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Panic on the streets of London

Submitted by on August 9, 2011 – 3:00 pm10 Comments

By Chris Taylor

If I hear or read one more bell-end claim that the disturbance in London isn’t political but just about nicking and greed, I’m going to kick their windows in and nick their flat screen and all their shoes.

I have a vested interest in this. The Greggs that went up in Peckham? That’s my Greggs. That’s where I get my ham, cheese and pickle bloomers and sausage and bean melts from. It’s a ten minute walk from my door. The bus that got set on fire is the bus I take home from work.

When the violence spread to East Dulwich you would have been able to hear the smashing of glass and the bleeping of Blackberries from my front room.

Luckily for me I’m not there. I left London last Friday for a break back up North with the family, leaving the cat to push the dresser up behind the front door on her own. Watching the news is a doubly surreal event for me, because I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to go home to a burnt out shell of a flat, or just general post-apocalyptic savagery. But this is the Peckham border-lands remember. Post-apocalyptic savagery is the norm.

But of course this is more than kids just nicking. It isn’t about greed. Just because an act doesn’t have political aims, doesn’t mean this act isn’t politically motivated.

The long term marginalisation of the British youth has led them to feel oppressed, ignored, and hopeless. And if you make a section of society feel like ostracised outsiders, they’re eventually going to act like it. No respect for their community and their city? Well when have the community and the city ever showed them any respect?

Don’t believe me? Well look at how these rioters have been described. Some wanker from the Telegraph referred to them as an underclass. Feral has become the adjective of choice to describe the teenagers of London.

Many are seriously, without irony, calling for the deployment of the army on the capital’s streets. The continued and aggressive dehumanisation of the youth that kicked all this mither off continues unabated.

What you’re seeing in London, and Birmingham, and Liverpool is a mass outpouring of directionless anger. Anger at the institutionalised racism of the Metropolitan Police (Black youths are six times as likely to be stop and searched than whites, Asian youths twice as likely) and at the lack of opportunities available to them.

As Ken Livingstone (funny how the former mayor managed to be in the city, and the present, floppy haired, ex-Bullingdon club cunt of an incumbent didn’t) said, this is the first time the younger generation have fewer opportunities than their parents.

I’d never defend the arson, and the lootings, and beatings, and destruction of property and livelihoods. But I’d also never seek to condemn the perpetrators without at least trying to get a sense of what has caused their dissatisfaction. One rioter, shortly after the media dropped the term protestor, was asked whether he thought rioting was the best way to express his discontent.

“Yes.” The lad replied. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you? Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

The government’s response to the trouble has been worse than pathetic. Cameron sunned himself in Tuscany for three days before even thinking of coming home. Boris Johnson has mercifully remained absent so as not to make things worse by dicking about looking and acting like a twat. No government representative could be found to comment on Newsnight. Just who the fuck is meant to be running this country?

But sadly I fear this won’t lead to the downfall of the government, but instead enable them to sneak in draconian and even more right-wing laws to control and kerb meaningful protest. A rightward swing of public opinion, egged on by the Daily Mail and the rest of the gutter press, will see to it that if anything the Tories will strengthen their position.

Already the odious Nick Griffin is using the riots as a way of furthering his disgusting political party, fingering ethnic minorities as the trouble makers. Meanwhile in Dalston members of London’s Turkish and Kurdish community lined the streets to protect their homes and businesses and to chase off any potential rioters.

Similar was happening in largely Asian areas. While the police struggled to maintain order across South London, elsewhere normal, working class people were pulling together to protect each other. As a philosophy it’ll never catch on.

Whether or not this trouble will spread to the streets of Manchester remains to be seen. There are rumours flying about that it has started already as I write this, but the news of two burning cars in Salford sounds more like business as usual than man the barricades.

I could, if I was being trite and trying to forge a neat ending with a microcosm of this story, link all this in to FC United and our role in Moston and beyond, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Instead I’ll just quote Martin Luther King Jr., who once said that a riot is the language of the unheard. Well they’ve been heard now, but is any fucker listening?

10 Comments »

  • Daviddimbleby says:

    I agree marginally with your post. I don’t believe the rioters had any other motive than getting a little bit richer, but there is definitely a link between modern politics and yesterdays riots.

    However, watching newsnight with Ken Livingstone the other night didn’t fill me full of that righteous energy you seem to possess. He was a disgrace to say the least. Every answer he gave had a sickening political end-game. There was no real solution given on how to tackle the problem, he just sat there in his chair lucking smug thinking “This wouldn’t have happened in my time as Mayor.”

    Some of the pictures and video’s i’ve seen this morning are beyond shocking. There is no excuse for what has happened and I think at the moment the majority of the country have the right to be angry. I’m angry. Not just because my street in South London last night was affected, but because I felt powerless to stop anything. Powerlessness can breed fear, thus breeding more right-wing laws that non of us need.

    Theresa May looked completely out of her depth last night. But what if the violence spirals more and more out of control? London was like a war-zone last night, surely the Army would be the only solution to the lawlessness. I say without Irony, because you can say thats going to far, but thats exactly whats happening. It is going to far.

    I want to feel safe in my city.

    I am a bit disappointed by this post as it doesn’t really offer any solutions. It seems to me your using the recent spate of violence and rioting as a weapon to attack the right-wing government.

    I’m a lefty but we need to pull together.

    • Talkative says:

      “we need to pull together”

      who do you mean by “we”?

      • Daviddimbleby says:

        Everyone,

        Yesterday was a fantastic sight. Thousands of people took to the streets and cleaned up the mess left from the night before. Shopkeepers, local residents, college students and passers-by just stopped to help. Clapham was a great sight and so was Hackney.

        Thats probably the best response after a night like that. The community coming together, showing how how much good there still is. Not letting the the chaos from the night before ruin their lives.

        However, saying that, many shops/pubs were closed early last night incase of another night of rioting. Think the worse is over..

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  • midjmo says:

    A Lung operative is reporting that the EDL have just stormed a mosque in Whitechapel and set it on fire. Now that is ‘opportunistic’…

    More when we get it…

  • Kdog says:

    “No respect for their community and their city? Well when have the community and the city ever showed them any respect?”

    Respect is earned. Not automatic. Sit on your arse all day playing your xBox and you don’t get respect. Contribute to society and you get respect.

    “Some wanker from the Telegraph referred to them as an underclass.”

    That’s because they can’t be called “working class” because they wouldn’t know work if it pulled down their Kappa trackie bottoms and bit them on the front-wiped arse.

    “Many are seriously, without irony, calling for the deployment of the army on the capital’s streets.”

    The chavs don’t fear the police (plastic shields are only so threatening) so we need to turn up the heat. Let’s see how brave they are staring down the business end of an SA80.

    “Anger at the institutionalised racism of the Metropolitan Police”

    Most of the chavs/rioters I saw in Manchester last night were white. I doubt they’d know what “institutionalised racism” or the Metropolitan Police were. They are just thieves who saw an opportunity.

    Don’t glorify cowardly thieves as being latter day Robin Hoods who are conspired against by the villainous establishment. Society gives everyone an even chance. Some have to overcome certain stereotypes from time to time to be sure, but the people I saw were all white male able bodied young men. Not an oppressed minority of disabled black Polish one legged asylum seeking lesbians.

  • midjmo says:

    Kdog

    Funny as your comments are, and you do have a talent for comedy, your whole argument is flawed and no more so is this true than the line: “Society gives everyone an even chance”.

    If that were true, the rioting of the past week would not have happened. Therein lies the problem and the solution is to address a new way of running a society that is not based on individualistic greed and one-upmanship.

    Sending in the army is a hilarious idea, given that many of those x-boxing young scals you mention are currently on the frontline representing ‘you’ in another person’s country as we speak.

  • Kdog says:

    They weren’t rioting because they didn’t have jobs, didn’t have money, didn’t have food and didn’t have futures.

    They were rioting because they are spoiled brats who think they can get away with anything.

    Why work for something when you can take it from someone else who has worked for it.

    Our society is not based on greed and one-upmanship, it’s based on everyone contributing.

    Somebody delivers the mail, somebody empties the bins, somebody tarmacs the roads, somebody teaches the children, and out of our wages we all contribute towards shared services.

    But these scrotes contribute nothing. They have no skills because they have earned no skills. They don’t contribute, they only take.

    They throw rocks at policemen and firemen, but if one of them got hit by a rock, you can bet your life they wouldn’t opt out of being treated by the NHS that the rest of us have paid for.

    I don’t support our armies being in other countries. If a bunch of camel jockeys want to blow each other up, I’d leave them to it.

  • blackleg says:

    Fair enough, individual responsibility.

    Do you hold all them soldiers to the same principle? You know, the grown white men who get a decent wage who are fighting illegal wars, murdering innocent people because they were told to do it?

    Should they not be had up for war crimes? Or just the politicians who sent them?

    They’re out there killing and destroying other people’s towns and cities, homes and shops, murdering women and children, brothers, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, unborn children, and yes, probably even wrecking shopkeepers’ livelihoods. they get paid for it though, so it’s alright.

    what are they contributing to by doing that? not anything that benefits you and me, just the already super rich.

    i’m like you, i get all proud when i see on the news ordinary people taking a stand against these thugs. i believe they got about 30 of the fuckers the other day.

  • Seth says:

    Hey, I completely agree with everything your saying, i’ve been arguing this for the past week and you have summed up everything i’ve been trying to say.

    Yet again, great word of wisdom!

    Hopefully see you next Saturday :-)

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