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Disgruntled yoofs and how to deal with them

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'yorz
837272.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:33 pm Reply with quote

To my horror and shame I find I'm turning into a right rightwing old bat. The images of youngsters creating havoc, burning down buildings, endangering peoples' homes and livelihoods, all for the sake of fun and excitement, make me sick. The police can't/doesn't do very much. The fire engines can't get to places quickly because they're being obstructed and attacked.
For some reason water canons haven't been employed. My gut reaction is to hope police will tell everybody to sod off and go home within 3 minutes, otherwise they'll start to use rubber bullets. My brain then kicks in and says that would be disastrous as their opponents would then feel free to use their own real bullets. It ain't constructive thinking, but then it all makes me so angry.

How can this situation be solved? How can you make those youngsters see sense, regain a sense of mine and thine; how can you get the parents to start taking responsibility again for their underage children's whereabouts.

One of the crap things is that the two most experienced police commissioners have resigned over something that is completely irrelevant in comparison; their expertise will be very much needed right now.

 
suze
837273.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:44 pm Reply with quote

I wouldn't say that accepting 12,000 worth of free hospitality from a former editor of the News of the World was completely irrelevant.

But the point is well made, all the same - there is no ideal time for the Metropolis to suffer a summer of riots, but if it has to happen then you'd prefer it not to be while there's a new boy behind the big desk.

Mind you, one of that new boy's past specialisms has been the task of convincing the public that the police are not "the enemy". It becomes clear that the public of some parts of London don't believe that, so his expertise in that field could prove very useful.

 
Neotenic
837284.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:20 pm Reply with quote

Personally, I'm thinking this is actually a one-night wonder.

It's deathly quiet here in Tottenham tonight, and all the places going up tonight were not the places that went on Sunday.

It's a fad - people are convincing themselves that, magically, the rules don't apply any more. But given the extensive investment in things like CCTV, I think a number of people will be quite rudely disabused of this notion in the near future.

Also, the local public opinion is most certainly against them - this is not like the student protests, where people at least felt there was some jusification, or even pretext, to those actions. This has nothing to do with the death of Mark Duggan now, it's just about people wanting a few nice things.

All in all, a very capitalist riot. I feel oddly conflicted.

 
suze
837285.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:30 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Personally, I'm thinking this is actually a one-night wonder.


Is there any kind of precedent in the UK for so many areas - many of them the last places you'd expect rioting to break out - all to go up at once? If it was five places yesterday and it's twenty five today, can we be confident that it will all be over by tomorrow?

 
'yorz
837290.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:50 pm Reply with quote

A one-night wonder? It's the 3rd night in a trot, and the spes patriae seems to get a real taste for this kind of pastime.

 
Neotenic
837292.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:52 pm Reply with quote

I think the important thing is that none of the five remained in the twenty five. I guess we'll see if the theory is correct if things carry on in Hackney, Lewisham or wherever tomorrow.

Riots in the past have had two things that this one doesn't seem to have - a specific cause is one, and a focal point of activity. In fact, it's got to the point now where what could have been that focal point - the death of Mark Duggan and Tottenham Police Station - is now just a curious byline in the story, pushed out by the much more impressive footage of several dozen three piece suites going up in flames in their shop.

Of course, if that had become the focal point, it would still all be happening round the corner from here, so I'm also feeling weirdly thankful.

But - if the IPCC announce that Mark was in fact carrying a banana, or uncover some other serious breach of protocol, then attention could snap back over here in a moment. So fingers crossed on that one. But, assuming that doesn't happen - or even that they now use the current events as a reason to pause on the public announcements, things should fizzle out on their own.

One thing I'm finding rather bleakly comical about the footage I keep seeing on the news is that youngsters across the capital are repeatedly over-estimating the destructive power of a traffic cone.

 
Neotenic
837293.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:10 pm Reply with quote

Also, this is very much a time to be extremely wary of the hypnotic qualities of rolling news.

Some of the footage now in the Endless Loop is hours old - but they keep shoving it in your face every few minutes. Unsubstantiated rumours make their way fleetingly on to air as an aside, and are then never mentioned again.

Don't believe all the hype - let's see where we are when the sun comes up.

 
nitwit02
837299.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:23 pm Reply with quote

I was watching "live" coverage on the BBC site this afternoon at around 2PM which would have been 9PM in the UK and noticed very quickly that that there was a great deal of repetition in the clips being shown. This does not help the situation.

 
bobwilson
837300.  Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:06 pm Reply with quote

Hang on a second. Haven't we seen something like this recently? I seem to recall some recent news about similar events in Libya, Bahrain and Syria - or did I dream that?

Oh - silly me. Those were political protests of course, by astute observers of the social scene who managed to garner popular, albeit possibly misdirected, support in the face of a heavily oppressive regime - whereas this is just mindless thugs who have somehow managed to gather a few hundred people in a small area without anyone noticing that they were preparing for such an event.

When people start rioting they're not happy about something - and that something hasn't happened overnight. I have no idea what the situation with Duggan is - maybe he's a gangster, maybe not. I just find it utterly implausible that the shooting of a gangster alone (even if he was in the process of surrendering and was unarmed), or the shooting of an innocent man, would trigger riots in multiple areas of London unless there was something fundamentally wrong.

I suppose it doesn't help that the police have been taking bribes (sorry - "unauthorised payments") from journalists.

 
CB27
837314.  Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:54 am Reply with quote

First of all, there's a massive difference between what's been happening in the Middle East and North Africa, and what's been in happening in London.

In all the demonstrations/riots you saw in those countries there were clear calls as to what the crowds wanted, there was a clear background of why they happened, even if no one expected them to erupt now and with the strength they did.

In London (and now it seems elsewhere), there was an "excuse" for the first night which now looks like it was hijacked, and there's no link to any of the other flash points. There is no clear reason for these actions, no clear background, and no clear connection between groups (maybe this will become clearer at a later date).

A number of points I see on this thread and in comments elsewhere, as well as how reports are being misread:

The first night in Tottenham did have a lot of young people/teenagers involved, but in most other flash points since the majority of people involved seem to be people older than teenagers. These are not "yoofs".

There is no visible political direction for these attacks. If it was against capitalism you'd expect lots of banks and certain famous chains to be targeted. Instead, a lot of small business have been targeted, and many electrical and phone shops. Except for a couple of places here and there, this is not a direct attack on Police or policing, this is not an attack on political cuts (see what was looted and destroyed), nor is it an attack on society or the community. This is simply looting and vandalism.

Before we all scream "It's a backlash against Capitalism/Police/Tories/Peoples' Front of Judea", I think we need to let the dust settle and allow for a proper investigation of those who have been arrested, as well as a look at any of the messaging mediums used, to see if there's anything we can learn.

 
Neotenic
837320.  Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:03 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Instead, a lot of small business have been targeted, and many electrical and phone shops. Except for a couple of places here and there, this is not a direct attack on Police or policing, this is not an attack on political cuts (see what was looted and destroyed), nor is it an attack on society or the community. This is simply looting and vandalism.


Exactly.

Drawing any line of equivalence between this and the middle east is quite spectacularly fat-headed, and either does a great disservice to the people that literally risked death to make a stand, or gives the people setting fire to family businesses way too much credibility.

I guess the primary reason that small businesses have been targeted is simply because those shops have less impressive security systems.

 
Arcane
837323.  Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:09 am Reply with quote

The news here is still reporting that it's due to the shooting of Mark Duggan, and "racially motivated" was also mentioned previously. One news report here quotes a looter as saying "We're getting our taxes back".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8690403/London-riots-live.html

 
HarryAlffa
837332.  Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:53 am Reply with quote

Mervyn King.
Quote:

"I'm surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has."

"people made unemployed and businesses bankrupted during the crisis have every reason to be resentful"

Asked when living standards enjoyed before the crisis would return, "We may not get the lost output back for very many years, if ever."

"The price of this financial crisis is being borne by people who absolutely did not cause it," he said. "Now is the period when the cost is being paid, I'm surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has."

He told the Treasury select committee that ... public spending cuts were the fault of the financial services sector.


Economic Growth would solve everything.
BailoutSwindle.com

 
HarryAlffa
837336.  Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:07 am Reply with quote

YouTube: Nick Clegg "warns" of riots if Tories are elected (11Apr10)

Interviewer: "Rioting in the streets? It's a bit much."
Clegg: "I think it is a serious risk."

 
rewboss
837337.  Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:10 am Reply with quote

I haven't noticed the media sticking to the "race riot" line at all. The Telegraph for one seems to be leaning to the "senseless violence" angle, quoting eye witnesses saying the rioters are of "all colours and creeds". The shooting of Duggan was most likely the trigger -- the excuse people were looking for -- so in that sense "the cause". That doesn't mean the rioters genuinely care about Duggan, and lots of them probably don't even know who he was.

Back to the original question, I think Teresa May needs to get a grip. The idea of "policing by consent" is a very worthy one, but when you have mass riots, arson and looting (and mugging -- one of QI's own elves, @andrewhunterm, had his bike taken from him), it's obvious that the rioters have withdrawn their consent.

For those who worry about abandoning their left-wing principles, when even Ken Livingstone suggests the imposition of a curfew, you can probably stop worrying. Some, perhaps even many, left-wing philosophies may well endorse insurrection in certain circumstances to specific ends; but none that I know of advocate violence for the sake of violence. Those who genuinely worry about heavy-handed police tactics and specifically the shooting of Mark Duggan, I am sure, are as aghast as the rest of us.

 

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