Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

UK Prime Minister Cancels Tuscan Holiday :(

One thing you don't want to do probably is go a-thieving in a total surveillance society. The Metropolitan Police have set up a Flickr account with pretty pictures of a few people who have apparently gone robbing in North London at some point before or after these images were captured. It's the modern version of the "WANTED" poster, but en masse. Of course, some people have taken to Tumblr to do this vigilante style. In less dramatic imagery of the day, people have apparently taken to the streets with brooms to tidy up. Awww! And more to be found here.

In other, totally unrelated news from London, the headlines at the Guardian this morning include "Senior London officer says authorities will consider using rubber bullets to quell rioting" and "Lloyds bank axing 1,300 more jobs." (As a result of the takeover of Lloyds by HBOS, announced in 2009, nearly 45,000 jobs have been eliminated.) Combined, the two entities have received more than £40 billion from the government since the recession.

Oh, one more: "The Prime Minister flew back into the UK from Tuscany where he was on holiday to take personal charge of efforts to quell the rioting."

13 Comments / Post A Comment

Ames (#22,276)

As someone with a subsidized lifestyle care of Academia (via America's wealth/deficit), I find these riots sooooo interesting.

jetztinberlin (#392)

Is anyone else finding this horribly depressing? As in, misdirected-rage-opportunity-of-our-generation-going-to-waste depressing?

Matt (#26)

That's just what Wawas across the Mid-Atlantic have been doing for decades.

LondonLee (#922)

Won't someone think of the records!

I don't know if I'm getting old and right wing but a lot of this does look like mindless thuggery to me. You think these kids all used to work at Lloyd's Bank?

deepomega (#1,720)

@LondonLee: You think the only people who are suffering economic hardship are former Lloyd's Bank employees?

LondonLee (#922)

Of course not, but nor do I think that a lot of the rioting falls into the romantic category of "oppressed youths fighting back at the system"

deepomega (#1,720)

@LondonLee I'm of the opinion that "rioting" does have to be explicitly political (e.g. smashing a government window) to be a political act. Put another way, you think these people would be rioting if they could get work? Or if they weren't marginalized by British culture? (I am not at all romanticizing riots – riots are a fucking nightmare – but I also feel like this falls under the heading of "looting" where there are power disparities that are unfurled in the language of the media and etc.)

LondonLee (#922)

Are they mostly unemployed? Poor in one of the richest, most expensive cities in the world? Sure, but a reason isn't the same as an excuse.

Maybe I am getting old and right wing because I don't remember thinking this way during the riots in the 1980s and I lived there then. But then again those riots seemed aimed directly at the police (especially the thuggish SPG) who probably deserved a few bricks lobbed at them back then. Now it seems like random destruction and looting.

I feel like this is opportunistic thuggery but also the result of government policy. Not romantic by any means but a sign not that thousands off kids are making bad decisions but that the country is being pulled of a ledge by its government.

schmorie (#11,020)

@deepomega The majority of the people arrested are born in the 1990s. If they are unemployed, it will mostly be because they are still in school.

I agree with LondonLee that there's a danger to romanticising this violence because it's convenient and we can blame the government, parents, teachers, and the social disparity that will always exist. But these young people can think for themselves and do actually have options, even if they're living in the poorer areas like Tottenham, Hackney and Peckham.

I live in Dalston where members of the Turkish and Kurdish community (which could also claim to be disenfranchised and definitely marginalised by British culture) stood up to these young criminals and helped our city rather than hurt it.

Is it still a political act to destroy your neighbour's homes and livelihood when you know nothing about them and they don't represent the government or even big corporations? . I don't see them destroying government buildings – they're stealing trainers, video games and booze. I think that's just plain old looting.

Redacted (#2,882)

@LondonLee Are one of you guys secretly Michael Weiss? http://www.slate.com/id/2301217/

deepomega (#1,720)

So the PM will be personally shooting rioters?

Bojangles (#22,336)

It looks like this is turning out to be less of a "Do the Right Thing" riot and more like Children of Men-style national emergency


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