10 Aug 2011

Britain’s Riots

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A man lies injured on the ground in Ealing, west London. He was beaten by rioters for attempting to put out a fire.


SayUncle produced the best line: What’s the cause of the riot? I’m guessing lack of incoming fire.


Roger de Hauteville yesterday posted a 2 minute video showing a small line of 8 British riot police retreating from a mob of looters who are hurling the long boards and other pieces of traffic barriers at them. The police line withdraws backward in the direction of another line of police, luckily for them I expect, continuing to face in the direction of the mob and maintaining something resembling a line. Had they turned and run, the mob would probably have been on them. Amazingly, the second line of police never made any move to come to their assistance. At around 1:23 the mob begins to turn back, for no obvious reason that can be discerned from the video. The police make no effort to pursue the now retreating mob.

I’d say that the police response was lacking. Here you have a mob of hoodlums engaged in looting and vandalism making unsafe a public street and attacking police. When the two lines of police consolidated, there were at least 16 cops, a number quite adequate to form a line capable of presenting a solid front. 16 men, armed with nightsticks, carrying shields, and armored by the force of authority, with justice on their side, should have had no problem clearing that street and driving an unorganized crowd comprised of criminal scum right out of there.

If a representative of the criminal element should attempt to use some form of terrorist weapon like a Molotov cocktail, the police ought to shoot him.

All this demonstrates just how thoroughly the political leadership of Western democracies has become unmanned by the anti-morality of the Left. Criminals and looters are now disenfranchised victims of society equipped on the basis of their alleged grievances and resentment with anti-moral authority more powerful than the badges and uniforms of police or the titles and powers of elective office.


Roger de Hauteville responded to all this by reflecting that the Riot Act in Britain, from 1715 in the time of George I until it was repealed (alas!) in 1973 during the age of imbecility, permitted mayors, bailiffs, or justices of the peace in situations in which twelve or more persons were “unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled together” to read aloud the following:

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!

If anyone remained on the street after one hour of the proclamation, the act provided that the authorities could use force to disperse them. Those assisting in the dispersal were specifically indemnified against any legal consequences in the event of any of the rioters being injured or killed.

The act also made it a felony punishable by death for rioters who had been read the proclamation to cause (or begin to cause) serious damage to places of religious worship, houses, barns, and stables.


John Derbyshire is so disgusted, he says: Let it burn!

Why does the British government not do its duty? Because it is the government of a modern Western nation, sunk like the rest of us in trembling, whimpering guilt over class and race.

Through British veins runs the poisonous fake idealism of “human rights” and “sensitivity,” of happy-clappy multicultural groveling and sick, weak, deracinated moral universalism — the rotten fruit of a debased, sentimentalized Christianity.

When not begging for forgiveness and chastisement from those who rightfully despise him, the modern Brit is lost in contemplation of his shiny new car or tweeting new gadget; or else he has given over all his attention to some vapid TV production or soccer team.

I treasure my faint, fading recollections of Britain when she was still, for a few years longer, a nation.

Today Britain is merely a place, a bazaar. Let it burn!


Left-winger Brendan O’Neill, amusingly, is equally indignant, and sounds exactly like a conservative.

[I]t’s more than childish destructiveness motivating the rioters. At a more fundamental level, these are youngsters who are uniquely alienated from the communities they grew up in. 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 community representatives, these youth have little moral or emotional attachment to the areas they grew up in. Their rioting reveals, not that Britain is in a time warp back to 1981 or 1985 when there were politically motivated, anti-racist riots against the police, but rather 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. In communities that are made dependent upon the state, people are less inclined to depend on each other or on their own social wherewithal. We have a saying in Britain for people who undermine their own living quarters – we call it ‘s****ing on your own doorstep’. And this rioting suggests that the welfare state has given rise to a generation perfectly happy to do that. …

There is one more important part to this story: the reaction of the cops. Their inability to handle the riots effectively reveals the extent to which the British police are far better adapted to consensual policing than conflictual policing. It also demonstrates how far they have been paralysed in our era of the politics of victimhood, where virtually no police activity fails to get followed up by a complaint or a legal case. Their kid-glove approach to the rioters of course only fuels the riots, because as one observer put it, when the rioters ‘see that the police cannot control the situation, [that] leads to a sort of adrenalin-fuelled euphoria’. So this street violence was largely ignited by the excesses of the welfare state and was then intensified by the discombobulation of the police state. In this sense, it reveals something very telling, and quite depressing, about modern Britain.

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Give a man a fish, and he’ll riot for free fish.

— David Limbaugh


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