an indication of what we would do if we though we could get away with it. There is a lawless individual lurking inside each of us. Now and again this person sees the opportunity to get out and express themselves. When individuals do it we may get individual crime, personal hurt, a breakdown in friendships. When they are released collectively in groups and gangs we see riots and disorder.

There is no mechanistic formula to trigger their emergence. But when there is a sudden and collective feeling of being emboldened to express themselves - because they think they can - the usually hidden lawless person makes its appearance.

Doubtless some of the people involved will, on reflection, say 'I don't know what made me do it.' It's like a collective madness that suddenly erupts, only to return to its lair when its energy has disspated.

I noticed a call to an hour of prayer this evening posted across Facebook. Testament I suggest to the conviction that whatever other causes there are to the current lawlessness part of it is down to unseen influences, psychological or spiritual depending on your outlook. And part of the solution can only come from the unseen restraining hand that prevents this craziness materialising with greater impact and frequency.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
Shamwari says
quote:
What constitutes the "poverty line" in the UK represents riches undreamed of in the 3rd World and Imaginary Friend would be better off getting a sense of perspective and a proper sense of priorities and using their "guilty" sense of privelige to direct their angst towards 3rd World poverty and deprivation.
Quit your crying son. I've only beat you with a switch. Jerry's dad beats him with a great big branch. You should feel grateful, you should.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

Why should somebody respect property where it doesn't necessarily align with their own admittedly selfish causes?
Looting is certainly selfish. For one's own short-term benefit it trades the long-term common good. But what else is wrong with it?

there's a difference between stealing which is selfish but also destructive of other people, and the scenario which my post which you quoted describes.

Stealing is an action. Someone gets hurt that they wouldn't otherwise have. Whereas the attitude which I have described above (of inaction, or rather of focusing solely on my own individual/familial needs) does not necessarily involve depriving other people of anything.

Both are selfish actions I accept, but the difference between the two are not solely degrees of selfishness, but it is a qualitative difference.

quote:
It seems to me that what we are saying is that property damage is wrong (and rightly so), but that we should appease the propertied classes and business by respecting property. Why pander to any group?
But protecting property is not pandering to one group of people, it's respecting all groups of people, including the so-called looters themselves. They too have property they wish to protect and do not wish for me to steal.

[ 09. August 2011, 21:33: Message edited by: angelicum ]
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
I think there is a culture of "respect" and the rioters think the police treat them with dis-respect. Rioting & looting is a show of strength and honour!
- out-witting those that disrespect them.
 
Posted by Shadowhund (# 9175) on :
 
It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
The convergence theory of crowd psychology suggests people come together in large groups simply because of a shared interest or objective - in this case, the desire for loot. Another aspect is the same as you see at live sport events - not so much the game itself but the desire to share the crowd's emotion and revel in it.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
One commentator described this as "violent materialism." Seems as good a description as any.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
I think we need to make a sharp distinction between people who torch buildings and those who loot. People loot because they want stuff, and they can probably get away with it.

Torching buildings is not as easy to understand, and the results are far more damaging to the community. If a row of shops is set ablaze, the businesses will probably not return to the community. This leaves the people who live in the area without grocery shores, dry cleaners, etc. This is hardest on the poorest; they can't afford to take taxis to do errands, and they can't carry very many groceries on the bus.

A number of commercial buildings in Washington DC were burnt after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Years later there were still no local stores, and everyone's quality of life suffered greatly.

Moo
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I'm surprised nobody seems to be prepared to admit that rioting is fun. It's wrong, like a lot of things. I've never done it. But we can all recognise and tell that people get a kick out of it. Cut the high-mindedness and the soul-searching explanations. There's an edgy buzz to rioting. That's why it spreads. That's why they send twitters to each other saying where it's happening, just like they do for raves and for football violence.
 
Posted by Paddy O'Furniture (# 12953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
May I add another, briefly? I think it might even be the principal cause of the rioting (as opposed to the non-violent protesting): opportunistic thuggery and theft.

Yes! This was a BIG thing during the W.T.O. riots in Seattle, back in the late 1990's. I lived there then and saw firsthand that there were a lot of people who were actively inciting others to violence and vandalism. It was really shocking to me and made me forever leery of all protest mobs.
 
Posted by bib (# 13074) on :
 
I spoke to a group of teenagers and asked them for their explanation about what has happened. I'm afraid they listed : because it would be a blast; because it's exciting; because its fun; because they were bored; and finally "who cares"?
What has happened in our schools and families that permits these attitudes to develop? Is it all to do with instant satisfaction and gratification?
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
...What has happened in our schools and families that permits these attitudes to develop? Is it all to do with instant satisfaction and gratification?

"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love chatter in
places of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."

~Socrates
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
At dinner we decided that Rupert Murdoch is paying the rioters and looters, just to get the phonehacking scandal off the front page.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alfred E. Neuman:
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
...People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves...

Bull puckey. There are always choices to make a better life and create opportunities for yourself. It's too easy to accept a defeatist attitude and blame environment, economics, social status, government, crappy parents, etc., etc. At some point, the individual has to step up to the fact they are ultimately responsible for making the best of circumstances, however dire.
...

When there are no examples of good choices, its hard to choose them.

Otherwise the people on here saying its a breakdown of the family are, in your opinion, wrong.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shadowhund:
It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.

They arn't pedophiles.

Different crimes in very different situations.

In particular, given this is a board dealing with working out Christendom, you are going to be dealing with particular outrage at how the RC administration has dealt with that issue.

I suspect if some preacher paid rioters to do community work somewhat and enabled the rioters to avoid arrest by moving them to other parts of the country, and offered to pay hush money to families attempting to sue his church for damages caused by the riots, while pressuring said people with the force of a hierachical church, that the outrage from liberals on this board would be harsh.

And, I've yet to see anybody on here saying the looting is a good thing.
 
Posted by Wesley J (# 6075) on :
 
Interesting comment (as so often) by our Captain's namesake, Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian. He is pointing his finger at the stunning lack of local elected politician to stand up and step in an article entitled 'UK riots: In this crisis, our cities need local leaders with real power. - The vacuum of authority below our centralised state leaves the police with the impossible task of keeping order alone.'

The Home Secretary seems to have taken control of all policing nationwide, with no go-betweens, as seems the PM, he says, and that besides a handful of people like the Labour MP Diane Abbott (one time candidate for Labour party leadership), no politician with strong local roots has been seen to intervene publically and on site.

While I cannot possibly say if all this is correct, his comments certainly seem valid.
 
Posted by Timothy the Obscure (# 292) on :
 
The question to ask is "Why now?"

Saying it's because of "greed" doesn't answer that question, unless you believe that the level of greed can suddenly surge for no reason other than poor people's innate nastiness (Rich people are notoriously greedy--why don't they ever riot and loot? Unless you count Enron and AIG as looting.) Which is just as stupid as the notion that unemployment is caused by laziness, the implication of which is that there was an epidemic of laziness a few years ago that is still going on.

None of which implies that the rioters are revolutionaries or that what they are doing is justified. But it may have some implications for how you keep it from happening again.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
When there are no examples of good choices, its hard to choose them. Otherwise the people on here saying its a breakdown of the family are, in your opinion, wrong.

How can there not be examples of good choices? No one lives in a bubble surrounded only by family - (if that's what you're suggesting).

Imaginary Friend claimed, "People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves..." and that's simply not true. Yes, a bad or non-existent family can make your outlook grim, poverty can limit your resources and opportunities, your environment can limit vision but there are too many examples of success in rising above these things to suggest there's "no chance to make a better life..."

We shouldn't forget there are many youth staying away from the destruction and rioting who have the same miserable living conditions as the looters - did they make a choice? Or has every single disavantaged youth in London gone home with a new iPod and hoody in the last three days?
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Alfred, schools do work very hard to teach children different ways to behave - a regular conversation at primary school age is "that may be what you do at home, but what you do in school is ..." because otherwise you're telling youngsters what they learn at home and spend the vast majority of their lives living through is wrong and a lot of kids can't deal with that. They have to grow up enough to work that one out for themselves, and often have to stop living in a situation where their old home ways are reinforced physically at the end of a belt or whatever. But if there is no relationship with the school, lots of truancy, peer pressure to reinforce lawlessness, it's very difficult to change attitudes.

We've taken generations to build this underclass. We're not going to change it immediately, it's going to take a long time to change it back. As someone who works with kids in these situations, you'd go mad if you thought you were going to fix it immediately, you can only continue hoping to sow seeds of change and nurture and small growths.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
...We've taken generations to build this underclass. We're not going to change it immediately, it's going to take a long time to change it back.

Unfortunately, we've always had an underclass and probably always will - but the mean level of misery is always improving over time. Can anyone say the disadvantaged youth of the 21st century London are worse off than, say, the 17th?

Not that it's an excuse for giving up on further improvement. All I'm suggesting is we keep things in perspective.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
I haven't followed the events in depth, but have heard the headlines.

ISTM that the shooting by police was the trigger. We've had assorted "cops shoot black or homeless man under iffy circumstances" incidents here (SF Bay Area), over the last few years. There were riots when unarmed Oscar Grant was shot by a transit cop, who supposedly thought he was pulling out his taser instead of his gun. When a knife-wielding, possibly mentally-ill, man was shot in another BART subway station, a couple of months back, protesters stopped the trains--during commute hours.

And then there were riots and looting here after the Rodney King verdict.

And IIRC we had a WTO riot here, too, with store-smashing anarchists.

I don't condone violent protests (especially not the self-proclaimed anarchists who mess up peaceful protests). But pressures build up. If the root situations aren't improved, then the pressures will blow up.

I don't know what it's like to be a person of color. I do know that they're often treated miserably, and have to live with being targeted for DWB ("driving while black or brown). And, despite some progress, that never seems to end. Look at all the people who don't accept Barack Obama as president.

I think that, sometimes, people really can't do much--or anything--to better their situation. I know what it's like to be stuck with a very bad streak of luck for a very long time, try all sorts of things to improve the situation, and be met with obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. And as to welfare, unemployment insurance, etc., in the US those can be very hard to get, and even harder to keep.

So if one strand of the London rioting is utter fury at bad situations, I can relate to some of that.

The violence is wrong, both ethically and tactically. At least, wrong tactically in the short run. Sometimes, it does work in the middle run. Powers are toppled, concessions are made, etc. But it falls apart again in the long run.

Anyway, I hope that the rioters chill out *soon*.
 
Posted by tomsk (# 15370) on :
 
Yes. There's always been an underclass. Here's what Charles Booth says about the lowest class (vicious semi-criminal) in 1889. In relation to his Poverty Map of London.

"The lowest class which consists of some occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals. Their life is the life of savages, with vicissitudes of extreme hardship and their only luxury is drink"

The underclass, or the conditions giving rise to it, is probably left to fester. It's only when it breaks into the open that much notice is taken. As Aumbry said upthread, the social problems aren't addressed, perhaps because we're too comfortable and it's too difficult.
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shadowhund:
It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.

Whilst I share your detestation of the hand-wringers, I think your comparison with 'pedophile Catholic priests' is crass in the extreme.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Marvin thinks we should napalm the council estates.

No. I think we should napalm the rioters. BIG difference.
 
Posted by ExclamationMark (# 14715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sylvander:

The police are not all whiter than white and blameless, some are themselves mindless thugs, and some are lovely upstanding members of the community. You can't make sweeping assumptions that all teenagers are wrong and all policemen are right.

It's an interesting point that Street Pastors have reduced crime simply because they get to the teenagers before the Police and don't wind them up in the same way.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
The question to ask is "Why now?"

And the answer is "because an opportunity presented itself".

Let's not beat around the bush - these people aren't after political change, or better (legitimate) prospects in life. They're just after free bling.

However many community or youth facilities you build for them (which they'll just vandalise), however many more jobs you create (which they won't do), however much you give them through welfare (which they won't appreciate), the fact remains that next time there's a big enough spark they'll be back out on the streets looting the shit out of any shops that stock things they want.

People talk of deprivation. But what are these people stealing that they don't already have? They'll all have TVs at home - maybe not as big as the ones they're stealing, but still perfectly good. They'll all have shoes to wear - maybe not as expensive as the ones they're stealing, but still perfectly good. They don't lack any of these things, they just want bigger, better and more versions of them. And if that's what constitutes poverty in modern Britain, then as a country I think we're doing bloody well.
 
Posted by la vie en rouge (# 10688) on :
 
Did anyone hear Radio 4 just after the 8 o'clock news this morning? In interviews with some of the looters in Manchester (one in particular), it seemed to me that even they didn't really know why they were there.

The kid admitted that he was stealing stuff (trainers) that he could afford to buy. When asked what he would think if someone burgled his family's house, he said he thought it would be "outrageous". So why was he doing it? His answer basically boiled down to "because I can and I'm not going to get caught." I suppose the one telling thing about that is that the motivation is at least as much "**** the police" as it is about wanting the stuff.
 
Posted by ExclamationMark (# 14715) on :
 
If it is political, why don't the rioters hit Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament or Mr and Mrs Battenburg at Buckingham Palace? Or, for a real statement, how about the Olympic Stadium or the Dome?

Nah, they won't. It's piggy backing on a protest but borne out of boredom and the possibility of "respect" within their micro community for their behaviour.

There is a huge history of popular protest at all levels from the Gordon Riots, Tolpuddle, Luddism, Cambridgeshire Farm Fires (1860's), Trafalgar Square (1888), the General Strike, the Miners Strike, Grunwick, Orgreave --- the 19th century was shot through by such protest and it's only the sanitisation of history that prevents us seeing that. Supposedly even then "everyone knew their place" but not everyone was happy with it, funnily enough.

If people see MP's (supposed law makers) breaking the law and getting away with it with their snouts firmly in the trough, they will react. If the Police are heavy handed (which we know they can be with truncheons and horses - why on earth they need those[horses] I don't know), it will provoke a response.

A middle class police force protects the middle class who shout loudly: no one looks after the "underclass" Not many police live in the community they work in. There are bad policemen just as there are bad people in any job - the problem is that their track record of dealing with problems is lamentably poor and cover ups so extreme that very very few people trust the whole concept of the police at all. Sadly, there's a few who join who like to swing their weight around a bit with a uniform to back them up.

By the way, have you ever thought of what effect it has on ordinary people when you are referred to as the underclass or as living in council housing? I had a gutful of it when I was/did and a good few people did their level best to keep me there. School included. Sadly for them, I can read and write and I didn't mind hard work.

Lastly, the middle class nature of so much polemic is plain: the concept of children being at home with their family is arrant nonsense for most of the rioters. The only family they have is the street gang. As for the Head Policeman at New Scotland Yard asking "Do you knwo where your children are?", he probably know more than most parents.

[ 10. August 2011, 09:03: Message edited by: ExclamationMark ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
the concept of children being at home with their family is arrant nonsense for most of the rioters. The only family they have is the street gang. As for the Head Policeman at New Scotland Yard asking "Do you knwo where your children are?", he probably know more than most parents.

I completely agree. And that is the root cause of the rioting. The breakdown of the family. Bad and/or absent parenting.

So how to fix that? That's the question.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Mr Boogie likes to dabble in stocks and shares. He's looking for firms which manufacture electronic tags as it looks like there could be quite a demand for such items ...
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shadowhund:
It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.

Fuck you. In a purgatorial way. The Catholic priests issue is a longer term issue, serious and challenging.

But I have not heard ANYONE say that the rioters are justified in what they are doing. OK, there are some explanations as to why people brought up with high expectations that they cannot achieve get angry.

Yes there are other problems in the world. There are bigger problems that kill more people and we should be more concerned about. But the truth is that we ALWAYS focus on the more local problems - ours, the ones we can see, the ones that are affected. And the truth is that those problems are also important. The truth is that my problems are important. They may be less globally important than famine. They may be less important than whatever you deflect your own pain onto, but they are also important.

I cannot save the world on my own. I can help one person at a time.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wesley J:
He is pointing his finger at the stunning lack of local elected politician to stand up and step in ...

A couple of our local councillors observed what was going on and kept us informed about what was happening (or more often what wasn't) by Twitter and Facebook, and helped organise some clean-up. But how could they "step in" in the riot? To the police they are just getting in the way, to be cleared off the streets along with the rest of us. To the looters they are probably completely irrelevant, and if anyone cares that they are elected councillors at all they are likely to think of them as just another authority figure and therefore the enemy.

quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
If it is political, why don't the rioters hit Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament or Mr and Mrs Battenburg at Buckingham Palace?

A riot might have political causes but not political targets. Pretty much all human activity has political causes.

It looks as if the first riot in Tottenham was directed against police to start with - though it wasn't the largest attack on police in London in recent years by a long way. But after that not.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alfred E. Neuman:
Can anyone say the disadvantaged youth of the 21st century London are worse off than, say, the 17th?

Of course not. But then the level of violence is nothing like it was in the 17th century either. Or the 18th, or a large part of the 19th. The notorious "London Mob" was a lot scarier than this lot. But it more or less hasn't existed since before the Great War - though a ghost or shadow of it occasionally drags itself out of the grave certain football matches
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Marvin thinks we should napalm the council estates.

No. I think we should napalm the rioters. BIG difference.
Hmmmmm. As the main damage actually caused by the riots in London was done by fires, that would seem to be risky if not counter-productive. Or maybe positively insane.

And as a lot of the looting was done within yards of large numbers of people who weren't robbing or rioting (including me at one point) it would also hurt a lot more of the innocent than the guilty.

And as the looting was done by small groups of people moving around fast, not by large concentrations of rioters in one place, who would the target be? Same goes for naive talk about water cannon or the army.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:

If people see MP's (supposed law makers) breaking the law and getting away with it with their snouts firmly in the trough, they will react.

I have heard this trotted out on a number of occasions. I have to say I find it difficult to believe that the MPs' expenses scandal is even a flicker on the conciousness of most rioters.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:

If people see MP's (supposed law makers) breaking the law and getting away with it with their snouts firmly in the trough, they will react.

I have heard this trotted out on a number of occasions. I have to say I find it difficult to believe that the MPs' expenses scandal is even a flicker on the conciousness of most rioters.
Sure, but it does tend to indicate that the 'lack of respect for the common good' isn't restricted to some notional underclass. The MPs just have more socially acceptable ways of stealing from other people.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
the concept of children being at home with their family is arrant nonsense for most of the rioters. The only family they have is the street gang. As for the Head Policeman at New Scotland Yard asking "Do you knwo where your children are?", he probably know more than most parents.

I completely agree. And that is the root cause of the rioting. The breakdown of the family. Bad and/or absent parenting.

So how to fix that? That's the question.

By reducing inequality in society. That, at least, is the conclusion of the The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. It's full of statistics and well-researched evidence, and is a book mentioned with approval by David Cameron amongst many others (in case you think I'm only banging on in my left-leaning way again).

You can read an extract of it in the New Statesman , but it's worth reading the whole book because you then get all the data it's based on, and can make up your own mind if it makes a valid argument. You can also find that evidence at the Equality Trust . There's even a section in the book which explains why disaffected young men are so desperate to get their hands on particular phones and trainers, something most of us can't see as important at all.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Marvin thinks we should napalm the council estates.

No. I think we should napalm the rioters. BIG difference.
Hmmmmm. As the main damage actually caused by the riots in London was done by fires, that would seem to be risky if not counter-productive. Or maybe positively insane.
Obviously. Actually napalming the fuckers would be a terrible move, For all the reasons you describe and more. But one can dream of such instant retribution being brought to bear, can't one?
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
If it is political, why don't the rioters hit Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament or Mr and Mrs Battenburg at Buckingham Palace? Or, for a real statement, how about the Olympic Stadium or the Dome?

Nah, they won't. It's piggy backing on a protest but borne out of boredom and the possibility of "respect" within their micro community for their behaviour.

There is a huge history of popular protest at all levels from the Gordon Riots, Tolpuddle, Luddism, Cambridgeshire Farm Fires (1860's), Trafalgar Square (1888), the General Strike, the Miners Strike, Grunwick, Orgreave --- the 19th century was shot through by such protest and it's only the sanitisation of history that prevents us seeing that. Supposedly even then "everyone knew their place" but not everyone was happy with it, funnily enough.

These disturbances are not 'political' in the sense that they are protest demonstrations like the above-mentioned. Of course not.

Cholera and similar diseases were rife in the 19th century and earlier. They were much rarer amongst the middle and upper classes than among the poor. That is because poor diet, poor housing conditions and generally unhealthy surroundings made the poor susceptible in a way that was unlikely for the well-housed and well-fed.

In a similar way, social diseases such as apathy, boredom, mindless violence are more likely to flourish where people are deprived of stimulating environments, access to education, stable family life and so on. There is of course a moral responsibility involved in succumbing to this disease which is not true of physical diseases, and the vast majority of people, even young unemployed people, in the areas affected are as horrified as the rest of us (and indeed led the teams sweeping up on the morning after).

But only God can compare the relative culpability of those who respond to the temptations of violence to those, most of us, who have never been tempted in this way. Let alone to those who have given way to the temptations of greed in the stock exchange, the banking system etc.

[ 10. August 2011, 10:18: Message edited by: Angloid ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Sure, but it does tend to indicate that the 'lack of respect for the common good' isn't restricted to some notional underclass. The MPs just have more socially acceptable ways of stealing from other people.

Given the massive outcry, criminal charges and forced resignations that resulted from the expenses scandal, I don't think you can say it was any more "socially acceptable".
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Marvin thinks we should napalm the council estates.

No. I think we should napalm the rioters. BIG difference.
Hmmmmm. As the main damage actually caused by the riots in London was done by fires, that would seem to be risky if not counter-productive. Or maybe positively insane.
Obviously. Actually napalming the fuckers would be a terrible move, For all the reasons you describe and more. But one can dream of such instant retribution being brought to bear, can't one?
And yet when someone suggests "retribution" by divesting bankers of their ill-gotten millions with suitably legal instruments like taxes, it's suddenly "won't somebody think of the children?"
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
There was the peaceful protest in Tottenham that started it which was one load of people with one motive, which was to make a point about the man who was shot (who may or may not have been a violent scumbag himself, but that's not really relevant)

Sounds too complacent to me. German media still insist on exclusively calling this guy "a family man and father of four". No mention of his criminal background.

Does it not strike you as strange that ordinary people care so much that they start a protest when a gang leader criminal, armed with a gun, is killed while resisting arrest?
British police have shot a number of genuinely innocent people in the past years without their communities starting riots afterwards.
Something seems wrong in a society where normal people protest over the death of a thug.
I wonder why they did. I suspect that like the dead man, they were (mostly) blacks (I have witnessed occasions in London when ordinary black middle class have shielded small time black criminals from the police). I do not know, though, because the media keep quiet on this detail. From here "race" looks like the elephant in the room in this debate (some German newspapers have gone to great lengths to show only looters who were either white or hooded).

Thanks to krautfrau. I do not share your optimism re the German situation but your link to this book. looks interesting.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Stealing is an action. Someone gets hurt that they wouldn't otherwise have. Whereas the attitude which I have described above (of inaction, or rather of focusing solely on my own individual/familial needs) does not necessarily involve depriving other people of anything.

I'm wary of the claim that merely meeting my needs doesn't involve depriving other people of anything. But let's go with it.
I agree that there is a morally significant distinction between harming and allowing someone to come to harm. However, caring about the distinction presupposes some commitment to morality. And if we're considering someone who's acting solely on selfish motives, I don't see the distinction would matter to them.

I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights. Different social groups can have different attitudes to property. Secondly, I think that although stealing from a company is hurting people it is not clear that it is hurting anyone in particular. A lot of people are inclined to think that stealing from a company isn't really stealing. I suspect (on little to no personal knowledge) that the looters are divided into the people who think stealing from companies isn't stealing and those who don't actually care about the harm to others anyway.

quote:
But protecting property is not pandering to one group of people, it's respecting all groups of people, including the so-called looters themselves. They too have property they wish to protect and do not wish for me to steal.
I don't think that the looters would go to the police if they couldn't protect their property themselves. For that matter, (speaking off the top of my head) I would guess that they have an easy-come easy-go attitude to their own personal property, or at least, the attitude that if you didn't want me to take it you should have looked after it more carefully.
 
Posted by Garden Hermit (# 109) on :
 
Its the boring summer break for school kids who just get bored.

I remember the violent Football riots every Saturday (Reading included).

Keeping everyone occupied (and tired out) would help but anyone can always find excuses to say they are disadvantaged.

I heard on the radio that it was 'black gangs mostly targeting Asian businesses' and that those groups hate each other. Any truth in this ?

Pax et Bonum
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:

Does it not strike you as strange that ordinary people care so much that they start a protest when a gang leader criminal, armed with a gun, is killed while resisting arrest?

Not when they are his friends and relations, no.

quote:


(I have witnessed occasions in London when ordinary black middle class have shielded small time black criminals from the police).

So what? Do you think that English or Turkish or Jewish or Pakistani people wouldn't do the same? And if you want a stereotype for sticking together try the Irish.

quote:


From here "race" looks like the elephant in the room in this debate (some German newspapers have gone to great lengths to show only looters who were either white or hooded).

Not the case here at all. If anything the race business is over-emphasised - it is clear that the looting and widespread violence was not mainly about race even if the original protest in Tottenham was. Though even there the dead man's friends and family weren't all black.

Maybe German media miss the jargon. In London mediaspeak "the Community" means poor black people. And "youth" means poor black teenage boys that nice people like the ones talking on TV want to go away from their gentrified street corners. "Community relations" means semi-retired police officers and well-meaning civil servants talking to "community leaders" - that is any local councillors or church ministers or businessmen they can find who happen to have darker skins than they do.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:

I heard on the radio that it was 'black gangs mostly targeting Asian businesses' and that those groups hate each other. Any truth in this ?

No. Not in London anyway. In fact its the opposite. The gangs aren't all black, and the targets are mostly shops owned by big chains. The small Asian corner shops were on the whole untouched. With exceptions of course. There might be all sorts of reasons for this, I could make up half a dozen off the top of my head.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Given the massive outcry, criminal charges and forced resignations that resulted from the expenses scandal, I don't think you can say it was any more "socially acceptable".

The vast majority paid back the sums and avoided sanctions of any sort. I suspect if you or I robbed money and then offered to pay it back we'd still be looking at jail.
 
Posted by JFH (# 14794) on :
 
I'm personally curious as to how many of the residents of the poorer areas are NOT out and about looting and setting things on fire. Every explanation that seeks to explain why some people do this must explain why others in similar positions don't. As you've stated, Ken, the groups do seem fairly small. What kind of people, among the groups that do seem likely, for whatever reasons, to enter into such events as these, don't? Why?
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
You maybe interested in the views of these people - they always get a sympathetic hearing from the Government's Social Justice Lead, Ian Duncan-Smith.


Criminal riots reveal part of British society ‘broken and detached’, says Gavin Poole, CSJ Executive Director

Gavin Poole, Executive Director of the CSJ, has issued the following comment on the riots that have disfigured London and other major cities:

The appalling scenes on the streets of London, and elsewhere in the UK, should be condemned unreservedly.
 
The actions of those people, many of whom are reported to be children and teenagers, are endangering lives, attacking police officers, destroying buildings and looting goods. It is criminal behaviour and must be met with the full force of the law.
 
Yet we have to recognise that this mayhem also exposes a broken section of British society – utterly detached from the values and responsibilities we expect of our fellow citizens. When the crisis is eventually controlled and the broader questions are asked, we will find many of these young people roaming the streets causing chaos are from a lost generation.
 
As wrong and unacceptable as it is, they project anarchy in public because it is what surrounds them at home. Many will have never known stable parenting or fatherhood role models. Such family breakdown and dysfunction has rendered countless young people damaged and directionless.
 
We will find a high majority of these young people have failed in schools where truancy is normal, behaviour is often disruptive and boundaries are not established. Many of them face a life on benefits in ghettos scarred by poor housing and street gangs, completely devoid of aspiration. In such communities, they have been written off by society repeatedly.
 
These are the actions of people who live in chaos, hopelessness and poverty. What they are doing is criminal, completely wrong and must be punished. But it is not entirely random; they believe they have nothing to lose and no one to answer to. Some even consider it normal.

Yes, we need political leadership and a debate about policing techniques. But when the violence ends, we need deep rooted social reform which understands that a section of Britain is badly broken and needs to be rebuilt.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
[...] that is the root cause of the rioting. The breakdown of the family.

Despite being on the political left, I'd agree that family breakdown is relevant (even if I don't see it as 'the' cause). I also agree with people who say that poverty is a factor. For me, this is a case of 'both/and', not 'either/or'.

Family breakdown and poverty act together, contributing to negative outcomes in young people, according to a 2009 report:

"Evidence shows that a number of key factors contribute to, and/or are a consequence of, family breakdown. Among these, the most significant are financial hardship, poor maternal mental health, and protracted and unresolved conflict between parents. These
factors interact in complex ways and, via a chain of events, have a cumulative effect. Typically, they lead to increased stress on the part of the custodial parent (usually mothers)which, in turn, increases the risk of negative outcomes in children." (p. 26)

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
[...] So how to fix that? That's the question.

Indeed. According to the same report:-

"positive maternal mental health and mothers’ access to adequate social and financial support serve to moderate the potentially negative impact of family breakdown on children. Good communication between parents, and positive child-parent relationships are crucial to children’s well-being. Parents who are able to contain their distress and to negotiate and facilitate acceptable arrangements post-separation also help their children to adjust to family breakdown." (p. 26)

It seems that both the (political) right and left have part of the truth. Both relationships and poverty matter. Help in the areas of human relationships and poverty are needed.
 
Posted by Adrian1 (# 3994) on :
 
I think the point has been passed at which the root cause is really relevant. The rioting needs to be seen for exactly what it is - sheer mindless criminality. As is often the way with these things, what started in London was initially a reaction to s specific incident. However it soon spread beyond that and quickly became an excuse for the disaffected and those who simply enjoy destroying things to basically have a party. There are no doubt plenty of people out there who feel, with some justification, that life's been hard to them and dealt them a rough hand. To that extent they're in good company with me and, perhaps, a good proportion of the posters here. However being dealt a rough hand is no excuse for going out and damaging, or worse, destroying the property of people who've worked hard for what they've got and are probably struggling to keep their heads above water as it is.
 
Posted by ExclamationMark (# 14715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
'black gangs mostly targeting Asian businesses' and that those groups hate each other. Any truth in this ?

Pax et Bonum

In my experience in Lambeth in the late 1980's - yes without any doubt. The worst (and yet unreported) racism at that time was between afro caribbeans and asians: whites daren't do the same (except perhaps the police, judiciary etc who didn't have to live amongst the people they despised).
 
Posted by ExclamationMark (# 14715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Given the massive outcry, criminal charges and forced resignations that resulted from the expenses scandal, I don't think you can say it was any more "socially acceptable".

The vast majority paid back the sums and avoided sanctions of any sort. I suspect if you or I robbed money and then offered to pay it back we'd still be looking at jail.
They've bent the rules again since, have emasculated the powers of the regulatory bodies and evidently believe that fleecing the nation is a God given right of their work as an MP. Why do we wonder at the problems we see in the cities when there is no moral compass either within the families or in our so called leaders? Where is the integrity in public life that becomes the example for people to follow? can you name me just one?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
Here is a quote from this site.
quote:
Young girls on alcopops ‘dared’ each other to go and nick something. Lads tried to break onto Lidl and set fire to it, and mothers sent small children in to fill shopping bags with food and beer because they are too young to be arrested. I wasn’t the only one challenging some of this – other residents were trying to talk sense into those who had somehow lost all sense of their normal boundaries but it seemed like one big joke to a mass of hysterical people laughing all the way to the bank. How could anyone putt their children in such a dangerous position, never mind ask them to commit crimes?
Moo
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
n my experience in Lambeth in the late 1980's - yes without any doubt.

Lets get this straight. You think that your experience from thirty years ago is more relevant to what happened this week than what hundreds of people who were actually there saw and reported?

Can we have your crystal ball please? We obviously need it.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Hey, they don't pay no mind
If you're under eighteen you won't be doing any time
Hey, come out and play

The Offspring, 1994.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Here is a quote from this site.

Read the whole thing. Its the account of a vicar on his way home in Salfrod who fell amongst looters. Its very typical of what people are describing from all over the country.

This article in the Grauniad is worth reading as well. (Even though it quotes two people I think are among the most annoying political commentators in Britain, Claire Fox - who is surely no longer left-wing if she ever was? - and Celibate Batman-Jellybean who talks like a bad edition of Woman's Hour)

But I think both articles reinforce my growing feeling that the right thing to do is not "clear the streets" and let police and looters get on with it, but behave as normally as possible, stay visible and try to keep things open and functioning.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
Well all the rage and frustration of being disenfranchised will eventually seek catharsis in the forms your seeing now and since they have no investment in your lovely world they'll think nothing of watching it burn.

Well, now that the worst of it seems to have passed - at least in London - strangely, I find that I am experiencing something like that catharsis myself. Doesn't stop me being slightly scared about the possibility of it flaring up again though.

quote:
Originally posted by Sarah G:
I suspect the main reason people are rioting is because it's fun. And you get to nick stuff.

[Overused]

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'm surprised nobody seems to be prepared to admit that rioting is fun. It's wrong, like a lot of things. I've never done it. But we can all recognise and tell that people get a kick out of it. Cut the high-mindedness and the soul-searching explanations. There's an edgy buzz to rioting. That's why it spreads. That's why they send twitters to each other saying where it's happening, just like they do for raves and for football violence.

[Overused]

I am coming to the opinion that actually, pretty much everyone understands this - and people are only making a pretence that they don't understand it, so as to draw a line between "them" and "us", because they want to appear more "civilised" than the "mob".

The reason you loot is because you've seen ads on telly for stuff you want. Whether you have the money for it or not makes no difference. If you don't have the money, then you'd rather not do the things you have to do, or sell the things you have to sell, in order to get that money. But if you do have the money, you'd rather save it, so that you can spend it on other things - perhaps including (shock horror!) things that will improve the prospects of your kids.

Rocket science it ain't.

I grant this does not explain why lioting and rooting don't happen all the time, though. So that's why I think the important question is not so much what motivates people to loot and riot - but more significantly, what causes the normal inhibitions that prevent it from happening more frequently to break down from time to time.

But looting and rioting are different, though not unrelated. Rioting occurs because there's anger at the police, and some event triggers it to release. But looting occurs simply because those riots create an opportunity.

But does rioting really create an opportunity? Fact is, hundreds of people have been arrested for burglary - so it could be argued that the riots didn't really create a greater opportunity for looting than that which already existed. However, a drop in inhibitions is a factor in both the riots and the looting.

quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
Yet we have to recognise that this mayhem also exposes a broken section of British society – utterly detached from the values and responsibilities we expect of our fellow citizens.

Gavin Poole may be onto something there - but even this fails to acknowledge the fact that the riots started one day, and stopped another day. If a section of British society is truly broken, then when exactly did it break? Did it break on Saturday - or has it been broken for longer than that? If it's been broken for longer than that, then what stopped the riots from breaking out before Saturday?

I don't deny that we live in a stratified society. But that doesn't make the specific situational causes of this particular round of unrest irrelevant.

You could say that the divisions in society are like a pressure cooker, waiting to explode - but then, so, too, is - um - a pressure cooker. You know - one of those things that are used to cook food at high altitudes. The fact that there's a risk that they might go off isn't a reason for not allowing people to use pressure cookers at all. Rather, it's a reason for having extra redundancy in the safety mechanisms.

I think we need to keep the risks in perspective. There's been a lot of FUD - but the number of lives lost has still been relatively small, at least compared with the road traffic accident death toll.
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:

Does it not strike you as strange that ordinary people care so much that they start a protest when a gang leader criminal, armed with a gun, is killed while resisting arrest?

Not when they are his friends and relations, no.
Then we live in different worlds. I find it strange when the family and friends of a gangster have the cheek to publicly protest after he has been brought to justice. To me this looks like they simply do not see the wrong of his doings (and more likely than not theirs, too).

quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
(I have witnessed occasions in London when ordinary black middle class have shielded small time black criminals from the police).

So what? Do you think that English or Turkish or Jewish or Pakistani people wouldn't do the same?
In fact I have seen Turks doing it over here, albeit not to the police but to the public. But do you seriously think you'd find ordinary middle-class white Germans or Englishmen shielding a thief from the police after he was apprehended by members of the public because he was a fellow-white? I do not believe you.
I think this article about sums it up. Most of this "police and society have treated them badly and now they retaliate" is just excuses.
And yes, I have in the past occasionally been checked on by police (with sub-machine guns pointing at me) for nothing but being young and long-haired (and French police were much worse than German, I discovered). Probably more often than the average black kid nowadays. I don't think this explains much. If you have a normal background and nobody lectures you on how you are a group victim, you get annoyed, even angry at such incidents, but you still do not smash up shops and people.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
the concept of children being at home with their family is arrant nonsense for most of the rioters. The only family they have is the street gang. As for the Head Policeman at New Scotland Yard asking "Do you knwo where your children are?", he probably know more than most parents.

I completely agree. And that is the root cause of the rioting. The breakdown of the family. Bad and/or absent parenting.

So how to fix that? That's the question.

Positive male role models, especially models of Dad's who take responsibility with their kids and at least attempt to act as monogomous as the rest of society.

There's been a long standing issue in parts of the West Indian community here, primarily Jamaican but it seeps into others, including within the religious community, with an acceptance of deadbeat/not involved dad's. The idea of a guy having one girl to be his babby momma, one to be his wife, and two to be his mistress' is ingrained in a large % of the male population from certain cultures. That's their only role model for a Dad - somebody not involved.

I noticed the guy killed by the cops was a father of 4 at the age of 26. (Using him as a community example, not saying he got shot because of being a dad so many times at a relatively young age)

Is that an issue among disaffected or black youth in the UK? And has there been a large push by the churches the families attend to try to get boys/men to take responsibility for being a Dad?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
I find it strange when the family and friends of a gangster have the cheek to publicly protest after he has been brought to justice.

I find it strange when you can call getting pulled up in a car and shot "being brought to justice".

And I find it strange that you can be so sure that someone you never heard of before Thursday and who will never be tried in court for whatever crime he may have been accused of was a gangster just because a police officer shot him.

And I find it strange that you assume the police got it right. Sometimes they get it wrong. The police officer who killed Ian Tomlinson hasn't been tried yet - he's suspended on full pay. So he gets a nice long holiday. But the other bloke is still dead.

And I find it strange that you seem to think that knowing that your son or brother or husband is a criminal means that you would no longer want to defend them. That's an attitude I find un-natural and a bit creepy. I think I prefer a world like the one most people actually live in where they are more loyal to their own friends and family than they are to the state, and sometimes do not abandon them even when they are doing evil things.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
I find it strange when you can call getting pulled up in a car and shot "being brought to justice".

You missed the part where he pulled out a gun. OK, he didn't fire it - but he still had it and made the police aware of that fact in a way that caused at least one of them to pull the trigger.

Now, you might say that that's an unnecessary (and/or criminal) overreaction by the police officer(s) involved. And you might even be right. But if that officer was me, I'm not sure I'd want to wait until I know for sure that he's going to fire before firing back. It might just be me that he hits...
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:

Does it not strike you as strange that ordinary people care so much that they start a protest when a gang leader criminal, armed with a gun, is killed while resisting arrest?

Not when they are his friends and relations, no.
Then we live in different worlds. I find it strange when the family and friends of a gangster have the cheek to publicly protest after he has been brought to justice. To me this looks like they simply do not see the wrong of his doings (and more likely than not theirs, too).
Most people prefer criminals get tried rather then shot out of hand.

Due process and rule of law is always something to uphold. If he was convicted, he was out now. So justice had been served on those cases. At that point he has the same rights as anybody else.


quote:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
(I have witnessed occasions in London when ordinary black middle class have shielded small time black criminals from the police).

So what? Do you think that English or Turkish or Jewish or Pakistani people wouldn't do the same?
In fact I have seen Turks doing it over here, albeit not to the police but to the public. But do you seriously think you'd find ordinary middle-class white Germans or Englishmen shielding a thief from the police after he was apprehended by members of the public because he was a fellow-white? I do not believe you.

.....(clipped bit about dealing with French cops) Probably more often than the average black kid nowadays.

You got stopped everyday then?

quote:

I don't think this explains much. If you have a normal background and nobody lectures you on how you are a group victim, you get annoyed, even angry at such incidents, but you still do not smash up shops and people.

Nobody is excusing the smashing up.

But, given what you have written, I doubt you have much experience dealing with people who are black and young. Your issues with French police because you had long hair are not the same.
 
Posted by Esmeralda (# 582) on :
 
A man in my church, with vast experience of Broadwater Farm Estate, knew Marc Duggan when he was about 10. He said Marc was a nice kid, but his parents were on drugs and he never had much of a chance. If he grew up to be a gangster (which is not proven yet), it is hardly surprising. And there are hundreds of thousands of kids like him.

Incidentally, ken, I don't think it's big or clever to diss Camila Batmaghelidjh when she has done so much, at huge personal cost, to turn around the lives of disaffected kids. What have you - or I? - done to help these kids?
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
One of the first looters in front of the courts (He pleaded guilty) was a teaching assistant. No 'underclass' there.

That will be his job and chance of any other job down the tubes for good.

Why would someone risk everything for a new TV?

It makes no sense whatever to me.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Esmeralda:
And there are hundreds of thousands of kids like him.

Hundreds, certainly. Thousands, probably. Maybe t tens of thousands though I suspect not. But not hundfeds of thousands. Not in London anyway.

quote:

Incidentally, ken, I don't think it's big or clever to diss Camila Batmaghelidjh when she has done so much...

Oh I am sure she is wonderful but whenever she comes on the radio or TV its I cringe at all the cliches and stereotypes and over-simplistic stuff she talks about. Its not the good she does that annoys me its the quality of the political comment. I'm sure me being a bit narked now and again isn't going to cause her any more difficulty or troubles than she has already had.
 
Posted by la vie en rouge (# 10688) on :
 
And FWIW I think you're out of date about the French police as well. Here it's "walking down the street while Arab" that gets you stopped and asked for your papers (a (perfectly law-abiding) Egyptian friend tells me this happens to him all the time).

[x-posted with the world - comments addressed to Sylvander, obviously]

[ 10. August 2011, 14:25: Message edited by: la vie en rouge ]
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
One of the first looters in front of the courts (He pleaded guilty) was a teaching assistant. No 'underclass' there.

That will be his job and chance of any other job down the tubes for good.

Why would someone risk everything for a new TV?

It makes no sense whatever to me.

Why do people do anything wrong? Except for the punishment, what's the difference between them and somebody driving drunk or cheating on their taxes? As an aside, would a criminal conviction in those cases cause a TA to lose his job if not imprisoned?

The reasons why people loot are individualised. Root causes can be found eventually, but they will be nuanced and complex. If things like this are to be stopped in the future, looking for a enough similiar causes among those who do these things is a good idea.

I don't have sympathy for those who choose to loot...I just wonder like you why this happens and how to prevent it.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Here is a quote from this site.

Read the whole thing. Its the account of a vicar on his way home in Salfrod who fell amongst looters. Its very typical of what people are describing from all over the country.
Especially this:
quote:
I want to weep with rage at a society that has disenfranchised so many for so long whilst brainwashing two/three generations of children to want, want, want!

 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
As an aside, would a criminal conviction in those cases cause a TA to lose his job if not imprisoned?


Yes, I think so.

It certainly would for a teacher.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Here is a quote from this site.

Read the whole thing. Its the account of a vicar on his way home in Salfrod who fell amongst looters. Its very typical of what people are describing from all over the country.
Especially this:
quote:
I want to weep with rage at a society that has disenfranchised so many for so long whilst brainwashing two/three generations of children to want, want, want!

I must apologise for typing "his" instead of "her". Unconscious brain glitch. Still have that image that goes with the word "vicar". Even though we are on our second woman incumbent and last had a man in the job in about 1994.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Especially this:
quote:
I want to weep with rage at a society that has disenfranchised so many for so long whilst brainwashing two/three generations of children to want, want, want!

I liked that piece too. But who's actually been doing the "disenfrachising" and how? I don't see anything that could count as that - except maybe some self-disenfranchising.

FWIW, the bit of that blogpost that hit me the hardest was the parents callously putting their young kids at risk to go into dangerous situations to steal stuff for them. Utterly sick-making. But of course, it's "just a laugh, innit?"
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
I find it strange when you can call getting pulled up in a car and shot "being brought to justice".

You missed the part where he pulled out a gun. OK, he didn't fire it - but he still had it and made the police aware of that fact in a way that caused at least one of them to pull the trigger.

Now, you might say that that's an unnecessary (and/or criminal) overreaction by the police officer(s) involved. And you might even be right. But if that officer was me, I'm not sure I'd want to wait until I know for sure that he's going to fire before firing back. It might just be me that he hits...

The problem here is that you're in danger of anachronistically reading subsequent revelations back into the motives of the early protesters.

The results of the IPCC investigation you have just mentioned were not known on Saturday evening, when a peaceful protest was conducted in Tottenham. At the time, the main concern was that the police appeared to have shot someone, and were staying very tight-lipped about why they did it. The community wanted answers, but those answers were not forthcoming, and community thought they were being fobbed off.

Whether the Met were right to play the PR game in quite the way they did is a separate matter.

Heavy handed policing is all very well when you have a crystal clear notion of the gangsters who are "them", and the normal law-abiding people who are "us", and you are confident in the ability of the police to tell the two apart. But when it looks as though the police aren't quite so good in telling the two apart, and are in the habit of treating pretty much everyone as one of "them", then it's the police that becomes the "them", and everyone else becomes "us".
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
I was genuinely appalled by a couple of Manchester* youths interviewed this morning. They were probably in their mid-teens, had been looting and expressed it as getting back at those who can afford televisions, fancy phones etc while they have nothing. They weren't afraid of getting caught and even if they were it would only be a first offence.

The description of 'violent materialism' which Leaf mentioned upthread appears accurate.

*They could be from Salford. I can't tell the accents apart.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
And yes, I have in the past occasionally been checked on by police (with sub-machine guns pointing at me) for nothing but being young and long-haired (and French police were much gworse than German, I discovered). Probably more often than the average black kid nowadays.

While I will allow this is your perception, I have serious doubts as to its reality. And, a relative point here, you could've cut your hair.

As to black people "protecting criminals" from the police more than whites, simply being white does not draw extra attention from said police. Not in England.
Plus what ken said about family.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I don't believe it's an underclass at all.
I think it's angry people; angry that they are being given the impression of freedom and democracy, but in reality have been ransomed to a new rich elite who have been highlighted all the more by the current economic crises. I think people are angry because they having an increasing sense of a decrease in real choice - politically speaking. All the parties look the same, walk the same, talk the same - in the eyes of many, they all do the same....absolutely nothing. People are angry because they see a huge gap growing between the rich and the poor; and it's not a gap between the middle class and the working class either - it's a genuine gap emerging between the high rich elite (who seem totally untouchable in law) and everybody else. It's not that the middle class or even the working class want to get super rich and join an elite, no; I think that most people have very genuine concerns about the huge numbers of people falling into debt and poverty and who will never come out of it again until their dying day. I think that a lot of people are angry that basic things like health care and having a roof over your head and being able to have a job are no longer secure - if anything they are less secure than ever before. I think people are angry that we are in yet another bloody boom and bust phase and the last time we went through this everyone in the western world said 'oh we can't let this happen again' and here we are again with everyone repeating the same old mantra and nobody wanting to change anything to make sure it never happens again. And I think 'da youf' are angry at being patronised and treated like second class citizens, who know they are not being invested in who feel like their are viewed by the generation above as a threatening presence, a moral malignancy, a lost generation; yet in truth it is the 40+ of this world who have lived a life of decadent wastefulness that has got us where we are, but who have the audacity to tell the unrestful to shut up and put up.

If you haven't noticed any of this and if you still think you need to look around and see why this is happening, well all I can say is, I have no idea what cushy little stone you've been living under, but perhaps if there's room in there, can I come and join you?
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
One of the first looters in front of the courts (He pleaded guilty) was a teaching assistant. No 'underclass' there.

That will be his job and chance of any other job down the tubes for good.

Why would someone risk everything for a new TV?

It makes no sense whatever to me.

Round here, fringes of London, teaching assistant's package is worth about £8k pa. Fine if it's a second income for a mother earning the family a second income in school term time and being around for their kids in holidays - as a living wage, not so good.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Quoth Fletcher Christian:
quote:
I think it's angry people
And they're so angry that they have to have a proper laugh by smashing, looting and burning local shops, standing by and enjoying the fun and/or sending their wee kiddies into the fray to nick stuff for them, right?

I think you've lost the plot a bit, Fletcher. Have you seen any of the footage or read any of the commentary from witnesses? You're the one who's not rooted in reality, Mr Christian.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
oh yeah, forgot to mention the anger over this too (an anger conveniently picked up by Mr Howe in this link).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiUHB_Lewcs&feature=related

Oddly the interview, and the particular course it takes, is like a little microcosm of a much larger issue
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
There are times when Darcus Howe comes across as having so many chips on his shoulder, it's a wonder his arms don't fall off.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
posted by Chesterbelloc:

quote:

And they're so angry that they have to have a proper laugh by smashing, looting and burning local shops, standing by and enjoying the fun and/or sending their wee kiddies into the fray to nick stuff for them, right?

I think you've lost the plot a bit, Fletcher. Have you seen any of the footage or read any of the commentary from witnesses? You're the one who's not rooted in reality, Mr Christian.

Do you honestly believe that all protests, insurrections, riots and marks of unrest occur morally? Do you really believe that such events are controlled and even-handed? Do you really believe that all of those involved stole a plasma tv?

Do you think the unrestful in Libya are void of looters and the morally questionable? Are the rioting people of Syria well behaved and controlled? Of course we call such actions in far away places 'legitimate protest' because of the particular side of the fence we fall on, and not least I imagine because it's happening in a land far away and not on our doorstep. No, when it happens in our streets we call it 'rioting'.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Are the rioting people of Syria well behaved and controlled? Of course we call such actions in far away places 'legitimate protest' because of the particular side of the fence we fall on, and not least I imagine because it's happening in a land far away and not on our doorstep. No, when it happens in our streets we call it 'rioting'.

Are you equating the British system with the Syrian regime?

Send some of the rioters there and let them compare and contrast!
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
fuck me, you can't have a single bloody sensible conversation on this board without dicks jumping to ridiculous conclusions and making idiotic insinuations out of what you say rather than stopping for just a short moment to actually think about it
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There are times when Darcus Howe comes across as having so many chips on his shoulder, it's a wonder his arms don't fall off.

By the end of it the interviewer manages to look cruel and stupid and ignorant and patronising and flustered all at once. She will be wanting to live that down for a long time.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
One of the first looters in front of the courts (He pleaded guilty) was a teaching assistant. No 'underclass' there.

That will be his job and chance of any other job down the tubes for good.

Why would someone risk everything for a new TV?

It makes no sense whatever to me.

Round here, fringes of London, teaching assistant's package is worth about £8k pa. Fine if it's a second income for a mother earning the family a second income in school term time and being around for their kids in holidays - as a living wage, not so good.
Quite. If the criminal activity was related to a protest against his wages, it would be justifiable. Like peace campaigners who damage nuclear equipment. But sheer theft for no other reason than idiocy is a sure and justifiable reason for him losing his job.

The problem that these disturbances reveal is that the ruling class have systematically depoliticised most of the working class, and brainwashed them into accepting a culture of greed, then they turn round and shout 'shame!'
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Do you honestly believe that all protests, insurrections, riots and marks of unrest occur morally? Do you really believe that such events are controlled and even-handed? Do you really believe that all of those involved stole a plasma tv?

Do you think the unrestful in Libya are void of looters and the morally questionable? Are the rioting people of Syria well behaved and controlled? Of course we call such actions in far away places 'legitimate protest' because of the particular side of the fence we fall on, and not least I imagine because it's happening in a land far away and not on our doorstep. No, when it happens in our streets we call it 'rioting'.

Syria? Libya? [Disappointed]

With respect, you're off your head, mate. Keep it real, Fletch.

[ 10. August 2011, 16:41: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Quite. If the criminal activity was related to a protest against his wages, it would be justifiable. Like peace campaigners who damage nuclear equipment. But sheer theft for no other reason than idiocy is a sure and justifiable reason for him losing his job.

Well - yes - but - there's a distinction to be made between whether an action is morally justifiable or not, and the circumstances that lead a person to take such action in the first place.

Saying it's not morally justifiable does not mean it does not happen. It's not morally justifiable that the sun rises each day, but it still happens.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There are times when Darcus Howe comes across as having so many chips on his shoulder, it's a wonder his arms don't fall off.

Only detected one chip, likely justified. All depends on the lens through which one views, I suppose.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
From the BBC News website:

'The prime minister says "we needed a fightback and a fightback is under way"'.

Like fighting and anything based on that is any use. Our cities need peace, not confrontation.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Chester, and others, I was not comparing the London riots to Syria and Libya, what I was asking was did you think that 'rioting' elsewhere in the world is void of the problems that can be seen in the rioting in London? It's a fairly straight forward question which I thought was fairly reasonable among people that I have until now assumed had above average abilitiy in reading comprehension.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
Whilst I know some will not be remotely interested in the following words, when they know who said them, they sum up where I'm coming from quite well;

quote:
Specifically referring to the recall of parliament:
Those who want to stand and blast the rioters and the looters, blame parents, blame welfare handouts, blame Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and-or Cameron should be allowed to do so. And those who believe that there are serious underlying social issues should be able to raise them without being accused of condoning violence.

Parliament has to be the place where free speech is valued and respected and the free flow of ideas is encouraged. If MPs feel their constituents feel anger and resentment that those who caused the global financial crisis are still running their banks and raking in their bonuses, while others lose benefits and public services, they should say so. If they feel that a young person who feels valued in and by the community is less likely to riot than one who does not, they should say so. If they feel cuts in youth services are a factor, they should say so. If they feel there is a growing gulf between a political, financial and media elite, and people really struggling to find work and pay their way in the world, they should say so. If they feel, as Boris Johnson does, that now is the worst possible time to be cutting police numbers, they should say so. If they feel local government has been strangled of real power and leadership, they should say so.

<snip>
If Parliament is to command the respect it should, it must tomorrow be the place that starts a serious debate as to why this has happened, what it says about what Britain has become, and what if any policy and cultural changes need to be advanced.

Any guesses?

well... here's the link...

Violence is abhorrent. But if we pretend there are no underlying causes, if we pretend that we are somehow better because we don't find ourselves in a situation with very little hope and nothing to lose then we are hypocrites and fools.

As Thomas Buergenthal (Holocaust survivor, human rights lawyer and justice at the international criminal court) notes, the most unspeakable evil is most often committed by very ordinary people in the wrong circumstances.

A just society responds by punishing the guilty and fixing the circumstances.

AFZ
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There are times when Darcus Howe comes across as having so many chips on his shoulder, it's a wonder his arms don't fall off.

Only detected one chip, likely justified. All depends on the lens through which one views, I suppose.
I suppose. But the people I'd like to hear in all of this are people like the cleaners-up; the magnificent Hackney woman berating the looters for destroying her community; the Sikh men, silently gathering to defend their temple; Dan Snow, wrestling a looter to the ground. People who saw this for the shallow criminality that it is, not some loud old man who seems not to have learned anything since he learned his tired 1970s rhetoric.

Still, that's the BBC for you: rent-a-mouth broadcasting is always easier than going for a quality discussion. And to be fair to Howe, he gave the reporter exactly what she deserved.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
Why one person rioted. The opening parts of the last paragraph-but-3 and -but-2 are particularly interesting.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
Why one person rioted. The opening parts of the last paragraph-but-3 and -but-2 are particularly interesting.

Interesting, but isn't this an excercise in imaginitve empathy rather than the words of an actual rioter?

I mean the bloke is a university professor who edits an academic journal that wants

quote:

...empirical, theoretical and policy-oriented articles that recognise the inherently problematic nature of the terrorism label, employ a critical-normative perspective broadly defined, and challenge accepted orthodoxies.

Sounds more like a writer than a rioter to me.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Sounds more like a writer than a rioter to me.

Well, they do sound a bit similar ...

Quite a contrast to the actual Manchester rioter interviewed this morning, who said something like "Why should I pass up the chance of all this free stuff?" There's political idealism for you.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
And you don't think that the BBC and other news agencies are selective in how they report the rioting and how they portray it? Oh no, never would they do such a thing, never have they ever done such a .... oh wait a minute
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
That there are those who take advantage of a situation, none here are debating. There would be nothing to take advantage of without the underlying causes which sparked th riot.
Even many of those who are merely looting and burning may be doing so out of pent up frustration even if they do not articulate this.
Not that this is one iota of excuse.

ETA: Response to Adeodatus, not FC.

[ 10. August 2011, 18:12: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Round here, fringes of London, teaching assistant's package is worth about £8k pa.

He must have known that when he applied. The news reports haven't said whether he was living at home with his parents, in a shared house or with a partner, i.e. whether he could be presumed to have some kind of financial help/support or relatively low-cost accommodation. He must have. You couldn't afford to take that kind of job otherwise.

If this is generally some kind of protest about social conditions it's looking rather like an extended tantrum. "The world owes me a living, I haven't had it so I'm going to smash things up until I get it."

And I note that the first sentences appear to be 10 weeks and 16 weeks. It doesn't sound like much of a deterrent.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Ariel, if you're signing on and you qualify for a job, you have to take it, you lose benefits otherwise. You get told to claim working tax credits if you're not paid enough - and that's a whole can of ballsed up worms
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
"Why should I pass up the chance of all this free stuff?" There's political idealism for you.

That sounds like MPs responses to the Expenses scandal.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
He must have known that when he applied. The news reports haven't said whether he was living at home with his parents, in a shared house or with a partner, i.e. whether he could be presumed to have some kind of financial help/support or relatively low-cost accommodation. He must have. You couldn't afford to take that kind of job otherwise.

Couldn't afford to take that kind of job?

You seem to be overlooking the possibility that he might have been badgered into it by a workfare scheme for the long-term unemployed.

I really don't think that when people take low-paid jobs, it's because they're passing up offers of higher-paid jobs so that they can deliberately screw the in-work-benefits system out of more money. You'll be blaming poor people for their own poverty next.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
"Why should I pass up the chance of all this free stuff?" There's political idealism for you.

That sounds like MPs responses to the Expenses scandal.
It does indeed. And if the disturbances had been directed at those self-seeking bastards, I could believe it was real protest, real politics. But the looters have destroyed the very people, businesses and institutions who can actually make a difference to their lives and communities, for the sake of what? Not a new world, not a better society: no, just a new pair of trainers.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
You seem to be overlooking the possibility that he might have been badgered into it by a workfare scheme for the long-term unemployed.

Was he long-term unemployed? Or did he choose it? Let's not leap to conclusions here. It's only one possibility out of several. We don't know anything about his personal circumstances.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Ariel, if you're signing on and you qualify for a job, you have to take it, you lose benefits otherwise. You get told to claim working tax credits if you're not paid enough - and that's a whole can of ballsed up worms

To be fair, in the first few months of a new unemployment benefit claim, it's not exactly hard to put up a pretence of looking for a job when you're not really bothering. But that changes when they push you onto the New Deal scheme. New Deal is a hassle - and it seems that very few people think it's genuinely helpful.

I think part of the reason why sickness benefit claims used to be so high, is that it was a lot easier to pretend that you're more unhealthy than you really are, than it was to pretend that you're making more effort to look for a job than you really are. But it seems that the government have now reversed this to some extent - and I suspect that genuinely ill people probably now find it easier to get JSA than to be signed off with their real illness. So they don't bother arguing the toss about their illness any more, until they get hit with New Deal.

But how can you know? I guess the only way of measuring this is to look at New Deal referral outcomes.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
You seem to be overlooking the possibility that he might have been badgered into it by a workfare scheme for the long-term unemployed.

Was he long-term unemployed? Or did he choose it? Let's not leap to conclusions here. It's only one possibility out of several. We don't know anything about his personal circumstances.
Your argument strikes me as specious. You seem to be arguing that his problems are his own fault, because he must have known the terms and conditions of his job before he took it on - and yet the possibility of circumstances that may have forced his hand, in spite of his grievances, are irrelevant somehow.
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
Well, he doesn't have to worry about having a low paid job any more, does he?

M.
 
Posted by Biscuitnapper (# 15182) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
n my experience in Lambeth in the late 1980's - yes without any doubt.

Lets get this straight. You think that your experience from thirty years ago is more relevant to what happened this week than what hundreds of people who were actually there saw and reported?

Can we have your crystal ball please? We obviously need it.

Well if it helps, I am a black twenty something lower middle class woman and I think it's true: depending on the area there's a lot of tension and distrust between the different ethnic minorities, particularly the black and asian communities (there's also a good deal of distrust within the black community: I'm Nigerian and some of the worst I've ever heard about Afro-Carribeans were said by other Africans). I tend to find the multicultural nature of London is often (but certainly not always!) little more than skin deep and disguises issues that bubble beneath the surface until something triggers a reaction.

Also, yes, there is more of a push coming from the churches when it comes to encouraging young fathers to stick around, marital fidelity, high achievement etc etc. but these things take time to come into effect, I suppose, as new generations grow up and replace the older.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
That there are those who take advantage of a situation, none here are debating. There would be nothing to take advantage of without the underlying causes which sparked th riot.
Even many of those who are merely looting and burning may be doing so out of pent up frustration even if they do not articulate this.
Not that this is one iota of excuse.

ETA: Response to Adeodatus, not FC.

Yes, I was wondering if it might be akin to cutting.

I don't know how it's playing out there in UK, but here in LA, the two significant riots we had only further impoverished desperately poor inner-city communities, wealthy privileged suburbanites were not significantly impacted. Similarly, "cutters" are obviously hurting mostly themselves.

As I understand it, "cutters" are thought to be motivated by a need to have some sort of physical expression of their inner pain/turmoil. So perhaps riots could be seen as similar sorts of exercises (not to discount, again, the opportunists who use a riot for their own economic and/or political gain)
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Biscuitnapper:
... depending on the area there's a lot of tension and distrust between the different ethnic minorities, particularly the black and asian communities...

Of course, no-one could deny that. What they were saying though was that black rioters were targeting Asian shops in London on Monday. And that is simply not the case - not all the looters were black (many were white, some were Asian) and the small corner shops were less likely to be attacked than the chain stores.

What he was saying was that because he had seen conflict between blacks and Asians in Lambeth thirty years ago therefore he knew what was going on now. That's nonsense.

Maybe things are different in Manchester or Birmingham but, so far, that is not what happened here.

[ 10. August 2011, 20:40: Message edited by: ken ]
 
Posted by ExclamationMark (# 14715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
n my experience in Lambeth in the late 1980's - yes without any doubt.

Lets get this straight. You think that your experience from thirty years ago is more relevant to what happened this week than what hundreds of people who were actually there saw and reported?

Can we have your crystal ball please? We obviously need it.

It's on its way - light for you too!
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
A lot of the rioting looked like flash mobs and I don't think there's be much rational thinking going on in such mobs, not when things start kicking off. A key element in mob violence is anonymity and a loss of self-awareness. It usually only takes a few leaders making suggestions and everyone follows. Vigilante groups can easily turn into mobs too ,which the police are well aware of.

[ 10. August 2011, 21:09: Message edited by: justlooking ]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
You'll be blaming poor people for their own poverty next.

Well, if they did not wish to be poor, they'd simply apply themselves and be rich, innit. Be driving Ferrari's just like the rest of you lot.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
One of the recent joys that may have passed people by are Child Curfew Schemes. We had one in place locally for the town centre, including the road I live in for, I think, 3 years and it didn't start at 9pm, but 7pm. This is a market town just outside London. In that time any youngster walking home from Guides or Scouts, ATC or Army Cadets, bell-ringing or choir practice was likely to be accosted by the police and questioned. It's a variation of being stopped for Walking While Black, it's Walking While Young - and it was disastrous for police relations in the local community. When it came up for renewal, it wasn't because it had caused so many problems.

It's stuff like this that's damaged relationships and removed respect.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights

. I'm really quite shocked by this. Quite apart from this being a foundation of our democracy, I guess the guy who wrote 'Thou shalt not steal didn't get your memo.
quote:
Different social groups can have different attitudes to property. Secondly, I think that although stealing from a company is hurting people it is not clear that it is hurting anyone in particular.
Try telling that to Graham Reeves and other small business owners who have had their livelihoods destroyed by these thugs. If certain groups don't believe in property rights then they are wrong and if individuals in such groups act that out then they need to be told that by a lengthy custodial sentence
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Comparing the rioters to the Libyan rebels or Syrian protestors is an insult to the people of those countries. The revolting behaviour of these yobs such as robbing an injured man bears no comparison. Frankly, right now I don't give a monkeys why these fuckers are doing it, just that they are stopped, caught and locked up for a very long time. Enough of the relativistic liberal hand-wringing! Much good it has done us all these years!
 
Posted by jrrt01 (# 11264) on :
 
The estimated cost of damage from looting and riots is around £100 million so far.

Maybe as well as revisiting cutting police budgets, it is also time to revisit cutting youth services budgets?
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights
Most people would dispute this I think. The California Constitution articulated them thusly: "defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

quote:
Different social groups can have different attitudes to property.
And why should we adhere to the values of a group which accepts wanton stealing as permissible? We're not Marxists after all. And, in any case, they're not stealing from the landed gentry. They're stealing from the working classes.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jrrt01:
The estimated cost of damage from looting and riots is around £100 million so far.

Maybe as well as revisiting cutting police budgets, it is also time to revisit cutting youth services budgets?

That's always been my problem with this - that we invest more in the strata which caused the riots in the first place. I can see all the sound/economic reasons for this, BUT it doesn't seem right. Surely we should be punishing them, not rewarding them by investing more heavily in services which they are likely to require.

I know the concept is not going to be popular but I wonder whether there is any truth to the recent revival of the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor.

Oh and as for the £100 million - sigh - at a time of austerity, even more austerity is going to arise, because the money will be coming from the communities that have been damaged. This is just the tangible costs. What about the other costs such as prisons, the criminalisation of a large group of first-offenders, the emotional impact on the community, and also wider issues such as the damage to the London brand? And this is why I sometimes feel that for some people, they really do have only themselves to blame for their condition.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights
Most people would dispute this I think. The California Constitution articulated them thusly: "defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

Yadda, yadda, yadda. If your car is taken you'll be annoyed. If your business is firebombed you'll feel a lot worse: anger, sorrow (yeah, real tears), but if you are beaten up you'll feel a whole lot worse. Constitutional rights are not natural rights.
quote:

quote:
Different social groups can have different attitudes to property.
And why should we adhere to the values of a group which accepts wanton stealing as permissible? We're not Marxists after all. And, in any case, they're not stealing from the landed gentry. They're stealing from the working classes.
Who are 'We'?!? In any event 'Property is theft' was coined by Proudhon, the French anarchist, and Marx was critical of his assertion. Socialists, communists and anarchists are so different as not even to be on a continuum.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights
Most people would dispute this I think. The California Constitution articulated them thusly: "defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Wow. Rude much?
quote:
If your car is taken you'll be annoyed.
I'd be a whole lot worse than annoyed.
quote:
but if you are beaten up you'll feel a whole lot worse.
Depends on how badly I am beaten up I think. I can think of scenarios where I would prefer assault/GBH to having my life's investment firebombed, or all my savings stolen.
quote:
Constitutional rights are not natural rights.
Never said they were. I know the distinction between legal and natural rights. I was however saying that the idea that property rights are not natural rights would be disputed by many people - and gave one example where the California constitution lists these inalienable rights with property being one of them.
quote:
Who are 'We'?!?
I'll rephrase that - the we in this case should be British society, which rely heavily on Judaeo-Christian philosophy.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Frankly, right now I don't give a monkeys why these fuckers are doing it, just that they are stopped, caught and locked up for a very long time.

If y'all don't come to grips with why it happened and do something about it, you will just have it happen again and again and again.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Comparing the rioters to the Libyan rebels or Syrian protestors is an insult to the people of those countries.

I don't think they were claiming a moral equivalence. Just pointing out that when stuff was going on that disrupts normal life then some people start robbing. And bad things are done on all sides.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jrrt01:
The estimated cost of damage from looting and riots is around £100 million so far.

So rather less than one tenth of one percent of what the bankers took off us in 2008/9. And when I say "took" I mean we paid it to them from our taxes and by increasing our debt.

Or about a fifth of a percent of the damage from the London stock exchange fall of the last two weeks.

The financial shenanigans of the last three or four years have cost the average British taxpayer a few thousand pounds. 100 million is 2p a week each. If we are going to make this a matter of business let's get it in scale.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Frankly, right now I don't give a monkeys why these fuckers are doing it, just that they are stopped, caught and locked up for a very long time.

If y'all don't come to grips with why it happened and do something about it, you will just have it happen again and again and again.
Very true. But I can't resist pointing out that the death rate from these riots in London has been less than the *normal* murder rate in Seattle. Complete 100% vindication of British ideas of gun control. The looters were mostly armed with sticks. Had they had guns normal life would have been impossible round here. As it was, it wasn't. (There has to be a silver lining somewhere)
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I'm not a huge fan of handguns in urban settings (I think guns have their place in the countryside), so if this was a "gotcha" it's wide of the mark. I will note however that when Seattle had its own riot in 1999, there were no deaths.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
53 people died in the 1992 LA riots.

I heard some guy from the Guardian being interviewed on NPR this afternoon who said the problem was that the folks rioting have no stake in the system, and I think that might just sum it up in a way that the other political explanations don't, as it accounts for the "hey, this is the most fun we'll have all month, let's go grab some stuff" attitude of some rioters.

An anecdote about a friend of a friend during the 1992 riots: this guy was sorely in need of money, so parked his car in the heart of South Central LA, out front of a big box store being looted. Sure enough, it was torched, and he collected the insurance and paid off his bills.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Frankly, right now I don't give a monkeys why these fuckers are doing it, just that they are stopped, caught and locked up for a very long time.

If y'all don't come to grips with why it happened and do something about it, you will just have it happen again and again and again.
I agree.

But I wonder if there is anything to be done about it, i.e. is this just a part of humanity's fallen condition? Are some people just bad eggs and given an opportunity will do these sort of acts? If they're poor, they will loot from their neighbourhood stores, and if they're in another position they'll just loot in a different manner - e.g. bankers, parlimentarians, etc.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Frankly, right now I don't give a monkeys why these fuckers are doing it, just that they are stopped, caught and locked up for a very long time.

If y'all don't come to grips with why it happened and do something about it, you will just have it happen again and again and again.
I agree.

But I wonder if there is anything to be done about it, i.e. is this just a part of humanity's fallen condition? Are some people just bad eggs and given an opportunity will do these sort of acts? If they're poor, they will loot from their neighbourhood stores, and if they're in another position they'll just loot in a different manner - e.g. bankers, parlimentarians, etc.

We all have the capacity to commit sin, no dispute there amongst Christians at any rate.

I believe you're spot-on, but why does society punish some harmful acts while condoning and even rewarding others?

IMNSHO condemnation or reward is meted out not according to whether an act benefits or harms society, but whether it is in the interest of the economic system. Whether it is sinful is a long way down the list of considerations.

YMMV!
 
Posted by Frater_Frag (# 2184) on :
 
The only solution to big riots like this one is to let the military solve the problem. Military do not ask them selfs questions about if its right or wrong to kill rioters, they will do as they are ordered to do! Myself, I belong to the swedish home guard, and I wouldn´t hesitate to kill rioters that refuses to stand down!

The problem is the politicians, traitors, quislings etc, all of them... They, and all the rioters should be brought down on their knees hands in pockets, and a bullet through their heads!
 
Posted by JSwift (# 5502) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Frater_Frag:
The only solution to big riots like this one is to let the military solve the problem. Military do not ask them selfs questions about if its right or wrong to kill rioters, they will do as they are ordered to do! Myself, I belong to the swedish home guard, and I wouldn´t hesitate to kill rioters that refuses to stand down!

The problem is the politicians, traitors, quislings etc, all of them... They, and all the rioters should be brought down on their knees hands in pockets, and a bullet through their heads!

[Eek!] Perhaps this reads less bloodthirsty in Swedish.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JSwift:
quote:
Originally posted by Frater_Frag:
...The problem is the politicians, traitors, quislings etc, all of them... They, and all the rioters should be brought down on their knees hands in pockets, and a bullet through their heads!

[Eek!] Perhaps this reads less bloodthirsty in Swedish.
*proper translation: "The problem is the politicians, traitors, quislings etc, all of them...They, and all the rioters should drop to their knees, hands in prayer and a blessing on their heads."
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
But I wonder if there is anything to be done about it, i.e. is this just a part of humanity's fallen condition? Are some people just bad eggs and given an opportunity will do these sort of acts? If they're poor, they will loot from their neighbourhood stores, and if they're in another position they'll just loot in a different manner - e.g. bankers, parlimentarians, etc.

The problem with this analysis is that, pace what some here have said, these riots don't happen every day. At least one analyst sees "a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability" over the last 90 years. I highly recommend people read this article.
 
Posted by Timothy the Obscure (# 292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:


A just society responds by punishing the guilty and fixing the circumstances.

AFZ

As Ammon Hennacy said, trying to create a society where it's easier for people to be good. Not that it's ever easy, but it's possible to make it harder. Or not.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adrian1 (on p. 6 of this thread):
I think the point has been passed at which the root cause is really relevant.

I think root causes matter, even if the threat is ...

quote:
Originally posted by Adrian1 (on p. 6 of this thread):
... sheer mindless criminality ...

... because what you don't know - or wrongly believe - can hurt you. That can happen even when the threat is mindless. The Black Death was a mindless threat, but understanding that the cause wasn't 'bad air' could have made a difference. If you had a life-threatening injury or illness, it would make a difference whether you were in a hospital where the staff understood the germ theory of disease, or not.

quote:
Originally posted by Adrian1 (on p. 6 of this thread):
... being dealt a rough hand is no excuse for going out and damaging, or worse, destroying the property of people.

I agree. I also agree with AFZ's point that we should 'punish the guilty and fix the circumstances.' I wonder why people are so keen to emphasise that circumstances aren't excuses (I wonder, because this seems to state the obvious). Do you see discussion of circumstances as an attempt by liberals to prevent rioters from having to take responsibility for the harm that they've caused? Do you agree with Shaun Bailey that we're 'paying the price for liberalism'? Does it help if a left-winger like me says that I believe that people should be punished for their crimes during the riots?

As others have said, circumstances aren't excuses (except in extreme cases - if someone points a gun at you and tells you to break a window, that's different). People in bad circumstances still have choices, circumstances influence our choices - and we (through action by government, voluntary groups etc) can influence circumstances.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights

. I'm really quite shocked by this. Quite apart from this being a foundation of our democracy, I guess the guy who wrote 'Thou shalt not steal didn't get your memo.
And there I was thinking that the foundation of our democracy was one person one vote.
Property is not a natural right, whether or not you're shocked by it. If somebody sells you a car no physical facts about the car change. A forensic scientist maybe able to tell who has last been driving a car, but they can't tell whether that person owns the car. Property is not a natural right. It is a social right.

A pastoral society grazes its herds over a particular area. Does the fact that the society doesn't assign that area to anyone in particular mean that a homesteader can move in and declare it their property without violating the commandment not to steal?

In the UK rights of way take precedence over property rights. And why not?

That doesn't mean we oughtn't to respect other people's property rights, whatever they are. (How does 'thou shalt not steal' apply to appropriating a pastoral society's ) It just means that if we blithely assume that everyone shares our concept of property and therefore will apply enlightened self-interest in the same way that we do we will be disappointed. We need to appeal to genuine concern for other people.

quote:
quote:
Different social groups can have different attitudes to property. Secondly, I think that although stealing from a company is hurting people it is not clear that it is hurting anyone in particular.
Try telling that to Graham Reeves and other small business owners who have had their livelihoods destroyed by these thugs. If certain groups don't believe in property rights then they are wrong and if individuals in such groups act that out then they need to be told that by a lengthy custodial sentence
What part of 'stealing from a company is hurting people' did you not understand?
Ok - I do often use phrases like 'it is not clear' to mean 'I don't agree'. But in this case I did mean 'it is not clear'. My impression is that most children growing up have to have it explained to them that stealing from a company is not a victimless crime. It looks victimless because the harm is buffered by the company and spread over all the company employees. Reading posts by people like Ken who've been in the area, it appears that most of the looting has been from chains rather than small businesses. I was therefore talking about the general case.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
I don't think you ought to equate stealing and direct harm. Property rights are not natural rights
Most people would dispute this I think. The California Constitution articulated them thusly: "defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."
That may be how it is in California. I live in the UK. To be precise I live in Edinburgh. The feudal system was abolished around here about ten years ago.
Current property rights in the US descend largely from people who maintained successfully that the property rights of the previous society weren't the natural kind of property rights and therefore didn't apply.

quote:
quote:
Different social groups can have different attitudes to property.
And why should we adhere to the values of a group which accepts wanton stealing as permissible?
The question you asked isn't why we should adhere to their values. The question you asked is why they should adhere to our values (given that we are being selfish). We're sufficiently selfish that we don't want to give them any incentive to do so, and our bank directors have been sufficiently selfish that we can't pay the police to make them do so, and that rather leaves us with no choice in the matter.
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
My impression is that most children growing up have to have it explained to them that stealing from a company is not a victimless crime.

Similarly 'theft by finding' isn't an easy concept for children to grasp. This is what some of those arrested have been charged with. One accused has entered a not guilty plea despite being found in the street with property from a looted shop and a large amount of cash. He explained that he had found it and was taking it to the police station to hand it in. I expect the police will have to drop the charges unless they have evidence to prove otherwise.

AFAIK if anyone hands property they've found to the police and it remains unclaimed after whatever the time limit is, then the police hand it back to the person who found it and it's legally theirs.
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
As Ammon Hennacy said, trying to create a society where it's easier for people to be good. Not that it's ever easy, but it's possible to make it harder. Or not.

Because it's so hard to not make the choice to go out and destroy/steal what belongs to others. I have no problem managing to not make that choice. [Roll Eyes]

quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
Similarly 'theft by finding' isn't an easy concept for children to grasp. This is what some of those arrested have been charged with. One accused has entered a not guilty plea despite being found in the street with property from a looted shop and a large amount of cash. He explained that he had found it and was taking it to the police station to hand it in. I expect the police will have to drop the charges unless they have evidence to prove otherwise.

AFAIK if anyone hands property they've found to the police and it remains unclaimed after whatever the time limit is, then the police hand it back to the person who found it and it's legally theirs.

What a twat, being a smartarse will get him in far bigger trouble than pleading guilty would have. I wonder what CCTV images will revel, or what a full police search of his house would reveal if serial numbers of every electronic item were checked? Companies like Sony, Apple and so on do maintain serial number databases of items which have been reported stolen by their owners, so the truth will out, even if he's not silly enough to use some stolen device while connected to the internet.
 
Posted by JFH (# 14794) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JSwift:
quote:
Originally posted by Frater_Frag:
The only solution to big riots like this one is to let the military solve the problem. Military do not ask them selfs questions about if its right or wrong to kill rioters, they will do as they are ordered to do! Myself, I belong to the swedish home guard, and I wouldn´t hesitate to kill rioters that refuses to stand down!

The problem is the politicians, traitors, quislings etc, all of them... They, and all the rioters should be brought down on their knees hands in pockets, and a bullet through their heads!

[Eek!] Perhaps this reads less bloodthirsty in Swedish.
It doesn't.

Frater Frag, if you're a sympathizer of the likes of Anders Breivik, I think you are a greater traitor of the Scandinavian culture that has for 200 years sought peaceful solutions to conflicts and change through democratic measures.

If you're not a Breivik sympathizer, which I hope and assume, I find it shockingly insensitive to post such a grim message in times of extreme political violence such as the events in Norway and the bombing in Stockholm 8 months ago.

But I digress.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm late to this as I've been on holiday in London - and had as good a time as ever. Central, 'tourist' London was, of course, unaffected other than by the constant awareness of police vans hurtling across Westminster Bridge or hither and yon to some trouble-spot or other. The police seemed good humoured and were posing for tourist photos and basking in some goodwill and attention from the general public - which is only to be expected.

I did see some of the damage up at Chalk Farm - we wandered up the road from Campden Market - and it wasn't pretty. The market stall owners and small shop keepers were busily barricading and shuttering their property.

I think Ken's right that it was mostly the big chains that were targeted - they've got more to steal - but the fears and concern of the small shopkeepers was palpable. In Liverpool laundrettes and corner shops were trashed. This wasn't some anti-capitalist uprising but a lot more to do with opportunism and thuggery - yet there will, of course, be underlying socio-economic and societal issues.

The police I spoke to all felt that the response had been far too soft and needed to be heavier - that the answer wasn't rubber bullets and water cannon but to grab hold of the ringleaders and 'rough them up a bit' in order to deter the others. Ok, some bravado there, but they clearly felt frustrated that they could not intervene more appropriately, as they say it, for fear of being filmed or losing their job. They didn't feel the 'ante' would need to be lifted that much and only in cases where life and property was seriously at risk.

More broadly - what do we need to do? Well, all sorts of underlying social causes to tackle ... everything from parenting to job prospects, Grand Theft Auto videos to yoof culture and gangsta chic ... a whole plethora of things and no one single, simple cause.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


More broadly - what do we need to do? Well, all sorts of underlying social causes to tackle ... everything from parenting to job prospects, Grand Theft Auto videos to yoof culture and gangsta chic ...

If children know right from wrong and are brought up to care, no amount of playing Grand Theft Auto or listening to Gangsta rap will change that.

My two were totally addicted to that game aged 14. They are now law abiding, hard working young men and just as appalled by these criminal actions as you or I.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Property is not a natural right, whether or not you're shocked by it.

Any Catholic should be shocked by it. The Church has pretty much always considered property (justly acquired) to be a natural right. It's been a fundamental point of Catholic Social doctrine much emphasised since Communism and other such theories have been doing the rounds.

Quoth Pius X:
quote:
Private property is under all circumstances, be it the fruit of labour or acquired by conveyance or donation, a natural right, and everybody may make such reasonable disposal of it as he thinks fit.

 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
I think people are talking about slightly different property rights. I think what Dafyd means is that to acquire property (above and beyond basic necessities of life) isn't a natural right. I think what some others mean is that if you do have property, then it is a natural right to expect that that property will not be taken from you by theft and violence.

Even so, Dafyd, if you deny that "property" is a natural right, I don't think you can deny that food, clothing and shelter are natural rights: and those are precisely what people have been deprived of, having their homes burned to the ground around them.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
"Why should I pass up the chance of all this free stuff?" There's political idealism for you.

That sounds like MPs responses to the Expenses scandal.
It does indeed. And if the disturbances had been directed at those self-seeking bastards, I could believe it was real protest, real politics. But the looters have destroyed the very people, businesses and institutions who can actually make a difference to their lives and communities, for the sake of what? Not a new world, not a better society: no, just a new pair of trainers.
I agree completely. In fact, I was saying to my wife only last night that I'd actually feel better about things if these riots were like previous ones - running battles with the police, a genuine message being sent from the rioters to society, a genuine expression of grievance. But there's none of that. The rioters are actively trying to avoid the police - their motivation is no more than to break in the shop windows, get as much loot out as they can, and then scarper before the "feds" show up. Their message is no more than "we want this stuff and we're going to take it".

I wish this was political, because if it was something could actually be done about it - there would be a genuine grievance to settle or need to provide. But it's not. It's the end point of a culture of apathy and avarice that doesn't care about facilities, or education, or opportunities, it just cares about getting what you can while the getting's good. And how the hell do you fix that? What good is educating someone who doesn't care about learning? What good are job opportunities to someone who doesn't care about working?

How can you get people to actually give a shit?
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
Similarly 'theft by finding' isn't an easy concept for children to grasp. This is what some of those arrested have been charged with. One accused has entered a not guilty plea despite being found in the street with property from a looted shop and a large amount of cash. He explained that he had found it and was taking it to the police station to hand it in. I expect the police will have to drop the charges unless they have evidence to prove otherwise.

AFAIK if anyone hands property they've found to the police and it remains unclaimed after whatever the time limit is, then the police hand it back to the person who found it and it's legally theirs.

What a twat, being a smartarse will get him in far bigger trouble than pleading guilty would have. I wonder what CCTV images will revel, or what a full police search of his house would reveal if serial numbers of every electronic item were checked? Companies like Sony, Apple and so on do maintain serial number databases of items which have been reported stolen by their owners, so the truth will out, even if he's not silly enough to use some stolen device while connected to the internet. [/QB]
He may well be a twat but it will be for the police to prove that this particular twat stole the property and did not simply find what some other twat had stolen. Even if they search his house and find other stolen property it won't prove that he stole what he was found with.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
It's the end point of a culture of apathy and avarice that doesn't care about facilities, or education, or opportunities, it just cares about getting what you can while the getting's good. And how the hell do you fix that? What good is educating someone who doesn't care about learning? What good are job opportunities to someone who doesn't care about working?

How can you get people to actually give a shit?

I agree 100%

But giving up isn't the answer.

Some poor parenting is due to ignorance - not apathy. Parents defend their children because they think that's how to love them. It isn't - and they can be taught that by people they trust.
 
Posted by Squibs (# 14408) on :
 
Was there any major trouble last night? Birmingham is apparently a bit of a tinderbox since the murders.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I agree completely. In fact, I was saying to my wife only last night that I'd actually feel better about things if these riots were like previous ones - running battles with the police, a genuine message being sent from the rioters to society, a genuine expression of grievance. But there's none of that. The rioters are actively trying to avoid the police - their motivation is no more than to break in the shop windows, get as much loot out as they can, and then scarper before the "feds" show up. Their message is no more than "we want this stuff and we're going to take it".

I wish this was political, because if it was something could actually be done about it - there would be a genuine grievance to settle or need to provide. But it's not. It's the end point of a culture of apathy and avarice that doesn't care about facilities, or education, or opportunities, it just cares about getting what you can while the getting's good. And how the hell do you fix that? What good is educating someone who doesn't care about learning? What good are job opportunities to someone who doesn't care about working?

How can you get people to actually give a shit?

Bizarrely, the most coherent politics in the whole thing hasn't come from the looters ("I don't think "I don't give a shit" really counts as politics), or from the professional politicians with their barely articulate clichés. If there's politics here at all, I think it's come from the broom-waving cleanup volunteers. They seem to be the ones who, against the odds, are prepared to assert and build community, both in the human and built environments. To me, they seem to be the ones whose claim of "this city is ours" has most validity. And what is politics in its most basic form, but the art of living in community?
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
Was there any major trouble last night? Birmingham is apparently a bit of a tinderbox since the murders.

Not so much:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/11/uk-riots-birmingham-muslim-sikhs
 
Posted by Daron (# 16507) on :
 
I am a Christian who believes that Jesus is the only way to salvation. However, I would stand side by side with the people of other religions seen in that video, I would say Amen to their prayers, and I work with them wholeheartedly for the prosperity of the city. Interesting times indeed.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
Was there any major trouble last night? Birmingham is apparently a bit of a tinderbox since the murders.

Nope, all quiet due to a combination of the dead men's families calling for no reprisals, a metric shitload of police on duty and heavy rain.

It probably helps that they've already made an arrest for the three murders.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
n my experience in Lambeth in the late 1980's - yes without any doubt.

Lets get this straight. You think that your experience from thirty years ago is more relevant to what happened this week than what hundreds of people who were actually there saw and reported?

Can we have your crystal ball please? We obviously need it.

As someone who lived in Lambeth until 3 years ago I think Exclamation mark is right. There are tensions between Asian and Black residents although Lambeth is quite a peaceful place compared to some other parts of London and does not have a particularly large asian population. I can see it coming that there will be no-go areas for young blacks in some places where there are large asian communities particularly in North and East London.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JFH:
quote:
Originally posted by JSwift:
quote:
Originally posted by Frater_Frag:
The only solution to big riots like this one is to let the military solve the problem. Military do not ask them selfs questions about if its right or wrong to kill rioters, they will do as they are ordered to do! Myself, I belong to the swedish home guard, and I wouldn´t hesitate to kill rioters that refuses to stand down!

The problem is the politicians, traitors, quislings etc, all of them... They, and all the rioters should be brought down on their knees hands in pockets, and a bullet through their heads!

[Eek!] Perhaps this reads less bloodthirsty in Swedish.
It doesn't.

Frater Frag, if you're a sympathizer of the likes of Anders Breivik, I think you are a greater traitor of the Scandinavian culture that has for 200 years sought peaceful solutions to conflicts and change through democratic measures.

If you're not a Breivik sympathizer, which I hope and assume, I find it shockingly insensitive to post such a grim message in times of extreme political violence such as the events in Norway and the bombing in Stockholm 8 months ago.

But I digress.

I am not sure that Scandinavia in the last 200 years hasn't had extreme political violence. What about the shootings of the Adalen Workers and the assassination of Olav Palme? Go back 350 years and the Swedes were some of the worst warmongers in Europe.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Right at the beginning of all this my first thought was 'The police need to be able to demand that these looters remove their hoodies and masks'

There is no way people should be allowed to keep their faces covered in these sorts of circumstances.

Now they will be able to -

quote:
The police will have new powers to order people to remove facemasks. "On facemasks, currently [the police] can only remove these in a specific geographical location and for a limited time," Cameron said. "So I can announce today that we are going to give the police the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity."


[ 11. August 2011, 12:01: Message edited by: Boogie ]
 
Posted by Helen-Eva (# 15025) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

Now they will be able to -

quote:
The police will have new powers to order people to remove facemasks. "On facemasks, currently [the police] can only remove these in a specific geographical location and for a limited time," Cameron said. "So I can announce today that we are going to give the police the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity."

I assume this includes veils and if it does it could cause major trouble if it's not used fairly.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

Now they will be able to -

quote:
The police will have new powers to order people to remove facemasks. "On facemasks, currently [the police] can only remove these in a specific geographical location and for a limited time," Cameron said. "So I can announce today that we are going to give the police the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity."

I assume this includes veils and if it does it could cause major trouble if it's not used fairly.
If people are wearing hijabs or veils and causing no trouble why should the police need to see their faces?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
If people are wearing hijabs or veils and causing no trouble why should the police need to see their faces?

Works in theory, but given the well-documented phenomenon of police stopping people for "driving while black", the possibility of it leading to them stopping people for "walking while veiled" is not appealing.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
I didn't see any veiled Muslim women on the footage of the looting. I did see some weeping for loss of their homes, however.
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
So perhaps during there should be the option for a person reasonably asked to identify themselves to instead be arrested and identify themselves to a female officer back at the station.

There was a recent incident in Australia where an Islamic woman made a false accusation against a police officer but got off because she was veiled and not identifiable. This kind of abuse of religious freedom is very concerning, and makes the responsibility to be identifiable on request important.

[ 11. August 2011, 13:09: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
I must admit I'm a bit disappointed with the House of Commons debate on the subject. (Can one be predictably disappointed? If so, I am.) The BBC's rolling text suggests it has focussed very heavily on policing. And I think the problem with, essentially, discussing how hard you're going to hit back, is that it communicates that you're scared.

Perhaps the professional politicians are scared. Perhaps they should be. But the contrast between them and the people I mentioned earlier is startling - those who refuse to be "victims", those who quietly assert their ownership of the community, those like Tariq Jahan who in the chaos are beacons of grace and dignity.

Perhaps it's actually things like grace and dignity that scare the politicians. Those are powerful things. And I don't believe they're on the syllabus of many courses in economics or politics.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I don't know how it's playing out there in UK, but here in LA, the two significant riots we had only further impoverished desperately poor inner-city communities, wealthy privileged suburbanites were not significantly impacted. Similarly, "cutters" are obviously hurting mostly themselves.

As I understand it, "cutters" are thought to be motivated by a need to have some sort of physical expression of their inner pain/turmoil. So perhaps riots could be seen as similar sorts of exercises (not to discount, again, the opportunists who use a riot for their own economic and/or political gain)

Brave of you to say so. And I think you've got a good point.

However, there's one thing about self-injury that almost everyone knows, but which it is highly politically incorrect to say.

Now, I'm not denying that there are loads of people who take their frustrations out on themselves from time to time, and then become instantly embarrassed about the fact that they have done it, and then try to cover up their injuries with uncomfortable clothing accessories that they would not otherwise normally wear.

But at the same time, when someone brashly sports an injury that they don't seem to care about - it scares us. Why? Because it subliminally sends the message that they're not bothered about the risk of injury to themselves that might arise from getting into a fight. So the rest of us have got to be bloody careful around that person, and make sure that we don't get on the wrong side of them, for the sake of our own safety.

Whether the injury came about as a result of a fight, or was self-inflicted, is irrelevant.

So scars can act as trophies. And the desire to sport such trophies can be a motive for violence, both against yourself, and against other people, and animals, and property.

In other words, one of the reasons why people riot is because they want to be seen to be powerful. This might explain why not all of the rioters covered their faces with scarves.

quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by jrrt01:
The estimated cost of damage from looting and riots is around £100 million so far.

So rather less than one tenth of one percent of what the bankers took off us in 2008/9. And when I say "took" I mean we paid it to them from our taxes and by increasing our debt.

Or about a fifth of a percent of the damage from the London stock exchange fall of the last two weeks.

You make the riots sound like an absolute bargain!

However, I think this merely illustrates the fallacy of assuming that loss and damage can only be measured in economic terms - or even that economic measurements are the most important measurements.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I think people are talking about slightly different property rights. I think what Dafyd means is that to acquire property (above and beyond basic necessities of life) isn't a natural right. I think what some others mean is that if you do have property, then it is a natural right to expect that that property will not be taken from you by theft and violence.

I'm slightly puzzled by this notion of "natural" rights. To my way of thinking, a "right" can only exist if there is an enforcement mechanism to back it up. If there is no enforcement mechanism, then any talk about the "right" is simply a game of pointless finger-wagging.

Since there is no "natural" enforcement so to speak of (leaving aside any afterlife, posterity and eschatology theories for a moment), then I can't see how there can be any "natural" rights. Can someone explain it a bit better please?

quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Right at the beginning of all this my first thought was 'The police need to be able to demand that these looters remove their hoodies and masks'

There is no way people should be allowed to keep their faces covered in these sorts of circumstances.

Well, duh. If a police officer is able to get into close enough contact with a rioter so as to force them to remove their hoody or mask - then they might as well arrest them for rioting. If the police are operationally incapable of arresting someone for rioting or looting, then it's unlikely that they'll be in a position to enforce mask removal either.

The idea that rioters should be permitted to carry on rioting, as long as they don't wear face masks while they're doing it, strikes me as rather bizarre.

quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
There was a recent incident in Australia where an Islamic woman made a false accusation against a police officer but got off because she was veiled and not identifiable. This kind of abuse of religious freedom is very concerning, and makes the responsibility to be identifiable on request important.

If the woman was not identifiable, then how do you know whether she was Islamic or not?
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
fuck me, you can't have a single bloody sensible conversation on this board without dicks jumping to ridiculous conclusions and making idiotic insinuations out of what you say rather than stopping for just a short moment to actually think about it

I find people think it through and then say you're wrong based on their thoughts. If you want really bad critiques of ideas, go to newspaper internet forums.

That, and to be honest, your first bit is not the most flowing of reads....and I'm sympathetic to your view.
 
Posted by irish_lord99 (# 16250) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
If people are wearing hijabs or veils and causing no trouble why should the police need to see their faces?

Works in theory, but given the well-documented phenomenon of police stopping people for "driving while black", the possibility of it leading to them stopping people for "walking while veiled" is not appealing.
While I completely agree with Marvin here, it seems to me that this is a problem with the police, not the veiled women. Sounds like another case of the police's prejudice taking precedence over a minority's rights... and we wonder why the situation erupted in the first place?

That said, a simple solution might be, have a lady police officer on hand at all times to deal with it.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
You make the riots sound like an absolute bargain!

However, I think this merely illustrates the fallacy of assuming that loss and damage can only be measured in economic terms - or even that economic measurements are the most important measurements.

Sure, but then the financial crisis had more than just a simply economic impact.
 
Posted by Daron (# 16507) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
If people are wearing hijabs or veils and causing no trouble why should the police need to see their faces?

Works in theory, but given the well-documented phenomenon of police stopping people for "driving while black", the possibility of it leading to them stopping people for "walking while veiled" is not appealing.
Even if someone refuses a direct order to remove their face covering when directly or indirectly involved in a spot of Tottenham Shopping?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
it seems to me that this is a problem with the police, not the veiled women.

Quite so.

quote:
That said, a simple solution might be, have a lady police officer on hand at all times to deal with it.
That wouldn't solve the problem to which I refer. If any law made its way onto the books giving the police powers to remove face coverings if the person/s are suspected of criminal behaviour it would not take long before it morphed into an assumption that covering ones face is an indicator of criminal intent.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

Now they will be able to -

quote:
The police will have new powers to order people to remove facemasks. "On facemasks, currently [the police] can only remove these in a specific geographical location and for a limited time," Cameron said. "So I can announce today that we are going to give the police the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity."

I assume this includes veils and if it does it could cause major trouble if it's not used fairly.
If people are wearing hijabs or veils and causing no trouble why should the police need to see their faces?
Substitue veil with black and you'll see why the police can't be trusted to not stereotype.

Typical political response on the Tory part but not well thought through.
 
Posted by irish_lord99 (# 16250) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That wouldn't solve the problem to which I refer. If any law made its way onto the books giving the police powers to remove face coverings if the person/s are suspected of criminal behaviour it would not take long before it morphed into an assumption that covering ones face is an indicator of criminal intent.

Ah, I see... well surely the police can tell the difference? Are there a lot of these thugs running around in burqas?

You're probably right though, in the end it would be abused or misused. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Daron (# 16507) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
it seems to me that this is a problem with the police, not the veiled women.

Quite so.

quote:
That said, a simple solution might be, have a lady police officer on hand at all times to deal with it.
That wouldn't solve the problem to which I refer. If any law made its way onto the books giving the police powers to remove face coverings if the person/s are suspected of criminal behaviour it would not take long before it morphed into an assumption that covering ones face is an indicator of criminal intent.

What!? Surely covering ones face in the context of rampant daylight robbery is an indicator of criminal intent.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
Ah, I see... well surely the police can tell the difference?

This is the same police that once pulled over Bishop John Sentamu because he happened to be driving a rather nice car while also being black, right?

If they can't tell the difference between a Bishop and a joyrider I don't hold out much hope of them telling the difference in this instance either.
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
If the woman was not identifiable, then how do you know whether she was Islamic or not?

Excuse me, the exact issue was that she was veiled when she lodged the statement with the false allegation about the police officer. This enabled the conviction to be rescinded on appeal as it was somehow argued they couldn't be 500% sure that it really was her who made the statutory declaration in her name.

It is well known that the young woman involved is a Muslim convert.

It was an own goal though. The police union was rightfully furious at the false allegation and death threats their member had faced and threatened strike action. The NSW Parliament has since moved legislation to class refusing to remove a face covering (irrespective of gender or religious affiliation) when requested from a police officer as resisting lawful arrest. This is a sensible approach that stops well short of banning face coverings in public places.

[ 11. August 2011, 14:08: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]
 
Posted by Daron (# 16507) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
Ah, I see... well surely the police can tell the difference?

This is the same police that once pulled over Bishop John Sentamu because he happened to be driving a rather nice car while also being black, right?

If they can't tell the difference between a Bishop and a joyrider I don't hold out much hope of them telling the difference in this instance either.

There's a qualitative difference between being stopped for driving a car while black and a black man being arrested for driving a piece of scaffolding through a shop window.

[ 11. August 2011, 14:09: Message edited by: Daron ]
 
Posted by irish_lord99 (# 16250) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Daron:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
Ah, I see... well surely the police can tell the difference?

This is the same police that once pulled over Bishop John Sentamu because he happened to be driving a rather nice car while also being black, right?

If they can't tell the difference between a Bishop and a joyrider I don't hold out much hope of them telling the difference in this instance either.

There's a qualitative difference between being stopped for driving a car while black and a black man being arrested for driving a piece of scaffolding through a shop window.
Read a bit further up the page there son: that's right, that's right... we're discussing Muslim women's facial coverings right now. [Smile]
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I think people are talking about slightly different property rights. I think what Dafyd means is that to acquire property (above and beyond basic necessities of life) isn't a natural right. I think what some others mean is that if you do have property, then it is a natural right to expect that that property will not be taken from you by theft and violence.

With the proviso that it's totally academic in discussing looting, I think property is a socially acquired right rather than a natural right for at least two reasons:

a. It's possible to imagine a society with no property, and therefore no concept of theft. It's not possible to imagine a society in which being kicked in the head doesn't cause me harm.

b. All property claims must derive ultimately from claims to own natural resources, and it's not clear how anyone can inherently own a resource provided by nature.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Boogie, I wasn't saying that 'Grand Theft Auto' in and of itself was a contributory cause. Of course it isn't. [Roll Eyes]

All I was doing was using that as an example of a cultural artefact that CAN, given the right circumstances, contribute to the kind of malaise we're talking about here. And there's no single, simplistic factor. Of course there isn't.

To be honest, I find the kind of Ken flavoured, 'Ah well, they mostly targeted the big chain stores ...' to be as wrong-headed in a faux Robin Hood way as calls by Matt Black to bang them all up and throw away the key. Sure, there are times when a robust response is the right one ... and I'd suggest that this is one of them ... but it doesn't deal with the underlying causes.

As for Frater Frag's contribution ... [Roll Eyes]

I'm surprised no-one's called him to Hell. If that's the level of debate he can muster then he deserves to be roasted.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Even so, Dafyd, if you deny that "property" is a natural right, I don't think you can deny that food, clothing and shelter are natural rights: and those are precisely what people have been deprived of, having their homes burned to the ground around them.

As I understand it, the argument does something like this:

angelicum: why should I consider myself responsible for other people unless it aligns with my own self-interest?
me: if so, then you need a better argument as to why people shouldn't loot than that looting is selfish and inconsiderate.
We're agreed that looting is selfish and inconsiderate: should you accept the premise that other forms of selfish and inconsiderate behaviour are acceptable then the fact that looting is selfish and inconsiderate no longer becomes a sufficient argument against it.

The position that so long as you mind your own business/property rights you're not responsible for other people's business is inconsistent, because your property rights only exist when other people mind them. If I'm under the impression that I own Buckingham Palace, that's just tough: I'm deluded. If everyone else is under the same impression, then I'm not deluded: I actually own Buckingham Palace. Property is a social institution, like driving on the side of the road. Once there's an agreement to drive on one side of the road, it becomes criminally reckless to drive on the other side. But if the social contract is set up so that the arrangement disadvantages someone more than they benefit from it, you need to give them some other reason for them to go along with it.

As I think we are responsible for other people, I do think looting is wrong. And indeed worse than selfishly minding your own business. But that's because selfishly minding your own business is not as bad, not because selfishly minding your own business is ok.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
The position that so long as you mind your own business/property rights you're not responsible for other people's business is inconsistent, because your property rights only exist when other people mind them
But that's the dispute of the argument. Your right to your property exists whether or not other people mind them precisely because I (and evidently Catholic social teaching) believe it to be a natural right, and not as you think it to be - solely a legal right. If I steal your property, it's still "your" property.

In any case whether or not it is solely a legal right, or a legal and natural right I still fail to see your point. Property is still a legal right regardless, whereas expecting me to be concerned for the well-being of someone else whom I don't particularly know (or like) is not a legal right.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
As I understand it, "cutters" are thought to be motivated by a need to have some sort of physical expression of their inner pain/turmoil.

That's not what I've heard from cutters I have known and/or talked to personally, although of course they could be an unrepresentative minority. They said they were emotionally numb and unable to feel anything, and giving themselves pain at least was feeling something, even if it was negative. It was better to feel pain than nothing at all. After some point I imagine the endorphin rush caused by pain could become addictive as well but that wasn't mentioned, perhaps because they were unaware of the science on that and thus weren't able to explain it in those terms.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
As Ammon Hennacy said, trying to create a society where it's easier for people to be good. Not that it's ever easy, but it's possible to make it harder. Or not.

Because it's so hard to not make the choice to go out and destroy/steal what belongs to others. I have no problem managing to not make that choice. [Roll Eyes]
Sure, but you have a stake in the system. Whereas I'll bet a lot of the rioters really don't, and don't have much to lose.

[ 12. August 2011, 02:27: Message edited by: John Holding ]
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
... I wish this was political, because if it was something could actually be done about it - there would be a genuine grievance to settle or need to provide. But it's not. It's the end point of a culture of apathy and avarice that doesn't care about facilities, or education, or opportunities, it just cares about getting what you can while the getting's good. And how the hell do you fix that? What good is educating someone who doesn't care about learning? What good are job opportunities to someone who doesn't care about working?

(latter italics mine) Yet that is exactly the ethos of the corporation and our capitalist system that looks no futher than next quarter's results and acts accordingly, with no concern for its effects on anyone or anything else. That too, is a culture of apathy and avarice. But when individuals do it, it's apparently a crime and we're all shocked and appalled.

Why bother educating people when you can poach already-educated people from other countries? It's more profitable to create job opportunities in call centres in Bangladesh or assembly plants in Malaysia, and not have to worry about workplace health and safety or pesky unions. Corporations "loot" on a daily basis - they pollute our clean air and water, pillage and destroy ecosystems, and relentlessly squeeze their workers like a lime at a crappy bar, but it's all ok because it's reported on the financial pages.

We're all living in the same culture, so why expect citizens to act any differently?

quote:
... How can you get people to actually give a shit?
By making sure everyone has something to give a shit about. People who aren't benefitting from a set of rules have no incentive to follow them. OliviaG

PS Economics is political.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Frater_Frag:
The only solution to big riots like this one is to let the military solve the problem.

When we see a big riot maybe we'll call you. This was a handful rather small riots - tiny compared to the student demonstrations last year, nowhere near as violent or as destructive as the riots in 1981-85 - that were followed by hundreds of separate acts of looting spread all over the whole country. Not something the army would be much use for.

One of the reasons that Tuesday was much less dangerous than Monday in London was that the police to some extent went back to policing tactics instead of crowd-control - visble presence on street corners and at public transport, chasing looters down the street, snatching hold of suspects, escorting dodgy-looking groups away rather then kettling them in one place. They did better by behaving less like troops and more like police.

On Wednesday a group of around 50 kids walked down the road I was in making a row (this is by report I didn't see them though I heard the noise, I was in a back room). Some police vans went down the street slowly keeping up with them and keeping an eye on them. That seemed to work. No shooting or water cannon necessasary.

And yes, obviously that is not the case if there are large numbers of people attacking other people or if buildings are being set on fire. But most - the vast majority - of the incidents were not like that.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
As someone who lived in Lambeth until 3 years ago I think Exclamation mark is right. There are tensions between Asian and Black residents ....

If you had read the thread instead of just saying what was on your heart to tell us all you would have realised that what Garden Hermit and Exclamation Mark were saying was that looters hard been targeting Asian shops in London. This was not in fact true. Tensions or no tensions.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
As I understand it, "cutters" are thought to be motivated by a need to have some sort of physical expression of their inner pain/turmoil.

That's not what I've heard from cutters I have known and/or talked to personally, although of course they could be an unrepresentative minority. They said they were emotionally numb and unable to feel anything, and giving themselves pain at least was feeling something, even if it was negative. It was better to feel pain than nothing at all. After some point I imagine the endorphin rush caused by pain could become addictive as well but that wasn't mentioned, perhaps because they were unaware of the science on that and thus weren't able to explain it in those terms.
Misattribution alert: the words quoted by mousethief are originally from cliffdweller, not from me. Not that I mind.
 
Posted by Alfred E. Neuman (# 6855) on :
 
Cameron finally speaks as looters approach Number 10.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Frater_Frag:
The only solution to big riots like this one is to let the military solve the problem.

When we see a big riot maybe we'll call you. This was a handful rather small riots - tiny compared to the student demonstrations last year, nowhere near as violent or as destructive as the riots in 1981-85 - that were followed by hundreds of separate acts of looting spread all over the whole country.
Maybe in terms of numbers, then, it wasn't that big a riot. But I for one found it a good deal scarier than the student protest riots that went on in the City and the West End earlier this year - partly because it came a lot closer to residential premises.

As for your point about crowd control, I think it needs to be pointed out that it's a lot easier to kettle a crowd that's all in one place than a crowd that is dispersed over a large area - and, in particular, the narrower a street exit is, the easier it is to kettle a crowd in that area. It's a lot easier to kettle people into Threadneedle Street than it is to kettle them into Hyde Park.

I grant that Tottenham High Road isn't quite Hyde Park, though. But I suspect that Tottenham High Road is a lot wider, and has wider exits, than Threadneedle Street.

So I'm not convinced that it's for want of trying.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Back to OP topic - this web page actually makes some interesting comments about gentreification and exclusion and demonisation. If you read past the Dave Spartist jargon that both the blogger and many of the commentators fall into. (I wish the Left didn't do that so often)

And no she is not saying she approves of the looting, or that people ought not to defend themselves against it, or clean up after it

And FWIW yes the blogger is almost certainly using a pseudonym.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Yet that is exactly the ethos of the corporation and our capitalist system that looks no futher than next quarter's results and acts accordingly, with no concern for its effects on anyone or anything else. That too, is a culture of apathy and avarice. But when individuals do it, it's apparently a crime and we're all shocked and appalled.

Interestingly, Iain Duncan Smith made a similar comment about people who choose to live on benefits.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
this web page actually makes some interesting comments about gentreification and exclusion and demonisation.

Really? I'm sorry, ken, but any reasonable point she might have had is utterly lost to me in the sanctimonious and vitriolic rhetoric with which she lambasts the very people who are trying practically to make an immediate effort to make things better - the broom-wielders. Just some snippets from the link above to give the impression I was left with:
quote:
The strikingly middle-class, broadly white efforts to sweep issues of inequality under the carpet of a simulated big-society photo-op [...] This doughty bunch of volunteer cleaners, the substitution for a non-existent community, appeared right on cue to fill the media narrative all day following a night of London’s most extensive social unrest in decades. Even Mayor Boris had leisurely returned from holiday to be snapped with the broom-wielding bourgeoisie of Clapham as they amassed for a bit of symbolic social cleansing.

[...]

Art and brooms isn’t going to fix this particular problem however, only the radical redistribution of wealth and a society not defined around the individual accumulation of property is going to do that.

[...]

Behind the thinly veiled symbolism of social cleansing/cleaning up the area – for which read gentrification and further exclusion/segregation ... [a]ll of the twitter commentary that supposedly organised the clean-up events (or was it the Young Conservatives Clapham branch?) parroted the same ideological soundbites – this is the ‘real London’, this is the ‘true London’ blah, blah, yawn, blah.

[...]

If [community] does exist, as this episode illustrates, this community certainly appears to be one that cannot operate other than by the exclusion of certain individuals, by the rhetorical and indeed physical expulsion of non-citizens and ‘feral rats’, from within its midst. Such a community, predicated upon exclusion, was how Carl Schmitt defined society (and he was a Nazi). This community therefore, that comes together over their dustpan and brushes only does so in the specific exclusion of their Other. This Other, the poor, often BME youths that have felt compelled to acts of nihilistic aggression against a society that marginalises them and offers no future, but amongst which and as part of which they live, are rhetorically excluded rather than be considered as equals.

By the symbolic cleaning, cleansing and casting out of the rioters from the community, the sweepers appear to enact the closest thing to popular fascism that we have seen on the streets of certain ‘leafy’ bits of London for years.

What I was left with was the nasty sound of a political axe - and some foam-flecked teeth - being ground. And she has the cheek to talk about dismissing and excluding people on the basis of class/origin?
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
Goodness! It was funny when that blog said
quote:
It's not 1940.
You'd never think, from the posturing Old Marxist ivory-tower rhetoric. Sounds like something written by a redbrick academic historian who's been locked in their cobweb-strewn office for 40 years, and accidentally resurrected when a cleaner went in and dusted them.

I could almost see the tie-dyed flares and big hair.
 
Posted by Jahlove (# 10290) on :
 
I think the micro-analysis *feral chav underclass take opportunity to get STUFF for free and have a bonfire into the bargain* AND the macro- *UK societal systems are totally fucked up so you shouldn't be surprised (politicians whinge *Something Must Be Done* and hey, looky, looky, Something IS being done - but not by the favoured means of Special Committees but by direct action, oh dear we don't like it) - are both correct.

While I doubt that 1% of people on the streets are motivated by purely political reasons, that isn't to say that even the Naughty Looters'n'Burners aren't somehow responding to the Zeitgeist of revolution and change that, to date, we've mostly seen in the Middle East and North Africa.

Remembering the Toxteth and Brixton riots (1981) and Broadwater Farm (1985) - similar looking on the surface but didn't really lead to major change - I wonder if, in tandem with the unrest in other places and the global financial meltdown + a weak government, there may be a Kuhnian paradigm shift in the not-too-distant future.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, absolutely, which is partly why people are losing faith in ideology (and probably also religious dogma) because it so easily lends itself to parody by adopting such ludicrously unnuanced positions.

I concur with ken's views on the policing issue. The Met were policing quite effectively on Tuesday evening it seemed to me - and those I spoke to were in good spirits. This begs the question as to why they didn't police so effectively earlier in the week ... but I suspect they were wrong footed to a large extent and it took them a while to adapt and respond.

This wasn't like the student protests or any other organised march or rally and, as ken says, what they were up against for the most part were relatively small and apparently spontaneous outbursts of looting and criminal damage. A very different situation to police to an organised march with advance warning and plenty of potential flash-points that could be considered in advance.

I think there are questions to be asked as to why some areas were left apparently unpoliced for so long - allowing looters to rob, burn and destroy with impunity. No wonder some groups took recourse to vigilante action ... and it's very fortunate, in London at least, that these didn't lead to serious casualties. The media have made much of Turks and Sikhs seeing off mobs by brandishing kitchen knives and baseball bats. I can understand why they'd do this but is this really the sort of 'big society' that Cameron envisages?
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
This wasn't like the student protests or any other organised march or rally and, as ken says, what they were up against for the most part were relatively small and apparently spontaneous outbursts of looting and criminal damage. A very different situation to police to an organised march with advance warning and plenty of potential flash-points that could be considered in advance.

There was a claim made elsewhere that over the last few years Police tactics have evolved to checking and holding the line against mass protests (students etc), via tactics such as kettling.

Such tactics work less well against a small group intent on causing mayhem. I'm guessing it took a few days for them to adjust to those techniques.

Plus for the first few days it seemed as if there were highly mobile rioters popping up here, there and everywhere. Which would have involved large numbers of police being everywhere a mob was likely to form (which is obviously impossible).

By Tuesday, it was large numbers of people in a few places.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jahlove:
I think the micro-analysis *feral chav underclass take opportunity to get STUFF for free and have a bonfire into the bargain* AND the macro- *UK societal systems are totally fucked up so you shouldn't be surprised (politicians whinge *Something Must Be Done* and hey, looky, looky, Something IS being done - but not by the favoured means of Special Committees but by direct action, oh dear we don't like it) - are both correct.

Well yes.

Things can have more than one cause. Almost everything does. And the personal and polictical are not distinct. Our actions - criminal actions jsut like any other actions have personal causes and they also have political causes.

All of these things could be true at the same time (and they probably all are):


And it would be great if the present prime minister (who is dropping his liberal camouflage like a whore stripping), and the right-wing press, and useless pomopus turds like Michael Gove would either shut up or acknowledge that these things are not mutually exclusive. And stop this crappy bitching at anyone who tries to suggest understanding what is going on or fixing some of the problems. I'm bored bored bored with ritual demands to "condemn criminality" or whatever.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
I agree with ken. As usual.

But the blog he quoted turned my sympathy off somewhat. Apart from the fact that AFAIK the scenes depicted were at Clapham Junction, ie Battersea, and not Clapham (quite a different demographic), what is the evidence for concluding that the clean-up brigade were a group of bourgeoisie acting as poster boys and girls for the Big Society? If (as everybody admits) the rioters were a tiny minority of local people (and probably included many others from outside the area) then isn't it likely that those wielding the brooms were representative of the (very ethnically and socially mixed) area? It certainly was like that here in Liverpool.

Such ill-informed rants are as counter-productive as the violence itself.
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
Well I can't see how you could blame religion for this riotous behaviour. As a religious person I'm relieved about that, because we seem to get blamed for most of the world's woes these days.

Always look on the bright side of life!
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, the coppers I spoke to would probably broadly agree with most of your points, ken, except that they did say that they felt hamstrung by the courts, lenient sentencing and a concern that the politicians and the media weren't allowing them to get on with their jobs properly. No, they didn't want water cannon, no, they didn't want rubber or plastic bullets.

But what they did want was the freedom, as they saw it, to go in with appropriate severity in those instances where there were substantial threats to life, limb and property. They wanted to be able to rough up the ringleaders a bit in order to deter the others. They felt that they couldn't because it'd be captured on film and they might lose their jobs. They didn't want to find themselves on assault charges.

This worries me somewhat as it demonises the liberal media and civil liberties types.

It's a tricky one though, as we clearly don't want repetitions of the incident which led to the death of Chris Tomlinson nor the various examples of inappropriate force that have emerged over the years.

That said, when there are mobs setting fire to properties and endangering life, setting upon innocent bystanders and terrifying entire communities then some kind of robust response is clearly necessary. I agree that police tactics were exemplary on Tuesday night and that once they'd recovered from the initial outbreaks earlier in the week they were quickly able to deploy effective solutions. No need for the Army, no need for watercannon, no need for rubber bullets, just good, old-fashioned policing.

Rightly or wrongly, the police do feel hampered and the threat of cuts isn't going to do them nor anyone else any favours. Sure, black people and Muslims can feel themselves singled out more than other sectors of society for police scrutiny - but the Muslims and Sikhs of Birmingham who came out to defend their neighbourhoods and where, tragically, three men lost their lives through no fault of their own - did want the police to be there to protect them. The clips I've seen show some complaining that the police were in the city centre defending the big stores rather than defending them and their property. The police can't be everywhere at once and whatever they do they'd be criticised. If they'd deployed their officers to the residential areas they'd have then been criticised for leaving the city centre unprotected ... it's swings and roundabouts ...
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
the main function of police and government in our society is to defend the privileges and interests of property owners

If by "property owners" you mean "everybody", then yes. Otherwise, this is the kind of inflammatory bullshit that... let's just say doesn't help.
 
Posted by tomsk (# 15370) on :
 
I wonder, Gamaliel, whether you have to take the rough with the smooth with the Police. Sometimes their job is to put the boot in. If they become too concerned about doing the wrong thing, they end up being ineffectual.
 
Posted by QLib (# 43) on :
 
Yes, of course, one can quite see why being told not to chop people down from behind when they are strolling across the road would lead to your average police officer feeling unsure about whether or not they were allowed to try to stop (or even arrest) someone trashing and looting a shop.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
the main function of police and government in our society is to defend the privileges and interests of property owners

If by "property owners" you mean "everybody", then yes. Otherwise, this is the kind of inflammatory bullshit that... let's just say doesn't help.
[Razz]

quote:

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.

[Biased]
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
...I find it strange that you seem to think that knowing that your son or brother or husband is a criminal means that you would no longer want to defend them. That's an attitude I find un-natural and a bit creepy. I think I prefer a world like the one most people actually live in where they are more loyal to their own friends and family than they are to the state, and sometimes do not abandon them even when they are doing evil things.

This comment was buried on page six, but it bothered me so much I had to drag it back into the light of day.

No, you would not actually prefer to live in such a world. The attitude of "protect your own, even when they are doing evil things" is a great medium in which to develop crime. It means that crimes cannot be investigated because of uncooperative witnesses, criminals have impunity, injustice rolls on like a polluted river.

The attitude may be understandable, given past relations between the police and [insert oppressed group here]. But even those oppressed groups eventually get tired of protecting criminals and fostering crime, which usually affects them most directly. It takes particular courage to break the group's silence for the sake of justice, for the sake of an unknown neighbour from outside the group.
 
Posted by Jerry Boam (# 4551) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leaf:
No, you would not actually prefer to live in such a world. The attitude of "protect your own, even when they are doing evil things" is a great medium in which to develop crime.

Maybe it has something to do with a recognition that people can learn lessons and change.

They may do terrible things in blind range or despair and then see the damage they have done and have a change of heart and mind.

Seeing a loved one caught in the kind of place that often leads to crime may result in an intense desire to help them change.

The attention of the state rarely helps. The mechanisms of "justice" tend to grind people up and spit them out. Rehabilitation is not an actual goal. The rough embrace of that system is not something we want to see for our loved ones even if they are thoroughly guilty.

Ken did use the word "sometimes" and it makes a difference. I think he is quite right.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Leaf,

a real life argument I got into yesterday around the riots had the person who I was tangling with telling me that he would report everyone for wrong-doing whenever he heard about it. That's really not a good way forward working with people. If you just report everything then:

Standing by someone doesn't mean that you don't encourage them to do the right things, and make reparation, but it also means that you try to help them make the right decisions for themselves.

As school professionals, working with a family, you are trying to move the situation on, support and educate the children. We really did not need to alienate the family for things that weren't related to education.

There are so many things tangled into these situations that you really don't want to remove any stabilising influences, however flawed.

But, yes, some of the support from families is less than helpful, but maybe the solution is to work with the whole family and the whole community.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
My thought was the opposite, Curiosity killed.

I was thinking that the best people to shop these mindless looters would be their teachers. As 50% of them (So far) have been under 18.

I certainly would - how does getting away with violent burglary help anyone?

Show me a badly behaved boy and I'll show you a Mum who backs him up and enables his behaviour.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Boogie, I don't know where you work, but in the areas where I've worked the way that worked to deal with behaviour in school is to make it very clear that these are the rules in school and this is the expectation in school. Schools see children for 5 or 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 38 weeks a year, that's 13% of their time. When the other 87% of their time they have other rules backed up at the end of a belt, the home rules are the ones that stick.

eta - and that's assuming they have 100% school attendance

[ 12. August 2011, 07:23: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Yes - we see a lot of that. But most is ineffectual parenting. Quite a bit due to simple ignorance of the fact that children need boundaries.

(I teach in, statistically, the most deprived ward in the UK)

The first person out of court last night in Manchester was 11 years old - and his mother was still backing him up - no shame whatever.

Quite often when I call a Mum in to talk about behaviour their first words are 'What did the other boy do?' It takes ages to get them thinking about their own child's behaviour - they seem to see the child as an extension of themselves and take the criticism personally.

When they realise that I care about their son and want the very best for him then they begin to listen.

Teaching them to build walls and boundaries for their small children is a tough job. But it pays off - no boundaries at six = totally out of control by 14 imo.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
I work with the 14-16 year olds, the ones the schools don't want, and all the hope we've held out for those kids has gone.

Evening courses to get the qualifications they missed, level 1 and 2 English and Maths, mean a trip to somewhere else and no bus back, no funding to provide them locally.
 
Posted by Avila (# 15541) on :
 
Two radio 4 news clips -

Father of 16yr old in court - how am I supposed to know where he is and what he is up to? .... Throw the book at him

Today guest on a panel - pointed out how much coverage riots get from the media and the recall of parliment etc compared to the notice taken of 20 murders a year(?) in same communities. No excuses but saying this suggests to the young people that the property is more valued than their lives.

A lot of truth in that - Jo Public outside these areas doesn't feel at risk, its not my back yard so not on the radar. Rioting well that's crossing boundaries, might come to my city, might impact me - lets talk, lets find reasons, lets get something happening...
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Back to OP topic - this web page actually makes some interesting comments about gentreification and exclusion and demonisation. If you read past the Dave Spartist jargon that both the blogger and many of the commentators fall into. (I wish the Left didn't do that so often)

And no she is not saying she approves of the looting, or that people ought not to defend themselves against it, or clean up after it

And FWIW yes the blogger is almost certainly using a pseudonym.

That article is a complete joke probably written by some public-school educated wannabe.

When rioters were interviewed by the police it is they that condemn themselves with their own utterances. These morons have excluded themselves nobody else has had to lift a finger to do that.

I am still puzzled why the clean-up is considered by the writer as a form of fascism -though of course she does not condemn it.

Priceless.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
A cartoonist comments on the riots.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
QLib - yes indeed. No-one here is defending the police action in the Tomlinson case. And if the manslaughter charge against the officer concerned deters others from chopping people down indiscriminately then that's fair enough.

But what about an instance where looters are using scaffolding to break into shops, trashing people's flats, setting fire to houses and shops with potential loss of life?

The police were wrong-footed and, in the initial stages at least, were using inappropriate tactics designed for marches and demonstrators rather than outbreaks of mass burglary.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
originally posted by Boogie
Quite often when I call a Mum in to talk about behaviour their first words are 'What did the other boy do?'

This seems, to me, to be a highly relevant question to ask in the situation to which you refer. I would certainly ask it. Not to do so seems, potentially, to me to offer, for example, a free pass to manipulative bullies who taunt children to such an extent that they eventually retaliate. And if your attitude to mums is how you descibe it, I think I might be able to see why they take these comments personally.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
originally posted by Boogie
Quite often when I call a Mum in to talk about behaviour their first words are 'What did the other boy do?'

This seems, to me, to be a highly relevant question to ask in the situation to which you refer. I would certainly ask it. Not to do so seems, potentially, to me to offer, for example, a free pass to manipulative bullies who taunt children to such an extent that they eventually retaliate. And if your attitude to mums is how you descibe it, I think I might be able to see why they take these comments personally.
Absolutely - and if this was the case I would already be dealing with it, having spoken to both children, and anyone else depending on the circumstances. I will have brought the mother in to talk about her child's unacceptable behaviour.

My attitude to Mums is that I'm very much on their side - I'm not sure why you think otherwise. It's totally in their interest to help them sort out their children's behaviour - especially as I teach 6 year olds and this is the best time to catch them.

eta - the letters of thanks after my parenting courses are a testimony to that.

I am a facilitator for 1 2 3 Magic - a brilliant tool for such matters.

[ 12. August 2011, 10:53: Message edited by: Boogie ]
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
civil disturbances almost always happen in large European cities when government spending is cut. It is almost inevitable, and ought to have been predictable. And in fact was predicted.
Legitimate civil disturbance is acceptable I think. Protests, sit-ins etc.

I think rioting, arson and looting is slightly different. But lets accept that this most recent riots are related to cuts to government spending, i.e. people are unhappy with cuts therefore they have decided to steal.

My question is - is this therefore an argument against cuts?

Because it seems to me, what they have demonstrated is that they never deserved the government funding going to them in the first place! So instead of being an argument against cuts, it should be an argument for more cuts. If these are people who could do such activity, then why shouldn't they be punished with more cuts?

For the record, I don't believe there is this causal relationship between cuts to govt expenditure and rioting, but some people do so I think its a legitimate question, considering these are the same people who speak of 'fairness'. Surely its fair to use the resources that we do have on people who are unlikely to take to these forms of activity?

Re. the association between govt spending and rioting. Could not there be reverse causality in play here? That is instead of cutting government expenditure leads to the creation of a criminal sub-culture that results in rioting, could it not be that the criminal sub-culture has existed, was being increasingly bloated and sustained with increasing government spending up to the maximum available spend which resulted in the necessity for greater cuts in that area of govt spend?
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jahlove:
While I doubt that 1% of people on the streets are motivated by purely political reasons, that isn't to say that even the Naughty Looters'n'Burners aren't somehow responding to the Zeitgeist of revolution and change that, to date, we've mostly seen in the Middle East and North Africa.

[Overused]

I think it's a no-brainer. People in the UK see news reports of people in the Middle East and North Africa being unhappy with their lot, and having riots to change it - and everyone praises how brave they are. And the people who are unhappy with their lot think "Not fair! They get to smash the system - but we don't!" I can't pretend that I myself have not thought this from time to time as well.

So I don't think you can blame people for taking a leaf out of the book of the Arab Spring book.

Does this motivate the looting, though? Perhaps not. But it does at least temporarily break social conventions to the extent that is necessary to allow looting to take place.

quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
the main function of police and government in our society is to defend the privileges and interests of property owners

If by "property owners" you mean "everybody", then yes. Otherwise, this is the kind of inflammatory bullshit that... let's just say doesn't help.
Well spotted.

Apologies if this is too much of a tangent - but real estate owners don't like having it pointed out to them - but if someone takes control of your premises in a way that can't be shown beyond reasonable doubt to be a criminal matter, then you do need to be prepared to pay the costs of enforcement to get them out again.

I grant that you can sue the squatters / tenants / uninvited guests for those costs if you want - but if those squatters have no money, then this won't help. If you're not prepared to pony up the money yourself, then the squatters stay. And if you take the matter into your own hands, then it's you that will be on the wrong side of the law - not the squatters.

Being a property owner does not give you an entitlement to the enforcement of your rights to your property at state expense. It never has done, and it never will do. You can rant about how unfair this is, but it won't make any difference. If you didn't understand that that's the way it is before you signed your mortgage agreement, then more fool you for actually buying real estate in the first place.

Too many property owners have a misplaced sense of entitlement, in my opinion. That doesn't make them bad people, though; it just means that they've been sold into a deal that isn't quite as good as they thought. It's obviously in estate agents' interest to hype up real estate ownership to be more valuable than it actually is, as though it confers more rights on you than it actually does - because they get more commission that way.

The purpose of the police is no more to protect property owners than it is to protect anyone else. Having said that, it is part of the purpose of the police to protect the state - and property owners rely on the continued existence of that state to be able to enforce their rights to their property at all - even though they still have to pay the enforcement costs anyway. If the state goes belly up, then your real estate title is worth diddly squat.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
the main function of police and government in our society is to defend the privileges and interests of property owners

If by "property owners" you mean "everybody", then yes. Otherwise, this is the kind of inflammatory bullshit that... let's just say doesn't help.
Well spotted.

Apologies if this is too much of a tangent - but real estate owners don't like having it pointed out to them - but if someone takes control of your premises in a way that can't be shown beyond reasonable doubt to be a criminal matter, then you do need to be prepared to pay the costs of enforcement to get them out again.

I grant that you can sue the squatters / tenants / uninvited guests for those costs if you want - but if those squatters have no money, then this won't help. If you're not prepared to pony up the money yourself, then the squatters stay. And if you take the matter into your own hands, then it's you that will be on the wrong side of the law - not the squatters.

Being a property owner does not give you an entitlement to the enforcement of your rights to your property at state expense. It never has done, and it never will do. You can rant about how unfair this is, but it won't make any difference. If you didn't understand that that's the way it is before you signed your mortgage agreement, then more fool you for actually buying real estate in the first place.

Too many property owners have a misplaced sense of entitlement, in my opinion. That doesn't make them bad people, though; it just means that they've been sold into a deal that isn't quite as good as they thought. It's obviously in estate agents' interest to hype up real estate ownership to be more valuable than it actually is, as though it confers more rights on you than it actually does - because they get more commission that way.

I think Chesterbelloc was pointing out that property owners actually mean everyone in opposition to Ken, whose phraseology could be read as indicating that the police and other authorities favoured the privilleged (at the expense of the poor).

Property as many understand it to mean, is the fruit of ones labour. It does not have to be restricted to real estate - intellectual property, etc. This is one of the arguments for property rights being a natural right, that is a person owns themselves and therefore their own labour - when a person works, that labour then becomes an object, and the object becomes the property of that person. He is therefore entitled to legitimate means of defending this property.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:

For the record, I don't believe there is this causal relationship between cuts to govt expenditure and rioting, but some people do so I think its a legitimate question

Coincidentally, this paper just came out

http://www.cepr.org/pubs/new-dps/dplist.asp?dpno=8513.asp

So at least there is a claim that this connection goes beyond blind belief.

quote:
Because it seems to me, what they have demonstrated is that they never deserved the government funding going to them in the first place! So instead of being an argument against cuts, it should be an argument for more cuts. If these are people who could do such activity, then why shouldn't they be punished with more cuts?

In that case we are back to the question a number of people posed further back in this thread in connection with those who have effectively no stake in society. Doc Tor posed it best, unless you are going to posit a Final Solution, preventative measures need to be taken - if only for your own good.

There are too many potential rioters to send them all to jail, or to the army. Similarly, even if we assume that they are all work-shy today, and could magically be made models of the Protestant work-ethic tomorrow, there'd still not be enough jobs to go around.

So even at a purely pragmatic level you are going to have to work out how to keep a lid on things. If you think it's possible to do so while making people homeless and removing their only means of support, then you are more optimistic than I am.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Property as many understand it to mean, is the fruit of ones labour. It does not have to be restricted to real estate - intellectual property, etc.

How does labour convert into a claim on a particular bit of land? Additionally, 'intellectual property' doesn't operate in the same way as other property. If I own a field, you can't also own it, if I have an idea, there isn't anything to stop you having the same idea.
 
Posted by AberVicar (# 16451) on :
 
quote:
Teaching them to build walls and boundaries for their small children is a tough job. But it pays off - no boundaries at six = totally out of control by 14 imo. (Boogie)
quote:
Jo Public outside these areas doesn't feel at risk, its not my back yard so not on the radar. Rioting well that's crossing boundaries, might come to my city, might impact me - lets talk, lets find reasons, lets get something happening... (Avila)
A couple of snippets of common sense... [Overused]
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:

For the record, I don't believe there is this causal relationship between cuts to govt expenditure and rioting, but some people do so I think its a legitimate question

Coincidentally, this paper just came out

http://www.cepr.org/pubs/new-dps/dplist.asp?dpno=8513.asp

So at least there is a claim that this connection goes beyond blind belief.

I never suggested that that was purely blind belief. There is anecdotal evidence, and as you have cited, 1 paper which attempts to demonstrate a positive association.

The paper cited shows a positive correlation - correlation is not causality.

They mention control for economic downturns as a potential source of counfounding. They do not (at least in their abstract) test for other confounding, nor do they account for residual confounding.

I can't access the full paper but it'd be interesting to see the magnitude of the effect size estimate, what the lower confidence limit of the effect size is (i.e. is it very close to 1), what the outcome measures were, the presence (or otherwise) of any dose-response relationship, consideration of reverse causality, etc.

I think at this point, its difficult to even ascertain what the strength of any association is, let alone that this association is a causal one.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Property as many understand it to mean, is the fruit of ones labour. It does not have to be restricted to real estate - intellectual property, etc.

How does labour convert into a claim on a particular bit of land? Additionally, 'intellectual property' doesn't operate in the same way as other property. If I own a field, you can't also own it, if I have an idea, there isn't anything to stop you having the same idea.
The land itself is of little value. It is working the land that adds value - you can either do this work yourself, or hire people to do this.

You discount of course that capital is also property, as are items such as food, clothing, housing, etc.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
So even at a purely pragmatic level you are going to have to work out how to keep a lid on things. If you think it's possible to do so while making people homeless and removing their only means of support, then you are more optimistic than I am.

But there has been very little consideration on how this latter scenario can be achieved.

It may well be unachievable, but at least if this is the case, then when working on the alternative, acknowledge that this is a second-best response to the situation, because no one has yet worked out how to achieve the preferred outcome (i.e. increasing punitive measures, resource-allocation solely to the deserving, and national security concurrently) .

[ 12. August 2011, 11:57: Message edited by: angelicum ]
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
The land itself is of little value. It is working the land that adds value

I'm sorry, this is twaddle. If I had an ancestor who had claimed a large area inside contemporary London and had handed this down to me it would be worth a lot regardless of whether the generations in between had worked on it or not.

The exclusive claim on the land itself has value.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
The land itself is of little value. It is working the land that adds value

I'm sorry, this is twaddle. If I had an ancestor who had claimed a large area inside contemporary London and had handed this down to me it would be worth a lot regardless of whether the generations in between had worked on it or not.

The exclusive claim on the land itself has value.

That is because people have worked the surrounding land - which is the argument for both taxation on both property and inheritance.
 
Posted by angelicum (# 13515) on :
 
^^ Just to add with regards to that point - the fact is, even if you had a large plot of land in the City of London, it would be worthless to you, unless you decided to claim it or use it.

This could be done through selling the land, or renting it out, or using it yourself. All these actions involve your labour.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Property as many understand it to mean, is the fruit of ones labour. It does not have to be restricted to real estate - intellectual property, etc.

How does labour convert into a claim on a particular bit of land? Additionally, 'intellectual property' doesn't operate in the same way as other property. If I own a field, you can't also own it, if I have an idea, there isn't anything to stop you having the same idea.
Ideas do not constitute property, not even intellectual property. It is the expression of the idea, eg a song, book, design, trademark or specification that is treated as intellectual property. My idea can be exactly the same as yours and no law need be contravened: you can only sue me if the my expression of the idea is, to all intents, identical to yours.

As for land, it has intrinsic value through scarcity - look how many wars have been fought over land and the resources of and under it.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
The looting has nothing to do with the cuts or with the Arab Spring. The latter suggestion is risible.

The looting is a manifestation, or possibly a metamorphosis, of a continuing stream of criminality which has been plaguing parts of England's inner cities over the past 20 years if not longer. The gang culture copied from America, which is itself a product of social breakdown, is nothing new. Of recent years, long before any cuts, it took the form of mostly black on black crime such as gang shootings and stabbings linked to other criminal enterprises most notably drug trading. Although the authorities set up Operation Trident to counter this and occasionally these gun and knife murders cause public dismay, provided they are left to the ghetto they do not cause the authorities to take any particularly significant action.

Now that the problem of lawlessness has moved out of the ghetto and affected the general public it has hit the headlines. It festers and occasionally erupts because the authorities have been until now too craven to deal with it effectively. Whether anything will change is a moot point.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Some of the looters are hardly poor. It seems a case of 'I think I can, so I will'.

I'm glad to see that at least one mother has turned her son in.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
I think Chesterbelloc was pointing out that property owners actually mean everyone in opposition to Ken, whose phraseology could be read as indicating that the police and other authorities favoured the privilleged (at the expense of the poor).

No, I think Chester was pointing out that "defending property owners" applies as much to ensuring no-one steals your playstation as it does to ensuring no-one destroys your place of business.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
People in the UK see news reports of people in the Middle East and North Africa being unhappy with their lot, and having riots to change it - and everyone praises how brave they are. And the people who are unhappy with their lot think "Not fair! They get to smash the system - but we don't!"

Maybe. From what I understand of this, based on the rigourously scientific method of looking at reports on the news, facebook, and this thread, it seems to me that there isn't a single category of people involved in these events and that talking about 'the rioters' is just a bar to understanding.

On the first night, and possibly the other night, there were people who were genuinely angry that somebody had been shot and it wasn't obvious that it was justified.
Then there are people who are angry about the fact that the system is not operating for their benefit. Again, rioting on the first night.
Then there are people who just have fun smashing things: bascially, vandals.
Then there are the people who are opportunistic looters: everyone else is getting hold of stuff so why shouldn't we?
And finally there are the organised criminals who again were taking advantage of the police being tied up in anti-riot cordons to loot with premeditation.

Groups three and four are certainly not intentionally protesting against anything.

However, the fact is that classes three and four would probably not exist, or would have far fewer people in them, if their members felt that they had more of a stake in the system. On the whole, people in the middle to upper tax brackets, who believe that if they work hard they will be rewarded, choose less ostentatious ways of expressing their anti-social impulses.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
This is one of the arguments for property rights being a natural right, that is a person owns themselves and therefore their own labour - when a person works, that labour then becomes an object, and the object becomes the property of that person.

That's certainly the usual Marxist line. However, in our society when you work your labour becomes an object that is the property of your employer. Your employer does not pay you the market value for the object you produce: your employer pays you the market value for your time x skills. That's worth less than the object produced is worth, which is how your employer can make a profit.
Now you can object that this situation violates the workers' natural rights if you like. But it doesn't look like the revolution is happening any time soon.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
The land itself is of little value. It is working the land that adds value - you can either do this work yourself, or hire people to do this.

This contradicts the claim that we have a natural right to the product of our labour. If we have a natural right to something, we cannot alienate that right, at least not without equivalent compensation. So we can't be hired to sell our labour to somebody else - on this picture, that's not essentially different from selling ourselves into slavery. If someone hires us to work their land, and we have a natural right to the product of our labour, then the product of our labour naturally belongs to us regardless of what the hiring agreement says. The person whose land it is can buy the product of our labour off us, but they can't hire our labour on this picture.

This is not how most societies, other than Marxist utopias, work.

The other problem of course is that it's not clear how much labour counts as labour. If I am walking along a creek and I spy a gold nugget on the ground and I pick it up does the act of picking it up really constitute 'labour'?
Suppose I then stake a claim to that bit of creek by putting up a sign at each end of the creek saying 'claimed'. Does that constitute 'labour'?
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
God help me, I'm turning into a Telegraph reader*. I thought this piece by Peter Oborne was absolutely superb. Where it points blame, I think it does so with pinpoint accuracy.


*(If you see a group of four horsemen outside, hurry on by.)
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
I think Chesterbelloc was pointing out that property owners actually mean everyone - in opposition to Ken, whose phraseology could be read as indicating that the police and other authorities favoured the privilleged (at the expense of the poor).

No, I think Chester was pointing out that "defending property owners" applies as much to ensuring no-one steals your playstation as it does to ensuring no-one destroys your place of business.
You're both right, actually. I have slightly altered the emphasis of angelicum's words above to avoid any possible ambiguity.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
God help me, I'm turning into a Telegraph reader*. I thought this piece by Peter Oborne was absolutely superb. Where it points blame, I think it does so with pinpoint accuracy.


Yes - brilliant article (And the first I've ever read in the Telegraph). It was not good to see the very MPs who had been cheating on their expenses standing up and shouting outrage.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I'm glad to see that at least one mother has turned her son in.

Oh, no - apparently such 'disloyalty' is to be lamented. [Roll Eyes]

quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Boam: The attention of the state rarely helps. The mechanisms of `justice` tend to grind people up and spit them out. Rehabilitation is not an actual goal. The rough embrace of that system is not something we want to see for our loved ones even if they are throroughly guilty.

First of all, I think it very much depends on the sort of `attention of the state` you have in mind. Early intervention and job training programs might actually help. Secondly, even if your assertion were true, it`s preferable to change the mechanisms of justice rather than abandon them.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Property as many understand it to mean, is the fruit of ones labour. It does not have to be restricted to real estate - intellectual property, etc. This is one of the arguments for property rights being a natural right, that is a person owns themselves and therefore their own labour - when a person works, that labour then becomes an object, and the object becomes the property of that person. He is therefore entitled to legitimate means of defending this property.

Good point - although this raises the question of what it means to be "entitled" to something. It is meaningless to say that anyone is "entitled" to anything in the absence of a civic structure.

What this means in practice is that if there's no government, then it's all very well to say that you have a "right" to protect what you have made by the fruits of your labour - but there won't be anyone to defend that right for you.

The state that provides that protection will only exist if you are prepared to pay its tithes or taxation, and comply with its other rules that are necessary for you to qualify as a "citizen". You don't have to pay the taxes and comply with the rules if you don't want to - however, that means you'd have to up sticks and go find somewhere else to live that isn't part of that state's jurisdiction. If you're not prepared to do that, then you have to pay the taxes and obey the rules.

Citizenship and real-estate ownership are not to be confused with each other. It's possible to be a citizen without being a real-estate owner - and, likewise, it's possible to be a real-estate owner without being a citizen. That's why the cost of real estate rights enforcement would never be paid for out of general taxation.

After all, if you were a UK taxpayer who was a tenant in a property that was owned by someone who lives in a different country and who doesn't pay any UK tax, then would you be happy if your taxes were used to pay the costs of the enforcement of the rights of the landlord who does not pay UK tax? I suspect the answer to that question would be no. Such an arrangement would largely defeat the point of you being a UK citizen at all.

So I think there is a distinction to be made between the general property rights you can expect as a result of being a citizen, and the specific rights you get that derive from real estate ownership - since it's possible to own real estate in the jurisdiction of nations of which you are not a citizen.

For example, if a UK resident and citizen owns real estate in California, but falls victim to a robbery in the UK in which the robber steals documents that allow them to commit ID fraud, thereby claiming the rights to the California estate for themselves - then it's not unreasonable to expect the UK authorities to do something about that. But if they're not a victim of ID theft, and simply want to evict tenants in California, then they have to invoke the legal system of California, and pay the relevant fees. Neither the UK treasury nor the California treasury will pay the fees for them.

So, the question is, what general property rights can we expect to be able to enforce, as a result of merely being a citizen of a particular jurisdiction?

I have a nasty suspicion that it's not quite as much as many of us would like to think. For example, if you've got valuable but uninsured jewellery in your flat, and someone burgles your flat and pinches it, do you really have an enforceable right against the authorities to have that jewellery recovered for you, such that they would compensate you if they fail? I highly suspect that the answer to that question is no. It's difficult to see how contents insurance would exist at all otherwise.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by angelicum:
[qb]After all, if you were a UK taxpayer who was a tenant in a property that was owned by someone who lives in a different country and who doesn't pay any UK tax, then would you be happy if your taxes were used to pay the costs of the enforcement of the rights of the landlord who does not pay UK tax? I suspect the answer to that question would be no. Such an arrangement would largely defeat the point of you being a UK citizen at all.

at all otherwise.

Unless the tenant was living there rent free the landlord would have to pay UK tax on the property income.

But I cannot see what any of these meanderings have got to do with the riots.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
God help me, I'm turning into a Telegraph reader*. I thought this piece by Peter Oborne was absolutely superb. Where it points blame, I think it does so with pinpoint accuracy.


*(If you see a group of four horsemen outside, hurry on by.)

I agree. It put what I've been thinking into words. One of the few things I admire about the US justice system is that it treats white collar crime as seriously as it does other crime, and hands out sentences that are just as long. For years in this country fraudsters have been treated leniently whilst robbers get the book thrown at them. Neither are victimless crimes - ask anyone whose savings or pension have been wiped out by fraud.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:

The looting is a manifestation, or possibly a metamorphosis, of a continuing stream of criminality which has been plaguing parts of England's inner cities over the past 20 years if not longer. The gang culture copied from America, which is itself a product of social breakdown, is nothing new.

[My italics]. Exactly. Social breakdown = 'there is no such thing as society' = lawlessness.
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
quote:
Leaf posted: No, you would not actually prefer to live in such a world. The attitude of "protect your own, even when they are doing evil things" is a great medium in which to develop crime. It means that crimes cannot be investigated because of uncooperative witnesses, criminals have impunity, injustice rolls on like a polluted river.

The attitude may be understandable, given past relations between the police and [insert oppressed group here]. But even those oppressed groups eventually get tired of protecting criminals and fostering crime, which usually affects them most directly. It takes particular courage to break the group's silence for the sake of justice, for the sake of an unknown neighbour from outside the group.

In the US it is well documented that poor people and particularly poor people of color cannot count on getting fair treatment from the justice system and so members of these communities are often reluctant to turn even guilty family/community members in since it's been repeatedly demonstrated that they will not receive just treatment or reasonable punishment.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Social breakdown = 'there is no such thing as society' = lawlessness.

There's a massive misquote in the middle of that equation. Or at the least a massive misunderstanding of what was actually being said.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
quote:
Leaf posted: No, you would not actually prefer to live in such a world. The attitude of "protect your own, even when they are doing evil things" is a great medium in which to develop crime. It means that crimes cannot be investigated because of uncooperative witnesses, criminals have impunity, injustice rolls on like a polluted river.

The attitude may be understandable, given past relations between the police and [insert oppressed group here]. But even those oppressed groups eventually get tired of protecting criminals and fostering crime, which usually affects them most directly. It takes particular courage to break the group's silence for the sake of justice, for the sake of an unknown neighbour from outside the group.

In the US it is well documented that poor people and particularly poor people of color cannot count on getting fair treatment from the justice system and so members of these communities are often reluctant to turn even guilty family/community members in since it's been repeatedly demonstrated that they will not receive just treatment or reasonable punishment.
Did you miss the part where I said it was understandable? Is =/= ought.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
...in opposition to Ken, whose phraseology could be read as indicating that the police and other authorities favoured the privilleged (at the expense of the poor).

That is so obviously the case that I'd have trouble believing that anyone could honestly deny it.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
The land itself is of little value. It is working the land that adds value

I'm sorry, this is twaddle. If I had an ancestor who had claimed a large area inside contemporary London and had handed this down to me it would be worth a lot regardless of whether the generations in between had worked on it or not.

The exclusive claim on the land itself has value.

Er, building stuff is a kind of working!

quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The looting is a manifestation, or possibly a metamorphosis, of a continuing stream of criminality which has been plaguing parts of England's inner cities over the past 20 years if not longer.

Go away and read some history. Mob violence were a lot worse in London in the 18th and for a lot of the 19th century, and never quite died out. There was no Golden Age.

And the idea that "this sort of thing is copied from America" is risible.

Also things aren't (yet) anywhere near as bad as the early 1980s. Maybe you aren't old enough to remember.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Ideas do not constitute property, not even intellectual property. It is the expression of the idea, eg a song, book, design, trademark or specification that is treated as intellectual property. My idea can be exactly the same as yours and no law need be contravened: you can only sue me if the my expression of the idea is, to all intents, identical to yours.

Except there is no 'natural right' to intellectual property. It's a temporary monopoly granted by a state to reward creative work.

quote:

As for land, it has intrinsic value through scarcity - look how many wars have been fought over land and the resources of and under it.

Yes. The exclusive right to the use of a piece of land has intrinsic value, it's not purely a function of my labour (which is what angelicum was claiming).
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
quote:
leaf posted:
Oh, no - apparently such 'disloyalty' is to be lamented. [Roll Eyes]

Did you miss the part where I said it was understandable?


I'm not sure what you are advocating.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
The land itself is of little value. It is working the land that adds value

I'm sorry, this is twaddle. If I had an ancestor who had claimed a large area inside contemporary London and had handed this down to me it would be worth a lot regardless of whether the generations in between had worked on it or not.

The exclusive claim on the land itself has value.

Er, building stuff is a kind of working!

quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The looting is a manifestation, or possibly a metamorphosis, of a continuing stream of criminality which has been plaguing parts of England's inner cities over the past 20 years if not longer.

Go away and read some history. Mob violence were a lot worse in London in the 18th and for a lot of the 19th century, and never quite died out. There was no Golden Age.

And the idea that "this sort of thing is copied from America" is risible.

Also things aren't (yet) anywhere near as bad as the early 1980s. Maybe you aren't old enough to remember.

To bring up the eighteenth century mob as being in some sort of historic continuum with the present violence is not only a hackneyed and not very credible cliche but fatuous in the extreme. You really ought to stop purveying this tired old nonsense.

London's modern crime gangs have adopted an American gang culture lock stock and barrel, from their dress, and even a lot of the language they use.

But then living in Lewisham you would know all about these things!
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
quote:
aumbry posted: To bring up the eighteenth century mob as being in some sort of historic continuum with the present violence is not only a hackneyed and not very credible cliche but fatuous in the extreme. You really ought to stop purveying this tired old nonsense.

London's modern crime gangs have adopted an American gang culture lock stock and barrel, from their dress, and even a lot of the language they use.

But then living in Lewisham you would know all about these things!

And what do you think the historical basis of American gang culture might be?
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
quote:
aumbry posted: To bring up the eighteenth century mob as being in some sort of historic continuum with the present violence is not only a hackneyed and not very credible cliche but fatuous in the extreme. You really ought to stop purveying this tired old nonsense.

London's modern crime gangs have adopted an American gang culture lock stock and barrel, from their dress, and even a lot of the language they use.

But then living in Lewisham you would know all about these things!

And what do you think the historical basis of American gang culture might be?
Not the London mob! Read the National Gang Center's history of American street gangs here (pdf). In the U.S. we have street gangs mostly because immigrants and black people have been economically and culturally marginalized. It's all an ethnic/racial thing, not something you can say of the historical London mob.
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
The point is that western gang culture has its beginning in Britain and was imported to the Americas and so although current members may prefer the American flavor it's not like it's some uniquely American creation being brought to their shores. It has its basis in European social unrest and inequality that predates America and so I think it is related to the original point.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
quote:
leaf posted:
Oh, no - apparently such 'disloyalty' is to be lamented. [Roll Eyes]

Did you miss the part where I said it was understandable?


I'm not sure what you are advocating.
Let me be more clear then. The first sentence you quoted was sarcasm. My actual position is that such 'disloyalty' is to be commended because it is doing the right thing which may come with personal cost.

I can understand the temptation not to report the criminal activity of a family, or fellow oppressed group member, to the police. Just because I understand a temptation, that does not mean I approve of it when someone chooses that route.

I am advocating less of a small-tribalism mentality. I support programs that break down mistrust between oppressed groups and police, and create greater economic opportunities for the former. If you would like, I can provide examples from my context. Such programs have not yet brought in the Kingdom of God, but they attempt (with varying degrees of success) to improve on the past situation.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
The point is that western gang culture has its beginning in Britain and was imported to the Americas ... It has its basis in European social unrest and inequality that predates America ...

That inequality is a root cause of the development of gangs seems obvious. The development of street gangs in the US has always been fueled by the economic hardship and discrimination that has accompanied large-scale immigration and internal population shifts. Each wave of European immigration in the 19th century saw the rise of street gangs, as did the internal migration of black people out of the south. So you could say that we have gangs in the U.S. because of European social unrest, except that the earliest origins of gangs in the American west go back to Mexico, but not back to Spain.

But the culture of American gangs -- not the fact that we have gangs, but their culture -- was not imported from Britain; it has come from the cultures of the immigrants and internal migrants. Where I live, that means, in order of their development, East L.A. barrios and Mexico and Central America for the Latino gangs, and the South Central L.A. ghetto for the black gangs and, interestingly, for the Asian gangs -- some of the Asian Boyz sets (who are Cambodians) are affiliated with the Crips. The culture of the Asian gangs in San Francisco was also not imported from Britain; it comes from China and Hong Kong.
 
Posted by churchgeek (# 5557) on :
 
I hadn't seen this thread and posted in the wrong place, and ken answered me there:

quote:
Originally posted by churchgeek:
quote:
Again, as a Detroiter, I'm suspicious of the term "riot." Police and media will always make it look like it's just looters and thugs and people with too much time on their hands.
If anything the media are talking this up. The TV representation of the bit of London I live in made things look far worse than they were.

I think this is nothing like Detroit, or Watts, or LA after Rodney King was attacked - even though the original spark was so similar. For a start, so far, many fewer people have been killed. I get the impression that large parts of Detroit or LA became no-go areas during, or even after, the riots. And that rioting there was entirely or almost entirely black. And that white people would not have been safe walking the streets.

That was not the case in London this week (I don't know about Birmingham or Manchester). Even in the "rioting" areas most people, of whatever race, were able to go about their business comparitively normally. It was scary, but not - as it turned out - actually very dangerous, outside the immediate vicinity of street fighting or fires. For example Lewisham station, used by more then ten thousand people each day, operated normally even though there was serious trouble only about 100 metres away.

There were some attacks on individuals, but very few. And they happen every day in a city the size of London of course. I imagine everyone who was beaten up or robbed on Monday got reported as being attacked by rioters or looters. On an average day there are 200 serious assaults and 100 robberies reported to the police in London.

The one thing I am most afraid of in the near future is if a particular white racist view of this as a race riot takes hold and some thugs try for retaliation by attacking what they percieve as black areas. Partly personal of course - I live in one of the parts of London that might be most affected. But also because it would have a terrible effect on life here for everyone.

If there is anything in the American experience that resembles this its the New York City blackout. Which caused far more damage than has happened here (so far).

Thanks for that. As a side note, the Detroit '67 Uprising was about both race and class (economics), because in the US those are so intertwined they're almost impossible to separate. So it wasn't really a "race riot." (It started with police raiding a "blind pig." Detroit did have a race riot in '43, and that was started by whites who resented Blacks for, so they thought, stealing their jobs.) It's true that in '67 the "rioting" was mostly Black, but that was because there had long been really racist policies in place - something you wouldn't find overtly on the books in the US or the UK in this day and age. Segregation had allowed the city government to push the increasing Black population into smaller and smaller sections of the city, with pretty derelict property, and there were also many racist policies for employment (either on the part of the companies themselves or of unions you had to be in to get a job - interestingly, the UAW desegregated precisely so that the auto companies couldn't hire non-white workers if the union went on strike). Even in cases where income was equal (which would've been really rare), the wealth inequity between Blacks and whites was quite significant, and the lines between rich and poor fell so neatly along racial lines that an uprising of the poor would only be an uprising of non-whites (which, of course, included Eastern Europeans). It was a complicated issue. For some reason, we tend to look back now on racial issues as being rather superficial and simple - probably because that makes it easier for us to think we've gotten beyond racism and its effects, when we haven't.

So in asking whether there were any similarities to Detroit, I actually had economics in mind more than race! And, in Detroit, most people with the means to do so (wealth) pretty much left the city, leaving the burned-out hulk of a city to the people who couldn't afford to leave, and so couldn't afford to fix it. That's an over-simplification, but in broad strokes it gives you an idea. Our famous population decline has actually been slower than our previous population boom in the early 20th c., so most people in Detroit at the time had no real roots there - they were like the seed sown on rocky soil, to use a biblical image. Why would they stay?

Incidentally, in a documentary I saw, one eyewitness who was in the Grande Ballroom during the Uprising said that the place was spared from being burned like buildings around it because "there's music in there." It was, in a sense, sacred! Or at least recognized as not part of the problem. I wonder if any places have been spared in this summer's riots because they were seen in a similarly quasi-sacred, or even sacred, way? But I think that's also a way to tell thugs & looters from genuine protesters. For looters & thugs, nothing's sacred.

And, sadly, in any of these cases, there's going to be opportunists. Even in a true uprising, some people are going to see an opportunity in the chaos to loot, vandalize, and cause trouble. There was a very small-scale protest here in Oakland, CA, not long ago over a white officer who had killed a black man pretty much getting off - he was convicted of manslaughter and basically spent just a couple months in jail since they counted "time served" leading up to his trial. During the protest, looters broke store windows, stole a lot of stuff, and caused a lot of expensive damage to businesses. It turned out to be mostly people from out of town, and even out of state!

Anyway, seeing anything like this, whether an uprising or a riot, really breaks my heart for about a million reasons.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
I wonder why people are so keen to emphasise that circumstances aren't excuses (I wonder, because this seems to state the obvious). Do you see discussion of circumstances as an attempt by liberals to prevent rioters from having to take responsibility for the harm that they've caused?

No. The emphasis is because nearly every time one tries to explore the root cause, one is accused of attempting to exonerate the rioters. Several posts on this thread are examples, as is indeed your post.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Some of the looters are hardly poor. It seems a case of 'I think I can, so I will'.

I'm glad to see that at least one mother has turned her son in.

And as it now appears that the parents of those turned in are likely to be evicted from their homes if they are so fortunate as to live on council estates, I trust you will be standing by with accommodation for this mother and any of her other children who might be rendered homeless as a result of her turning her son in.

John
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And as it now appears that the parents of those turned in are likely to be evicted from their homes if they are so fortunate as to live on council estates
John

Though this is nonsense masquerading as tough talk by the councils, and they know it and assume that the public are stupid.

It would breach the HRA on a number of points, it would smack of collective punishment, and they'd just then be homeless - and the council would then have an obligation to rehouse them (urgently in the case where children are involved).
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
The kids have to accept the consequences of their actions. After all, several of the shops, etc. have been rendered 'homeless' by the violence. I'm glad to see that some parents are not afraid to teach their offspring responsibility. Hopefully, the more that do so, the easier it will be for the others.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
I'm all for the parents encouraging their children to come forward and face the consequences of their actions. As someone who works with some of those teenagers I would also want to do that - but how am I supposed to want to do that now, when the whole family will end up homeless and other children in what is often a dysfunctional home will have even more problems!
 
Posted by Japes (# 5358) on :
 
I'm deeply puzzled by the idea of evicting those in council housing. That's not going to be all those who have been involved in rioting, disorder and looting.

What is going to happen to those who don't live in council housing? What additional consequences will be imposed on them?
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And as it now appears that the parents of those turned in are likely to be evicted from their homes if they are so fortunate as to live on council estates
John

Though this is nonsense masquerading as tough talk by the councils, and they know it and assume that the public are stupid.

It would breach the HRA on a number of points, it would smack of collective punishment, and they'd just then be homeless - and the council would then have an obligation to rehouse them (urgently in the case where children are involved).

It would also end up costing more and putting further strain on services which are already stretched to breaking point, especially in London. Any family with children under 16 or over that age and still in full time education, would be entitled to immediate emergency accommodation even if they were deemed to have made themselves homeless. There is a shortage of emergency housing and many councils use hotels as a short-term solution. The council also has a legal duty to take care of the family's belongings and this involves putting them in storage. In the long term no matter what the circumstances a family with young children has to be housed.

I'm sick of hearing about 'council housing' as if this is the only form of social housing around. Since the 'right to buy' scheme most former council estates are now a mix of owner-occupier and social housing. There is such a shortage of social housing that many low-income families, especially in London are in private rented accommodation for which they receive housing benefit. This will include many working families because the rents are beyond even an average income. Cameron was also talking about changing the law to be able to evict families like this.

Cameron is talking gobshite but it could be masking a longer term plan to clear poorer families out of many areas of London.

[ 13. August 2011, 08:18: Message edited by: justlooking ]
 
Posted by Roots (# 16193) on :
 
Watching what had happened in Japan after the tsunami, the pictures and video showed people standing patiently in line to receive help, no looting in any areas (unless we were not shown that), and a respect for others.

I do know that honour means a lot to these people as well as a loyalty to their country. England use to have the same pride and stood firmly against any threat. Mostly as one.

National pride was strong, and anyone who went against it (outside the law) was punished. That doesnt exist anymore, and for us to have the laws changed to reflect stiffer sentencing wont happen while we have two squabbling parties more interested in their own affairs than the country.

Maybe the baton rounds will work. Who knows? I witnessed rioting and burning of tyres and blocking of roads recently, and when two policemen in a Land Rover roared up with these weapons, the people had a respect for pain and actually disappeared. They didnt even need to use them.

Either way, I dont believe there should be no change, it has to happen. I dont think I would like to be the family of a man who has being kicked to death for putting out a fire and I couldnt get the police to act for fear of hurting a rioter or themselves or any bylaw.

From being a God fearing country, how we have fallen!
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I don't believe that there was ever a Golden Age, Roots, where everyone was God-fearing and respected their neighbour. That isn't to say that I don't believe that certain values have been eroded over the years ... but I'm wary of knee-jerk answers and responses.

I think what we've seen in London and other cities shows both the worst and best sides of people - there have been examples of neighbourliness and people pulling together as well as violence and aggression. I'm not so much of a cynic that I'd say that all the broom-wielding was some kind of 'Big Society' photo-opportunity - although elements of it were certainly hijacked for that purpose in some quarters.

By the way, how do you know whether the police in the Landrover had baton rounds if they didn't fire them?

I know the Met has them, but the officers I spoke to felt that there was no need to deploy them. They did want a robust response but felt that a few judicious truncheon jabs or blows at some of the worst offenders would do the trick and deter the others. I'm not saying they're right or wrong ... just reporting what they told me.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
As a movement that began as, and very often continues as, an urban mission, The Salvation Army has quite a lot to say about what is happening. It does however seem to merely just get on with the task in hand - often unsung, because the media goes to the bigger or, shall we say, more controversial sources for their quotes and stories....

Anyway, the Founder of The Salvation Army before he became a minister, was an apprentice to a pawnbroker in 'inner city' Nottingham and then, for a time repeated this experience in Stockwell, where he saw grinding poverty, hopelessness and all that went with it.

As General of The Salvation Army he was once asked about the future of Britain in the new 20th century. this is what he said:


quote:
“In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”
The comment on the future attitude of the church and its teaching is interesting enough; it is the inclusion of the 'politics with God' phrase that intrigues me. There have always been Godless politicians and Christian politicians who have had less integrity than they could have; but 'politics without God' seems to me to be a deliberate state of affairs that, in my view has led to a lot of the situation throughout this country.

Alistair Campbell's (that famous pornographer and advisor to Tony Blair) famous statement "We don't do God." is perhaps the clearest distillation of the attitude of Government down through the post-war years.

There are so many acts of Government that have been anti-God:
From the relaxing of the Sunday trading laws, to the promotion of easier abortion, to the situation that has led to Catholic adoption agencies closing; these are some of the actions of an increasingly Godless society.

The church - evangelical, catholic, liberal, whatever - has been marginalised, unheard, disregarded. Can we wonder then that in the absence of Christian values the country has come to this?

The liberal voice will howl at this and try to suggest that Christian values are not needed in order to have a civilised society; I disagree. It is the 'politics without God' (together with the church's weakness in teaching its own beliefs and values) that has caused this.

They say education is what we need.
Well CS Lewis was very wise when he said:

quote:
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
I think that what is needed is for the church to be confident once again - I'm not speaking as an evangelical here - and be confident in the message we have and in the standards that we uphold.

We have Good News; we have lifestyles and values that not only require change in people's lives attitudes and action, but we have values that are beneficial to the individual and will give respect, self-esteem, responsibility, pride, a sense of community that people want but have not been able to find in the values of this 'Godless' society.

I know it sounds all simplistic and rhetorical but if the Church cannot offer to the community the very thing it cherishes for its own people, then what's the point of being the church within any community?

We need to live, act and 'be' in such a way, offering our Gospel, so that local authority and national government sit up and ask us what we can offer and begin to 'do God' again.

Politics without God has manifestly failed.
We need to brush aside the liberal, Godless commentators and to coin a phrase 'Stand up for Jesus'.

I repeat, this is not evangelical posturing - all churches can do this - we have all got something valuable and life-enhancing to offer. we've failed in the past because many times we have thought no one wants to hear it! rubbish! Even young people will respond to something ideologically positive and life-enhancing! Look at the crowds of young people of the steps of Westminster cathedral when the Pope came!

Let's be bold and confident and tell the communities that the Church can change them.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Japes:
I'm deeply puzzled by the idea of evicting those in council housing. That's not going to be all those who have been involved in rioting, disorder and looting.

What is going to happen to those who don't live in council housing? What additional consequences will be imposed on them?

None at all.

Council housing has been on a steady decline in Britain since Thatcher brought in right to buy - although, to be fair, I'm led to believe that the rise and fall of social housing in the UK in the 20th century has been mirrored by a similar rise and fall in other European countries; it's not as if the UK is the only country that this has been happening to.

But the point is, council housing has now declined to a point that, to all intents and purposes, it no longer exists. The rent subsidy is not nearly as deep as it once was, and the security of tenure is nowhere near as strong as it once was. Even if you're one of the "lucky" few who still has a council house, the actual benefit that this gives you over private renting is much less than it used to be.

One of the ironies is that initiatives such as this serve to make council accommodation less secure than privately rented accommodation - which some would say largely defeats the point. But there it is.

quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
Cameron is talking gobshite but it could be masking a longer term plan to clear poorer families out of many areas of London.

Hmm. The Reichstag fire springs to mind. The riots are the perfect excuse to sweep away all the poor (who are obviously all lazy feckless layabouts, mkay?) so that London and the Home Counties are no longer bothered by them.

quote:
Originally posted by Roots:
From being a God fearing country, how we have fallen!

Well, on the plus side, at least the odd riot now and then brings out the Blitz-spirit in everyone else.

Getting it into perspective though, I think London got off lightly this time. Seems to me that the riots in London weren't anywhere near as intense or long lasting - and yet, in spite of the "austerity measures", the London riots got policed a lot more heavily and a lot more early than the Paris riots. Cameron really can afford to cut back the police quite a long way before the situation gets quite as bad as it was in Paris.

So if you think the country has fallen, be rest assured that it could fall a good deal further than it has done - and that other countries have fallen that far.

Here's an interesting article, about the "Riot index".

It refers to a discussion paper by Ponticelli and Voth, which can be found here.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Let's be bold and confident and tell the communities that the Church can change them.

I hope I'm not being pointlessly pedantic, but I'd say 'let's be bold and confident and tell the communities that Jesus Christ can change them'. For sure, God works through his people, the church(es), but I think it's worth acknowledging and reminding ourselves that we should draw people to Jesus, not to ourselves or our church.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The comment on the future attitude of the church and its teaching is interesting enough; it is the inclusion of the 'politics with God' phrase that intrigues me. There have always been Godless politicians and Christian politicians who have had less integrity than they could have; but 'politics without God' seems to me to be a deliberate state of affairs that, in my view has led to a lot of the situation throughout this country.

[...] The liberal voice will howl at this and try to suggest that Christian values are not needed in order to have a civilised society; I disagree. It is the 'politics without God' (together with the church's weakness in teaching its own beliefs and values) that has caused this.

One thing that concerns me is that, traditionally, the secular response to the Christian concept of "virtues" has been "human rights". However, Cameron and his friends in the Press have been systematically trashing the concept of "human rights" for years. Which leaves - er, what, exactly?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not sure that 'It wasn't anywhere near as bad as Paris' (or LA or Detroit or wherever else) is really an appropriate response. It could have been a lot worse, but what we've had is bad enough ... indeed is a lot worse than it 'ought' to have been ... three dead in Birmingham, one (possibly two if the shooting in Croydon was riot-related) in London.

I agree with Mudfrog and with South Coast Kevin, but would add the caveat that it ain't just about the churches spreading their values but people of good-will of whatever stripe - including those of other faiths and none. Respect, integrity and concern for others is a common denominator across all faiths and most ideologies.

That isn't to say that the churches shouldn't evangelise - of course they should, but I don't think that 'doing God' or 'not doing God' in politics has much bearing on this. The Republican Religious Right in the US 'do God' big time and there's no way in a million years that I'd want to be associated with them.

I'd rather an able atheist as a politician any day of the week than a dipstick who just happened to be a Christian (or a Muslim, Hindu, any other type of theist).

I think General Booth's comment could stand even if he'd substituted 'politics without values' for 'politics without God.'

It strikes me that when we do put too much God into politics, as it were, in an overly explicit sense rather than faith informing our underlying values, then we're heading for trouble. Would you have liked to have lived in Calvin's Geneva? I'm not sure I would ...

I'm not suggesting for a minute that we take God out of the public realm ... but I'm wary of the God rhetoric in the mouths of politicians. We've all seen the harm in can do.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
Amen to that, Gamaliel. I shudder at the idea of a modern-day equivalent of Geneva in Calvin's time, with orthodoxy being enforced by state sanction. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:

But the point is, council housing has now declined to a point that, to all intents and purposes, it no longer exists.

Your point is exaggerated. The 2001 census showed about 20% of homes in the uk as social housing owned by councils or housing associations. This may have reduced but there are still millions of such homes.

quote:
The rent subsidy is not nearly as deep as it once was, and the security of tenure is nowhere near as strong as it once was. Even if you're one of the "lucky" few who still has a council house, the actual benefit that this gives you over private renting is much less than it used to be.
Where do you get this from? Have you got figures? Council rents are lower than private rentals but AFAIK rental income in most councils more than covers the costs involved. Those who receive housing benefit to pay for private rentals are being subsidised to a far greater degree.

Some councils have recently changed the rules for new tenants but any existing tenant is still in a fully secure tenancy. The new rules allow for provisional tenancies which can then become secure tenancies if there are no problems.

Private renting is very insecure with most rentals being shorthold tenancies giving landlords a right to move people on after six months or a year. This may be OK for single working people but is not appropriate for most families or for the elderly. Some private landlords won't accept tenants who rely on housing benefit so losing a job can mean losing your home. Other private landlords specialise in providing homes for people on housing benefit but there's little effective regulation to enforce basic standards and this is allowing for the return of slum landlords.

I don't understand your reference to the Reichstag fire. My point comes from the proposed cap on housing benefit which would make it impossible for many families to live in London.

Housing benefit is a huge proportion of the welfare system budget and the impression that this is all used to support people in council housing is wrong. Many council tenants pay full rent, many private tenants have their rent paid in full. I don't know what the figures are but I'd hazard a guess that more is paid out to support private tenants than to support tenants in social housing.

[ 13. August 2011, 13:12: Message edited by: justlooking ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Let's be bold and confident and tell the communities that the Church can change them.

I hope I'm not being pointlessly pedantic, but I'd say 'let's be bold and confident and tell the communities that Jesus Christ can change them'. For sure, God works through his people, the church(es), but I think it's worth acknowledging and reminding ourselves that we should draw people to Jesus, not to ourselves or our church.
Indeed, you are perfectly entitled to be pedantic in this case [Smile] The church, of course, has no power except Holy Ghost power and no message except the message of the Gospel.

It is Jesus who changes the hearts of people. Amen.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Further to what Kevin has written and in reply to Gamaliel, I would say this - and say it quite strongly I think. 'Values' have been tried and found wanting. What we are talking about - or what I am talking about, with Kevin, at any rate - is more than mere human values that are shared among people of goodwill.

This has been the problem over the last couple of generations: we've talked about these human values whilst totally ignoring or downplaying the person of God in this and in the regenerating, redeeming power of Christ.

It may be foolishness to Greeks (and all those who seek after human answers to these problems); it be well be an 'inter-faith' stumbling block to Jews (and no doubt to people of other faiths), but it is the Gospel of Christ that changes men and nothing else. Well-meaning clerics may well ascribe life-changing power to the tenets of other faiths but it is ONLY the grace of God seen in the cross and resurrection that actually change the heart of a man.

William Booth would not have said 'politics without values' at all - he was most definate in his assertion that it is God in Christ who effects the change, not mere human values.

He said this:

quote:
“To get a man soundly saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new breeches, to give him regular work, or even to give him a University education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labor. You must in some way or other graft upon the man's nature a new nature, which has in it the element of the Divine.”
As Jesus said, you must be born again of the Spirit. Any values that do not regenerate or redeem are at best sticking plasters on a deep and fatal wound.

Only Christ can change the heart.

[ 13. August 2011, 13:47: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Amen to that, Gamaliel. I shudder at the idea of a modern-day equivalent of Geneva in Calvin's time, with orthodoxy being enforced by state sanction. [Disappointed]

Oh I wouldn't want that! What I would want is a recognition of the work of the churches by local authority and a reversal of the idea that faith groups must be gagged. The salvation Army tries to tell people that our work must necessarily include the faith element or it's not authentic. The churches need to say this loud and clear.

We need to have confidence within ourselves to offer Christ as the answer.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Oh I wouldn't want [a modern-day equivalent of John Calvin's Geneva]!

I'm sure you wouldn't; sorry if I implied that you might!
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What I would want is a recognition of the work of the churches by local authority and a reversal of the idea that faith groups must be gagged.

Do you think public bodies generally don't recognise the work that churches do? And could you give one or two illustrations of what you mean by the gagging of faith groups?

The only restriction that I'm aware of is that faith groups usually aren't permitted to use public funds (from grants, contracts etc.) for activities where the primary purpose is to promote their faith.

I used to run a publicly-funded grant scheme for groups working with children and young people, and faith groups were most welcome to apply. Projects / activities that were primarily about promoting the faith were not eligible, and the groups also had to confirm that their project would be open to people of any / no faith. Are there more restrictions on religious groups these days?
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
I'm sure that thanks from local government officials are always offered privately to those responsible in churches and other non-government organisations when effective work is done, and sometimes even publicly. That should be more than enough recognition than is necessary, given that the true reward shall be received in heaven. To demand public adulation of the Salvation Army's leaders trumpeting their great deeds would be the modern-day equivalent of this person who chose to receive their reward in full on earth.

[ 13. August 2011, 14:23: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
And could you give one or two illustrations of what you mean by the gagging of faith groups?


I was once the assistant manager of a Salvation Army hostel for the homeless and the logo for all the hostels was a Salvation Army Red Shield surrounded by the words 'Care in a Christian Environment'. That encapsulated 120+ years of what we have done openly and with public recognition. Then we were told that we could no longer 'care' for the homeless and so, at a national level we had to remove that word and put 'support'. 'Care' plans were changed to 'action plans'.

The next step, which appeared after I returned to preaching work, was that they wanted the word 'Christian' removed - even though that was our published and consistent motivation down through the decades. Even though all faiths are respected and efforts made to facilitate the spiritual needs of residents in conjunction with other faith leaders.

The Salvation Army has never made it a secret that we have a Christian motive and that all our managers must be professing Christians - and yet, after 130 years we are pressurized into stripping away the spiritual content of our centres. The reason is obviously that the authorities do not recognise the value of faith and especially of Christian faith, in the work we do.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
I'm sure that thanks from local government officials are always offered privately to those responsible in churches and other non-government organisations when effective work is done, and sometimes even publicly. That should be more than enough recognition than is necessary, given that the true reward shall be received in heaven. To demand public adulation of the Salvation Army's leaders trumpeting their great deeds would be the modern-day equivalent of this person who chose to receive their reward in full on earth.

yeah thanks Cheeseburger. That's why we don't demand public recognition. Did you see the SA during the riots? Were they interviewed? Were they at the forefront of comment and publicity? No, but they were there just getting on with clean-ups, serving tea, offering safe places and counselling, quietly and without fuss. We've seen it all before and hardly anyone really knows it's happening - much to the annoyance sometimes of Salvation Army people in the rest of the country who would love to know what their comrades are doing.

I'm not asking for recognition of the work - we don't need it to be honest - what I am asking for is the recognition by the government and local authority that the message of the church - faith, morality and spiritual values - is a valuable contribution to the life of a community and should be encouraged and supported, rather than the 'we don't do God but we like your cup of non-faith-specific-fairtrade-tea' mentality.

Vicars, priests, officers and pastors, as well as countless lay people, bring spiritual counsel and influence 'on the quiet', as it were, all the time. It's something that needs to be recognised as central to the needs of the community not just something that is 'nice but not necessary' while they do the 'real' community work.
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
... We've seen it all before and hardly anyone really knows it's happening - much to the annoyance sometimes of Salvation Army people in the rest of the country who would love to know what their comrades are doing.

I'm not asking for recognition of the work - we don't need it to be honest - what I am asking for is the recognition by the government and local authority that the message of the church - faith, morality and spiritual values - is a valuable contribution to the life of a community ...

... It's something that needs to be recognised as central to the needs of the community not just something that is 'nice but not necessary' while they do the 'real' community work.

So are you requesting/asking/demanding/wishing for some kind of extra recognition in public, or are you not? I can't tell based on this post that says you don't but also says you do!

Or are you just saying that internal communications in the SA are so bad that people rely on secular newspapers to find out what other SA people are doing?

As I wrote above, I'm sure that work done by the SA and other NGOs which is genuinely valued by government departments/agencies is already recognised appropriately according to the circumstances. The appropriate form of recognition would vary according to the nature of the work...

My experience in the community where I live is that politicians love being seen to be connected with and supporting any NGO, faith-based or not, which does stuff that is generally popular with the community. But as soon as a NGO does something embarrassing or gets caught using government funding for purposes outside their contracted work, they may as well have leprosy. If politicians are deliberately avoiding being seen as pro-SA, this is just the symptom of the problem.

I have no problem with agencies of churches accepting contracts to operate secular programs or projects, but as long as they set the gold standard for integrity through sticking with the contracts they sign. If a church wants to go outside the contract they agreed to, they should request a renegotiation or early termination and use their own money to do their own thing. I do think that mixing evangelism, worship and community work is a really good thing, but if it's not important enough that it warrants priority use of their own money is it really a core issue? Accepting money knowing that it comes with strings attached and then complaining when those strings are pulled is fraudulent - if there was no intention of complying with the contract it should not have been accepted, and the SA's own funds (or some other non-government sponsor) used to provide that service. It's always possible to say no,

I can't see how the SA is being pressured to abandon their core values, I'm sure that if they wanted to run unilaterally Christian services that actually do good things nobody would object to their members giving sacrificially to fund the things they consider important. It's not like any sane person would confuse a SA mission in a city to the Islamic "charities" that fund groups like Hezbollah. It also needs to be pointed out that as a church even their operations that are not directly government-funded already get a huge amount of government assistance through taxation concessions.

[ 13. August 2011, 15:57: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
Thanks for your reply to my questions, Mudfrog. I do sympathise with the effect that sudden changes in local authority policy seem to have had on the Salvation Army.

Am I right in thinking the services you mention received funding from one public body or other? If that's the case, I think one just has to go with it; we want the public money, we have to follow the rules imposed. As per the giant cheeseburger's comments, presumably there'd be far fewer restrictions on services provided with no financial support from public funds.

By way of example, Christians Against Poverty receives no government funds (AFAIK) and, thus, can be upfront about their aim 'to show God's love in action'.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Sorry, I think we've moved off the point somewhat tanks to Cheeseburger.

It is NOT that I want the government to publicise the work of the churches and say how wonderful they are at all!

I am asking that the role of Christian faith, morality and spiritual values be recognised - even when they underpin the 'community work' done by the churches.

I spoke as a Christian, not as an evangelical in this instance, and so I would like the work of all churches that involves spirituality - and not necessarily proselyting - to be recognised when it is part and parcel of what we do.

I want someone to say that faith should be valued as a community value, and not just secular philosophy.
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
One thing that concerns me is the disproportionate sentencing that appears to be going on. I read that someone got six months in prison for stealing some bottles of water. Dave Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson's Bullingdon Club, by contrast, get off by just throwing money at people.Bullindon Club trash pub

I can see that pointing to root causes just seems to make people angry because it appears to be justifying the actions. However, history shows that petty crime goes up in recessions and is more commmon in poor areas. It doesn't make it OK, it's just a fact. If people are happy and content, they do less crime.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
One thing that concerns me is the disproportionate sentencing that appears to be going on. I read that someone got six months in prison for stealing some bottles of water. Dave Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson's Bullingdon Club, by contrast, get off by just throwing money at people.Bullindon Club trash pub

I can see that pointing to root causes just seems to make people angry because it appears to be justifying the actions. However, history shows that petty crime goes up in recessions and is more commmon in poor areas. It doesn't make it OK, it's just a fact. If people are happy and content, they do less crime.

That doesn't quite hold water when you conmsider that a lot of the rioters were well off! What were they unhappy and discontented about? These weren't riots filled with starving people wanting bread! As far as I am aware when Debenhams was stripped of all its luxury goods, I don't think Tescos was cleared out of bread, milk and baby food!
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Mudfrog, engage with what I said, not what you thought I said ...

I'm not saying that we should dilute the gospel, take God out of what we do or anything of the kind. And yes, the SA is exemplary in the way that it integrates faith and practice and gets on with what it does behind the scenes and without a great deal of trumpeting - except when you come on these Boards and tell us about it ... [Biased] [Razz]

I accept what you're saying about the authorities trying to secularise what you were doing, but on the whole I'd suggest that both government agencies and the general public are in favour of faith groups (of whatever kind) doing genuinely good work. It ain't simply a case of 'they're alright because they've got Fair Trade tea and coffee.'

I'm not denying that it's Christ that saves and transforms people either but for some reason I find your revivalist rhetoric rather tiresome. Like the SA, I've seen it all before ... [Snore]

I'm frankly not bothered whether a social initiative down town is run by Muslims, Sikhs, Rastafarians, Pentecostals, RCs, the SA or the Jolly Green Giant Cheeseworshippers ... just as long as it's done authentically and effectively and with demonstrable outcomes.

I'd like to see much more of this sort of thing done by the churches - and yes, in the name of Christ rather than a nebulous set of 'values'. But I'm not talking about vague values here, I'm talking about the building blocks of a civilised society that we can all sign up to. I'm not saying we should privatise our faith and reserve it for church on Sunday or the synagogue on Saturday, the Friday prayers at the mosque or whatever else ...

This isn't just about the church and Christianity, it's bigger than that ... and God's bigger than everything anyway.

I'm finding it quite hard to articulate what I'm thinking of here, to be honest, because I want to maintain a position that Christ is the answer to everything and that the Spirit of God changes people etc ... and yes, I believe all of that - but I somehow want to engage in it without sounding like someone who bangs a tambourine on a street-corner. Not that there's anything wrong in doing that, of course, it's got a lot to recommend it. It lifts my spirits whenever I hear an SA band or see them out selling the War Cry and much else.

But I dunno ... there's something about the tone of how you're pitching all this that grates with me now for some reason. It's like I've had enough of all that ...
 
Posted by QLib (# 43) on :
 
Somebody mentioned the lottery a coupla pages back and I'd like to put in a bid for pinning a generous portion of the blame on what the National Lottery has done and is doing to our culture - not single-handedly, of course, (despite its leering logo) but alongside the rest of the stuff that helps to build the illusion that something-for-nothing is within your grasp. It came in hand-in-hand with Crazy Credit and your-house-is-your-biggest-asset Massive Mortgages - but whereas much of that has taken a knock recently, the lottery is still very much with us.

It may be that money - or the love of it - is not the root all evil, but certainly stupidity (and gambling on that scale is pretty stupid, IMHO) about money makes a very unhappy combination with cupidity. And combine those with the commodification of education - so that even if you're intelligent and hard-working it still looks as though you will have to buy your way out from the bottom of the heap - and you will get a culture in which large numbers of people see nothing much wrong in grabbing what you can when the opportunity arises.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
I'd like to put in a bid for pinning a generous portion of the blame on what the National Lottery has done and is doing to our culture ... that helps to build the illusion that something-for-nothing is within your grasp.

It's not something for nothing - Euromillions recently went up to £2.00!
 
Posted by Paddy O'Furniture (# 12953) on :
 
I've just heard possibly the stupidest comment about the rioting that I've heard in a while. I was just flipping through the t.v. channels and heard this British preacher, David Holloway talking about the root causes of the riots. He said the breakdown of morals in the country was to blame. Asked what specifically he meant, he said that the breakup of the family, high divorce rates, and the homosexual lifestyle were the reasons that the youth of today had no moral compass.

Yep, blame it on those eeeeevil homosexuals again! Why, I bet those evil homosexuals put the idea to riot into the minds of those impressionable, morally bankrupt youth. The menace of the homosexuals and their sinful "lifestyle" are to blame! [Projectile]
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Mudfrog--

What about recognizing the value of *other* faiths?

Does holding up faith as a community value shut out agnostics, atheists, and seekers?
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Evening Paddy O. Adrian Holloway's comments - was he talking about homosexual lifesryle or same sex parents? The latter would make more sense in the overall context of your summary of his comments. There is a legitimate ongoing discussion about the relative merits of different models of parenting. I didn't heat his comments so just guessing here.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
The Rev Holloway has form on this. (Declares interest - I used to work at his church and worshipped there for the best part of 15 years).

The argument goes: by encouraging* homosexual activity, society undermines the basis of heterosexual marriage** and the stability of the traditional*** family.

*decriminalising it
**how, I've never quite understood
***can I sleep with my concubine or not?
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
Mark Steyn sums up exceedingly well in seven words why the riots got so out of hand:

“In Britain, everything is policed except crime.”
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Well, everyone knows London street gangs are full of raging homosexuals in pink tutus singing the YMCA song ...
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
A number of points.

Another Bullingdon story. Bullingdon excesses

I got good and mad listening to the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme this morning where they had Nadine Dorries, a vicar from Hackney and a pastor from Salford discussing the moral failings and lack of church leadership which lie at the root of the riots. Nadine Dorries introduced the idea that abortion was somehow involved, and the vicar seemed to support this by pointing out that the bishops in the Lords speak out on this subject. I think experiments on human tissue were also mentioned. These are serious issues, with more than one side to the arguments, but not relevant to the looting and burning that were going on.
Then they moved on to government support for the breaking up of marriages. Arguably this is more relevant, but there seems to be an assumption that the absence of fathers is not due to said fathers absenting themselves, and that said fathers would all be providing positive role models. The speakers also seemed to think that any marriage has to be better than a divorce.
I have known people whose partners left them to bring up the children alone when they went off with another woman. Is that the wife's fault? Is she to be punished?
I have also known, when I was teaching, mothers who I have commiserated with about the husband who has abandoned them, only to be told how relieved they were that the man was gone because of the effect he had on the whole family.
The speakers on the radio seemed entirely ignorant of the existence of unhappy marriages which destroyed people's lives. Given that two were involved in pastoral roles in their churches, and one as an MP must have come across such problems in her surgery, this is appalling.
I remember a piece on the radio drawing on social studies in London in the early part of the last century which showed just how negative marriage could be. Women so damaged by many pregnancies that they could not use the stairs except in a sitting position, who were nevertheless expected to keep the house clean and their husband fed, or face violence, and expected to lie down for his attentions when he came in drunk on a Friday. Marriage has historically been for many, and in some cases still is, slavery. Seeking to close off escape for those who need it is stupid.
I have written to the programme suggesting more nuanced discussions in future.

Penny
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
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.”

Mark Steyn is a liar and a cheat and a racist and so right-wing if he flew a plane it would roll in to the runway on take-off and totally ignorant of British politics and if you believe a single word the mendacious little cunt says about life in Britain then you are a gullible fool. His articles are not news, they are not even comment, they are propaganda designed to dupe people into voting for his friends and political masters. What he says about Britain is probably less worth paying attention to than what Coke says about Pepsi.
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
Just read that - I wasn't going to until I read ken's comment. Boy what a self satisfied little [insert word of own choice as I can't bring myself to write the ones that occur to me] with his little coterie of sycophants. Nothing about the cleaneruppers I see. Would that have happened in the States?

Penny
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Mark Steyn is a liar and a cheat and a racist and so right-wing if he flew a plane it would roll in to the runway on take-off and totally ignorant of British politics and if you believe a single word the mendacious little cunt says about life in Britain then you are a gullible fool. His articles are not news, they are not even comment, they are propaganda designed to dupe people into voting for his friends and political masters. What he says about Britain is probably less worth paying attention to than what Coke says about Pepsi.

Nice. But the Marxist class-hate diatribe that you linked to a few days ago was balanced and well-observed, right?
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
Being a bit ad hominem, Ken?

Funny that you do not address the statement. Perhaps it is too on target for your taste.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Its not on target its rubbish. And my post was not ad hominem, it was abusive. Get your rhetorical tropes right.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
But the Marxist class-hate diatribe that you linked to a few days ago was balanced and well-observed, right?

"Class-hate diatribe"? You obviously never read it. And anyway I never said that I agreed with it just that it was interesting and partially accurate.
 
Posted by bib (# 13074) on :
 
It seems to me that the younger generations have been groomed to be ego centred so that they demand rights to have everything they want immediately. This is a significant change from my childhood when I was constantly told that I wasn't the centre of the universe. I know that these are generalisations, but I have seen enough examples to make me think that this may explain some of the chaotic behaviour of recent days. However, I doubt if there is any chance of a return to former values.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
You obviously never read it. And anyway I never said that I agreed with it just that it was interesting and partially accurate.

Because I couldn't possibly have read it and differ from your opinion of it. [Roll Eyes]

That you commended it to our reading at all, can't see the class-hate in it and commented on Steyn as vitriolically as you did above hardly inclines me to your way of seeing the world.

[ 14. August 2011, 13:48: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
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.”

Nope. Way off the mark. Doesn't even scratch the surface. Yes, we've bred a generation (probably two or three, actually) who have a nasty sense of entitlement - but the moral example is set by politicians, celebrities, and business people, virtually all of whom have for years been taking, taking, taking - and giving nothing. Peter Oborne's Telegraph article, which I linked to on the previous page, is still the best thing I've read on the subject. Our society is rotten from the top down, not from the bottom up.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
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.”

Nope. Way off the mark. Doesn't even scratch the surface. Yes, we've bred a generation (probably two or three, actually) who have a nasty sense of entitlement - but the moral example is set by politicians, celebrities, and business people, virtually all of whom have for years been taking, taking, taking - and giving nothing. Peter Oborne's Telegraph article, which I linked to on the previous page, is still the best thing I've read on the subject. Our society is rotten from the top down, not from the bottom up.
Nope, our society is rotten from the inside, out.

It's out of the heart that all this stuff flows.
Unredeemed hearts produce unredeemed actions - it's mere respectability that prevents most of us behaving like thugs.

The fact that so many well-off, educated and privileged people took part in these riots shows that it's not an economic thing - it's a lack morality, an ignorance or disregard of right and wrong.

It's Godlessness, pure and simple.

Even if that IS an unfashionable view that I will be criticised for - again!
But hey, it's my parapet and I'll stick my head over it as often as I like.

[ 14. August 2011, 14:00: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
As for interesting links this interesting (and now mildly famous) blog post is worth reading. And tells you more than Mark Steyn's ignorant whinging ever could. And, no, I'm not saying I agree with everything the blogger says.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
It seems to me that the younger generations have been groomed to be ego centred so that they demand rights to have everything they want immediately. This is a significant change from my childhood when I was constantly told that I wasn't the centre of the universe. I know that these are generalisations, but I have seen enough examples to make me think that this may explain some of the chaotic behaviour of recent days. However, I doubt if there is any chance of a return to former values.

Every generation has told the coming one the very same thing. It has made no difference in the past and will make no difference in the future. The 'former values' you mention are a fiction.

Pensioners have all worked fifty years without a day off sick, working people pay their taxes and those who can't, won't or don't work not only demand assistance but get a bollocking from the 'haves' for doing so.

There are enough motes and beams around now to rebuild England in timber. And what a good idea!
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
It's out of the heart that all this stuff flows.
Unredeemed hearts produce unredeemed actions - it's mere respectability that prevents most of us behaving like thugs.

Well, speak for yourself. And I know any number of 'ordinary decent pagans' who wouldn't behave like a thug, either.

[ 14. August 2011, 14:26: Message edited by: Doc Tor ]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


It's Godlessness, pure and simple.


This has been said so often, you have now convinced me of the Truth. I surrender and shall follow your guidance and commence looting now.

hmmm, rock or hammer for smashing windows and where did I see that giant telly.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Have you even read Steyn's article, Ken? It makes sense. A lot of sense, a damning indictment of the entitlement culture bred bred by welfare dependence. I know you won't like that but it's time to wake up; my last vestige of liberalism died when I saw Graham Reeves' store burn...
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Have you even read Steyn's article, Ken? .

Yes I have. It is ignorant lies.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Have you even read Steyn's article, Ken? It makes sense. A lot of sense, a damning indictment of the entitlement culture bred bred by welfare dependence. I know you won't like that but it's time to wake up; my last vestige of liberalism died when I saw Graham Reeves' store burn...

I read it. It reeks so much of white middle-class Tory entitlement that the peg I was wearing on my nose wasn't sufficient to keep out the stench of smugness.

quote:
One tenth of the adult population has done not a day’s work since Tony Blair took office on May 1, 1997.
I suppose I'm going to be branded a communist for asking why these people were unemployed in the first place...

Appeal to WWII? Check. Laud the Empire (Empire? FFS...)? Check. Attack on 'PC gone mad'? Check. Institution of marriage done for? (despite divorce rates are at 30 year low and first-time marriages are actually growing) Check. It's the Daily Mail by numbers. Lazy, stupid, ignorant and wrong.

Just think about what's wrong with this paragraph:
quote:
Big Government means small citizens: It corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically. Within living memory, the city in flames on our TV screens every night governed a fifth of the earth’s surface and a quarter of its population. When you’re imperialists on that scale, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way. But nothing the British Empire did to its subject peoples has been as total and catastrophic as what a post-great Britain did to its own.
He attacks big government at the start of the para, and by the end, he's praising the British Empire, the biggest global government the world has ever seen. If that's what passes for insightful critique, I'll have the monosyllabic grunts of a looter, thanks very much.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
, a damning indictment of the entitlement culture bred bred by welfare dependence.

An article about the banks then, is it?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Have you even read Steyn's article, Ken? It makes sense. A lot of sense, a damning indictment of the entitlement culture bred bred by welfare dependence. I know you won't like that but it's time to wake up; my last vestige of liberalism died when I saw Graham Reeves' store burn...

Looks like Matt's joined the Forces of Over-reaction. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
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.”

Mark Steyn is a liar and a cheat and a racist and so right-wing if he flew a plane it would roll in to the runway on take-off and totally ignorant of British politics and if you believe a single word the mendacious little cunt says about life in Britain then you are a gullible fool.
In which case I'm a fool and proud. Having worked for Social Services for some years in a couple of different towns, I know full well that while he does use hyperbole in his article, the stories he includes are accurate. I know that the British taxpayer pays for 15 year old girls to move into a house (which they 'bid' for) with their baby and pay for it to be furnished, for the mother and baby to attend places like SureStart and all the rest. I know that the British taxpayer pays for heroin addicts to go on courses and have methadone replacement and for their children to remain in their care with costly social work input. I know that the British taxpayer funds so-called 'incentive payments' to individuals who have actually left care but who continue to have everything provided at tax payer's expense such as education costs and allowances until they are 21 years old. The story about a disabled boy being flown to the continent to have sex with a hooker featured on a Panorama programme a couple of years ago discussing the role of the state in Britain.

I thought his final quote was spot on.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Sorry but something has snapped inside me; the riots have become a tipping point
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Sorry but something has snapped inside me; the riots have become a tipping point

So Thatcher closing the mines, the shipyards and the steelworks wasn't a tipping point? Hundreds of MPs stealing taxpayers' money wasn't a tipping point? Bankers helping themselves to billions that weren't theirs wasn't a tipping point? Government being run by and for a powerful media concern wasn't a tipping point?

A few hundred people run amok and help themselves to consumer goods, and it's suddenly the end of the world? It's a shame they don't sell consciences or backbones...
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
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.”

Mark Steyn is a liar and a cheat and a racist and so right-wing if he flew a plane it would roll in to the runway on take-off and totally ignorant of British politics and if you believe a single word the mendacious little cunt says about life in Britain then you are a gullible fool.
In which case I'm a fool and proud. Having worked for Social Services for some years in a couple of different towns, I know full well that while he does use hyperbole in his article, the stories he includes are accurate. I know that the British taxpayer pays for 15 year old girls to move into a house (which they 'bid' for) with their baby and pay for it to be furnished, for the mother and baby to attend places like SureStart and all the rest. I know that the British taxpayer pays for heroin addicts to go on courses and have methadone replacement and for their children to remain in their care with costly social work input. I know that the British taxpayer funds so-called 'incentive payments' to individuals who have actually left care but who continue to have everything provided at tax payer's expense such as education costs and allowances until they are 21 years old. The story about a disabled boy being flown to the continent to have sex with a hooker featured on a Panorama programme a couple of years ago discussing the role of the state in Britain.

I thought his final quote was spot on.

Whatever else, Mark Steyn hasn't been constructive. Constructive criticism is at a premium on this thread (and I don't exclude myself) and it's a rare commodity everywhere else. However, those on the Ship don't run the country nor are we 'opinion formers', while those who are, like Theresa May (Home Secretary), Ray Mallon (ex-cop, now Mayor of Middlesbrough) and countless hacks are shooting from the lip, mostly for effect and popular reaction.

I'd like to turn things round and I think the peace rally and clean-ups are a good sign.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Have you even read Steyn's article, Ken? It makes sense. A lot of sense, a damning indictment of the entitlement culture bred bred by welfare dependence. I know you won't like that but it's time to wake up; my last vestige of liberalism died when I saw Graham Reeves' store burn...

The problem is that if one can't say "It's because of poverty and social exclusion" - because there are lots of poor and socially excluded people who didn't loot - then one can't say "It's because of welfare dependency", for exactly the same reason.
 
Posted by SeraphimSarov (# 4335) on :
 
SERMON FOR THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY 2011.

Sunday 14 August 2011.

 

In the Name of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Merciful and Compassionate – Amen.

 

 

On Wednesday of last week I stood before the Astronomical Clock in the North Transept of York Minster, which is the War Memorial to the 18,000 Allied Airmen who lost their lives in the Second World War and as I read the inscription –

 

‘You who look upon this monument to Heroism do not go away without saying a prayer to Almighty God for those who sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedom you enjoy’

 

I could not help but contrast the sacrifice made on our behalf and the freedom we enjoy, with the mindless thuggery that we have seen on our streets in recent days; which is a total abuse of the freedom that was won for the Western Democracies. Men and Women have given their lives and are still doing so, most notably in Afghanistan so that we may maintain our freedom  – and what do we seen in London , Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester and Gloucester of all places, but mindless criminal behaviour by people from all walks of life, most of them young and some of them from so called ‘ good ‘ families.

 

So who is to blame – well for a start

 

Us - society

 

The Prime Minister called it a ‘ Sick Society’ and I have previously said from this Pulpit that the vast majority of people in this country of ours are honest and law abiding, but we have suffered because the ‘ silent majority’ has done just that;  kept silent – and kept silent in the face of enormous provocation.

 

Last week people did stand up for the rights of freedom and some have died

 

Haroon Jahan, 21,

 

Shazad Ali, 30,

 

and Abdul Musavir, 31,

 

Who were killed when a car hit them in Winson Green, early on Wednesday. The indications are that this was a deliberate act and two boys, aged 16 and 17, and a man, 26, have been arrested on suspicion of murder. A 32-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday has been bailed. Another man was arrested yesterday

 

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Muslim Community of Birmingham as they mourn these three young men who were standing, as is their right, in defence of their property

 

When the rioters came to attack the premises of Kurdish and Turkish businesses Stoke Newington High Street and Kingsland Road on Monday night, the owners were waiting for them. And a fearless West Indian Woman faced down rioters, in Hackney. And to give and indication of what shops were predominantly looted  well  surprise – surprise places like Curry’s and Sports wear shops

 

As well as Society in general we must lay blame on those who formulate our laws –  and in some cases those who administer them; in other words Governments of every political persuasion and  Judges and Magistrates who pass sentences that fly in the face of reason for their leniency when leniency sends the wrong message

 

 

Mr Cameron, you and your government are reaping the whirlwind that was sown years ago and we all ignored the warning signs and we are reminded of this in Paul’s Letter to Galatians 6: 7 -9

 

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

 

We are reaping from a generation that has not been given a positive moral lead. And instead has looked on the ‘Big Brother’ types as role models

 

Whose fault – as I have said –

 

Politicians

 

–to which I add the chattering and politically correct classes who have wielded an influence out of all proportion to their worth –

 

to Schools and Teachers – who have in many cases but not all, deliberately marginalised religion (especially if it is Christian) often because of political pressure.

 

Then I add my generation and the one below that is from those aged 65 – to those in their 30’s and why, because although most of us are pretty upstanding and law abiding we have let so much pass us by, instead of standing up and saying NO.

 

The Media – where in some sections, morals went out of the window years ago and we didn’t bat an eye-lid – we have put up with the drivel on our TV screens and accepted the lame excuses offered up by producers when challenged.

 

and lastly the Church –

 

The Christian Church – (us) has failed to stand up for itself robustly enough, and has allowed itself to be walked all over, frightened in case people criticise it for being kill joy- not moving with the times, and being irrelevant.

 

Sick Society – yes in many cases – but just as important ‘ A society that has lost its soul’. When I take weddings and funerals – you would be surprised that in this so-called Christian Country many people do not know how to say the Lord’s Prayer.

 

God through Christ gave us two Commandments – to love God and our neighbour – If we had had the traditional ‘Mass’ instead of the ‘Modern’ we would have used the Summary of the Law beginning with the Shema at the Confession…. Well these days many have either forgotten God, or have never been given proper instruction and as for loving neighbour – in the situation we are addressing today – it’s; what can I steal from my neighbour.

 

God is love, but is also to be respected and as St Paul says - is not mocked – but these days there is not an iota of looking over one’s shoulder to see if God is looking – couldn’t care less – nothing is going to happen!  Don’t be too sure! We now live in a society that has lost its sense of values and its morals – seemingly anything goes – from sexual gratification in public to the I want – I must have - syndrome.

 

What people do in the privacy of their own homes is in the main, a matter between themselves and God, so I am not having a go at any section of Society for ‘ whatever turns them on’ but I am having a go when its rammed down our throats in public. Similarly the young and I mean the very young are deliberately targeted by Advertisers and Manufacturers to wear inappropriate fashion and use make up and read salacious rubbish – this includes children and particularly girls of 5 and 6.

 

If we as Parents deny their children because we don’t happen to agree with it – then the child becomes subjected to peer pressure.

 

So we come to the last string in our bow and that is the parents – as we looked at these mindless hooligans some as young as 11 taking to the streets and creating mayhem – the question I must ask is where were the parents in all this – didn’t they know – or didn’t they care. One Judge made a mother come to Court – good for the Judge.

 

When I was young - my Father would say – you are not to mix with so and so – he is trouble – Similarly I wouldn’t have dared come home in the company of a Constable – I really would have been in trouble.   Now all we hear is:  ‘so – what’. You can’t touch me…. There is a want of respect; and yes respect has to be earned, but it isn’t even mentioned in many homes.

 

And then take a look at teenage pregnancies – we have the highest in Europe – what does that tell us about parenting and social attitudes.  Is the State expected to fund these totally irresponsible girls- especially when the boy or man in question who is equally responsible, clears off rather than accept any responsibility at all. Just what are parents teaching their children!  And we hear again  so – what. The problem here is that it is not the child’s fault that his or her teenage parents and their parents have been totally irresponsible and of course for the protection and well being of the child – the State intervenes.

 

 

The time has come for the Christian Church to stand up for itself and along with other people of faith and goodwill to say to the Politicians – yes it is a sick society – cure it or suffer even worse consequences in the years to come.

 

I did have a slightly wacky thought which illustrates the nonsensical attitude of some politicians – smoking is banned in pubs now – and of course so many of them have shut down because of it – the reason being health – well OK I wouldn’t encourage people to smoke – but let’s take it a step further and ban alcohol in pubs on the grounds that 24 hour binge drinking is a contributory factor in a lawless society – of course that is nonsense, and I like a drink as much as the next man - but it illustrates a point – to pander to the politically correct the smoking ban is enforced – but also to satisfy the politically correct 24 hour drinking is allowed – nay encouraged –  and what happens – people often go in fear on the streets at night, especially at weekends, as drunken foul mouthed hordes roam around.

 

A Nation that continues to treads this path is on the road to anarchy.

 

So the remedies – no cuts to police budgets – we need more not less – bobbies on the beat, if to do nothing more than reassure – the Police have suffered as have teachers and doctors from the mind set of the form filler – the box ticking.

 

Then the Church to reassert its place in this ‘Christian’ country – right at the heart

 

A working together of Christian, Jew and Muslim and others to ensure that faith is not marginalised.

 

And finally if the Government won’t do it – the people have a right to protect themselves and if that happens – then anarchy has arrived.

 

I leave you with this comment made by Sir John Major in 1992 when asked about his quote :

 

A Nation at ease with itself.

 

‘to make sure that everybody has the same opportunities whichever part of the country they come from, to achieve whatever it is they wish to achieve. That people have the right to self respect, they have the right to dignity, they have the right to good service’

 

To which I would add and to practise their faith without fear and add a moral dimension to a Nation that has forgotten its morals and its place in the world. Amen


Today at 9:54am

(sermon preached by Fr David Chesters, St John the Baptist, Chester, UK. C of E)
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
my last vestige of liberalism died when I saw Graham Reeves' store burn...

By contrast with the Daily Mail-type hysteria around, the Reeves family and staff members who appeared on TV were models of calm and moderation. Saddened they obviously were, but their lack of (what would have been understandable) vitriol was impressive.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
It took me a long time to scroll past that sermon you posted, SS. Are you sure it is not copyright?
 
Posted by SeraphimSarov (# 4335) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
It took me a long time to scroll past that sermon you posted, SS. Are you sure it is not copyright?

Not copyright. From friend to friend
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
... It's Godlessness, pure and simple.

Even if that IS an unfashionable view that I will be criticised for - again!
But hey, it's my parapet and I'll stick my head over it as often as I like.

[Snore] [Snore] [Snore]
OK, so the problem is Godlessness. #1. What, exactly, is Godlessness? #2. What, exactly, should be done to rectify it? #3. How, exactly, can this change be objectively measured? OliviaG
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've just read that Mark Steyn article and it made me [Mad] .

Not because it's too close to the target to be comfortable but because it was crap and contained remarks about British women's alleged easy virtue. If I'd said that all American women were 'ho's, I'd be called to Hell for it - and rightly so.

The guy's so far up his own arse he can't see properly.

Of course there are issues with some aspects of 'big government' and with the Blair/Brown legacy (as much as the Thatcher/Major one too).

But the smug and self-congratulatory tone made me barf.

I've just sent St Punk the Impious a PM expressing my strong disapproval. And now I've calmed down ...

I try to be Mr Moderate. I'd take issue with the blog that ken is fond of citing just as much - but in a different way.

But if it's anything that keeps me left of centre it's the kind of vicious, vacuous, right-wing racist SHITE pedalled by bastards like Steyn.

Words fail me ... I'm coming out in spots. I've an allergy to bastards like that.

What we need is proper, balance, considered debate not smug diatribes by right or left ... a plague on Mark Steyn and a plague on that smug leftie blogger that ken likes.

But I'd side with ken any day of the week against St Punk the Self-Righteous.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I don't believe it. Some other clown on that National Review site is saying that the UK's shop keepers are sorely in need of gun rights in order to protect their property from looters.

Give me a break ... [brick wall]

Does he really want this country to become as lawless and murder-ridden as the US?

I expect there were more homicides on one single precinct in any average US city this last week than in a whole week of rioting here in the UK.

What happened in London and other cities was shameful and disgraceful.

But the last thing we need is advice from right-wing Republican arseholes who don't know shit.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't believe it. Some other clown on that National Review site is saying that the UK's shop keepers are sorely in need of gun rights in order to protect their property from looters.

That is monumentally misguided.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Absolutely.

I don't want to get angry about this. I want to remain level-headed, but that National Review site made me furious. I really, really, really, really can't stand the US Right. It's a visceral thing with me.

Particularly when it comes out with crap like that. As if all solutions came out of the barrel of a gun.

This isn't an anti-US rant but it seems to me that they, of all people, are in no position to throw stones on this one ... they're living in a glass house that's bigger than the Crystal Cathedral and just as fragile.

Mark Steyn and St Punk know diddly-squat about policing and so on in this country. Anyone can pull out a few horror stories about daft things being done with public money. I expect many of us here could do the same.

That National Review site is scarey. I can't believe those guys are for real. Please, please tell me it's not true ... I won't sleep tonight otherwise ...
 
Posted by Liopleurodon (# 4836) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
The Rev Holloway has form on this. (Declares interest - I used to work at his church and worshipped there for the best part of 15 years).

The argument goes: by encouraging* homosexual activity, society undermines the basis of heterosexual marriage** and the stability of the traditional*** family.

Here's what I find so depressing about this situation: I think there's a very real chance that we will end up learning nothing from the riots, for the simple reason that everyone is convinced that they were caused mainly by whatever it was they thought was most wrong with society in the first place. So socialists see it as a product of social deprivation, neo-liberals as too much entitlement, conservative Christians as the result of a godless society. There are plenty of racists blaming it on too many brown faces around. It hasn't been a wake up call - it's been a confirmation of prejudice for so many people. If, like Holloway, you see a deviation from traditional sexual morality as the moral issue of the day, then no doubt that caused the riots.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
quote:
As if all solutions came out of the barrel of a gun.
Chairman Mao would certainly have agreed with that bit. The rest, not so much.

Yes, of course those guys are for real. Sorry if it keeps you awake at night, Gamaliel!

In general, I have to say though that if the responses here are anything to go by, then allowing yourself to be wound up into a frenzy by Mr. Steyn plays right into their hands.

Think. For God's sake, think. Culture wars involve a sort of reciprocal moral panic. Engaging in this way prolongs it, and gives legitimacy to a absurdly overinflated POV.

There are other ways.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Liopleurodon:
It hasn't been a wake up call - it's been a confirmation of prejudice for so many people. If, like Holloway, you see a deviation from traditional sexual morality as the moral issue of the day, then no doubt that caused the riots.

You are most likely right.

And while I'm socialist, and acknowledge that riots do come from social deprivation, I think there's more than enough evidence to show that this wasn't the only, or even primary cause.

It's something to do with the bread-and-circuses consensual hallucination we've engaged in, and encouraged, for decades. Trying to pick that apart is going to be a nightmare.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Thanks for helping me put it into perspective, Honest Ron.

[Biased]

I suppose I read so little of that sort of material that when I do it's a shock to the system. I particularly don't expect it from Shipmates on what has generally been a balanced debate on this thread.

I don't always agree with ken and I don't always agree with Matt Black, but I wouldn't 'lose it' with either of them.

I s'pose the best way to deal with that Neo-Con garbage is simply to ignore it and treat it with the contempt it so richly deserves.

Pax.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
It is almost impossible to take Mr Steyn's piece seriously....so i won't. He has some coverage and some publicity, maybe he will be quiet now.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

But the last thing we need is advice from right-wing Republican arseholes who don't know shit.

I am sorry, I must disagree. They do know shit. Lately it seems that shit is all they know.

quote:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Unfortunately Santayana was wrong and Liopleurodon is correct. What is remembered is less relevant than how it is spun.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
It wasn't really aimed at you, Gamaliel - more a general observation. I've seen far too many good people turn into frothing culture warriors by being wound up by such demagogues, either pro or con. Indeed perhaps Mr. Steyn once was one such good man, and could become so again. Heaven only knows.

I just thought that it this stage of things, it's a highly undesirable trait that will militate against moving towards a shared understanding.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Absolutely, Honest Ron ...

[Overused]
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Someone suggested the root cause was 'Godlessness' and someone else asked what this is and how it can be measured. I might reframe the statement slightly. In as much as 'Godlessness' is a root cause (and I would dare to suggest there are others) the issue for me is a lack of the fear, awe, and reverence for God. Not fear of people acting in His name, but that real sense that God Himself is going to get seriously hacked off with certain things that we get up to, and the prospect of having to explain ourselves to Him face to face.

There are some people in this universe who, for a variety of reasons, I seriously don't want to disappoint. And there's one in particular.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
What I resent is the implication that non-Christians lack a moral compass.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
Take heart, Gamaliel: At least the British Right is unlikely to be supportive of Mr Steyn's article, with its assertions that (a) English women are all whores and (b) British police are irredeemably stupid.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Sorry but something has snapped inside me; the riots have become a tipping point

So Thatcher closing the mines, the shipyards and the steelworks wasn't a tipping point? Hundreds of MPs stealing taxpayers' money wasn't a tipping point? Bankers helping themselves to billions that weren't theirs wasn't a tipping point? Government being run by and for a powerful media concern wasn't a tipping point? .
Those are all tipping points towards liberalism/ the left, not away from it.

[ 14. August 2011, 22:15: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Sorry but something has snapped inside me; the riots have become a tipping point

So Thatcher closing the mines, the shipyards and the steelworks wasn't a tipping point? Hundreds of MPs stealing taxpayers' money wasn't a tipping point? Bankers helping themselves to billions that weren't theirs wasn't a tipping point? Government being run by and for a powerful media concern wasn't a tipping point? .
Those are all tipping points towards liberalism/ the left, not away from it.
I have just composed a bad-tempered and hasty retort but deleted it because it is not contributing to analysing the root cause of the 'riots'.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
PS Sorry if I come across a bit more foam-mouthed than usual; my wife's family is in Croydon, are in the fitted furniture business and know Graham Reeves; that could easily have been their own business up in flames, so forgive me for taking it a bit too personally - there's more than a grain of truth in Liopleurodon's comment.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Sorry but something has snapped inside me; the riots have become a tipping point

So Thatcher closing the mines, the shipyards and the steelworks wasn't a tipping point? Hundreds of MPs stealing taxpayers' money wasn't a tipping point? Bankers helping themselves to billions that weren't theirs wasn't a tipping point? Government being run by and for a powerful media concern wasn't a tipping point? .
Those are all tipping points towards liberalism/ the left, not away from it.
Which is exactly my point. Having encountered all those tipping points previously, you should be as left-wing as I am.

That you are not is because when the rich and powerful take away your freedom and money, you envy them and want to be like them. When the poor and powerless threaten to do the same, you are afraid and want protecting from them.

However, my lower middle/working class community can probably protect itself against rioters in a way that we can't against the politicians, the corporations and the bankers - who have done, and will continue to do, far more damage and steal more from us than a bunch of opportunistic thieves ever could. A plague on both their houses, but I know who I'm watching more closely.

(x-posted with Matt - I have family in South Norwood, who shop in Croydon and go to school there. Sorry and all, but a sense of perspective is necessary)

[ 14. August 2011, 22:39: Message edited by: Doc Tor ]
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I've just sent St Punk the Impious a PM expressing my strong disapproval. And now I've calmed down ...

Why don't you clean out your inbox so I can give your PM the response it deserves.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Liopleurodon:
... everyone is convinced that they were caused mainly by whatever it was they thought was most wrong with society in the first place. So socialists see it as a product of social deprivation, neo-liberals as too much entitlement, conservative Christians as the result of a godless society.

Yes. And right now the government seem to be blaming the Metropolitan Police. [Disappointed]

But I would want to take issue with one thing there - doctrinally conservative Christians ought not to blame "a godless society" for crime. If anything that's a theologically liberal position. They ought to blame sin, not the same thing at all.

Today's Gospel reading in church was from Matthew 15, includng the famous line "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies...". So that was where the sermon started. When someone robs or steals, they are responsible for their actions. And it is the result of their sinful nature. But things have complex causes. As well as individual sin and original sinthere are also those "principalities and powers", a Godless or demonic world system. (The preacher, presumaby deliberately, left it ambiguous as to whether he was talking about actual personal demons or things like nationalism and oppression and so on - quite wise of him, because so did the Apostle Paul). There can be multiple causes of evil behaviour - personal as well as political (If I'd been preaching I'd have probably said that the personal is political, but I wasn't)

An orthodox Christian ought not to be trapped into thinking that one group of people is inherently more sinful than any other. But natural human inclinations work themselves out differently in different circumstances. If bankers are less likely to loot JD Sports than unemployed teenagers are its not because they are better people but because they have better things to be doing.

We can't change people's souls. Governments and police forces can't alter human nature. But we can collectively change our circumstances. Or we can try to. A Christian ought to be mildly optimistic about the practical value of improving lives - because lots of equally sinful people don't rob and steal. A political conservative might think that some class or race or group or people was "broken" and worthless and good for nothing - so their self-interested response to that could be just to tighten policing, and concetrate on social control, law and order, state power. The natural conservative policy towards the poor is one of self-defence. A Christian ought not to be able to go along with that. We know that we are all sinful, all "broken" in a sense, and there is no special merit in being middle class or having money in the bank. We are all loved by God, all equal in God's sight, and all sinners.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've cleared my PM inbox. Go ahead, Punk, make my day ... [Big Grin] [Biased]

Ken - essentially I'm in agreement. I wouldn't say that you're on target with the liberals, though, but I can see what you're getting at. 'It's all society's fault' is as much a liberal cop-out as 'It's all this Godless society's fault' is for conservative Christians.

Matt Black: I can understand your anger and frustration and believe you me, my heart goes out to the Reeves family and the loss of their five-generation old furniture business that had done no harm to anyone. [Votive]

That's what annoys me about some of the more knee-jerk lefty or liberal reactions, that it was only the JD Sports and the big brand places that suffered. Of course it wasn't. And even if it was it doesn't put a Robin Hood gloss on what's happened.

As has often been said on this thread, the issues are more complex and need serious reflection all round.

What certainly doesn't help are Neo-Con bleatings from across the Pond - although I am sure that there are some US pundits and commentary that is more balanced, nuanced and written from a perspective that actually understands this country (or attempts to).

Sadly, my aunt in Australia says that the coverage over there has all been very shock-jock-ish and has tended to concentrate on the racial tensions. She was completely unaware, until I told her, that the looters were mixed - black, white and Asian youths.

I'm as hacked off about some of the comments on the blogs that ken has cited as much as the National Review garbage, but the reason I haven't flown into an apoplexy over them is that, whilst I don't agree with them, they are at least intelligently written (but still smug and self-righteous nevertheless). And also because they're homegrown and not ignorant comments from elsewhere ... if that doesn't sound too chauvinistic.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I've cleared my PM inbox. Go ahead, Punk,

Sadly, my aunt in Australia says that the coverage over there has all been very shock-jock-ish and has tended to concentrate on the racial tensions. She was completely unaware, until I told her, that the looters were mixed - black, white and Asian youths.


Not very mixed 95% black, 5% white and not seen any asians involved at all.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Aumbry, where did you get that statistic from please?
 
Posted by Avila (# 15541) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
Having worked for Social Services for some years in a couple of different towns, I know full well that while he does use hyperbole in his article, the stories he includes are accurate. I know that the British taxpayer pays for 15 year old girls to move into a house (which they 'bid' for) with their baby and pay for it to be furnished, for the mother and baby to attend places like SureStart and all the rest. I know that the British taxpayer pays for heroin addicts to go on courses and have methadone replacement and for their children to remain in their care with costly social work input. I know that the British taxpayer funds so-called 'incentive payments' to individuals who have actually left care but who continue to have everything provided at tax payer's expense such as education costs and allowances until they are 21 years old. The story about a disabled boy being flown to the continent to have sex with a hooker featured on a Panorama programme a couple of years ago discussing the role of the state in Britain.

I thought his final quote was spot on.

I am sure you can tell tales from your time in social services but I hope I never have to look to you for sympathy and support.

You talk of the 15 yr old getting a house - why does she need that? Has she been rejected by family? And you add in backets that she 'bids' for it as if that were an indulgence. No it is the way things work now - when my parents got a council house they got the first suitable one that came when at the top of the list and were informed of it. Now those on the list have to keep a constant check on the availability of properties, keep on top of the process and compete with other bidders about who has the most 'need points'. And get a baby to get a house is not a highly successful method although of course some will get a poky flat yes, and some will need luxuries like a cot for the child and a cooker and apply for a social grant or loan.

You comment on the children of addicts going into care and the taxpayer having to pay for them - what alternative do you suggest? The workhouse? And how awful that we continue to offer support to those leaving care - those without supportive family to help the adjustment to adult life. And given the percentage of ex-care adults who end up in the prison system* I suggest that support rather than just being chucked out of the door and forgotten about would save the taxpayer in the long run.

Yes there are abuses, yes there are stupidities in any system but you lump the real needs in with those and appear to dismiss them all with bitterness. Have those 'wrong' cases blunted your compassion completely over the years?


*I know not all 'looked other' kids do but a much higher proportion than other types of childhood
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sadly, my aunt in Australia says that the coverage over there has all been very shock-jock-ish and has tended to concentrate on the racial tensions. She was completely unaware, until I told her, that the looters were mixed - black, white and Asian youths.

That's interesting, because the coverage I've seen here in Australia (from both commercial and public media outlets) was only really interested in the racial aspect for the first couple of days when everyone still thought it was all directly linked to the Mark Duggan incident. After it became clear that the riots were not directly related and that troublemakers had just used that incident as an opportunity for some free shopping, the coverage generally shifted to just reporting the events as they happened because nobody really knew what was going on.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Avila:
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
Having worked for Social Services for some years in a couple of different towns, I know full well that while he does use hyperbole in his article, the stories he includes are accurate. I know that the British taxpayer pays for 15 year old girls to move into a house (which they 'bid' for) with their baby and pay for it to be furnished, for the mother and baby to attend places like SureStart and all the rest. I know that the British taxpayer pays for heroin addicts to go on courses and have methadone replacement and for their children to remain in their care with costly social work input. I know that the British taxpayer funds so-called 'incentive payments' to individuals who have actually left care but who continue to have everything provided at tax payer's expense such as education costs and allowances until they are 21 years old. The story about a disabled boy being flown to the continent to have sex with a hooker featured on a Panorama programme a couple of years ago discussing the role of the state in Britain.

I thought his final quote was spot on.

I am sure you can tell tales from your time in social services but I hope I never have to look to you for sympathy and support.

You talk of the 15 yr old getting a house - why does she need that? Has she been rejected by family? And you add in backets that she 'bids' for it as if that were an indulgence. No it is the way things work now - when my parents got a council house they got the first suitable one that came when at the top of the list and were informed of it. Now those on the list have to keep a constant check on the availability of properties, keep on top of the process and compete with other bidders about who has the most 'need points'. And get a baby to get a house is not a highly successful method although of course some will get a poky flat yes, and some will need luxuries like a cot for the child and a cooker and apply for a social grant or loan.

You comment on the children of addicts going into care and the taxpayer having to pay for them - what alternative do you suggest? The workhouse? And how awful that we continue to offer support to those leaving care - those without supportive family to help the adjustment to adult life. And given the percentage of ex-care adults who end up in the prison system* I suggest that support rather than just being chucked out of the door and forgotten about would save the taxpayer in the long run.

Yes there are abuses, yes there are stupidities in any system but you lump the real needs in with those and appear to dismiss them all with bitterness. Have those 'wrong' cases blunted your compassion completely over the years?


*I know not all 'looked other' kids do but a much higher proportion than other types of childhood

Perhaps putting them "in care" would be a better option than leaving them in the care of their addicted parents. Either way you misread that post.
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Aumbry, where did you get that statistic from please?

I wonder whether any statistics have come up yet? (E.g. from the composition of those convicted so far). Media here have desperately tried to veil and keep quiet about the racial aspect of the events, so it is hard to come by reliable facts. Prima facie it all certainly looked much like a racial issue to me.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Having encountered all those tipping points previously, you should be as left-wing as I am.

That you are not is because when the rich and powerful take away your freedom and money, you envy them and want to be like them.

I'm sorry, but that comment is just disgraceful. "If you were as clever and noble as I am, you would share my political stance" is basically what it's saying.

The anti-"right" histrionics on this thread are just ridiculous. It's positively neurotic. Seriously, guys - listen to yourselves. As if people of good will can only be found at one end of the political spectrum...
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
As if people of good will can only be found at one end of the political spectrum...

No, not at either end. Mostly around the middle - I'd argue that it's left of the middle, but those slightly to the right of the middle aren't all bad.

But to argue that the only tipping point worth talking about in post-war UK is a few nutbars going on the loot is self-delusion of the highest order. Wake up, sheeple!
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
Here is another piece by Peter Oborne Oborne article

In many ways he is making a similar point to Mark Steyn though not quite as polemical.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Aumbry, where did you get that statistic from please?

I wonder whether any statistics have come up yet? (E.g. from the composition of those convicted so far). Media here have desperately tried to veil and keep quiet about the racial aspect of the events, so it is hard to come by reliable facts. Prima facie it all certainly looked much like a racial issue to me.
I haven't seen any statistics broken down in that way, but a look at the Met's suspects' photos shows a fairly broad cross section of the community - in terms of age as well as race. It suggests that those arguing there is a single issue at the root of the disorder may be telling us more about themselves than about the situation.
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Aumbry, where did you get that statistic from please?

I wonder whether any statistics have come up yet? (E.g. from the composition of those convicted so far). Media here have desperately tried to veil and keep quiet about the racial aspect of the events, so it is hard to come by reliable facts. Prima facie it all certainly looked much like a racial issue to me.
I haven't seen any statistics broken down in that way, but a look at the Met's suspects' photos shows a fairly broad cross section of the community - in terms of age as well as race. It suggests that those arguing there is a single issue at the root of the disorder may be telling us more about themselves than about the situation.
I don't think there is any doubt that race was a possible factor in the death of Mark Duggan (pointing a gun at an armed police officer being another possible factor) and definitely a factor in the subsequent protests over his death.

What is in doubt is the strength of the connection between that incident and the selfish criminal looting that took place later on. I would suggest that the two events are connected only by way of one allowing an opportunity for the other to start.

It actually sounds a lot like the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver a few months ago. That wasn't about hockey fans, it was just regular garden-variety thugs using some other event as an excuse to cause mayhem.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Saw this today in the Huffington Post. Thought it was quite a good summary.

Http://rs.gs./QL
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity Killed

quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I've cleared my PM inbox. Go ahead, Punk,

Sadly, my aunt in Australia says that the coverage over there has all been very shock-jock-ish and has tended to concentrate on the racial tensions. She was completely unaware, until I told her, that the looters were mixed - black, white and Asian youths.


Not very mixed 95% black, 5% white and not seen any asians involved at all.

Aumbry, where did you get that statistic from please?


On the basis of 'not seen any asians involved', I suggest it is based on what Aumbry saw.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
Saw this today in the Huffington Post. Thought it was quite a good summary.

Http://rs.gs./QL

Sorry, looks to me that someone with an axe to grind is grinding that axe. There's a lot of it about so I won't add my two-pence worth.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali (former Bishop of Rochester), Pastor Ade Omooba (founder and Director of Christian Concern) and other church leaders have had a letter published in the Sunday Telegraph, giving a Christian perspective on the riots.
The full text of the letter is reproduced below:
The new barbarism
SIR – We write as senior church leaders whose congregations have been affected by the recent violence on our streets.
What made Britain great was a sense of responsibility, of accountability to one another and, ultimately, to God. It is the loss of this moral framework that has led to the plunge into the new barbarism. We must take steps immediately to strengthen the family as a place for moral and spiritual formation where our children first learn about boundaries.
The churches are also committed to the task of supporting schools in their work of instilling the young with values derived from the timeless life-enhancing principles of the Bible.
What we instil in children today will determine in the future how they govern a nation, influence our policies and ultimately determine the quality of life in our communities.
We each make choices and decisions based on our value systems. Godlessness has only produced selfishness and greed. The well-tried Christian faith has given us hope in the past and can do so again now.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
Former Bishop of Rochester and President of Oxtrad
Pastor Ade Omooba
Co-Founder, Christian Concern/Christian Legal Centre
Pastor Kofi Banful
Senior Pastor, Praise Chapel, Edgware, Middlesex
Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins
Rehoboth Foundation, London E16
Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts
Founder African Development Forum, London
Pastor Lanre Sholola
Co-Founder, Christian Victory Group, London SW9


 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Mudfrog, you quote (at length) six clergy persons who rant on about God, the family, the Bible, the well-tried Christian faith (Yeah!) Godlessness, barbarism, selfishness and greed (Boo!) but not once do they mention sin.

Is sin the elephant in the room, which church leaders and others dare not mention for fear of rendering their argument offensive to the law-abiding (but no more or less sinful) population as a whole?

(btw, Britain was made great by trade, a navy and the will to use force; moral principles, Christian or not came a long way down the list.)
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Mudfrog, you quote (at length) six clergy persons who rant on about God, the family, the Bible, the well-tried Christian faith (Yeah!) Godlessness, barbarism, selfishness and greed (Boo!) but not once do they mention sin.

Is sin the elephant in the room, which church leaders and others dare not mention for fear of rendering their argument offensive to the law-abiding (but no more or less sinful) population as a whole?

(btw, Britain was made great by trade, a navy and the will to use force; moral principles, Christian or not came a long way down the list.)

You are indeed quote right!

My text in last night's service was "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people."

The truth of the matter is this:
Only righteousness can mend society - not policy, not economics, not even equality, morality or justice. Righteousness is not mere 'doing right', it is a divine quality where the character and nature of God himself is seen in the actions of his people. If we want the nation - any nation for that matter - to be exalted and rise above it's disgrace, we have to 'Do God' (to coin a phrase).

As far as sin is concerned, yes! We need to recognise that there is such a thing and that where people do wrong it is 'wrong'. For too long we have excused sin, winked at it, allowed people to get away with it. But deeper than that we have turned against God's will in this country - and while it's been true that hypocrisy and blatant disregard of God's law has always been a mark of society (and displayed openly by the ruling classes and industrialists), nowadays it is blatent. And sin is enshrined in the statute books as allowable.

Sin is that which offends God and there is a lot happening in this country that offends him and his righteousness.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
Okay, I'm starting to assemble the pieces of the "War on Godlessness" from Mudfrog's posts:

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The churches are also committed to the task of supporting schools in their work of instilling the young with values derived from the timeless life-enhancing principles of the Bible.
What we instil in children today will determine in the future how they govern a nation, influence our policies and ultimately determine the quality of life in our communities.
We each make choices and decisions based on our value systems. Godlessness has only produced selfishness and greed. The well-tried Christian faith has given us hope in the past and can do so again now.



I interpret this as an "offer" to provide (only) Christian religious education in all schools. There might also be some competition as to which flavour of Christianity will be taught. Which church(es) get(s) to set the curriculum? Will baptism and confirmation be available in schools for the un-baptized/confirmed children of Satan? This will probably be opposed or refused by a large segment of godless educators, parents and children. So I guess it can't just be an offer, but compulsory. For everyone.

But wait, there's more:

quote:

For too long we have excused sin, winked at it, allowed people to get away with it. But deeper than that we have turned against God's will in this country - and while it's been true that hypocrisy and blatant disregard of God's law has always been a mark of society (and displayed openly by the ruling classes and industrialists), nowadays it is blatent. And sin is enshrined in the statute books as allowable.

Sin is that which offends God and there is a lot happening in this country that offends him and his righteousness.

This suggests we need to look at our laws, and ensure that we have laws against all sins. So we will need laws against, for example, sloth. How does one write such a statute? What is the punishment for sloth? How much sloth is punishable? (I had a bit of a lie-in this morning ... don't narc on me.) Dietary laws: BIIIIIG changes there. Complete overhaul of the meat-packing industry, no more cheeseburgers or pepperoni pizza. [Waterworks] And no more bacon. [Waterworks] [Mad] [Help] The banks are going to plotz over that whole jubilee thing. Oooh, and the death penalty for kids that talk back to their parents, right?

On the bright side, there are lots of laws against lots of things that aren't sins, really. There's no cars in the Bible, for example, so we can probably toss all the traffic laws. Slavery could make a big comeback in these tough economic times. And hey, never mind swinging: polygamy's baaaaack! And lying with your maidservant - cheaper and easier than IVF!

Wait a sec, this is starting to sound familiar ... OliviaG
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
You don't eradicate sin by laws. This is the whole point of why Christ came. If law could have done the job he needn't have bothered. Law can restrain some of the effects of sin - limit the damage if you like - but the only antidote to sin is a change of heart. Inculcating a better value system is a good second option (non Christians also have a moral compass) but there are many competing forces at work seeking to set the direction of our moral compasses.

During the C19 Welsh revival there were massive reductions in crime and anti social behaviour because people found something better to do with their lives, driven by a new fundamental motivation. In the end I'd say Jesus can provide that more powerfully than any one else, or any other system of ideas; but that's not to say there is no value in other moral approaches. We all bear the image of God which is expressed in our moral compass. But if you believe Jesus is God come into humanity as a human being it seems reasonable to take him as as good a starting point as you can get for finding a sound motivation to doing life well.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
Saw this today in the Huffington Post. Thought it was quite a good summary.

Http://rs.gs./QL

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
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
originally posted by Mudfrog:
we have to 'Do God' (to coin a phrase).


[Eek!]

On second thought, with all the Jesus is my boyfriend stuff, doing God is the next logical step in the relationship.
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
One thing that concerns me is the disproportionate sentencing that appears to be going on. I read that someone got six months in prison for stealing some bottles of water. Dave Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson's Bullingdon Club, by contrast, get off by just throwing money at people.Bullindon Club trash pub

I can see that pointing to root causes just seems to make people angry because it appears to be justifying the actions. However, history shows that petty crime goes up in recessions and is more commmon in poor areas. It doesn't make it OK, it's just a fact. If people are happy and content, they do less crime.

That doesn't quite hold water when you conmsider that a lot of the rioters were well off! What were they unhappy and discontented about? These weren't riots filled with starving people wanting bread! As far as I am aware when Debenhams was stripped of all its luxury goods, I don't think Tescos was cleared out of bread, milk and baby food!
You should ask the Bullingdon Club, they're well off and they riot. 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.

As Bob Dylan said, 'Steal a little and they put you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.'
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Harking back to 1966, "The Common Good" ( pre election document put out by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales ).....speaks of a rift bewtween society and the individual and tell of 'structures of sin' within a society that treats people only as economic units.

This in no way excuses wrong behaviour. Sin is sin. But in pointing out sin at the bottom of the pile, it is incumbent upon us to point it out at the top and to examine our own hearts.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
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.....
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Recognizing the importance of social capital means recognizing that diversity and multiculturalism aren't all they are cracked up to be. The first step to doing that would be admitting that a person can make the statement, "diversity and multiculturalism aren't all they are cracked up to be," and not be a racist. We aren't even ready to take that first step.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
I wonder whether any statistics have come up yet?

Not even an estimate of how many people were doing it. From news reports it could be anything from maybe 1,000 to 10,000 in London over a few days, but no-one offers any detail.

quote:


Prima facie it all certainly looked much like a racial issue to me.

Not so much from close up. Mostly black, but not all.

quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
The first step to doing that would be admitting that a person can make the statement, "diversity and multiculturalism aren't all they are cracked up to be," and not be a racist. We aren't even ready to take that first step.

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.

quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
What did you make of the ideas of social capital for example?

Obscurantist jargon concealing some more or less common-sense ideas that no-one much apart from a few far right-wingers and some extreme statists on both sides ever really disagreed with. (Maybe they have grown out of it.) Mixed up with some dubious bits of half-digested genetics. The jargon obviously spinning off the even sillier notion of "human capital", as if workers were nothing but machines to be invested in while profitable and scrapped when not.


Though I can't see fot the life of me what
quote:
Beeswax Altar meant by:
Recognizing the importance of social capital means recognizing that diversity and multiculturalism aren't all they are cracked up to be.

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.

One of the big news tropes of last week was various ethnically defined groups of people - usually young men of course - banding together to "defend our community". Most talked about were Turks and Kurds, but Sikhs also mentioned and the (very small-scale) example I saw were Tamils. A sort of media renvention of the Martial Races of the British Empire.

But the point is the "social capital" argument, based as it is around the supposed common interest of small groups who are or are pervieved to be close kin, ought to reinforce the kind of separate-but-equal communitarian version of multiculturalism that the right loves to accuse the left of promoting.

And that gets you into a tacky kind of ethnic communitarianism in which everybody has to be part of a "community" and the state deals with them not as individual citizens but as members of a community through usually self-selecting "Community Leaders". (A hateful notion. Who are my "Community Leaders"? The vicar? The head teacher of our local school? The elected councillors? The pub landlady?) Its another imperialistic hangover. The Millet system imported. The last gasp of Indirect Rule. And it implies heavily that the problem with all those poor black sods is they don't have a real "community". Presumably because they aren't civilised enough to join ours or clever enough to make their own.

If this is what "multiculturalism in fact usually meant then you would be right to attack it - but of course it isn't. And its this "social capital" idea plays right in to it.
 
Posted by justlooking (# 12079) on :
 
This interview (about: 10 mins) "the whites have become black" with historian David Starkey, broadcaster Dreda Mitchell and Owen Jones, author of 'Chavs', has caused quite a stir. I found it frustrating to listen to because David Starkey seems to be unable to express his ideas without implying black is somehow less than white. For me the most shocking thing he says is that if you listen to David Lammy on the radio he '"sounds white".

I think he's right about there being a certain type of 'gangsta' youth culture, which includes both black and white but it's unfortunate that he links it with Enoch Powell's infamous 'rivers of blood' speech.
 
Posted by Paddy O'Furniture (# 12953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
Evening Paddy O. Adrian Holloway's comments - was he talking about homosexual lifesryle or same sex parents? The latter would make more sense in the overall context of your summary of his comments. There is a legitimate ongoing discussion about the relative merits of different models of parenting. I didn't heat his comments so just guessing here.

He was talking about the "homosexual lifestyle" a phrase that makes my blood boil. We don't have a particular "lifestyle" any more than heterosexuals... he meant that us evil homos are running around corrupting innocent people, leading them astray, planting wicked thoughts in their heads, making them think about whether that coat matches that dress... ha, I make a small funny but I'm not laughing about these fundamentalist morons.
 
Posted by Paddy O'Furniture (# 12953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by Mudfrog:
we have to 'Do God' (to coin a phrase).


[Eek!]

On second thought, with all the Jesus is my boyfriend stuff, doing God is the next logical step in the relationship.

[Killing me] [Killing me]


I had a friend tell me that she and her girlfriend invite ask Jesus to be with them when they're making love! [Ultra confused]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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 ...
 
Posted by Sylvander (# 12857) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
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:
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
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by tclune (# 7959) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Tclune - darn cheek sir, how'd you know I ain't one of em don't you know [Biased]
 
Posted by Pasco (# 388) on :
 
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."
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
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!
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by the giant cheeseburger (# 10942) on :
 
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.


 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Pasco (# 388) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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 ...
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by tclune (# 7959) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by tclune (# 7959) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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
Purgatory Host

Host Hat Off

 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Guess there's a variety of reasons people don't work. There's the individual stuff about people who simply don't want to and such people do exist. But agree these are a minority. There's the issue of people in their 50s who loose jobs and can'tbgetvre-employed partly because of ageism amongst employers, and partly because they don't have the job seeking skills you need for a modern workforce. More enlightened employers realise the benefits of older workers (more reliable, less time off sick) but getting a compelling application in the first place is an issue.

And then there are whole communities where no-one in the community has had a paid job for years. Yes, they do exist. It's a culture of wordlessness where people have got used to living to a certain standard of living because that's all they know.

So it's a complex issue in need of a multi-faceted approach to resolve, with different approaches for different communities.

And did I mention the benefit trap? Hats off to IDS facing up to this one and saying the basis of any benefits system is that work has to pay. Making work will be easier said than done, but it's an honest and principled approach.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Indeed, Ramarius, I'd never vote Tory but I do have some time for Ian Duncan Smith and the more old-fashioned, Kenneth Clarke style Tories ...

What I don't like, though, is when people like Beeswax Altar pontificate about life over here when they haven't the first idea of what they're talking about and are relying on second-hand reports at best. The same goes for me when I comment on anything Stateside.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Hmmm - does 'pontificating' make you a potential candidate to become a pontif......? [Overused]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
[Confused]

Well, it's where the term 'pontificate' derives from, Ramarius.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
BA you are completel;y missing the point.

If benefits, "decent" or otherwise, were the cause of unemployment, how come unemployment goes up when benefits go down? You would think it was the other way round.

And how come countries with more generous unemployment benefits - such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries - do not have worse emplyment problems than the UK?

And how come some countries with *less* generous unemplyment benefits - such as Ireland, Spain, Greece - DO have worse employment problems than the UK?

Where is the evidence?
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Indeed, Ramarius, I'd never vote Tory but I do have some time for Ian Duncan Smith and the more old-fashioned, Kenneth Clarke style Tories ...

What I don't like, though, is when people like Beeswax Altar pontificate about life over here when they haven't the first idea of what they're talking about and are relying on second-hand reports at best. The same goes for me when I comment on anything Stateside.

We are two peas in a pod aren't we? [Big Grin]

What do we think of Australia? [Snigger]
 
Posted by la vie en rouge (# 10688) on :
 
A few weeks back when I was at my parents' place there was a program on the BBC called "Geordie finishing school". Basically they got four very, very wealthy "posh girls" from West London (including one who had *never worked* a day in her life because "my father has made provision for me" [Projectile] ) and took them to spend a week or two living on the equivalent of income support on some of the roughest estates in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, accompanied by four local Geordie girls. Of the Geordie girls, I think most of them were working for the minimum wage. IIRC, just one (a single mum) didn't have a job and was on benefits. She sounded very depressed about it - she wanted to get a job to show her children that you should work hard to pay your own way but she just couldn't get a job. I don't think she was looking for anything very spectacular - she'd sent her CV to all the shops and the like but no one wanted to employ her.

The posh girls quickly found out that income support doesn't go a long way. They had to go the market and budget very carefully just to be able to buy enough food for the week. There was more or less no money left over for anything else. (On the Saturday afternoon, they went for Geordie entertainment - watching the Newcastle United match in the pub. They wanted to buy United shirts and had to have it pointed out to them that this would burn most of the week's grocery money. I think this was a new experience for them - wanting something and not having the money to buy it.) I think most people who pontificate about scroungers sponging off the welfare state have never tried to do it. On income support = poor.

I think a lot of the talk about welfare state scroungers is about wanting to feel superior to the chavs. I had far more respect for the attitude of the girl on benefits than the one who was living at her father's expense. The girl on benefits didn't just want to get a job so she could pay the bills. She wanted to pay her own way and not feel like she was getting something for nothing. OTOH the posh girl living off the fat of her Daddy didn't have that attitude at all. For her, to work would only have been a way of getting money, nothing to do with having a feeling of self-respect because she was paying her way by her own efforts. Nonetheless society calls the first one a lazy scrounger and doesn't judge the second one at all most of the time. Granted society isn't bankrolling the second one, but it doesn't alter the fact that she was much, much lazier.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, Beeswax, as someone who has teased US posters here in the past and who has pontificated about aspects of American polity and politics without first trying to understand the context, I've been trying to be a reformed character.

I still tease, but I no longer post so many comments about US gun-laws for instance (whilst remaining somewhat non-plussed about them).

You are perfectly entitled to be non-plussed about our Welfare State, of course, whilst we remain puzzled as to why it isn't the envy of the world and why right-wing Republicans feel so threatened and appalled by what appear, to us, to be moderate health reforms over there. We might all be missing something ...

As for Australia. Well, I have friends and relatives there and lived there myself for two years as a young '£10 Pom' - we were there from 1964 to 1966.

I don't feel qualified to comment on their political system. I will take the mickey out of them though, when occasion demands ...

In terms of their views and comments about us. I can't say whether they are more accurate than those we hear from your direction. I was pleased to read an Aussie poster earlier stating that the news coverage there had moved on from the initial 'racial' aspect - and I can understand, how after the Tottenham riots, they might have got that impression initially. But subsequent coverage in Oz seems to have been broader.

As far as the US goes, we have no problems with comments that come from New York or the West Coast. Anywhere in the middle is out of bounds ... [Biased] [Razz]

I jest of course.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
On the 'scroungers' thing. Jobseekers' Allowance isn't that generous and is meant to be a safety net. Where the problems start is where there is benefit fraud - and there have been highly publicised incidences like the woman who did a charity parachute jump despite claiming Incapacity Benefit and the bloke in Swansea who claimed Incapacity whilst moonlighting as a soccer referee.

They were clobbered and fined heavily.

Also, there are fringe benefits that those in the know can claim. I've heard of people who would need to earn at least £40K between them to match what they've been picking up from benefits in kind ... but these instances are very rare, I would suggest.

The Daily Wail is always in righteous indignation about single mums with millions of kids who are claiming thousands of pounds in benefits.

These things grab headlines and provide a convenient stick for right-wing Republicans in the US to beat the UK and justify the staggering inequalities that exist in that country (as in any capitalist system).

Sure, we need to tackle the 'dependency culture' and so on but as has been said, some of the rioters had jobs, some were students, some were known and hardened criminals. As I keep saying over and over, there isn't any one single cause, it's an amalgamation of all kinds of issues and those who're posting from overseas and criticising UK institutions and polity ought to take the plank out of their own eye first.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
BA you are completel;y missing the point.

If benefits, "decent" or otherwise, were the cause of unemployment, how come unemployment goes up when benefits go down? You would think it was the other way round.

And how come countries with more generous unemployment benefits - such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries - do not have worse emplyment problems than the UK?

And how come some countries with *less* generous unemplyment benefits - such as Ireland, Spain, Greece - DO have worse employment problems than the UK?

Where is the evidence?

Germany has for many years had worse unemployment rates than Britain and unemplyment benefits in Ireland are much better than in Britain (to take just two).

Unemployment correlates better with the ease of hiring and firing labour. Generally countries where it is difficult or expensive to make redundancies have higher levels of unemployment.

Recent data has shown that the British economy has been good at creating jobs but due to the free movement of Labour within the EU the pool of labour has grown even faster - to the extent that 2 out of 3 new jobs has been taken by non-British workers. The trouble is it would appear that the home-grown unemployed are not capable of competing with the imported labour or are not sufficiently motivated.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
The Guardian is compiling statistics on rioters.
91% of 'rioters' were unemployed.
And from this article:
quote:
He found that the majority of people who have appeared in court live in poor neighbourhoods, with 41% of suspects living in one of the top 10% of most deprived places in the country. The data also shows that 66% of neighbourhoods where the accused live got poorer between 2007 and 2010.
The first sentence seems to me of the type Pope uses toilet in the Vatican and bears have no religious affiliation. If anything, I'm surprised less than half came from the 10% of most deprived areas. The second statistic is more interesting.
 
Posted by JFH (# 14794) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The Guardian is compiling statistics on rioters.
91% of 'rioters' were unemployed.
And from this article:
quote:
He found that the majority of people who have appeared in court live in poor neighbourhoods, with 41% of suspects living in one of the top 10% of most deprived places in the country. The data also shows that 66% of neighbourhoods where the accused live got poorer between 2007 and 2010.
The first sentence seems to me of the type Pope uses toilet in the Vatican and bears have no religious affiliation. If anything, I'm surprised less than half came from the 10% of most deprived areas. The second statistic is more interesting.
Considering the general economic situation in Europe in general and the UK in particular, how many areas at all in the UK got richer between 2007 and 2010?
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Fair enopugh, Dafyd.

I'll withdraw my earlier comment relating to unemployment. Or perhaps it should be big-city unemployment?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
For her, to work would only have been a way of getting money, nothing to do with having a feeling of self-respect because she was paying her way by her own efforts.

I think that applies to an awful lot of people who have jobs. It certainly applies to me. If I won millions on the lottery I'd never set foot in the office again. I doubt I'd even bother going in to resign.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
BA you are completel;y missing the point.

If benefits, "decent" or otherwise, were the cause of unemployment, how come unemployment goes up when benefits go down? You would think it was the other way round.

And how come countries with more generous unemployment benefits - such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries - do not have worse emplyment problems than the UK?

And how come some countries with *less* generous unemplyment benefits - such as Ireland, Spain, Greece - DO have worse employment problems than the UK?

Where is the evidence?

Germany has for many years had worse unemployment rates than Britain and unemplyment benefits in Ireland are much better than in Britain (to take just two).

Unemployment correlates better with the ease of hiring and firing labour. Generally countries where it is difficult or expensive to make redundancies have higher levels of unemployment.

Recent data has shown that the British economy has been good at creating jobs but due to the free movement of Labour within the EU the pool of labour has grown even faster - to the extent that 2 out of 3 new jobs has been taken by non-British workers. The trouble is it would appear that the home-grown unemployed are not capable of competing with the imported labour or are not sufficiently motivated.

Show the recent data then! I can't be the only one on the Ship who is sick and tired of your assertions, on this and other threads, that are not backed up by evidence. Is it something you heard from einer Mann in der Bierkellar?

You're welcome to your opinions, but in the absence of evidence, even you don't need to be told how worthless they are.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
[...] Recent data has shown that the British economy has been good at creating jobs but due to the free movement of Labour within the EU the pool of labour has grown even faster - to the extent that 2 out of 3 new jobs has been taken by non-British workers.

Some call this sort of thing "recent data", others call it "selective statistics [that] are highly misleading". YMMV.
 
Posted by la vie en rouge (# 10688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
For her, to work would only have been a way of getting money, nothing to do with having a feeling of self-respect because she was paying her way by her own efforts.

I think that applies to an awful lot of people who have jobs. It certainly applies to me. If I won millions on the lottery I'd never set foot in the office again. I doubt I'd even bother going in to resign.
<devil's advocate> So if claiming benefits provided as much money as your current job you would be a "welfare scrounger"? <devil's advocate>
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
BA you are completel;y missing the point.

If benefits, "decent" or otherwise, were the cause of unemployment, how come unemployment goes up when benefits go down? You would think it was the other way round.

And how come countries with more generous unemployment benefits - such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries - do not have worse emplyment problems than the UK?

And how come some countries with *less* generous unemplyment benefits - such as Ireland, Spain, Greece - DO have worse employment problems than the UK?

Where is the evidence?

Germany has for many years had worse unemployment rates than Britain and unemplyment benefits in Ireland are much better than in Britain (to take just two).

Unemployment correlates better with the ease of hiring and firing labour. Generally countries where it is difficult or expensive to make redundancies have higher levels of unemployment.

Recent data has shown that the British economy has been good at creating jobs but due to the free movement of Labour within the EU the pool of labour has grown even faster - to the extent that 2 out of 3 new jobs has been taken by non-British workers. The trouble is it would appear that the home-grown unemployed are not capable of competing with the imported labour or are not sufficiently motivated.

Show the recent data then! I can't be the only one on the Ship who is sick and tired of your assertions, on this and other threads, that are not backed up by evidence. Is it something you heard from einer Mann in der Bierkellar?

You're welcome to your opinions, but in the absence of evidence, even you don't need to be told how worthless they are.

The figures come from here and you are welcome to wade through them: Office for national Statistics
 
Posted by 205 (# 206) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I will take the mickey out of them though, when occasion demands ...

Now I'm curious: what criteria must they meet for you to act?
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
originally posted by Aumbry:
Germany has for many years had worse unemployment rates than Britain and unemplyment benefits in Ireland are much better than in Britain (to take just two).

Unemployment correlates better with the ease of hiring and firing labour. Generally countries where it is difficult or expensive to make redundancies have higher levels of unemployment.

Recent data has shown that the British economy has been good at creating jobs but due to the free movement of Labour within the EU the pool of labour has grown even faster - to the extent that 2 out of 3 new jobs has been taken by non-British workers. The trouble is it would appear that the home-grown unemployed are not capable of competing with the imported labour or are not sufficiently motivated.

Also, Sweden's low unemployment rate is questionable at best. The unemployment statistics of all countries can be massaged by those looking to make a point. As Will Rogers said while doing rope tricks, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The figures come from here and you are welcome to wade through them: Office for national Statistics

Well, I've waded through them.

At first glance, the headlines are:
Employment rates for UK born and UK nationals are greater than EU and non-EU immigrants.
Unemployment rates for EU and non-EU immigrants are greater than for UK born and UK nationals.
UK nationals are the greatest employment block in every region but London.
The rate of change of employment for UK born/UK nationals is the same as for EU and non-EU immigrants over the survey period (-0.3%).

Of course, you might have seen something I haven't on my somewhat cursory investigation. Which page on this pdf (with the most recent data) proves your assertion?
 
Posted by JFH (# 14794) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by Aumbry:
Germany has for many years had worse unemployment rates than Britain and unemplyment benefits in Ireland are much better than in Britain (to take just two).

Unemployment correlates better with the ease of hiring and firing labour. Generally countries where it is difficult or expensive to make redundancies have higher levels of unemployment.

Recent data has shown that the British economy has been good at creating jobs but due to the free movement of Labour within the EU the pool of labour has grown even faster - to the extent that 2 out of 3 new jobs has been taken by non-British workers. The trouble is it would appear that the home-grown unemployed are not capable of competing with the imported labour or are not sufficiently motivated.

Also, Sweden's low unemployment rate is questionable at best. The unemployment statistics of all countries can be massaged by those looking to make a point. As Will Rogers said while doing rope tricks, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
According to the Eurostat Sweden's unemployment is at 7.7 %. According to the Swedish national bureau of statistics it's at 8.8 %. The CIA World Factbook has Sweden at 8.4 %. Surely it has to be around there somewhere, no?

What do the statistics point towards for the US?

Thing is, though, that with our welfare system that covers our university fees, many young unemployed in Sweden begin to study in times of a recession instead of remaining unemployed. This could be said to cut the figures of unemployment somewhat, but then again we gain a better educated workforce after the recession is over. Shouldn't this actually speak for the benefits of the welfare state?

Also, the countries in Europe (based on Eurostat link) with the lowest unemployment figures are Netherlands and Austria (at about 4.5 %). Correct me if I'm wrong, but are any of them known for their harsh capitalism and lack of welfare?


ETA: Correction. I'm wrong. The lowest unemployment in Europe is not Netherlands and not Austria. It's Norway. About 3,5 % unemployed, depending on which source you go to. But surely the Norwegians are semi-fascist capitalists, no?

[ 19. August 2011, 15:23: Message edited by: JFH ]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Depends on how you count unemployment. You've already explained one reason why unemployment statistics don't tell the true story. Is education during recession a good thing? It can be. You could also be a perpetual student.

Norway does have a low unemployment rate. Norway also has the highest percentage of people on disability benefits in Europe. All those people can't work? Yeah right.

My argument never was that all people collecting unemployment benefits were refusing to work. I specifically said the perpetually unemployed. There is a difference.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
I refer the honourable members to my earlier post. If you're looking at a correlation between benefit rates, availability of jobs, and unemployment you only get part of the picture by looking at the national picture. There are significant regional factors depending on how regional economies are configured (e.g. high proportion of public sector workers in the North East of England) and local factors (workless households and high numbers of unemployed people in neighbourhoods that score high on measures of social and economic deprivation).

I'm starting the lose the plot on this - what's the point we're trying to make sense of around work and benefits.....?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
What criteria 205? Well, generally when they make dumb-ass comments I don't agree with. But I've grown more tolerant in my old age ... [Razz]

You know the sort of thing. 'Europe is going to hell in a hand-cart because it's sold out to the Muslims and to political correctness. The Welfare State is creating a society where people have never worked and lounge around on benefits all day. Meanwhile, we've got a lot more sense over here in the godly US of A and have even enshrined laws about gun ownership into our Constitution that allow our citizens to blow each other's heads off in vast numbers every year ...'

[Razz]

That sort of thing.

You keep your gun laws. We'll keep our Welfare State.

Does that answer your question?

[Biased]
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What criteria 205? Well, generally when they make dumb-ass comments I don't agree with. But I've grown more tolerant in my old age ... [Razz]

You know the sort of thing. 'Europe is going to hell in a hand-cart because it's sold out to the Muslims and to political correctness. The Welfare State is creating a society where people have never worked and lounge around on benefits all day. Meanwhile, we've got a lot more sense over here in the godly US of A and have even enshrined laws about gun ownership into our Constitution that allow our citizens to blow each other's heads off in vast numbers every year ...'

[Razz]

That sort of thing.

You keep your gun laws. We'll keep our Welfare State.

Does that answer your question?

[Biased]

Praise the Lord for The Pond. May it ever come between us.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I am, of course, being extremely post-modern and ironic. I am simply trying to get Beeswax Altar to appreciate the untenability of his position by the use of Swiftian satire.

Something like that ...
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Many Americans, probably most and certainly more people than live in the UK, would agree that you can keep your welfare state while we keep our guns.

We need a pond smiley.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Praise the Lord for The Pond. May it ever come between us.

Umm... hello? What about these socialist few acres of ice and snow?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
<devil's advocate> So if claiming benefits provided as much money as your current job you would be a "welfare scrounger"? <devil's advocate>

Yes. Which is why it's a really bad idea for the country as a whole to have benefits paying the same (or more) as a job.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
<devil's advocate> So if claiming benefits provided as much money as your current job you would be a "welfare scrounger"? <devil's advocate>

Yes. Which is why it's a really bad idea for the country as a whole to have benefits paying the same (or more) as a job.
What you really mean is 'it's a bad idea to have wages lower than benefits.' If people struggle to live on benefits (and they do, despite the myths) then how do you think they manage on the minimum wage?
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
posted by beeswax:
quote:

Many Americans, probably most and certainly more people than live in the UK, would agree that you can keep your welfare state while we keep our guns.

God have mercy on your soul, cos you can be sure your insurance policy won't.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Finally, Beeswax Altar reveals the profundity of the inner darkness within his soul.

You're welcome to your guns, my friend. Just don't complain when someone points at you and pulls the trigger.

Such ignorance. Such folly.

If there are more people in the US than there are in the UK who'd prefer to own guns than have a Welfare State then that proves what a bunch of abject sicko ignoramuses there are over there. It really shows that you've got your priorities right.

You prove my point. In spades.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Finally, Beeswax Altar reveals the profundity of the inner darkness within his soul.

You're welcome to your guns, my friend. Just don't complain when someone points at you and pulls the trigger.

Such ignorance. Such folly.

If there are more people in the US than there are in the UK who'd prefer to own guns than have a Welfare State then that proves what a bunch of abject sicko ignoramuses there are over there. It really shows that you've got your priorities right.

You prove my point. In spades.

[Killing me]
 
Posted by irish_lord99 (# 16250) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
If there are more people in the US than there are in the UK who'd prefer to own guns than have a Welfare State then that proves what a bunch of abject sicko ignoramuses there are over there. It really shows that you've got your priorities right.

Now, now Gamaliel... there are some of us that want guns and a welfare state! Come on, we're not all that bad. [Biased]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've never said you were all bad, Irish Lord.

Nor do I believe that Democrat = Good, Republican = Bad in any binary sense.

But I do believe that Beeswax Altar = Bad on this particular point.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
At the risk of being as binary as Beeswax, I'd like to know what it is about the following that he doesn't understand:

Guns: weapons, kill people.

Welfare payments: charitable and humane, help people.

See the difference?

Of course, he'd argue that guns actually help people. Because they can be used to threaten any government that actually tries to help people and to protect property and the great American Way.

[Biased] [Razz]

I wonder if he was laughing because he appreciates my exaggerated Swiftian satire or because he's a schmuck?

(Before I get hauled to Hell, I'm using satire again, Hosts. Beeswax is good in parts).

[Biased]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Just to clarify, because I have a tender conscience in these matters, the point I'm trying to make is a serious one. And the point is not to be too binary about these things.

I'm sure Beeswax appreciates the point I'm trying to make. And it's this ... that some of us Brits will react badly if he, or other Americans, suggest what he takes to be an 'inconvenient truth' that the Welfare State is partly to blame for the problems. A 'truth' he apparently sees as 'self evident' ('we hold these truths to be self-evident ...' [Biased] ).

All I'm trying to get him to see is that some of us Brits would equally feel that it is self-evident that the high incidence of gun ownership and the Second Amendment etc is, in some way, responsible for what we'd regard as the scandalously high number of gun deaths in the US every year. Of course, we would also accept that most of these are caused by criminals with illegal firearms and not by responsible gun-owning citizens and that there are conditions in the US - particularly in rural areas - that justify private gun ownership over there in a way that would not be appropriate here.

I'm not trying to do a trade here. You keep your guns if we can keep our Welfare State. No, all I'm trying to do is to get him to see that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If he's going to cite the Welfare State as a 'bad thing' then he shouldn't get too upset if we feel that US health provision is inadequate and unfair and that gun ownership is partly to blame for the apparent 'gun culture' that exists in parts of the US and which is responsible for many thousands of deaths every year - far more, in fact, than was the case over here during 30 years of civil disturbances and terrorism in Northern Ireland.

Perhaps this didn't need spelling out. But I felt it did and wanted to clarify things.

Thanks
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
<devil's advocate> So if claiming benefits provided as much money as your current job you would be a "welfare scrounger"? <devil's advocate>

Yes. Which is why it's a really bad idea for the country as a whole to have benefits paying the same (or more) as a job.
What you really mean is 'it's a bad idea to have wages lower than benefits.'
Same thing, opposite viewing angle.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Back to the original point about benefits causing unemployment causing crime. So far no-one has addressed those points, and no-one has come up with any actual evidence of this effect.

As I wortoe before, if it was true, you would expect increases in the real value of unemployment benefit to lead to increased unemployment, which doesn't seem to happen. And you would expect countries with higher unemplyment benefits to have faster-rising or slower-falling unemployment htna others. Which doesn't seem to happen.

Been thinking about it more. Even within a country or a state the real value of unemployment benefits are higher in low-wage areas, because prices tend top be lower. Now those are associated with high unemployment, for obvious reasons, that I suspect have nothing to do with welfare.

But at the moment youth unemplyment doesn't vary along with adult unemplyment. In Britain the highest unemplyment rates among 18-25 year olds are in London - the highest of all is in Lewisham where I live and Hackney and Haringey are both in the top ten. These are very much the areas where the recent troubles were worst.

But those are areas with easy access to high-paying jobs. Unemployment rates for older people are actually lower than average there, and wage rates are higher. Also prices are higher than in most of the country - prices for accomodation much higher. So the real value of benefits is lower than in other parts. Thirty years ago it was harder to live off benefits in Brighton than it was in Durham - I know, I did both. Nowadays, with the real value of welfare payments much lower, London would be even worse.

If unemployment benefits caused unemplyment you would expect that the effect would be smaller in Londn because the value of benefits is less, and the reward of working greater. And maybe that is true for older people - the ones on long-term sickness benefit for example. (I'm not saying is true but I can imagine the argument) But the opposite is the case for younger, single people. And they were the ones looting.

So whatever the reason for the massive youth unemployment in Inner London is, its clearly not excessive welfare payments.

QED I think.
 
Posted by Garden Hermit (# 109) on :
 
We always thought in Northern Ireland that the 'troubles' in the 1970s were down to overall unemployment in NI being around 10-15% (eg double the UK average) with youth unemployment even higher.

It was a case of people 'hanging around' with nothing to do that made them vulnerable to offers (eg Paramilitaries would pay young people to do 'raids' etc. Figures quoted of upto £500 have been mentioned.)

Maybe its the same in the recent riots. People hanging around with nothing to do and someone shouts 'everyone's looting the shops' and people just join in.

Pax et Bonum
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
People hanging around with nothing to do and someone shouts 'everyone's looting the shops' and people just join in.

Its pretty clear that that's exactly what happened in most of the incidents in London. The question is why this year and not every year, and why some places but not others?
 
Posted by irish_lord99 (# 16250) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
People hanging around with nothing to do and someone shouts 'everyone's looting the shops' and people just join in.

Its pretty clear that that's exactly what happened in most of the incidents in London. The question is why this year and not every year, and why some places but not others?
I wonder if (assuming the original assertion is true) it just takes a critical mass of people standing around with nothing to do? That would give credence to the 'rising unemployment' argument without necessarily saying that they rioted because they were upset about unemployment.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
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]
Chiming back in now that I'm (a) back at the keyboard so easier to type and (b) calmed down a bit - until I read Pasco's comment here: this reminds me of the usual whine I had from BMW-driving salesmen caught speeding when I was court duty solicitor: "Why can't the police be out catching Proper Criminals™ instead of persecuting innocent motorists like me?"....to which I would invariably respond: "There are more people killed on the roads each year by pillocks like you driving too fast than there are by so-called Proper Criminals™ like murderers. So you tell me who the Proper Criminals™ are?" [Mad]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
I wonder if (assuming the original assertion is true) it just takes a critical mass of people standing around with nothing to do?

If you mean literally standing around, as in the street, then I guess that is the case.

Look at the numbers. About 3,000 people suspected of serious crimes in London over 4-day period - perhaps 50-100 of them violence against people or arson, the rest theft of some sort. The Met estimated 30,000 involved in some way (which I guess includes those just standing around and watching who didn't in fact do anything except giggle and take photos on their mobiles).

The population of Greater London is perhaps 300 times that of Witney in Oxfordshire, the town at the centre of the consituency the Prime Minister represents in Parliament.

So if the inhabitants of Witney had been exactly as disposed to crime as those of London the week before last those numbers might work out at:

- maybe a quarter of a person intent on serious violence
- ten people willing to rob things from deserted shops with broken if they came across a crowd doing the same thing, and if there were no police around, and if no-one seemed to be defending their property.
- a hundred drunken farts standing around behaving like idiots

I've been in Witney (once) and in other small towns on a Saturday night around chucking out time. Those numbers seem quite plausible to me.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
<good news tangent>

Reeves furniture store reopens

</good news tangent>
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Sorry, have to come back on these points

quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Sorry but something has snapped inside me; the riots have become a tipping point

So Thatcher closing the mines, the shipyards and the steelworks wasn't a tipping point? Hundreds of MPs stealing taxpayers' money wasn't a tipping point? Bankers helping themselves to billions that weren't theirs wasn't a tipping point? Government being run by and for a powerful media concern wasn't a tipping point? .
Those are all tipping points towards liberalism/ the left, not away from it.
Which is exactly my point. Having encountered all those tipping points previously, you should be as left-wing as I am.
Er...no. Many many factors determine one's political outlook, such as upbringing: I am the product of several generations of small business owners (what in today's business-speak would be termed "Small to Medium Enterprises"). That background gave me a hearty dislike of both big business and socialism, neither of which give much of a toss about such SMEs (an impression, I have to say, reinforced by some of your posts here). So I'm coming I suspect from a rather different starting point from you.

quote:
(x-posted with Matt - I have family in South Norwood, who shop in Croydon and go to school there. Sorry and all, but a sense of perspective is necessary)
Shopping in Croydon is rather different from having a shop in Croydon (eg: my wife's uncles); the latter I would suggest would give you a rather different 'sense of perspective' on the riots.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not anti-SME nor anti shopkeepers, Matt Black.

But they're the class that gave us Thatcher ... [Razz]

Seriously, it's a sad fact that the 'shopocracy' tend to be those who are hit the hardest by instances of rioting and urban unrest. In Tonypandy in 1910 and in Llanelli and Tredegar in 1911, the rioters specifically targeted small businesses that belonged to JPs and other pillars of the community as, rightly or wrongly, they believed them to be on the side of the authorities or the people responsible for calling in the military - a bit of a circular argument, of course, as the military wouldn't have been called in unless there'd been serious looting and destruction in the first place.

I doubt if there was any such motivation in the recent riots, though. The family-run businesses that were trashed had done no harm to anyone.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:

And did I mention the benefit trap? Hats off to IDS facing up to this one and saying the basis of any benefits system is that work has to pay. Making work will be easier said than done, but it's an honest and principled approach.

Its not honest, its a lie to excuse cuts in benefits. Because its utterly irrelevant to the majority of the people rioting. There is no benefits trap for single young people with no children who live at home with their parents. They get very little in welfare benefits and they in effect get to keep every penny of whatever thy can earn. Especially in London where benefits are the same and wages much higher.


Maybe when homeless single mothers in Scunthorpe riot we can blame the "benefits trap". But WTF has it got to do with 15-year-old schoolkids in Hackney?
 
Posted by Persephone Hazard (# 4648) on :
 
Warning anecdata alert, your experience may vary, these are not statistics, etc.

quote:
Originally posted by ken:
In Britain the highest unemplyment rates among 18-25 year olds are in London - the highest of all is in Lewisham where I live.

I also live in Lewisham. And at 22 I fall squarely into the middle of that age group, and I am currently looking for a job. With my current state of health I don't know how realistic working full-time for minimum wage really is, but thanks to various circumstances - some of which are probably my fault and some of which probably aren't - I don't really have another option.

I tried to apply for Incapacity Benefit once, and after wading through a few forms found the bureaucracy so overwhelming that I failed to even finish the application process.

About a month and a half ago I tried to apply for Jobseeker's. I was rejected because I hadn't officially left university yet (I'm basically in the process of dropping out after two years) and advised that even once I had - which wouldn't be till October anyway because of the way it works - it would probably be another six months before I'd be accepted as I'd then count as "voluntarily unemployed". The whole experience also made me so furiously angry with the entire bullshit system and all its insufferable vileness that I almost felt better off out of it, or at least I would if I was less fucking broke.

I can't imagine there are many genuine benefit scroungers out there, and frankly if anyone's actually managed to pull it off then more power to them. They make it so impossibly difficult even for those who are eligible that I rather admire anyone who manages to get through their ten levels of bullshit well enough to con them.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Persephone Hazard:
They make it so impossibly difficult even for those who are eligible that I rather admire anyone who manages to get through their ten levels of bullshit well enough to con them.

I would suppose it's easier to put in the time and energy to claim benefits if you don't actually need to.
It's like the Wally Effect: it's much easier to sack Dilbert, who is trying to do his job, than to sack Wally who isn't, because Dilbert is putting his energy into doing his job while Wally has lots of energy left over to put into not getting sacked.
 
Posted by Persephone Hazard (# 4648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I would suppose it's easier to put in the time and energy to claim benefits if you don't actually need to.

Yeah, I suppose so. Certainly it was the very thing I was applying to Incapacity for that made it as overwhelming as it was.

They do that on purpose, though. There's no need, practically speaking, for the ten levels of soul-destroying bureaucracy; it's explicitly designed to put people off. Ostensibly I suppose so that only the "really serious" apply, but that's not the effect it has in practice.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
This reminds me of an article by Harriet Sergeant in the Sunday Times recently. The bit that made me unsure whether to laugh or cry was this:

"Seeing jobcentres and social services from the point of view of Mash, Lips and Bulldog [gang members she was studying] is an eye-opener. We wonder why these boys do not buy into our society. It is because their only experience of our civic institutions are places such as jobcentres whose complexity, indifference and incompetence would have made them at home in Stalin’s Russia.

After three days of trying to get Bulldog, Lips and Mash a job, of queuing, form-filling and getting nowhere, I finally exploded. The boys led me out. Lips said: “I told you this place fair gives you a headache. That why me and the others do the robbin’, innit. We don’t like coming here.”

Recently I met an official from the Department for Work and Pensions. How did it judge individual jobcentres, I asked. She looked puzzled. “Well, they are always very enthusiastic when we visit,” she said. I suggested she go with the boys. She looked pained. Finally she admitted the department had no idea which jobcentres actually found jobs or how many. It did not even have an internal league table."

No-one who has not applied for benefits should presume to say that they are an easier life than working. Even more stupid, the worst bit is getting into benefits at the start, so there is no incentive at all to take a temporary job then return to benefits. You will almost certainly lose money, be kept waiting for your money for weeks, get into arrears with your rent and your council tax, and generally be made to wish you had stayed on benefits throughout.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:

Finally she admitted the department had no idea which jobcentres actually found jobs or how many. It did not even have an internal league table."

Why am I not surprised?

Even thirty-odd years ago when I last signed on, and they were better run than they later became (though jobs were even harder to get than now) I never really thought they were abut getting peopel into jobs.

If I remember correctly it seemed to me that the actual main functions the system served were, in about this order:

1) defusing rebellion and riot by providing a minimal income to those who don't work. I became convinced of this one during the summer of 1982 when they dropped the requirement to sign on weekly and started mailing giros to us from the DVLC in Swansea.

2) visibily humiliating the unemployed as an Awful Warning to those with jobs in order to persuade them to toe the line. The Reserve Army of Unemployed has to be visible for the effect to work.

3) a cheap way of recruiting people into the various make-work schemes or so-called training courses that abounded at the time - and were designed not so much to get people into permanent emplyment, as to make the unemplyment figures look good, and divert public money away from the unemployed themselves and into the pockets of the so-called "entrepreneurs" who ran the little schemes.

These three aims are not entirely compatible of course. But on the general principle that people aren't stupid, so if they spend a lot of time and money organising a system that does something then they probably wanted to do it, I reckon all of those aims were more important to them than helping the unemployed into productive work.

Things are not yet as bad as they were in 1981/82, or for a few years afterwards, and I hope that they won't get as bad, but the present governments anti-growth, anti-employment strategy doesn't give me any confidence in that.
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
Evening Moth,

Jobcentres know exactly how many people they each get into work. Google Job outcome target and find details on the Jobcentre Plus website.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
Evening Moth,

Jobcentres know exactly how many people they each get into work. Google Job outcome target and find details on the Jobcentre Plus website.

Moth was interested in the jobs found by individual job centres. I've found the site and only national data appears available for 2010-2011 (although regional and district data is available before then). The granularity of data, which would expose relative effectiveness of Jobcentres is now lost (or at any rate, not available to the public - anyone for an FoI request?)

If you know different, could you provide links?

btw, Excel is a fine way to make data available for use and analysis, but a lousy one to present data to the public, ministers or managers for that matter - believe me, I've been told!
 
Posted by Ramarius (# 16551) on :
 
....district data is an aggregate of individual job centre data.... JC+ knows exactly how each job centre is performing, although comparisons between centres can't be done on a simplistic basis of numbers in/numbers out since factors in the local job Market will effect how easy or otherwise it is to enable people to find jobs....
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
....district data is an aggregate of individual job centre data.... JC+ knows exactly how each job centre is performing, although comparisons between centres can't be done on a simplistic basis of numbers in/numbers out since factors in the local job Market will effect how easy or otherwise it is to enable people to find jobs....

That may well be true, but it's interesting that if it is, the minister in charge did not know that. It does suggest that no-one really expects them to find jobs, but more to keep people off benefits. Neither my son (21) or my sister (49) have found the job centres (two different ones 130 miles apart) any help at all in actually getting work, though both have good qualifications and my sister has lots of experience as well. Now that she is not on benefits, as her husband works, the job centre have no interest in her at all, though she's desperate to find a job.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Surely it's a bit unfair to rank individual Jobcentres against each other, when the ability of Jobcentres to find people employment is ultimately limited by the number of jobs available in a given area? Sure, they can match people to vacancies, but they can't create jobs ex nihilo.

[Sorry, just seen Ramarius made the same point.]

[ 02. September 2011, 17:48: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Surely it's a bit unfair to rank individual Jobcentres against each other, when the ability of Jobcentres to find people employment is ultimately limited by the number of jobs available in a given area?

Maybe, but one travel-to-work area will have multiple jobcentres. In London, dozens of them - maybe even hundreds.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
True.

FWIW, from my experience of signing on, I'd say your earlier comments are spot on.

The practice of signing on every fortnight serves no purpose other than mild humiliation. It exists to tell the unemployed that "you are dependent on us, and you must do as we say". The actual contact time with an "advisor" is far too short for them to impart any actual advice - even if they knew anything about the myriad different occupations people might practise. (A friend of mine was very offended when his advisor didn't know what an auditor was.)

It doesn't even cut fraud, because if you say you've been applying for lots of jobs and been interviewed for a few, there's no way they can check up on it.

I think the actual front-line advisors know how shit the system is and try to mitigate it by being all friendly and happy and positive. If you come from the right postcode area, that is.

(The aforementioned friend and I used to sign on at the same Jobcentre, but I came from a nice area while he was from an estate so violent it was nicknamed Beirut. They ask you your postcode as a security question and he reckoned his treatment afterwards was much worse than mine.)

ETA: there's also a plethora of worthy-sounding parasitic enterprises whose role is to get people back into work. As it's the Government that pays them, rather than the unemployed, all their effort goes into satisfying the Government that they're a worthy recipient of grants, rather than into actually helping people.

Yes, I am slightly bitter ...

[ 02. September 2011, 19:28: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by Eigon (# 4917) on :
 
Bitter, but realistic, Ricardus.
One of the things that really annoyed me about A4E was the fact that, when I was a tax payer, I was paying for that bunch of useless idiots. Thirteen weeks of turning up every day to basically sit around in a room pretending to apply for jobs that I realistically would never get (I used to take my knitting), combined with my "work experience" actually working in their own office, and hearing the despair of their employees who were jumping ship as fast as they could manage it, was both infuriating and deeply depressing.
In the end, the job I got had nothing whatever to do with their feeble efforts, and everything to do with my own networking and good reputation in my local area.
 


© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0