Saturday, August 20, 2011

Riots in the real world

As the MSM frets and bothers in the wake of the riots, the real world outside the bubble gets on with the job of clearing up. A good friend of mine works at a 6th-form college not far from Croydon, and has some interesting observations.

Real people and their anecdotal evidence offer three advantages over journalists. They don’t have an agenda, they aren’t getting paid for their opinions, and they tend to live in the places hit worst by social unrest because they have to not, unlike many young journalists resident in Hoxton, Brick Lane and Hackney, because it’s hip. They see things happen rather than read about them on Twitter.

My friend – we’ll call him Paul – has three main observations.

Firstly, on A-level results day, the college was suddenly buzzing with student life again after the silence of the holidays [Paul works there year round]. The students had come in to get their results. More than that, though, many of them had clearly come in to show off their new acquisitions: box-fresh trainers, jewellery, designer clothing and other shiny things. Youth violence, Paul has overheard students claiming, is now increasingly about one gang trying to access the ‘horde’ of a rival gang.

Secondly, and also concerning gangs, is the revelation which disgusted me most. There are, at Paul’s estimation, 70 to 80 known gang members at the college. The teaching staff, in addition to the rest of their onerous duties, have to organise an entirely unofficial rota system to ensure that students from rival gangs don’t attend the same lessons. This wearying logistical exercise is, of course, unrecognised and unpaid.

Thirdly, Paul spoke to two rather sensible, grounded girls whose stories seemed entirely plausible. They told Paul about their area on the worst night of rioting. Two hundred or so locals had come on to the streets to defend their property and businesses. At one point, some wannabe looters had appeared on bikes and made for a local shop. One of them was quite badly beaten, in full view of the police, who took the failed looter away when the local people were finished with him. None of this made even the local newspaper. Even more than copycat rioting, the establishment fears copycat vigilantism, unless it is carried out by approved ethnic groups. As I once opined to a friend concerning Islamist terrorism, the one thing government fears more than radicalised mosques is radicalised pubs.

The testament of real people, bloggers included; accept nothing less.


  1. Hi Mark...

    Do you think that those that engaged in looting were rioters, any more than people like that chap from Camden, who whilst claiming sickness benefits was raking in £150,000 pounds as a council official?...

    Or Mrs. Cameron's dad, who is receiving £350,000 per year from power generators for hosting a windfarm on his land... Note that this fee is extracted from our pockets in the form of subsidies added to our leccy bill?...

    Or Andrea Hill, who has just been sacked from the chair of Suffolk Council, following substantiated claims of bullying (one of which may well have led to a man hanging himself)... She has just been paid £351,000 for clearing off!

    These people are members of gangs too!

    Undoubtedly, those that robbed all those stores are thugs, along with having rather limited horizons, but what they didn't have was a clear political objective, unlike perhaps the original demonstration over the death of Mark Duggan that triggered the mayhem.

    Maybe more a case of "see monkey, do monkey"?

  2. One of them was quite badly beaten, in full view of the police, who took the failed looter away when the local people were finished with him. None of this made even the local newspaper.

    There it is in that one paragraph. It has to end.