Posts Tagged ‘London Riots’

Monkey see monkey do: Riots gang culture moral direction and knee-jerk sentencing

August 16, 2011

For years gangs have terrorised slum estates, everyone turned a blind eye, last week they went mainstream and all hell broke loose.

Yes, we need to clamp down on the gangs, but many who got caught up in the looting were not thugs, were not from slum estates, were not disadvantaged. Crowds have a mindset all of their own, that goes beyond the individual.

In Glasgow they brought over an American academic. They tried a new approach. They brought the gang members in under armed guard, they introduced them to their victims, to mothers whose gang member sons had been killed. They told them that from now on there was going to be zero tolerance, they were going to be dogged every step of the way, they would not be able to breath without someone knowing about it, they were going to be pulled in and put away. But they had a choice, they were also going to be offered help. Which way did they wish to go, the choice was theirs? [see Hood Rat]

In London, an ex-gang member who has served time in prison is working with gang members who with a team of volunteers is helping gang members to turn their lives around.

In the Sates an epidemiologist has drawn up a programme of intervention to stop what he calls the disease spreading.

Favelas in Rio in Brazil face some of the worst gang violence. A minor gang member decided to fight violence with music. The main problem with the kids who joined the gangs was a sense of belonging, music gave them the opportunity to join something other than a gang. [see AfroReggae]

There are problem families who make life hell for everyone around them. They need to be given a choice, reform or you lose your home.

One programme puts problems families in a sin house. Every move they make is monitored, there is CCTV in the house, they are subject to curfew. It is a very strict regime, but there is also help on hand if they need it, the kids get help with their homework. It is their choice, the alternative is to be put out on the street.

One of the first interagency meetings I was asked to attend on a slum estate, a very outspoken girl was present. I talked to her after the meeting. She was around 14. She was not stupid, she was very articulate. She said the younger kids needed somewhere to play, the older ones somewhere to meet and chat and chill out. She wanted a house. I said what for drugs and drink. She said no, tea and coffee and prepare their own food. I said as long as they did not abuse the facility and there was a nominal responsible adult in charge I could not see a problem. She said they had tried, but no one was listening. I suggested direct action, grab some green space, squat a derelict house and do it up.

She though was the exception not the norm. 50% of Black Caribbean boys of 14 have a reading age of eleven-year-olds. Working class White kids are no better. It is cool to be stupid and ignorant and to despise education, it is cool to disrupt class and get excluded.

Intervention costs money. These projects have to be longterm. But is cheaper than a spell in prison. It costs less than the consequential cost to society of thugs roaming the streets.

It costs money to put more police on the streets.

The mantra of the ConDem government is cuts, cuts and more cuts. A mythical debt crisis is used to push through Shock Doctrine.

I was surprised David Cameron could find a youth centre from which to give his speech yesterday on a collapsing society. When a ten-year-old boy last year complained to David Cameron re the closure of his chess club he was dragged out of school by the terrorist police!

I do not know what drugs Theresa May is on but they must have a high street price as she has lost all touch with reality. The police can barely cope now, slash their budgets by 20% and they will not be able to cope.

Simon Hughes MP is little better. Last night he was complaining that his local Divisional Commander did not put all his officers on the street. According to Simon Hughes, police do not need any training to control crowds. Well it may be a surprise to him but they do. Untrained officers lose their cool and make the situation worse. I have faced both on the streets.

We have a society that lacks any moral direction. It is not that these kids do not know the difference between right and wrong, or know they can get away with, they see poor examples all around them. Greed is the watch word, do what you like, rip people off and if you are powerful enough you will get away with it. They are brainwashed into thinking your only value in society is to have the latest mobile phones and trainers, so if you get the opportunity to grab them, then go for it. Our public space and culture is open for sale to the highest bidder. [see Reclaim public space

We have seen knee-jerk sentencing, courts reduced to little more than lynch mobs. Magistrates have been instructed to ignore sentencing guidelines. The result has been vindictive sentencing. Judge Jeffries would have been proud.

A student 6 months for stealing a couple of bottles of water.

A youth four months for threatening behaviour towards three Police Community Support Officers. His threatening behaviour was to point his fingers in the sign of a gun.

A mother of two sentenced to four months for receiving a pair of stollen shorts. She was asleep at the time of the looting.

A mother threatened with eviction because her son was one of the rioters.

In the past a ticking off by the police, a formal caution, if in court a suspended sentence.

Well done the 14-year-old girl who spoke out this morning. The judge condemend her parents for not attending court. She said she could take care of herself and she took full responsibility for what she had done and it was unfair to criticise her parents. Both parents will attend her sentencing. Her father tries to hold down two jobs whilst at the same time trying to look after six childrens.

We are seeing slurring of single parent households. If parents stay home, claim benefits whilst they look after their children they are called welfare scroungers. If they go to work, often more than one poorly paid part time job, they are attacked for being too tired to supervise or look after their children.

That is not to say there is not a problem with parents being unable or unwilling to look after their children.

The last two weeekends I have been at a local fish n chip shop and had to suffer obnoxious kids of primary school age, banging on the window, swinging on the rails. Their brain-dead parents stood idly by and did nothing. No attempt was made to tell their brats to stop causing a nuisance.

China has praised the ConDem government in its wish to shut down twitter and other social networks. There was no evidence, or at least I have seen no evidence, of twitter being used to organise the looting. Twitter was used to organise the clean-up, for friends to warn each other of areas that were not safe.

The ConDem government knows it will face massive civil unrest as its cuts start to kick in. It is using the looting as an excuse to cow the population into inaction.

Reclaim public space

August 15, 2011
Message on Recipease Jamie Oliver shop in Clapham

Message on Recipease Jamie Oliver shop in Clapham

Factory chimneys belching out smoke, slate-roofed rows of terrace houses, the Victorians also gave us parks.

In Lincoln there are two parks, Boutham Park and the Arboretum, two commons, South Common and West Common, all are within the city boundary.

In Guildford only a few minutes walk away from the bustle of the High Street lies the tranqulity of the Castle Grounds and the River Wey.

In Hackney, Vicky Park as it is known locally, or to give it its more formal name, Victoria Park.

Often these parks had bandstands. On the seafront at Brighton a bandstand has recently been restored. In the park adjacent to the Royal Pavilion you will be lucky to see a blade of grass in the summer, especially on a hot day in the shade.

Although very popular, parks are at risk, as greedy developers eye them and corrupt councillors and planning officials agree to their sale.

Schools used have extensive playing fields. Many have now been sold off.

Green space is important for our health. It may be stating the blindingly obvious, but those whose outlook is green space are healthier than those who look out on a brick wall.

Ambient light level is important. That in many residential homes is too low, not surprising many of the residents turn into zombies.

It is not only physical space that is being lost, privatised, so too is our cultural space.

People no longer make a choice in what they wear, what they listen to, their culure has been stolen, turned into a mass-produced, mass-marketed commodity and sold back to them.

Watch a Nigerian rap group and they are churning out the same crap gangster rap, wearing the same gangster clothes as their counterparts in New York. They could be clones, maybe they are.

I travel on a bus and cannot see out of the window because the bus has been turned into a gigantic billboard.

Naomi Klein in No Logo and Paulo Coelho in The Winner Stands Alone have excellent discussions of this theft of our culture.

In the London riots and the riots that spread across the country, the must have was the latest mobile phones and trainers. Worth is determined by what we wear. At the end of the day merely footwear and a communication device but such has been the brainwashing and theft of culture.

The only good to have come out of the riots and looting were the people who in the aftermath came out and cleaned our streets, who recognised the importance of common space.

What we saw was less not knowing right from wrong, what we can get away with, but lack of an internal sense of morality, lack of respect for those around us.

But is this surprising when Members of Parliament fiddle their expenses, when companies like Vodafone fail to pay their taxes?

It should be a moral imperative that companies like Vodafone pay their taxes, that is their contribution to the common good. If not they should be seen for the social paraiahs that they are, shunned. And yet we see George Osbourne promoting them in India, David Cameron in South Africa.

Town centres, market squares grew organically. They were where roads met, rivers were crossed, or if on trade routes where there were springs and wells. Local people set up trade, outsiders brought their goods in on market days. These were public spaces, where people paraded, partied, protested. None of the latter is possible in a shopping mall!

The only people who have talked a modicum of sense post-looting have been the Archibishop of Canterbury in the House of Lords last week and the Bishop of Manchester on Sunday.

- A broken sick society

A broken sick society

August 12, 2011
Tottenham ablaze: the riots began early on Sunday (Photo: AP)

Tottenham ablaze: the riots began early on Sunday (Photo: AP)

Peckham peace wall

Peckham peace wall

Put this question to yourself: should I use everyone else to attain happiness, or should I help others gain happiness? — Dalai Lama

The difference between the corrupt elite and looters is that looters are more direct and get caught!

Greedy bankers contribute nothing to society, but award themselves multimillion pound bonuses.

Worthless celebrities are just that.

We rape and pillage the earth.

Workers toil all their life for very little reward.

Parliament was recalled, but apart from those who gave first hand accounts, those who spoke in the debate simply showed how out of touch with reality they are.

A rare example of measured words of wisdom was the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking in the House of Lords.

Yes, we need to clamp down hard on the looters and the thugs that terrorise the slum estates, but what of Vodafone who avoid their tax, all £6 billion of it, or Sir Philip Green?

It is said the looters do not know the difference between right and wrong. They do know the difference, but the moral lesson they are taught is that greed rules ok and and they want a piece of the cake. They see hard working folk who are paid a pittance and see them as losers. The ones they have personal experience of with money are the drug dealers. They see corrupt police, corrupt elites supping at the table of the evil Murdoch Empire.

Looting is the new late night shopping. Are we not told shopping makes you happy, that you should shop until you drop, that wanton consumerism is the new religion?

- The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom
Zoomable image: Peckham’s peace wall
‘Stop burning my city': Londoners demand a halt to violence
London riots
London riots spread across the country

Hit the thugs hard

August 11, 2011
Tariq Jahan whose son was killed defending his community against looters

Tariq Jahan whose son was killed defending his community against looters

The one thing that has been learnt from the London riots and the riots that have spread across the country is this is what decent people on slum estates have to suffer from day in and day out.

For a long time gangs have terrorised slum estates. I have been to interagency meetings even chairing one of them where the same issues were always raised: failure to carry out repairs, failure to deal with the thugs on the estates. But sadly no one cared, no action was ever taken.

Maybe now the police will go in hard and clean up these estates. But it takes more than rigorous policing. The slum landlords must be dealt with. And that includes the Housing Associations who treat their tenants as peasants.

So long as the thugs stayed on the slum estates no one cared, it was not their problem.

The decent people on these estates have been asking that the police go in.

It says a lot when I chair a meeting and a lady at the meeting raises open drug dealing on the street. We know about it says the man from the council, we watch the deals go down on CCTV!

These estates have become the dumping ground for the garbage society does not want.

It was not always so. It was the poor who lived on the slum estates, and then they were not slum estates. But slowly, slowly it has changed, the decent people have moved out, the roughs have moved in. The decent people who are marooned there live as prisoners in their own homes.

My grandparents were poor, lived through two World Wars, but they did not go out thieving, looting.

Hackney was a very poor area, but one always felt safe walking through.

We have people who have no values. They know the difference between right and wrong, but lack any moral thinking. Their mindset is must have latest mobile phone and trainers.

They are conditioned by the society around them. By moronic celebrities who contribute nothing to society.

There are no jobs, youth unemeployment is high, and with government cuts it is going to get worse, but even if there were jobs these thugs would still be unemployed as they are unemployable. They lack education, in many cases they are incapable of stringing a simple sentence together.

In Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, youth uenemployment is very high, much higher than UK, but the young are not looting, burning down their neighbourhoods. They are taking to the streets, occupying public spaces, but to demand political reform. They are articulate and coherent.

A friend used to teach, or try to teach, some of these youngsters. They had passed through the school system and had failed to learn anything. They were now compelled to sit in class in college as a condition of welfare payments. They did not wish to learn, did not want to be there. Their idea of fun was go out and get drunk.

They compare very unfavourably with young people in Europe who wish to learn, with who it is possible to hold an intelligent conversataion.

I can talk to a friend in Prague. She will be at a cafe sat outside talking with friends, or has been to an art exhibition. It is the same when I chat with friends in Moscow.

These thugs contrast very unfavourably with the dignity of the Asian father whose son was hit and killed by a car whilst guarding his local community from looters.

- Birmingham deaths: Praise for Tariq Jahan’s plea for calm
Grieving father’s voice of sanity

There are those who are calling for those found guilty of looting to lose their homes, to lose their benefits. This will only make a bad situation worse. With no money, they are going to be forced into crime.

We used to call for problem families who were terrorising their neighbourhood to be evicted, but only after they had been warned and given the opportunity to reform.

A sample of what we are dealing with was the woman leaving court today with her offending offspring. She shouted abuse at the media.

When I was growing up, we did not need youth clubs, we did not hang around on street corners. We kept ourselves amused. We mowed a patch in a field and used it for crcket and football. We explored local woods, walked along the river, went fishing. Had we been in trouble at school we kept quiet about it, we did not go home and complain, because if we did, we knew we would be in trouble all over again.

The ConDem government has lost all touch with reality. One wonders how Nick Clegg gets up in the morning and manages to put his shoes on the right feet.

On the sink estates the excuse of the police for not coming out was that they lacked resources. If the police lacked resources then, we have seen they cannot cope now, how will they cope with 20% cuts? As Mayor Boris has said, there is no case for the cuts.

- Riots: Think again on police cuts, says Ed Miliband

Policing only works with the consent of the community.

Representative democracy, where we are offered a choice of one corrupt elite or another, has failed. We need participatory democracy. We can only move forward when we have the full support of the community, when those in power act on behalf of the community.

The difference between the corrupt elite and looters is that looters are more direct and get caught!

- A broken sick society

London riots spread across the country

August 10, 2011
volunteers cleaning Manchester

volunteers cleaning Manchester

tea being served during Manchester clean up

tea being served during Manchester clean up

The London riots, which had been restricted to London, last night spread across the country: Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Salford, Birmingham, Manchester.

In Birmingham, three Asian men defending their community, were killed when a car was driven at them at high speed.

In Salford, a BBC radio car was attacked by looters throwing bricks.

Yesterday Guildford was on high alert, a heavy police precence on the street. It was feared looters from Aldershot would hit Guildford. As a precaution, London Camera Exchange removed their window display. There is nothing to loot in Aldershot or neighbouring Farnborough as the local council has already done an excellent job destroying both town centres.

Interviewed on BBC World Service, two teenage girls said it was fun to riot!

This morning, volunteer cleaning crews were once again out cleaning up the mess.

- Riot Clean Up

And no Eric Pickles MP, this is not the Big Society in action, though it may have something to do with the ConDem cuts which are targetting the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

View from France: Looting is not protest We have political protest.

View from States: This is not comparable with the Rodney King Riots in LA.

There is worry in the USA that the riots will spread across the Atlantic.

BBC edict: News teams told these are not protesters, these are looters and rioters.

It is a misnomer to call these people rioters. They are criminal looters. They have no values other than must have latest mobile phone and trainers.

If this was political they would be attacking the Town Halls.

But worth noting: Although some local businesses have been attacked, the main focus has been shopping malls and large retailers, who contribute nothing to local communities, who pay no tax, who destroy local businesses. Says something.

6.30pm tonight – demo against the rioters – The Anchor, Deptford High St – Lewisham Town Hall, Catford.

- Massive Riots: Britain Today, America Tomorrow?
London riots: the day they fought back with brooms in streets of Nappy Valley
England riots: Timeline and map of violence

London riots

August 9, 2011
a ray of hope in Finsbury Park

a ray of hope in Finsbury Park

kids from Bromsgrove offering to help with the clean up

kids from Bromsgrove offering to help with the clean up

Remains of a burnt out bus in Croydon

Remains of a burnt out bus in Croydon

broom power in Clapham

broom power in Clapham

When the ConDem government piss on the poor, do not be surprised when they react. My only surprise is that the riots did not kick off at the start of summer.

The ConDem government has used a mythical debt crisis to engage in Shock Doctrine, to wage class war on the poor and disadvantaged. Billions have been cut from welfare and housing budgets, libraries have been closed. Even where welfare payments have kept pace with inflation, the recipients have lost out as energy and food inflation has risen much faster. These are people who have no slack. Meanwhile, there are hints that taxes for the rich will be cut from their already historically low level.

There is an appalling ignorance of economics. At a time when private spending is collapsing, you do not cut public spending. Everytime a job is lost, a contract lost, there is less money being spent in the economy, fewer jobs. Not only that, the tax take goes down and public debt goes up.

Keynes said as a last resort, pay men to dig holes, pay others to fill them in. Not that there was any merit in digging and filling in holes, other than it put money in people’s pockets, money that they then spent.

If the government increased rather than cut benefits, money would be spent in the economy as these are people living on the breadline. Money should also be spent on infrastructure and green projects, projects from which we all benefit.

Tax dodgers like Vodafone should be forced to pay the billions they owe in unpaid taxes.

Not that any of this justifies the riots we have seen over the last three nights nights. Not that these were riots in the traditional sense.

We have not seen a revolution in the making. We have seen moronic thugs who terrorise the estates on which they live go mainstream.

In Syria, young people risk their lives for freedom. In London they take to the streets and loot shops for the latest mobile phones and trainers.

In Hackney last night, Turkish-Kurds were guarding the area.

What is achieved by looting local small businesses, burning people out of their homes?

In Croydon a lone woman was dragged out of her car so it could be set on fire.

The mainstream media says twitter was used to organise the mass looting. I have seen no evidence of this. I have seen evidence of Blackberry phones being used to organise looting. I have seen twitter used to organise the clean up.

Well done those who organised the clean up and all those who took part. In Hackney when they had finished the clean up they offered help to other areas of London. The Vicar of Ealing said so many people turned up for the clean up that they ran out of things to do.

For a long time gangs have terrorised slum estates. I have been to interagency meetings even chairing one of them where the same issues were always raised: failure to carry out repairs, failure to deal with the thugs on the estates. But sadly no one cared, no action was ever taken.

Maybe now the police will go in hard and clean up these estates. But it takes more than rigorous policing. The slum landlords must be dealt with. And that includes the Housing Associations who treat their tenants as peasants.

We need to clean up local government, councils that are in the pocket of developers and fail to act for local people. There has been repeated attempts to destroy Queen’s Market, one of the few remaining East End markets left in London. In Farnborough, the town centre destroyed, housing association tenants kicked out of their homes, private tenants put out on the street. In Aldershot, the town centre is derelict bar a handful of ethnic food shops, and yet the council has approved a development alongside an edge of town Tesco which will destroy what little is left of Aldershot town centre.

The ConDem governement has to rethink its cuts. Where does a kid from a bad family who wants to learn go when there is no library?

The England v Holland friendly has been cancelled. Maybe the overpaid footballers should be out on the streets helping with the clean up.

Why is the Surrey Cycle Race going ahead this weekend? It is to give people an idea of the misery of London 2012 Olympics they will suffer next year. This Cycle Race should be cancelled. It is going to take up police resources that are needed elsewhere.

Unemployed youth need to look to the Middle East and Spain. Occupy Parliament Square. Draw up coherent political demands. But sadly there is a difference. In the Middle East, in Europe, they are intelligent, value learning and education, whereas the teenage thugs who terrorise slum estates have difficulty stringing a sentence together. My non-English friends speak better English than most of these thugs.

Guildford is an afluent area. And yet Friday and Saturday nights drunken yobs turn the town centre into a no-go area. It is only volunteer Street Angels keeping the lid on.

In Guildford today there was police wearing helmets patrolling the High Street, squad cars driving up and down. A van from Nottingham with some very rough looking characters inside pulled up. Immediately two squad cars pulled up. I even found two cops guarding a hole in the ground in the High Street. I can only assume to ensure no one used the cobble stones as handy missiles.

I used to think John Prescott was an ignorant oaf. I am happy to stand corrected. He has talked a lot of sense on twitter. He also knows how to use social networking. Why do more politicians not make sensible contributions rather than crass party political point scoring? They may then get more respect from the public.

When the last riots kicked off in Liverpool, Michael Hesseltine took time off as Secretary of State to walk the streets of Liverpool and talk to people. An example for today’s politicians.

- London Riots: Shop-owners defend their businesses in east London – video
Hackney rioters directly target police
London riots: the underclass lashes out
Panic on the streets of London
Camila Batmanghelidjh: Caring costs – but so do riots


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