The August riots have died out and the streets have returned to calm. Politics On Toast’s contributors came out unanimously in opposition to the rioters. No sociological thinking was professed, no excuse making: The rioters were to blame. However, there was still contention within the ranks. Here is a review of Politics On Toast’s opinions:
Claire Porthouse was first to report on the August Riots when they were concentrated in the Tottenham area, immediately following the killing of Mark Duggan. In What The Tottenham Riots Have Shown Us Porthouse argued that the police were right to shoot dead Mark Duggan and that the looters and rioters were in the wrong both legally and morally. With some quarters of the British public liable to uncivilised mayhem, she says that we need a strong police force more than ever.
Harry Raffal in Riotous Hyperbole said that the disturbances in Tottenham were not atypical despite what politicians say. There is a long-standing resentment towards the police in the area. Raffal made a distinction between rioters with legitimate concerns and those who were just out to make trouble and break the law. A group of hardcore rioters and looters were determined to use the killing of Mark Duggan as an excuse to go on a rampage. The police, for their part, were slow to get started but, once they had, managed to contain the riots.
A.P. Schrader recommended getting tough with the rioters in The Rise of the Underclass. He made particular references to the shop owners and businesses, the innocent residents, who watched their homes and livelihoods burn in flames. (Perversely victims of the criminals were under-acknowledged in the mainstream media). Schrader dismissed local community leaders as “loudmouths” and accused the rioters of sheer opportunism. He rejected justifications of “social inequality” supposedly experienced by the rioters. Schrader disagreed with Raffal that the police had any sort of control over the tumult.
David Vaiani told us that The Tories were right, society is broken. Vaiani scoffed at he left-wing rationale which said that “cuts” were the reason behind the riots. The thought that if the local youth centre had more table-tennis tables that the youth would be happily enjoying a game of ping-pong is comforting but false. Vaiani also criticised over-simplifications of the riots: The riots were not a black “thing” as many whites were involved. It is difficult to accept the riots were about poverty when rioters communicated via blackberries.
In Thugz Mansions, Alex Patnick turned his attentions to the riots as they travelled up the M6 to Manchester. He emphasised that there was no political, economical, financial, or moral reason for the riots. The culprits are politically unaware chavs. The police need more funding and staffing to be better equipped to deal with riots.
In a letter penned to Boris Johnson, Mayor of Johannesburg, James Garry criticised the police for their obsession with responding to crime and their failure to deter it. He argued that poverty is not a justification for riots because there is no such thing as material poverty in Britain. He suggested that the only poverty which exists is moral poverty and that moral poverty can’t be improved by throwing money at the morally impoverished. Garry concluded that the Tories are too useless to deal with the moral malaise of modern Britain.
Luke Graystone said that enough is enough, we must arm the police. Graystone felt embarrassed for the nation, especially with the Olympics just one year away. He could not see an end to the riots without the police assuming some military powers, similar to the army. He also said that the Met swiftly needs a new chief to bolster morale in the force.
Olivia Jackson called it a very British riot. She said that the riots proved Cameron’s claims that British society is broken and that the riots could be the impetus he needs to convince the public about his Big Society idea. Instead of opposing Cameron, we have a duty to get behind him and help him fix broken Britain.
Andrew Hamilton-Thomas satirised the riots in pictorial form playing on the imagery and lyrics associated with The Clash’s London Calling. His artwork (above) shows a hooded figure, both death-like and chav-like, holding a burning Union Jack.