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Why do the Brits love a good riot? #LondonRiots #UKRiots

By Dark Politricks

Updated – 12:30AM 9th Aug 2011

If you haven’t heard by now over the weekend Tottenham in London suffered some major riots after a suspected drug dealer was shot dead by the Police.

Claims that the man had put his gun down first and that the shot he supposedly fired first at police was in fact a police issued bullet has inflamed the situation even more and led to suspicions that the MET were once again trigger happy when it came to shooting a black man.

A peaceful protest on Saturday demanding justice for Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, quickly turned into a full scale riot in which Police were stabbed and attacked with petrol bombs, stones and whatever else the youth could find to throw at the “thin blue line”.

However what started as just an excuse to bash some cops soon turned into a full on pillage of the local shops and the local high street literally had it’s guts ripped out of it as shops were broken into, expensive goods stolen and then buildings set on fire. The place now looks like a war zone and the local residents are those who have suffered the most.

The violence seems to be spreading across London like a plague and reports of carnage have come wide and far from Tottenham to Lewisham, Brixton to Peckham, Clapham to Croydon and now we  even have reports of violence in Birmingham and Bromley which aren’t exactly within the M25.

It seems the ringleaders of the gangs are contacting each other using blackberries and special encrypted applications that are a lot harder to trace (although not impossible) than the usual MSN or Twitter messages. BlackBerry’s BBM system is known to be the preferred means of communication among many younger people including organisers of fights between rival football fans and it seems modern technology has become a useful tool amongst those out to cause havoc to let each other know the positions of police lines, unprotected shops and Google Streetmap is always going to help the young rioter on a mountain bike looking for the perfect escape route.

Recent updates say at least 26 police officers have been injured and 215 people have been arrested so far and I expect this number to rise in the coming days as London is the most heavily CCTV covered city in the world and it’s possible for the MET to trace any potential rioters movements from the moment they walked out their front door to each window they smashed in and back again just from CCTV cameras, phone signal triangulation, Facebook geo-tagging and all the other surveillance methods available nowadays.

However leaving the spreading carnage aside what I want to concentrate on is why it is when compared to other nations we Brits seem to go so overboard when we lose control of our senses and engage in massive social unrest.

From the Gin Riots during the 18th century to the weekly pre match, post match and even during the match rumbles that our football fans engaged in every Saturday during the 70’s and 80’s that made some hooligans so famous they even wrote successful autobiographies and had films created after their antics our working class have never been shy when it comes to fighting.

They may not have a good reason or even a cause more noble than cheap alcohol or a sports team but when the urge to stick two fingers up to the old bill gets too much to control and critical mass is reached they have always been a force to be reckoned with.

It’s just a shame that our society is so screwed up that it’s prepared to leave large swatches of the countries working class on sink estates with little education, no jobs and no hope and then expect them to be quiet little consumers eeking their £100 a fortnight jobseekers allowance out on food, electricity, bills and all the rest with nothing to pass the time but brain rotting daytime TV and cheap beer or drugs.

When your life is as boring and as hopeless as most people’s worst nightmares an excuse to go on the rampage under misguided pretences of “standing up to the man” is often too good an opportunity to pass up. The shame is that the people they hurt during their rampages are often their neighbours, friends and family.

No Rothschild or Rockefeller laundrettes and Mini Marts are being burnt to the ground or ransacked and when the excitement all calms down and they go to buy their next can of Special Brew or pack of red King-skins they are going to have to travel twice as far as usual to find a shop still open, functional and willing to serve them.

It seems the British have a propensity for going over the top when it comes to perceived slights or accusations of police brutality. Yes I have seen marches in the States after black men have  been shot 30+ times and who can forget the Rodney King riots that turned LA into a war zone for the best part of a week. Well if you can imagine that kind of ferocity but without the quantity of guns (on both sides) then this is what you get quite regularly over here in the UK and the rest of Europe.

This year we have already had massive riots in Greece over their Euro bailout and the Spanish, Irish and Portuguese have already taken to the streets over similar threats of the IMF pillaging their state assets in return for high interest debts that will do nothing to solve their underlying economic problems but will prolong their agony and lead to huge unemployment, low growth and the cheap sell off of any national assets.

Earlier this year we had the Student University fee riots in London and across the UK and not long back we had the London G20 protests in which the police were criticised for their heavy handed tactics.



Joyriding in Blackbird Leys In the early 90’s during our last major recession we had the famous “Poll Tax Riot” as well as all the “joyriding” riots on council estates across the UK.

A combination of a very hot summer, a media moral panic revolving around 10 year old’s below the age of criminal responsibility with criminal records longer than most 60’s London Gangsters who were given affection names by the Daily Mail such as  “Rat Boy” all helped to cause the perfect conditions for a summer of rage.

Estate after estate went up in flames as TWOKERS as they were labelled by the press would steal Sierra Cosworths and hand brake turn around estates from Oxford to Tyneside whilst the Police chased feebly in their Panda cars or stood by and absorbed the numerous bricks and bottles full of petrol that were thrown at them.

Even my local town had a mini riot caused when the Police shut down a local estate that was a famous centre of drug dealing in my country in which people literally drove hundreds of miles from the south coast to score the best gear around. At one point during the recession of the early 90’s  it seemed that every council estate in the UK was rampaging it’s way through the pages of the Daily Mail and if your estate hadn’t erupted yet then it wasn’t far off from breaking point.

Going back a bit further to the early 80’s we had the race riots of Toxteth and Brixton which revolved around the much hatedSus Laws” which were being used by the Police to indiscriminately stop and search black youths for no reason at all.

At the time the UK Police were (and probably still are) institutionally racist (see the Macpherson Report) and the Sus Laws basically allowed two police officers on patrol to corroborate each others evidence in court that the person was “acting suspiciously” and that was all they needed for a stop and search and possibly an arrest if the person didn’t show the “right” attitude towards the officers.

 Brixton riots, London, July 1981. Photograph: Peter Murphy

It seems to me no co-incidence that major riots in our country co-inside with times of economic strife and I can only see the situation getting worse as the poorest people in our country are squeezed the most to pay off the debts caused by those rich banksters that were literally handed billions of pounds worth of our cash and told to carry on robbing.

Apparently borrowing money from mine and your pension fund to place future bets on the price of food or oil in a year or two’s time isn’t actually theft it’s an ingenious form of economics that was supposed to ensure little or no risk and was deemed by multiple Chancellors of the Exchequer as economic wizardry that had solved Boom and Bust once and for all.

I forget how that “no risk” betting worked out for them but if the current stock market free-fall, bond downgrading and endless printing of fiat currency is anything to go by then it doesn’t look too good for the Western world in generak. Yet instead of asking these banksters to pay their fair share we are instead cutting housing benefit for the poor, raising taxes for the middle class and doing nothing to stop the never ending rise in inflation that is supposedly the Bank of England’s primary role yet it’s ignoring it to keep interest rates at their lowest rate ever in the hope of stimulating the housing market and re-inflating the last bubble that got us into this mess.

No – instead of making the rich pay their fair share they are asking the bottom end of society to share more of a burden than the rest. The people currently rioting are those that live in the skyscraper like tower blocks with broken lifts, needles on the stairwells and crack dens on every floor. They are the people who lose out to the Eastern Europeans when it comes to obtaining unskilled jobs that are often off the books, have no health and safety rules and pay slightly less than the minimum wage if your lucky.

If the BNP wasn’t a racist “White is right” party then these people would be flocking to vote for them. These are not first or second generation immigrants who speak another language and worship other God’s they are Black English working class who are no different from most White working class, sharing the same urban ghetto London culture, speaking the same London ting slang and suffer similar issues surrounding poor education, health, housing, benefits and employment as you and I.

Whilst rioting and pillaging like Vikings has no excuse it does have a causal link to social deprivation and is just another reason why the “I’m all right Jack” attitude of some who want to abolish the state and let everyone fend for themselves is not going to work unless all the rich build huge walled castles to keep all the “undesirable poor” away from their BMW’s and 50″ flat screen TV’s.

Our inner cities are tinder boxes at the best of times but add in high unemployment, perceived Police brutality and a lack of social mobility and you have a potent mixture that leads to the loss of hope and the rise of gang culture. As we have just seen this weekend it only takes one action by the Police to set it all off and as history shows we Brits seem to love a good riot.

Let’s not give people itching for an excuse to cause havoc another one. As history shows a large number of people will jump at the chance to smash their own home up if it gives them a break from the monotony of life on the dole, a sense of power and a quick rush of excitement. Whether they regret their actions in the cool light of morning is another matter altogether.

Toxteth Riots: The remains of a barricade on Upper Parliament Street

Follow news on the London and UK Riots by using these Twitter HashTags:

#LondonRiots, #UKRiots, #MarkDuggan, #Riots, #Police, #Brixton, #Tottenham


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