If we really wanted to sweep the scum off our streets,
we couldn't go far wrong by starting with the Daily Express.
It's very typical of them to frame the story around a pair of shapely breasts.
"The assets of the society always belong to the collective".
Flush THAT down the toilet.
Speaking in a book-lined office near King's Cross, London, within walking distance of where the rioting began, Mr Ackroyd resolutely refused to see a new epoch dawning. "I can't get at all worked up about these most recent phenomena," he said. "They simply show a pattern of activity in the city that will endure as long as the city itself endures.
"I don't like those commentators who keep on saying that London will never be the same again. London is always the same again. I remember those comments were made very loudly after the [July 2005] terrorist attacks – 'London will never be the same again, London has lost its innocence' – it was all nonsense. London was exactly the same again the following day. "Rioting has always been a London tradition. It has been since the early Middle Ages. There's hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London's texture. The difference is that in the past the violence was more ferocious, and the penalties were more ferocious – in most cases, death."
I ask, then, what he makes of the much-quoted comments of his fellow historian, David Starkey, and am met with a blank look. He is not aware that Starkey has spoken out on anything recently. I paraphrase Starkey's now infamous remarks about young whites becoming black, and am cut short by a snort.
"Oh well, that's often been the complaint, that immigrants ..." Here he interrupted himself. "They're not even immigrants, are they? They're born English!" Another snort. "I don't really have anything to say to that because it doesn't strike me as particularly relevant.
So, what point, exactly, are you making with that quote, hawkeye?
David Cameron has reaffirmed his belief that the riots were symptomatic of moral decline in Britain as Tony Blair dismissed this argument as a "highfalutin wail" that ignored the true cause of the problem.
In a relatively rare intervention in the world of domestic policy, Blair said that there was no problem with moral standards in society generally. The riots, he said, were primarily caused by a minority of disaffected and alienated young people who were outside the social mainstream and who constituted "an absolutely specific problem that requires deeply specific solutions".
Cameron and Blair set out their rival analyses in articles in Sunday newspapers. They clashed as Scotland Yard revealed that 3,296 offences were committed during the rioting in London, leading to 1,875 arrests and 1,073 people being charged. More than 1,000 of those offences involved looting.
In an article for the Sunday Express, Cameron said that the riots illustrated the need to "reclaim" society.
"The greed and thuggery we saw during the riots did not come out of nowhere," he said. "There are deep problems in our society that have been growing for a long time: a decline in responsibility, a rise in selfishness, a growing sense that individual rights come before anything else."
But Blair, in an article in the Observer, said that to make this argument was to "trash our own reputation abroad". Although he famously warned about moral decline after the murder of James Bulger, when he was shadow home secretary, Blair said he now realised that that 1993 speech was "good politics but bad policy".
"Britain, as a whole, is not in the grip of some general 'moral decline'," Blair wrote. Young people now were generally more respectable, more responsible and more hard-working than they were when he was young, he said.
Instead, the rioting was mainly caused by "the group of young, alienated, disaffected youth who are outside the social mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons of proper behaviour". Blair said that his government developed specific policies to deal with these people and that they required intervention "literally family by family and at an early stage, even before any criminality had occurred".
For those working to curb the expansion of imprisonment and policing here in the US, David Cameron's recent plans to import US policing models, theories, and actual technicians are of grave concern, even if they are totally unsurprising. States have a long history of sharing policing methodology and technology, and tough-on-crime talk on "gangs" and "mobs" are well-worn scripts for governments, especially when they have their backs to the wall.
The UK and the US have a long history of sharing policing techniques, particularly of marginalised communities, but as is the case throughout the world - in the US, England, Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere - no matter how sophisticated or tough the strategy, states cannot police their way out of social and economic crisis.
Cameron's reaction to recent uprisings of the marginalised and disenfranchised in England has been to declare "all-out war on gangs and gang culture" and has called for widening the use of US suppression models of policing. This includes actually importing so-called "super-cop" William Bratton himself. Known for his police chief duties in the US cities of New York, Boston and Los Angeles, Bratton has been a central character in the development and implementation of "zero-tolerance" policing in the US. While politicians in England have apparently nixed the possibility of Bratton actually heading up London's Metropolitan Police Service, Bratton is poised still to play a significant advisory role in UK policing. On the table seems to be a widening of zero-tolerance policies, as well as the expansion of controversial civil gang injunctions and concomitant "gang-enhanced" punishments
In its war against gangs, US policing has militarised quality of life policing into something that looks strikingly similar to counterinsurgency warfare - with state of the art military hardware, surveillance technology, and strategists. Mandatory sentencing guidelines and gang-enhancement sentencing has landed many behind bars for decades, if not for life. In California, committing three felony offences - including small theft - can land some in prison for the rest of their life. Zero tolerance offers little-to-no flexibility in police or judiciary discretion, and over the years, anti-gang policing has been further and further integrated into Homeland Security and immigrations enforcement apparatuses.
Along with zero tolerance there has been much talk in England recently of using civil gang injunctions. While proponents in the US often attempt to distinguish gang injunctions from the highly-militaristic methods of other anti-gang policing, injunctions are clearly situated in the legacy of zero-tolerance, suppression policing. Similar to the UK's anti-social behaviour ordinances, gang injunctions in the US use civil courts to restrict the movement and activity of alleged gang members within a given geographic area. Often the "activity" can include wearing a certain colour, being out in public after a certain hours, or congregating in groups larger than two people.
While proponents argue that gang injunctions disrupt the criminal activity of gangs on their so-called turf, numerous studies have shown that gang injunctions further institutionalise racial profiling by the police who enforce them; have no significant effect on violence in the given or surrounding area; are often part and parcel to gentrification schemes in surrounding areas; and severely limit the capacity of community-based organisations to do anti-violence work - work that has been proven highly successful.
Once again, despite Bratton's particular media and political work to convince people that suppression policing is not, in accordance with US law, race-based, it is abundantly clear who is being policed, how they're being policed, and to what end.
As many have noted, the recent uprisings in England are most definitely political - based implicitly and explicitly on the further denial of resources to those already marginalised and disenfranchised. While Cameron and other heads of government might clamour on crudely about "moral fabric", and lawlessness, theirs is also a political response to economic and social crisis. States are spending billions in developing policing technology and strategy sharing. William Bratton has advised police forces throughout Europe, in Mexico, and Israel. He is currently the chairman of a corporation who has done security contracting in Iraq, while also advising on the internal economic security of corporations and hedge funds.
Another is that this historian says that harsh penalties is the traditional response, which calls into question claims that the current government is doing anything strange/wrong/outrageous by imposing harsh penalties.
Who the heck is "Pushy"?
I can't recall anyone on this thread saying riots in London happen only when there is a Conservative government are in power. Did someone actually say that?
We only have riots when the Tories are in power.
Trouble at football matches, and tensions between extremists can not be classed as full scale rioting. Apples and Oranges as Setanta would say.
Is that what he actually said?
I can't see that he argued in favour of harsh reprisals at all
He was simply putting Cameron's reprisals into a historical context
Now you are saying that the rioters are just part of a well established London/English tradition which has gone on for centuries?
No, he (Peter Ackroyd) has not given his moral opinion on matter, but he has given his professional oppinion that treating rioters hashly is the standard response. If Cameron is doing what is normally done then claims that his response is strange/wrong/outrageous are questionable, which is all that I said.
...this historian says that harsh penalties is the traditional response, which calls into question claims that the current government is doing anything strange/wrong/outrageous by imposing harsh penalties.
Earlier on in this thread you argued that the rioters were "rebels", much like those involved in the "Arab Spring. Now you are saying that the rioters are just part of a well established London/English tradition which has gone on for centuries?