Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

London Riots

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 9th August, 2011

As I write this, the Prime Minister David Cameron is chairing the civil contingencies committee, COBRA, summoned to discuss what to do about the three days of rioting in London (and some elsewhere) that have shocked the nation. Though unrest began in Tottenham, following a police shooting, yesterday it spread across much of the city in copycat outbursts, with some agitators reportedly egging people on via their Blackberries. Croydon, of all places, was the worst hit. A furniture store was set alight there and the blaze soon spread to surrounding buildings. The tramlink was seriously damaged and some cars and buses torched, as has happened in several other places. Here in Tower Hamlets, where I live, violence was limited to the western Whitechapel/Bethnal Green end, with many Asian youths reportedly repelling the rioters. Similarly, in parts of Hackney, Turkish and Kurdish shopowners and their families fiercely defended their properties and livelihoods. The police were clearly overstretched, leading to calls from some quarters for the army to be sent in. Let us hope it does not have to come to that. The Government, stupidly, failed to field anyone on BBC2’s ‘Newsnght’, thus allowing Labour’s Mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone free rein to blame it for the turmoil (though his performance was so opportunistic that he might have lost, rather than won, support for himself). UKIP leader Nigel Farage stoked the embers by declaring that the riots were the outcome of multiculturalism, thereby playing into the hads of the EDL and other racist groups. Actually, the events of the past few days have given some credence to David Cameron’s mantra about ‘Broken Britain’, though whether his Big Society concept can mend it is another matter. Confronted with the damage and the thuggery, I suspect that most of the public will be in the mood for a crackdown, including heavy penalties for looters and arsonists. It will be the political Right that ultimately benefits from all this, not the Left, as some Leftists hope.



4 Responses to “London Riots”

  1. When peoples’ liberty, property and very lives are at risk, and the extension of rioting is because the police seem unable to take back control of the streets and prevent looting, and to pave the way for emergency services to put out fires and rescue people, then stronger anti-rioting measures are required, and this has nothing to do with left or right – just liberty and the rule of law.

  2. However, we will have to address what is behind this all and why it has become so bad. And if we are honest enough and with out taking sides, it is failed leadership…

  3. Ian said

    A couple of weeks ago I was talking about the protests last year in Bsngkok to some of my students.One of them said it made a strong impression on her.
    She has just moved to London to study at UCL.From one lot of riots to another! Things are quiet at the moment in Bangkok. I think people are waiting to see how the new government shapes up.

  4. Ian said

    All the people in Malaysia know about the Malaysian student
    who was mugged and robbed in the London riots.
    What an advert for Britain.

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