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Dragoon Knight

Civil Disorder in London

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[colour=#005FFF]Well, I didn't see a thread about it, so here we are. It's pretty big news here in the UK; not sure how it's being represented in other parts of the world.

It started out as a peaceful protest over a man being shot by police a few days ago. That protest became violent, as most things of these nature do, because of a minority that are set on causing trouble. What we're seeing now (i.e. in the last couple of nights, and indeed, right now) is just brazen looting and destruction. There's no motive other than greed and petty desire to smash things.

Of course, there are a number of things that could be said to be behind all of this. Some might argue that these hooded idiots aren't being given enough to do; that this anger has been simmering for some time now, and the events of the shooting on Thursday were the catalyst. The opening that these people were looking for. What started in North London has just been copycatted in the South. Absolutely bloody senseless.

Watching BBC News live at the moment, parts of Hackney are on fire. Cars, buildings, bins... lines of police standing in riot gear. Apparently, this is all going to get worse as night falls. Being orchestrated over Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger.

Anyone in London at the moment with a better sense of what's going on? What are other countries' reactions to this unrest?[/colour]

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I've started following this event. Sounds stupid. Drug dealer shoots at cops. cops kill drug dealer. People riot..

No different than in Paris when the kids were running away from police, got killed in an electric utility and they rioted.

Surprised more store owners not stocking up on guns and shooting looters. During 1992 Los Angeles Riots when blacks were rioting, Koreans banded together to protect their shops by having guys with guns on rooftops to prevent looting and burning down. Possible for same thing to happen in London? Or do shopowners stay away from their stores? Are Londoners allowed to own and operate guns? I remember the jokes about how guns were banned, so everyone started using knives so they banned that as well.

I mean these buildings are on fire, couldn't there be people in them? Do the looters check to make sure no one inside before burning? I wonder what will happen when a store owner/workers gets killed in a fire. I think In greece or somewhere there when there was a riot some bystanders were killed when their building (home on second floor of business) set on fire by rioters. That made people angry.

Ah Olympics in London next year, so probably will be a crackdown. Can't have rioters on the loose.

The carpet store in Totenham that was burned on Saturday I think survived WWII. And yet got destroyed by looters.

British PM returning to London to deal with this.

EDIT:

live bbc feed says that businesses burning, some do have homes above them.

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[colour=#005FFF]It's the definition of stupid. These bloody hoodie-wearing idiots taking advantage of a peaceful protest to start trouble.

Guns, knives and anything considered to be an offensive weapon is illegal in the UK. You can be arrested for carrying around a water pistol if it looks authentic.

Yes, the PM is away holiday'ing in Tuscany, cutting short his holiday. Same with Boris Johnson, London's mayor. I'm sure we can all sympathise with those bloody toffs having to abandon their fun in the sun because London's burning.

Ah, apparently riots are breaking out in Birmingham now as well. Copycats again.

Newsreaders and officials saying "perpatrators WILL be caught using CCTV". Hope so. Also, great question being constantly asked; to the parents / families in London - where are your sons, brothers, daughters tonight? Do you know where they are?[/colour]

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This has been reported in the news here, but in a somewhat sketchy way. Really nothing more than how it's described in the OP. I'm not sure what to think of it right now. It really seems that people were waiting for a kind of excuse to go on a riot or something. But at any rate, none if this suggests and stability in the society, or that "everything is under control", which is not exactly reassuring.

My impression overall (not just after this event) is that Britain has changed a lot over the last decade.

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My impression overall (not just after this event) is that Britain has changed a lot over the last decade.

I thought I heard that all of Europe has changed due to the European Union and free movement of labour. You have eastern Europe immigrants moving to France/England/Germany etc. I suppose they then gather in certain areas, get high unemployment and there are these triggers that cause violence. Also in France where they banned burqas is another change, where there is a clash between 'native' and immigrant cultures.

EDIT:

Forced to strip naked in the street: Shocking scenes as rioters steal clothes and rifle through bags as people make their way home

Since the police are helpless, I hope communities get together to defend themselves from the criminals. Neighborhood watches etc.

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Those who feel they have no voice will make themselves heard through other means.

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Those who feel they have no voice will make themselves heard through other means.

If that be so, then those morons in the UK don't have much to say, other than they're stupid.

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[colour=#005FFF]There's no meaning behind this. No "voice" to be heard. This isn't about protesting a murder anymore. Any pretense of that ended on Saturday night. It's spread from city to city, with hoodies coming out in droves to cause damage and steal things for no better reason than they're bored and/or they think it's cool to copy what was going on in London.

They are lowlife scum. Anyone involved in it deserves every punishment the law allows. No excuse for this. None.[/colour]

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I was watching MSNBC news and was surprised to hear some commentary that the riots reflect growing society inequality (in addition to simple criminal activity) in England. Additionally,The Times of India has an article which compares Greek civil unrest to the London riots.

England has caught the Greek disease, as economic hard times and austerity measures have been followed by unprecedented riots and violence across English cities.

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Riots are not the disease, they are the symptom. Curing the symptom will do nothing to cure the disease, but curing the disease is going to take decades.

When we (by which I mean "people who were in charge in the 80's," by which I mean "Thatcher") tore out the visera of Britain's manufacturing sector, we assumed that the workforce could be retrained and the country reborn as a services-based economy. This did not happen, but a needling side effect was to create in British culture the view that manufacturing is somehow beneath us. Or perhaps British culture was just so stratified anyway (we're already one of the most unequal societies in Europe). In any case, the result was a generation born with a much reduced pool of jobs for unskilled labour to enter and, poisonously, no desire to enter that pool.

New Labour stuck putty in the gap by trying to fill people's time with apprenticeships and youth centres and the like, a temporary measure at best but one which bore short-lived fruit. And now? Now you have a generation of listless, directionless, poor, ill educated people who feel betrayed by their leaders (Ah, Lib Dems, you promised so much, delivered so little, your downfall will be a delight to many) and impotently furious at a situation that they see no legitimate way to solve.

In a situation like that, all it takes is a spark.

To cure the disease, rather than the symptom, is going to involve reversing the trend of the last thirty years. It's going to involve making British manufacturing competitive again, and that means investment (and jobs!). It's going to involve the infinitely more difficult task of finding and training an entire workforce to want to work again. That alone will probably take a generation or three. It's probably going to require a reasonably steep rise in taxation (over a number of decades) to deliver a corresponding rise in services (Hello, drastically underfunded NHS, how are you?).

In short, it's going to involve turning Britain into the mutant lovechild of Germany and Norway.

Of course, I don't expect anyone in the riots to actually say what I'm saying. The thing about being poor and poorly educated is that you're generally ignorant of the causes of your plight and therefore unable to explain it. All they know is that they've been shafted and they're pissed off about it. Since they don't know what else to do, they lash out randomly and violently. And other people, people who may not be in the same boat, will join in. Out of ennui, I expect. This can of worms was opened a long time ago and there's no putting them back; we just have to fix this, and that won't be accomplished by stepping on people who only lash out because they see no alternative.

Edit: I disagree with the comparison to Greece, but don't have the energy or interest to expand on that right now.

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Arnoldo, the Indians should know what they're talking about, as a Guardian contributor writes:

Many economists have spent the past few days passing around a paper on the Hindu-Muslim riots in India in the 80s and 90s. Written by Anjali Thomas Bohlken and Ernest John Sergeant in 2010, it finds that "just a 1% increase in the [economic] growth rate decreases the expected number of riots by over 5%". Recessions are good for riots: perhaps no surprise, there. What matters, they argue, is when people suffer abrupt drops in living standards – and that goes for Hackney as well as Athens.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/10/uk-riots-political-classes

And Dragoon, I understand that you feel angry and outraged, but you should be wary of making sweeping statements like that. Even if the riots were apolitical and the rioters not waving placards and making demands, it doesn't mean that these events didn't have deeper causes or explanations. Of course, since the riots seem apolitical it's easy for both the left and right to project their explanations onto it, and getting to any halfway objective agreement is going to be a lost cause. Not that people shouldn't try, of course... Even if it's me calling up The Spirit Level, which shows that more equal societies are less likely to experience crime of all sorts. Just my 2 cents.

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I have to agree with Dante. This is the cause of the New Left, simply to find jobs for the common man. Good manufacturing jobs, with skilled trades. Actually building something with your hands, and getting paid a decent wage doing so. The robots have come and have displaced a good fraction of those poor teens and twenty somethings off the assembly line, and into the streets. The other part of the jobs have gone east, and are being done by people who are nothing more than slaves. I don't know the particulars of what is exactly happening in Great Britain, but it seems to be a common theme around the world. That people need decent jobs, with a decent wage, manufacturing something that there own countrymen can and will buy. We need to have unionization of factories on a world wide scale.

I'd wonder and like to know what the percentage of people are who are willing to destroy with their hands, those who create things with their hands. Create things like autos, appliances, and the like. As someone who puts items onto a car chassis in an assembly line, I'd have a hard time burning a building down, or smashing a car to bits. In fact, the thought of purposely trashing a car seems inconceivable, like what's seem on TV in England, when one puts them together. It seems that these youths may have lost the appreciation of building things with their hands, something that the 'free traders' took away from them.

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Well free trade (moving jobs and capital around the world) is inevitable. Might as well have items built more efficiently at other locations (countries) which has been done for several centuries (I've read about the trade between nations and currency rates etc back when it started). The main problem is that the 'west' hasn't adapted yet to mechanization and outsourcing. Part of the problem is that nowadays a large multinational corporation can quickly move assets to another country. Lay off 5000 in USA and move to China/India because some spreadsheet says they can make more money. But even Asian economies will be hit with mechanization. There was an article at slashdot this week I think about how tens of thousands will be put out of a job there due to company investing in robots or something.

Yet western countries have low birthrates and declining populations, yet they really want more immigrants etc to boost the population. If the jobs are leaving (or becoming irrelevant due to machines and computers), then I don't really see why we need to increase population, just have the younger ones adapt to other jobs (right now it looks like taking care of old people #1 growing 'industry').

One Brit who was interviewed said that there was a 2000 person protest couple weeks ago and none of the media took notice. But now with the riots they are taking notice. So yes this is making them 'heard' (although I don't think that burning cars/buildings is explaining what they want). I don't think causing $100 million in damage is going to create jobs (ok yes there is broken window fallacy, but a waste of resources, instead of burning buildings they could be paid to renovate the buildings).

With the auto sector in North America what unions and companies needed to do was encourage lots more mechanization to replace mundane jobs (maybe they did I dunno). The union could have switched people from being on assembly line to operating/maintaining machines, and building the machines that build cars.

Buggy whip manufacturers can't complain and expect handouts because no one uses horse and wagons anymore. We have to adapt to changing economies. Maybe worker displacement caused by the web bubble and mechanization has happened too fast? When I say web bubble I mean the fact that a single computer/programs can do calculations and stuff that might have taken 100 people 20 years ago to do (web stores and digital media good example which have closed brick and mortar stores/jobs. Go from factory->warehouse->shipping->consumer, no more front end store needed).

The other part of the jobs have gone east, and are being done by people who are nothing more than slaves.

If the people in Asia were not in these factories working what exactly were they doing before? I believe a lot were just working on farms, which I think paid even less than the new jobs. The population there will slowly get better working conditions, but they'll have to fight for it, just like the west did 100 years ago. Expecting Asia to adopt western safety/wage standards overnight won't work or happen (too big of a shock, and their are probably cultural barriers as well).

Sorry for the rambling. :P

EDIT:

Oh yes I like David Ricardo and Comparitive Advantage. I'm all about efficiency! :D

I'm sure someone will point out 200 year old theory, and true, but I find it kind of simplifies things before there were more variables.

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What are the examples being set to the rioters & looters & thieves? Interesting point of view.

There was a young man from Tottenham on the radio earlier. He had a style of speech which would have had Daily Wail readers reaching for the cornflour blue notepaper and calligraphy pen, but he made some very interesting points.

He was perfectly explicit in his opposition to the idiots doing the looting and burning, and unlike some media commentators made no attempt to excuse the actions of the morons at large. However, he did draw some fascinating parallels about the relationship between the ‘great and good’ of our society and the so-called rioters. I’ll not try to paraphrase his words, nor to replicate his style, but argument went something like this:

‘The answer is simple, because it is wrong, but when you get past that, why should these people not go and do what they’ve been doing? What are the examples that they have been set?

The bankers have ruined the country and have not been held accountable, they have stolen billions of pounds from us and give themselves enormous bonuses from what they have taken. They’ve looted the country and got away with it. They’ve had their hands in the till.

The journalists have shocked and sickened the nation, they have violated people and destroyed their livelihoods, left them bereft. It isn’t just the phone hacking, but the constant untruths and innuendo that all the media peddles, and they get paid handsomely for it, while being courted by the rich and famous. A few token heads on poles will mollify the masses and things will carry on pretty much as before. They’ve profited from the wilful and spiteful destruction of people.

The politicians have lied to us since free, open elections have existed. They’ve had their hands in the till, and have made up their own rules to allow them to do so, it goes far beyond those prosecuted. What is the difference between a kid smashing a shop window and taking a £500 TV and a politician taking your wages before you’ve even got them and buying a £500 TV with it before turning round and proclaiming ‘I’m entitled’ ?’

I think that the most accurate and striking of these comparisons is the one about the bankers. If the bankers profiteer and then the taxpayer has to pay for their recklessness, why shouldn't the rioters do the same?

Edit: Source - http://thesnowolf.com/2011/08/a-few-thoughts.html

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So if these people are unhappy with politicians and the system they need to elect someone to stand up against it. Burning down buildings etc has no effect on the banks or current corrupt politicians.

They need to get politically organized so at the very least they can go to politicians and say "I represent 10,000 voters and you need to do x"

edit:

Koreans stop looters by getting out guns and shooting.

One reason for the looters? They know they can get away with it. If a shop owner was inside with a gun, they'd think twice.

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. . I'd wonder and like to know what the percentage of people are who are willing to destroy with their hands, those who create things with their hands. Create things like autos, appliances, and the like. As someone who puts items onto a car chassis in an assembly line, I'd have a hard time burning a building down, or smashing a car to bits. In fact, the thought of purposely trashing a car seems inconceivable, like what's seem on TV in England, when one puts them together. It seems that these youths may have lost the appreciation of building things with their hands, something that the 'free traders' took away from them.

Good point ,the “problem” can be a result of many socioeconomic variables one of which is unemployment. Not having a job may be a considerable risk factor for youth to decide to go all clockwork orange and engage in a bit of ultra-violence. For example, statistics show that unemployment in the UK for those aged 16-24 have risen from a low of 12% in 2004 to a high of 20% in 2010. For those in London, there is an alarming unemployment rate for this age group of 22%. The statistics are available in the link below

http://www.poverty.org.uk/35/index.shtml?2

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No, really someone has to start making some tough decisions, from the top. Do we want everyone to have an auto? Do we want everyone to be able to afford one? Or maybe not? When we talk about the robots replacing humans, we know that robots cannot buy those same autos. So somewhere along the economic way, someone has to PLAN the economy. Not this unbridled capitalism that shifts jobs around the globe in a dizzying way, just because some corp's stock price will go up $1.50 for the week. Someone has to say stop because the current system is broke.

Those poor kids out in the streets of Britain are just taking out their fury on the closest inanimate object they can come across. The circumstances might be a bit different in Greece, but the root cause remains the same. Give those young men and women decent jobs with a decent wage, and they won't have a reason to riot in the streets. The 'free traders' have left us out to dry. Our libraries are closing, our schools are closing, our rec centers are closing, yet we wonder why the youth are taking to the street, and smashing eveything to bits. They don't have enough money to go to college, and their food and housing allowances is being cut by politicians in their capital cities.

That Mr Cameron was on the news saying that people will have their access to Facebook and Twitter curtailed if they are suspected of wanting to be involved in the rioting. How is he or any policeman going to be able to tell if someone is planning on using Facebook to cause a riot? Give the youths some jobs, instead of a police state.

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I was in the UK, not in London or any of the affected areas though so I was just watching the news. Then I went on vacation so I haven't heard much since other than that the "riots" were quelled.

There was a similar incident in Greece yes, where a boy died by a cop in an apparent accident (cop fired in the air, bullet ricocheted). There was of course great anger and many of the riots and protests that followed were in his name. The bank fire that killed some people happened later. There 've been all sorts of riots and protests these last few years in Athens, including the burning and looting kind but also more peaceful ones. In fact, the former has been clearly allowed by the police in some cases. I do think the situation here isn't quite the same as what happened in the UK.

Concerning that, I think that analysing too much the causes behind those "riots" tends to cloud the issue. Not all people react the same way in a bleak situation; definetely not all people lash out violently at random, burning and looting and grabbing whatever they can. At the end of the day, there will always be some with no intent to respect the laws and society, regardless of what is given to them. Life never was fair.

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