Monday, August 08, 2011


I Fear This Could Be Just the Start of It

'The riot was a symptom of there being something really wrong with our society. We smashed our own community up, we destroyed our own homes. There had to be something wrong.'

Comment from one Leroy Cooper. A Tottenham rioter? No, he was involved in the 1981 Toxteth riots which moved Michael Heseltine to submit that paper to the Cabinet suggesting special funds to develop inner city Liverpool.

Writing today's Guardian Dave Hill reckons similar explosions could easily happen in a dozen other London boroughs. High youth unemployment, particularly within ethnic minorities, declining youth services and a dearth of new vacancies characterise many areas of the capital, and for that matter, other big cities like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

Given this 'tinderbox' quality it does not need much, as we saw back in the early 1980s for it all to kick off. It seems groups of disaffected youth are just a twitter message away from filling up their milk bottles with petrol, grabbing a baseball bat and a supermarket trolley and heading off to the latest trouble spot to harass the police and loot a few shops. And the recent cuts by the Coalition government are only just beginning to bite; when they do I fear we can expect nights like those over the weekend to become commonplace.

I read two blogs today about the riots. One was Jody McIntyre's in the Independent - inciting rioters to 'beat the feds'. He has since been booted off the paper. The other was Dave Hill "Five Things I Believe" - which was not much better. Actually some of the five things he 'believes' turn out to be rhetorical questions. His 'analysis' dosn't seem much better.
Here's the McIntyre piece -
It will all work out well for the police though. A cynic might just think that the police didn't do much to nip this in the bud in order to avoid further cuts and protect their pensions......
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