Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Britain's underclass lashes out
BRITAIN'S riots show what happens when we underestimate the underclass. Or when we even more stupidly import one. Three days of arson, looting and violence started, not surprisingly, in Tottenham, coyly described as "very diverse". That means it has a large population of people of African and Caribbean descent, and is poor, crime-riddled and sullen.
This time the flashpoint was the shooting by police of Mark Duggan, which led family, friends and locals to protest outside a police station.
There they were joined by yobs summoned by SMS and Twitter, the technology of the mob.
Duggan actually best symbolised fault lines which have yawed open in Britain. He was black, although barely a single report dared say so, so irresponsibly timid has been the reporting.
He had three children with his girlfriend and another with someone else. Thus does the underclass ape the destructive freedoms too lightly flaunted by the more monied.
And he'd the adopted the culture that makes a rabble puffed with pride. He was a crook with a gun, a nightclubber who gave a finger to the camera. He was trash, blinged as success.
Yet to the mob at the police station he was a martyr, allegedly "executed" by a police force seen as an invading army, yet only too eager to apologise for its largely invented "racism".
And it was on. Over the next three days, the riots spread over London, and on to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. And they spread to tribes of every colour, as ferals celebrated the freedom to dominate and to steal.
One video I've seen shows a black man gently helping a badly bleeding Asian to his feet, so a white thug could zip open his backpack and steal everything in it.
Animals. Just animals in a mad pack.
We're now told that this is not a "race riot" like all those others Britain has suffered. Yet race may indeed be a factor, not least for adding to the bonfire -- and for helping to make the born-right-there trash feel even more unmoored in their own country
Large-scale immigration, much of it of people who'd struggle to fit in, has given Britain even more of the poor and marginalised, with no ownership of their new home and its institutions. Are you surprised that most gun violence in London comes from its black minority?
The multiculturalists long reassured Britain, as they have Australia, that with each generation such fault lines would blur, as if culture didn't repeat itself.
But most of these rioters seem young enough to have been born there, just as were the university-educated Islamists behind the 2005 London bombings.
Yes, the many white rioters prove race alone cannot explain this frenzy. Britain has a white underclass, too, and one dangerously loosened from the soft ties of tradition, religion and class.
How it's been made overmighty in this aggressively egalitarian age by being taught to take pride in the feral, to honour hate in its music, to plead the victim to the welfare officer, to not fear the police, and to owe no duty to the families they form, then forget.
And see how they can be reduced to yet another contending ethnic class, fighting newly introduced ones for scarce jobs and government patronage.
Then comes the multicultural lobby, stupidly trashing their own culture and traditions, not realising there's little else to inspire the loyalty of the mob.
Do I sound too pessimistic? Then look at London burning and ask from where came the people to light those fires and to rob even the maimed by their light.
Naming the real context of the riots in Britain
What we have on the streets of London and elsewhere are welfare-state mobs. The youth who are shattering their own communities represent a generation that has been suckled by the state more than any generation before it. They live in urban territories where the sharp-elbowed intrusion of the welfare state during the past 30 years has pushed aside older ideals of self-reliance and community spirit. The march of the welfare state into every aspect of urban, less well-off people's existences, from their financial wellbeing to their child-rearing habits and even into their emotional lives, with the rise of therapeutic welfarism designed to ensure that the poor remain "mentally fit", has undermined individual resourcefulness and social bonding. The antisocial youthful rioters are the end-product of this antisocial system of state intervention.
The most striking thing about the rioters is how little they care for their own communities. You don't have to be a right-winger with helmet hair and a niggling discomfort with black or chavvy yoof (I am the opposite of that) to recognise that this violence is not political, just criminal. It is entertaining to watch the political contortions of commentators who claim the riots are an uprising against the evils of capitalism, as they struggle to explain why the targets have been Foot Locker sports shops and why the only "gains" made by the rioters have been to get a new pair of trainers or an Apple laptop. In the Brixton race riots of 1981, looting and the destruction of local infrastructure were largely incidental to the broader expression of political anger, by-products of the main show, which was a clash between a community and the forces of the state. But in these riots, looting and smashing stuff up is all there is. It is childish nihilism.
Many older members of the urban communities rocked by violence have been shocked by the level of self-destruction exhibited by the rioters. Some shop owners have got together to defend their property, even beating up rioters who have turned up with iron bars. In one video, a West Indian woman in her 50s braves the rubble-strewn streets to lecture the rioters: "These people worked hard to make their businesses work and then you lot wanna go and burn it up. For what?" On Twitter, the hashtag #riotcleanup is being used by community members to co-ordinate some post-riot street-cleaning, to make amends for what one elderly Tottenham resident described as "the stupid behaviour of the young".
But it is more than childish destructiveness motivating the rioters. These are youngsters who are uniquely alienated from the communities in which they grew up. Nurtured in large part by the welfare state, financially, physically and educationally, socialised more by the agents of welfarism than by their own neighbours or local representatives, these youth have little moral or emotional attachment to their communities. Their rioting reveals not that Britain is in a time warp in 1981 or 1985 with politically motivated riots against the police, but that the tentacle-like spread of the welfare state into every area of people's lives has utterly zapped old social bonds, the relationship of sharing and solidarity that once existed in working-class communities. These riots suggest that the welfare state is giving rise to a generation happy to shit on its own doorstep.
This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one's own community. And as a left-winger I refuse to celebrate nihilistic behaviour that has a profoundly adverse affect on working people's lives. Far from being an instance of working-class action, this welfare-state mob has more in common with what Marx described as the lumpenproletariat. Indeed, it is worth remembering Marx's colourful description in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon of how that French ruler cynically built his power base among parts of the bourgeoisie and sections of the lumpenproletariat, so that "ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars and from this kindred element Boneparte formed the core of his [constituency], where all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the expense of the labouring nation". In very different circumstances, we have something similar today where the decadent commentariat's siding with lumpen rioters represents a weird coming together of sections of the bourgeoisie with sections of the underworked and the over-flattered, as the rest of us, "the labouring nation", look on with disdain.
There is one more important part to this rioting story: the reaction of the cops. Their inability to handle the riots effectively reveals the extent to which the British police are adapted to consensual rather than conflictual policing. It also demonstrates how far they have been paralysed by the politics of victimhood, where virtually every police activity gets followed up by a complaint or a legal case. Their kid-glove approach to the rioters only fuels the riots because, as one observer put it, when the rioters "see that the police cannot control the situation, [that] leads to sort of adrenalin-fuelled euphoria". So this street violence was largely ignited by the excesses of the welfare state and intensified by the discombobulation of the police state. The riots tell a very interesting story about modern Britain.
Rudderless Met crippled by liberalism
While London was ablaze and looters raged through the streets with impunity, Sir Paul Stephenson – the police officer best equipped to deal with this carnage – was sitting at home, his vast experience going unforgivably to waste.
Caught in the grip of the political class’s lust for media blood, former Commissioner Sir Paul – acknowledged by all in the police service as a ‘good copper’ with an iron will – was driven from office over a link to the phone-hacking scandal.
He had employed an ex-News of the World executive – which, in sane times, would have earned him nothing more than a modest carpeting.
Many Londoners would have wanted Sir Paul Stephenson at his desk during the riots
He also accepted free hospitality at a luxury health spa that also employed the said executive, Neil Wallis – but it must be noted that this was while recovering from surgery to remove a pre-cancerous tumour.
Ask residents of Croydon, Enfield, Tottenham and Lewisham if they would rather have had Sir Paul at his desk during the mayhem of this week, and it’s not hard to guess the answer.
Undoubtedly, the Met this week got its tactics shockingly wrong, from its ineffective handling of the initial Tottenham riot last week, to standing off while the fires burned on Monday.
For all his good intentions, the less experienced acting commissioner, Tim Godwin, cannot have the authority of Sir Paul, who showed his mettle after his officers blundered over the handling of last year’s student riots.
In the wake of those disturbances, Sir Paul ordered a full review of tactics, which led to police being far more aggressive, using snatch squads to drag troublemakers from crowds of protesters at subsequent demonstrations.
In April this year, he returned early from sick leave – after the operation to remove the pre-cancerous growth – to mastermind security for the royal wedding.
Anarchists had been threatening to wreck the event but, due to tough police tactics – including pre-emptive arrests of known troublemakers – the day was entirely peaceful. It was considered a huge policing success.
Contrast it with this week, when officers sent on to the front line were wondering how much force they could deploy to protect property, not to mention life and limb. They know that the stopgap Mr Godwin will not be in charge to cover their backs if recriminations over their actions, or inactions, begin to fly in the coming months.
To make matters worse, the same officers are burdened by decades of political correctness, which began with the Scarman inquiry into the race riots of the early 1980s, and culminated with the Macpherson report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The appalling handling of the heinous murder of Stephen was born out of incompetence, yet the Macpherson inquiry branded the police ‘institutionally racist’ – and they have been doing their jobs with their hands tied behind their backs ever since, especially in situations like this week’s riots where large numbers of the protagonists are black teenagers.
Use stop and search to check for weapons or drugs and they are accused of racism. Use strong force against rent-a-mob rioters – whose own actions are not subject to the same levels of scrutiny by a Left-wing establishment determined to undermine the police – and they will be hammered for alleged brutality.
Meanwhile, the controversy over the G20 riots of two years ago – during which newspaper-seller Ian Tomlinson died after being struck by a policeman – and the use of the tactic of ‘kettling’, where protesters are confined to a small space, has left the police terrified over what level of force to use, if any.
Thus, while undoubtedly courageous, this week they felt forced to stand behind riot shields while teenage thugs in hooded tops bombarded them with missiles, set fire to family businesses, smashed through store windows and burned down homes.
A final disturbing thought is that the other senior officer forced out over hacking, John Yates, was in charge of counter-terrorism operations. He was highly rated by security officials, who considered him first-class at his job – keeping this country safe from terrorist attack. We can only pray that he will not be as badly missed as Sir Paul has been in recent days.
Sikhs show the importance of a sense of community
Armed with swords and hockey sticks, Sikhs defend their homes and temples against rioters
Some armed with swords, some carrying hockey sticks, defiant Sikhs stood guard outside their temples last night. More then 700 men, some in their 80s, took to the streets to protect the homes, businesses and places of worship in Southall, West London.
The locals rallied to keep the rioters at bay following reports of a planned attack on the area. It is just a few miles from Ealing, which was targeted on Monday night. Each of the Sikh temples was guarded by around 200 men.
Amarjit Singh Klair from nearby Hounslow, who helped rally the men, said: ‘We are working along side the police, they’re doing what they can but they are stretched. ‘Why shouldn’t we defend our homes, businesses and places of worship? This is our area. There’s lots of talk about it kicking off here. But we’re ready for them.’
Hooded youths could be seen scouting the area but appear to be have frightened off. Only a handful of police could be seen patrolling the area.
The Sikh community were running a military style operation to protect themselves after almost 100 rioters tried to attack the heart of the area early on Tuesday. With few police around, elders at London’s largest Sikh temple in Havelock Road resorted to telephoning male worshippers for help.
Last night groups of Sikh men stood guard at different parts of the town, keeping in touch via their mobiles.
One man in his 20s said: ‘They caught us off guard last night but we still managed to get people together to protect the area. We saw them putting on their balaclavas preparing to jump out of three cars but we charged at them and managed to chase them off.’
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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