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Thursday 11 August 2011

Verity Murphy | 12:36 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2011

Today parliament held an emergency session, called in response to the riots, in which David Cameron told parliament that riots and looting of the kind that spread across England in the last week will not be tolerated.

Tonight David Grossman will report on how the debate unfolded and whether it brings us any closer to a proper diagnosis of what went wrong. And we speak to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

We discuss the role of parents and whether lack of discipline and family breakdown have been factors in the unrest with guests including the singer Jamelia.

And as David Cameron says that police have admitted they got their riot tactics wrong, we speak to the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers Sir Hugh Orde.


  • Comment number 1.

    Forgive me, I am just too pleased with this post to let it languish on the last thread.


    Baroness Wasri would be a great digeridoo player, requires you to breath through your nose while maintaining a constant stream of uninterupted hot air coming from your mouth.

    Must be the first module of study in political science for wanabe politicians.

    Proves my theory that the Aboringinees were way ahead of us as well, clearly the instrument was developed specifically to redirect a mis-guided desire to hear the sound of your own voice into something everyone could enjoy and to inspire dancing to promote bonding and social cohesion and comaradery for the good of society.

    The meek shall inherit the earth... again.. if we carry on like this.

    Alternatively we could pass a law making it compulsory for anyone with a desire to go into politics as a career to learn to play the digeridoo instead. Society would be changed overnight.

    Only those with no desire to go into politics would be allowed to.

  • Comment number 2.

    #78 Steve-London

    "No doubt we will be hearing from hard done by rioters in the coming days and weeks , with socialists dispensing their excuses, after excuses, for their actions."

    One of those poor hard done by souls you mentioned!

  • Comment number 3.


    and not forgetting the millionaires daughter who alledgely stole five thousand pounds worth of electrical goods.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Also we examine the role of parents and whether lack of discipline and family breakdown have been a factor in the unrest."

    Undoubtedly a contributing factor, in some cases. BUT this isn't simple. In my experience, harsh discipline at home often produces children prone to violent episodes and generally disruptive behaviour. Some parents do the wrong thing out of love.

    An elderly friend, an ex-landlady of mine, said to me recently: "You know, the most precious gift you can give anyone is time." Children need quality time from adults, talking and listening.

    My Auntie Gwennie, a source of great warmth and wisdom said: "Nobody ASKS to be born, Children don't owe their parents NOTHING! Parents owe their children. Children need to be given two things, roots and wings."

    Of course, it's much easier for parents to do this if they are part of a mutually supportive community. I am not personally religious, and I strongly dislike parts of the message of major religions; BUT if we don't have churches, we need to find other ways to bring communities together. This is most important in big cities, where, ironically ( I suspect), the sheer mass of people makes constructive community interaction more difficult.

  • Comment number 5.

    part 1.

    i would like a panel composed of the rapper "Reveal", from Tues night, the ex-gangster madix from last night, "tommy robinson", the newstatesman editor mahdi hassan, and myself. I think as a group we would be able to get to many of the real issues behind these problems, and even come to some solutions.

    the short comments from last night:

    what is REALLY interesting is that the descriptions of the rioters/looters, by the Tories and wing-nut commentators, can be used with almost perfect precision against the bankers.

    listen to baroness varsi - and imagine she is talking about the 'feral elite', instead of just the 'feral youth'. Astonishingly how accurate her comments are about that group of ultra-rich. How come it is not a crime to wreck the financial system and loot normal people's lives, making them unemployed and homeless - if you're already rich and powerful? Oh wait, it is. Its just this Govt doesn't have the balls to enforce the regulations and rules. When the kkkorporations and ultra-rich refuse to pay taxes, do we get ministers steaming off about it on TV - or do we get ministers 'explaining' why taxes on the wealthy have to be lower? I am not condoning the recent rioting and looting, but you'd have to be blind not to see any link. "Rot at the core spreads outwards".

    i wish the Tories would stop their current strategy of putting up straw men, and attacking them as though that is the position of those attempting to debate with them. In fact, it seems as though the Tories are falling back on the old technique of simply repeating previously agreed slogans, no matter what the other person is saying or asking. Warsi did it, Gove tried it, and that tory at the end of the show with the guardian journalist did it. Do i spot a current trend?

    its so funny watching the Tories desperately attempting to claim that the cuts in services have NO effects. Who do they imagine they can kid? If those "polls" (supposedly neutral and independent no doubt), had asked the question:

    "Which of these do you think had NO effect on what has happened in many cities:

    1. a crisis in parenting
    2. a crisis in Govt legitimacy
    3. the cuts in services to the poorest and most disadvantaged in the UK
    4. the corruption of the banksters, and the complicity of the Political class
    5. the deliberate pumping of inter-community distrust, and hate-mongering by the wing-nut Press for *DECADES*, not just since 9/11
    6. the policy of turning Schools and Cities into surveillance States, and the constant drum-beat of authoritarianism
    7. there were leaves on the tracks, due to high winds
    8. the continuing illegalisation of popular recreational drugs, leading to exclusion and gang culture
    9. institutional racism/classism top-to-bottom through UK culture, including the police still
    10. gang culture offering the rewards that Society no longer does
    11. the manipulation of events by small and secret 'private groups', some in very high positions of authority
    12. the complete lack of Govt investment (beyond hot air) in creating decent jobs with futures, and wages that are significantly above benefits - which are already below poverty level. In short a dramatic and painfully obvious complete lack of interest by this Govt in rebuilding the UK economy by the well-named Chancellor 'Osbo'

    - i could keep going for a long while, and there are probably obvious ones i missed. Point being - aren't ALL (minus the obvious one) these having effects on UK society? It is ridiculous to simplify the crisis, unless your aim is to make propagandic points, to fulfil an exterior agenda...

    ...god warsi is annoying!!

    abbot is right - cameron is scape-goating. But i wish she had remembered her arguments about the EMAs. In fact, wasn't impressed at all with abbot last night. What a complete shower Labour put up for Leader last time.

    on black culture, here is an interesting discussion, that shows the kind of racism that some minorities have to put up with:
    its long, but pretty applicable to all groups except perhaps the 'twiteratti' class/minority.

    vigilantism - is this the latest "Big Push on the Big Society" by the Tories/wing-nuts...?

  • Comment number 6.

    part 2.

    guardian journalist - one of the best, most intelligent, and well researched journalists i've seen in a long time. Even put many of the NN journalists to shame. It was a perfect example of why the right-wing hates educating people - because education would show up the tabloid right-wing as nothing more than a tired old string of ignorant clichés. The Tory she was debating with - or trying to - was embarrassing for the UK, all he ever intended to do was repeat classic tabloid BS, with no thought, completely incoherent, based upon nothing but murdoch-media quotes and 'social programming'.

    what came out of that program is that the Tories are vastly more afraid of ANY possibility their programs had ANYTHING to do with the riots, and will do and say ANYTHING to avoid such a link (apparently they are now blaming the police? Who no doubt DID make errors!), no matter what further damage they could do our wider society. This is playing politics beyond any acceptable limits, and by further stigmatising the poor, the young, and the excluded, is lining up more trouble for the future. This Govt MUST look at its own policies, stop playing with fire, and recognise that it will not only be in Northern Ireland that their cuts will dramatically increase community tensions. And staying with Ireland, recognise that those very same economic policies simply do not work, in reducing "deficits". Ireland is now far further in debt than they were before they started cutting, and their economy is crashing - along with social cohesion.

    it is revealing that this Govts response to enormous civil unrest is so alienated from the very society they are supposed to be Guardians of, their emotional reaction to these events are worryingly indicative of a lack of humanity on their behalf.

    i hope the UK general Public are aware that these events are highly complex, interrelated problems that have built up for 30 years or more, and that both Tory and nuLabour have constructed the system that is driving down living standards for the majority, and allowing the global rich to use the UK as a tax-free playground. Instead of looking purely to blame the poor, and DEFINITELY instead of using this to instigate ever more punitive sanctions on those who feel excluded, it would be nice to hear of some actual solutions to the problems.

    --and it just struck me - WHO will/can give such a perspective in the media? The obvious candidates would be the 'tabloid' media, because they are the ones who should be the voice of the working classes - instead, they are the mental-abusers of the working classes, talking hatred and inter-communal poison, owned by the extremely wealthy, whose last desire is to pay tax for the benefit of their readers ...who they truly despise.

    the rest of the wing-nut media? See above.

    the BBC? The tool of the twiteratti, the State, and occasionally the odd report by superb and brave journalists.

    i come back to the group i started this post with! How about it, NN?

    one last point: there is a clear difference between "vigilantes" defending their stores and livelihoods, of whatever community, religion or race, and groups of men patrolling on racist grounds. The one is a defence of liberty and good values, the other should be cracked down upon immediately - and those "rubber bullets" Cameron wanted to use on people perhaps authorised? Vigilante racist groups are UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE - if a society wishes to maintain itself as even vaguely free.

    The riots were *OBVIOUSLY* not on racial grounds, they were not about race (in the main) - they were about English youth knowing they are excluded, knowing this Govt works for the crooks and gangsters, knowing they were only behaving as the politicians and banksters have behaved. Many of them will go to prison - how many Banksters so far have even been charged? So anyone trying to use these riots for purposes of pushing racial-community hatred are only using this as a political tool.

    i hope the English Public completely reject all of the simplistic, hatred-aimed 'answers' and 'commentariats', for such will, and CAN, only increase the troubles in the UK. Right now, England reminds me of Northern Ireland - in the way each community points outwards to the 'other' at causing all the troubles. Until that is stopped, until ALL in this society accept we have our hand to play in this mess, until 'vanguards' stop instigating social unrest for their own personal benefits no matter the cost to others, until we have even a vague direction of true social-justice, - it is difficult to see how this will go in a good direction.

    the conspiracy-observer in me leads me to observe who are using this crisis for their own personal ends.

  • Comment number 7.

    so cameron now wants to be able to evict working class people from council housing. NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER this will be used as a further method of neighbourhood cleansing, of 'gentrification' policies in London.

    add in the effects of the riots, where they happened, and its all starting to resemble a deliberately instigated policy of "slum clearance" before the Olypmics.

    --only unlikely, NOT impossible. And that's the most shocking thing of all. And then we wonder why our young are "feral", when our Govt is so shockingly obviously "feral" itself. Look at the way the politicians are talking about the rioters - pure feral themselves... no?

    mirror mirror, on the wall...

  • Comment number 8.

    I truly lived in hope .............. Silly me!

    ‘Offer praise where praise is due’ ............... I did!

    A trio of incisive, focussed informative programmes ....... I ‘presented’ the challenge of going to double figures!

    I played the gambit that going for 10 plus might at least inspire to achieve a full week ......

    And then what?

    Back to zero!


    Quote .... We will chew over the week's events with our political panel. .... unquote.

    Why? Oh why, do you continue - in these days of corporation cuts - to pay the appearance fees of this trio of out of touch party mouthpieces? One can only assume that they bring their own box of blue nun and are a good laugh in the green room after the programme!

    You want stroke need higher audiences ...... Are this bunch really what the audience want? Or does this just add some form of gravitas to to the aspirations of the programme rather than add something to the ‘discussion’?

    ( Time to do a ‘BS’ [ No, not the american ‘bs’ but a reference to barriesingleton whom - quite legitimately - often bangs on on one particular subject! ] i.e. I‘m going to repeat myself ... again! )

    We know you - Nn - can’t ‘do’ the public (Way out of touch perhaps?) but why, then, not invite some of the posters on here to appear? (RB, MH, S, B, J, SC, M, E, the list is pretty much endless - ) And ... Nope! It’s not a ploy to try and get myself invited .... IMVHO I’m far too ugly for TV ! ( Sadly, I’m led to assume I didn’t get shortlisted to replace Mr Crick for this very reason! I presumed originally that you’d seen my Basefook page but then it occurred that I don’t have one! It must have been the surveillance!)

    If you can’t afford the travel expenses for the posters then really save the budget with a regular ‘Posted Points of View’ spot? Just copy’n’paste comment from the pages? To top off the idea all you need is a presenter with a sense of humour to choose the comments and ridicule for emphasis! No, not me! You’d have to budget for a supply of brown paper bags!)


    Subject charged with - triple ? - murder released on bail? One can only assume that the case is not quite as clear cut as the media first reported(?)

    Good PR from The Deity today! ....

    Actions to match the words? ......


    Probably not!


  • Comment number 9.

    #Numerous Jericoa

    How can human greed (aka capitalism) be tempered with finite global resources?

    Sasha Clarkson from yesterday's blog...

    You often post links to the German website Der Spiegel, which is interesting in itself.

    I have worked for a very well known altruistic German company and lived in Germany for a short while.

    Would you describe Germany as generally more capitalistic or statist? (of course allowing for the de-nazification of Germany after the second world war)

    It's not a loaded question btw.

    Ich erwarte Ihre Antwort mit Interesse.

  • Comment number 10.

  • Comment number 11.

    [And the persecution continues - this time I need two posts]

    Although I rarely sully my gaze with Al-jazeera - home to the usual idiocy and bigotry and an alarming no of ex-BBC journalists - here are the words of the Malaysian victim of the feral scum, which you won't hear elsewhere:

    "Injured foreign youth mugged during UK riots."

    If you can't bring yourself to watch - and I don't blame you - here's the transcript:
    "Some other group of people came saying they wanted to help, but, instead, someone from behind took stuff from my backpack; so I just walked off and crossed the street. Then there were two black women there and they handed me tissues. All the people from the riots are mostly black - I only saw two whites."

    The innocent (and honest) words of someone not inured to political correctness. He'll soon learn, though, that stating a fact is a crime.

    [cont. below]

  • Comment number 12.


    Let me explain, to the loonies above and others, how stating "most of the rioters are black", does not inculcate an entire community in criminal behaviour. It is very simple. Look at the first word, "most", and go to a dictionary. "Most", by its definition, implies 'not all'. It is, firstly, a statement of fact, and, secondly, implicit in the first word of the statement, that not ALL are guilty. It cannot be any simpler to understand.

    It really is about time that having to predicate everything with "it goes without saying that...", to keep a lid on liberal intelligentsia hysteria, ended. It really is about time that the loonies accepted some facts and controlled their knee-jerk reactions.

  • Comment number 13.

    Emily Watshername added nothing to the Ed Milliband interview, stopped us hearing what he had to say while pushing her own agenda. A completely different attitude when interviewing Simon Hughes...

  • Comment number 14.

    10:56 pm

    Oh for goodness sake, turn the goddamm back beat off when people are talking on air/vt.

    It's not cool or edgy. The people who think it is are in the night club - not watching NN.

    Ooh, thanks!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Right - an insiders view on public order.

    1. PO tactics evolved from N. Ireland, where the rioters attacked the security forces and their objective was therefore focussed in one predictable place - sometimes it was aimed at the opposing community too, but had a specific and clear target. The current rioting IS NOT LIKE THAT -it's brushfire tactics - hit & run - unless the police are in small numbers, the rioters melt away. So the whole tactical basis of PO operations is WRONG for this threat - by the time they deploy shield teams, the rioters have gone.

    2. The rioters potentially massively outnumber the police - certainly over a large area - so the 3:1 rule - x3 superior police numbers to be sure of winning a battle - isn't likely to happen in local, isolated events.

    3. Spreading police thinly is suicidal - but that means leaving whole areas undefended - politically unacceptable. Yes there may be 16k police on the London streets right now, but that's not sustainable and at some point the rioters will hit an area hard before the police can deploy enough resources to stop it.

    4. Police commanders aren't stupid and realise there will probably be further major events when they are perceived to have failed. This allows them to hold the government over a political barrel - stop police cuts, give us the powers we want and the money we want - the government will have no where to go and will have to comply. Cameron's ability to criticise the police is therefore melting by the day and he has already taken out the top management tier out of the Met, so another cull seems impossible.

    The only other hope is that the anti-rioting grassroots movement finds traction - but these are the same people who are already held in contempt by the rioters - and the Murdoch press is in bad odour, so may not generate the change in public opinion that might act as a brake on events.

    So I think the operational cards are not there for Cameron to play - the odds of a complete failure of policing in certain areas seems likely - if it does happen, the government will pay the political price for it.

  • Comment number 16.

    @9 Muse - I keep a close eye on a number of international websites. :-) Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, Krugman, being at the top of the list. I was put on to Spiegel by a distant cousin - who ironically used to work for Bild. (Berlin is home to the German branch of the Russian side of my family - I was there last week for a wedding.)

    Spiegel is interesting and useful because it provides a European perspective published in English. It has a good record of defending press freedom and publishes a variety of views. My link yesterday was to a summary of the diverse opinions of the leading German newspapers.

    These papers reflected a great deal of common ground between right and left, which is also true in German politics.

    Is Germany more statist? Not in all ways: for example the German health system has more private input, and is more expensive and less efficient than ours (according to an acquaintance of mine who was a medical statistician at the Charité - the teaching hospital.) However, German Capitalism is constrained by state and culture to serve the needs of the population. Manufacturing is king: the financial sector is FAR less important. Also Corporate taxes, taxes on income, and benefits for the poor are undoubtedly all greater than in Britain. It's not a perfect society by any means, but there seems to be much more consensus on what constitutes the common good.

  • Comment number 17.

    What a pickle. Our country is in turmoil. It is clear to some individuals and groups that in certain circumstances they can operate outside of the law. At least for a limited period until either the opportunity passes or they are somehow caught. How did we get to this point? before you try to undo the issues of today I think it is important to see what roads we took to get there.

    In my view, there are several issues.
    1) Social and personal responsibilities are no longer adhered to by many.
    2) Our welfare system is not set up to promote social responsibility
    3) Our corporations are set up to promote social responsibility
    4) We have removed many of the powers of parents and schools to punish or restrain children
    5) We have a legal system which is incapable currently of deterring many individuals or groups from crime, it appears there is a feeling of "We can get away with murder"
    6) We have a media in which an attitude has become prevalent, one of blame. This attitude has created a pervasive cancer, that has spread through the british political system, civil service, health service and the public. In which you can no longer think for yourself. Common sense cannot be applied lest you make a mistake and are brought to book like no 15 year old rioter will ever fear. Instead we may use a one size fits all pocket rule book solution.
    7) We have an economy so geared towards profit a all costs that they will stoop so low as to advertise unhealthy products to children so that they pester their parents into saying yes. A bunch of piratical marketeers that spend their time telling us what we should buy, how we should look and what we should do - which of course costs money - which many then crave and cannot attain. Is this the marketing folks fault? Sadly, no. By nature that is what people do. We are social and we seek to fit in so it needs to be regulated I think, far stronger than it is today.

    The welfare system needs to be overhauled and in my view, you should receive an allowance instead of JSA. The allowance being in return for some small services a week suited to your skillset. If your an IT person looking for a job, I am sure there are computers to fix. We have libraries to be cleaned. Buildings needing electrical work. Our system can show people that a small amount of input by the public can have a massive benefit to our own standards of living, facilities and national pride.

  • Comment number 18.


    The RESONANCE between POWER/MONEY and 'MINDLESS THUGGERY' is all around; the only reason for a degree of cross-party consensus, is that MPs are closing ranks to DEFEND THE WESTMINSTER ETHOS, that covers their backs.

    The 'sickness' in Britain, that Dave chose to put on rioters, is age old in Westminster. The Allowances turmoil was a small symptom of the greater malaise.


  • Comment number 19.


    The BBC does NOTHING to promote this understanding.

    * Who?

  • Comment number 20.

    'And we speak to Labour Party leader Ed 'now it's gone pear shaped, we are all responsible' Miliband'

    Ah, also back from hols? But the good kind, presumably.

    Was this by popular demand? Or bloc booking? Or contractual obligation?

    At least he didn't have to worry about any serious challenge from an opponent this time.

    But a few awkward questions and credit Emily for those and persisting, but if someone 'of course accepts responsibility' and 'was wrong about that' plus 'Ken says a lot of things', more than enough to have warranted further probing. About Ms. Harman's risible efforts the night before, 'She pretty much did' was met with 'she pretty much didn't' and then... moving on.

    From a 'pretty level-headed' guy. Where... have I heard something like that before?

    And when a politician comes on to our screens but won't play words games... what value are their words? Or them being on screen.

    Other guests very well behaved today. Hand picked?

    At least QT was probably a true reflection of the BBC's public and 'our' views. Prescott... really? Again?

    'The diversity of the rioters' was picked up.

    Indeed. One question seldom asked, but perhaps worth pursuing, would be their media of choice, that may offer an insight into what informs their unique moral compasses.

    Interesting that almost all miscreants featured at the end seemed to be white. I had not until now appreciated this racial group was the main representative, along with middle class, law student, millionaire's daughters.

    I just hope that wasn't a creation in the edit suite more than reflection of reality.

  • Comment number 21.

    The credibility gap over policing is growing.

    ACPO rejects the Home Secretary's criticism of their tactics.

    Senior officers say the current deployment is unsustainable.

    Less than 20% of police are trained to deal with rioting.

    Plans to cut 2,000 officers from the Met ALONE are still going ahead.

    Police budgets were at breaking point BEFORE the riots started - with leave cancelled and galloping overtime, most Forces must now be deeply in the red.

    Public order training is geared to coping with a mob that wants to confront the police and is prepared to engage them either at very close quarters, or stand off with missiles - but the rioters we are now seeing don't do that, so by the time police deploy their shield teams and get into formation to advance and confront the rioters, they've legged it to reform some distance away. This very fluid pattern cannot be dealt with using the existing tactics, so even if there was a crash programme of training, it won't deliver the decisive "victory" the politicans seem to expect.

    The idea that plastic bullets or water cannon would help is also a misunderstanding of their capabilities. In N. Ireland or the Parisian steets, rioting is primarily directed against the police - so there's a relatively stationary target to aim at. The current English riots are too fluid to use either of these weapons effectively - by the time a water cannon arrived and deployed, the rioters will have gone. And the idea of firing plastic bullets when there are loads of bystanders around who aren't involved and are therefore at risk of being hit lays the firers open to criminal charges for firing these weapons when they could see the risks to innocent people of doing so.

    The idea that the Army could be used in some way has already been scaled back to protecting public buildings - though quite what a platoon of 24 soldiers without fire arms would do to protect a police station being attacked by 200 rioters, I can't imagine.

    The government is rapidly running out of time, police resources and the allocated money, so unless the rioting dies down, the breaking point will be reached before the end of the summer. Police working around the clock will become too exhausted to cope and the strategy of denuding outlying forces to man the inner cities at the current level is effectively committing the reserves far too early in the campaign - going from 6k to 16k officers in London was a complete waste - 10k would have been more than enough - those 6k should be held back as the strategic reserve - knee jerk

  • Comment number 22.

    @17 "4) We have removed many of the powers of parents and schools to punish or restrain children"

    What are you advocating? Corporal Punisment aka institutionalised violence? It won't work - it never did. That's why flogging was abolished in the army. There are rare occasions when children and adults need to be physically restrained, but competent parents and teachers never needed to resort to violence in the sense of assault. Again, in my experience, the worst behaved kids often got/saw plenty of violence at home, law or no law. If there is already alienation, giving one group the legal right to assault another will make things worse, not better.

    Kids need structure in their lives, and for adults to set an example. That includes good manners. The least successful teachers I have seen are those who are unable to be polite to kids, or hide their dislike. They should be doing something else.

    Look at the history of the Bullingdon Club. Most of them will have been "soundly thrashed" at public school: it does not seem to have improved their subsequent behaviour!

    And then there's "Guppygate"; here's one from the archives. The material is widely available:

  • Comment number 23.

    I’m really not so important that I can fiddle my taxes, change Laws to suit my aims or openly scorn those that my actions overtly oppress ......

    So .....

    In simple terms I have the humility - at least I hope that that is what my Public Relations Officer would say if I had one - to know when I’m wrong!

    Ninety five per cent of last night’s programme was up to the standard of the previous three days! Lady Em did a pretty good job! And the discussion with yoofs was - despite being too short and over-edited - a good start of ‘involving’ the public! (Take note ... Long way to go there though!)

    So .....

    I owe the Nn production team ninety five per cent of an apology, hence ......

    I’m sorr !


  • Comment number 24.

    relating to 6 and 9; due to unforeseen circumstances I was stuck yesterday watching the parliamentary "choreography" as one BBC news journalist rather accurately described it.
    I was dismayed at the utter lack of depth of debate; MPs queued up to elicit the PM's thanks to their particular police contingent who joined up with the Met, whilst others attempted to blame the disorder on "Tory cuts."
    This performance went on for over two hours; no wonder the PM shook his head in disbelief when he sat down.
    There was more depth to the repartee surrounding the Chancellor's statement; what it lacked in depth it made up for in sharpness.
    And it occurred to me that there are parallels in the way we need to combat both issues; the need to strike hard and fast was recognised economically, but not by the Met; hence we can concentrate on reshaping our economy rather than join the daily struggle against the short sellers.
    Although a slow response to the disorder resulted in a spread both in London and other cities, a large injection of (human) capital has bought us time, time we'll need to reshape our society.
    Would the German police have dithered? No! Are the German people in some sort of Dickensian la la land about their brave Bobbies? NO! Do they rabbit on about their police force being the "best in the world"? Absolutely not.
    I too have spent time working in Germany; they are a serious, industrious, realistic and from time to time very sceptical people; they don't really have a fairytale view of themselves, for obvious historical reasons.
    It is time for British people to take stock; just what are we good at and will those attributes help the reshaping of our society?
    An honest assessment of our public services, instead of this strange dreamlike response that everything we do/have, from the NHS to the Football Premier League, is the best in the world. Any one who gets out a bit and has experience of French hospitals or Spanish football will question that.
    The debt overhang, as the Chancellor describes it, means that we will be poorer than we have been and for a considerable period; this quite simply needs to sink in everywhere. And then get on with the reshape, starting with a proper debate; perhaps in addition to the e-petitions, HMG would like to set up a suggestion box for the nation to contribute.
    One final point; I found myself ahead of Andrew Neil yesterday while Charles Clarke was blowing wind about his achievements; I thought; this guy would not recognize a council estate if it landed on his head. Then Andrew

  • Comment number 25.

    '21. At 10:07 12th Aug 2011, richard bunning wrote:
    The credibility gap over policing is growing.

    As Emily's i/v with Mr. Orde revealed.

    Another seeking to project excuses for what happened to what has yet to happen and rather neglecting what has gone before seems, at best, to have been poorly directed (£ & management).

    Throwing, or not stopping throwing dosh in burning money pits seems counter-productive unless the source of combustion is addressed first.

    Yes, that includes the Robbing Hoodies and their 'anger', grievances' and 'motivations', but also the excuse industry that has spawned highly paid talking heads covered in scambled egg, mostly not accepting much adorns their overpaid, promoted and pensioned faces.

  • Comment number 26.

    Forgot to add; British predominantly stoical, phlegmatic, stolid; will put up with a lot, vide Thatcher and Blair's antics, but when roused - and it's highly unpredictable what will cause that - move almost as one to the right of Norman Tebbit.

    Need to do better; like the cup says ; keep calm and carry on.

  • Comment number 27.

    22. At 10:13 12th Aug 2011, Sasha Clarkson
    Look at the history of the Bullingdon Club. Most of them will have been "soundly thrashed" at public school:

    While one is sure the looting implied is banker related, the image of Dave or George, or indeed much of Labour's front row, rummaging through a wounded visitor's rucksack is one to conjure.

    On the 'thrashing' as part of the curriculum, as a public schoolboy from the 60s, a smidge earlier than our current 'leadership' crop, I don't recall that happening, ever.

    Mind you, the compulsory homosexuality on a Thursday seemed absent too, so maybe it was as unique as a claim on the BBC's pages?

    Nice to see there is a resistance to stereotyping at these troubled times.

  • Comment number 28.

    Have we forgotten about the economy?

    Europe is getting picked on at the moment (but this time the bigger boys, like Germany & France). Seems the US is doing all it can to deflect the pain as far and wide as it can before the reserve currency dollar demise time-bomb goes off.

    Please can NN demonstrate some real balance on the economic narrative and get Michael Hudson on the show:

    "A bailout, like any other government expenditure, is a tax. Someone must pay all this money. And it is unfair to tax the broad population to pay for a special interest. Instead of being a progressive tax policy, bailouts enable bad behavior by the financial elite, sticking taxpayers with the cost."

  • Comment number 29.

    Peter Oborne sticks the boot in - I wonder how long it will take for the 'Telegraph' to sack him?

  • Comment number 30.

    @27 Interesting and fair comment Junkk. It depends on which school. There was certainly plenty of, legal and illegal, thrashing going on in some state schools in the 60s. There is also plenty of documentary evidence that it WAS part of the culture at some major public schools - even prefects were allowed/encouraged to do it. Douglas Hurd, nicknamed 'Hitler' at Eton said "Of course I beat boys occasionally. At that time, it was considered part of one's duty, part of the job.....". On the other hand, at the local co-ed Quaker school, this would have been considered repugnant.

    Pre-WWII, corporal punishment was part of the culture of nearly every major school, and "the rest" - again, there is plenty of documentary evidence. In the seventies at KCL, I saw quite a few people whose lives had been warped by all-male boarding schools.

    In the 1980s in the early part of my teaching career, there was still a bit of corporal punishment about. Most of those responsible for administering it were very relieved when it was abolished.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am not so keen on the police having the right to read non publicly published messages on a whim , they should have to seek judicial authority before or very shorty afterwards.
    Shutting down such services could also hinder effective community responses to such crisis. Also a lack of information could also make any situation even more dangerous.

    As for the Mets Snr. leadership , they should be asked how for such a large force they can get so many things wrong , the student riots , the sheriff of Nottingham's self appointed tax collector disturbances and now this.
    Getting something wrong once is human , getting something wrong twice looks careless , getting things wrong three times, well , it looks incompetent.

    Mr Milliband interview -

    It seems to me they are still speaking with fork tongues.
    Also it does not help that they say they are calling for responsibility , yet at the same time they can not bring themselves to mention any budget reductions to help reduce the deficit they had left behind. But I heard a rumour they have hired a new financial advisor to help Mr Balls try and formulate something plausible. If so ,then I shall wait and see.

    On the economics side, I see it is now costing more to insure German debt against the risk of default than it is for the UK government now. I am guessing this has more to do with pricing in what may happen if the Eurozone actually goes for full fiscal and debt union.

    Still UK bond yields remain low , allowing for less taxpayer money being needed to pay for governments debt coupon repayments every quarter. Not bad considering the turmoil in Europe and USA , probably both not helped by election timetables in these countries.

  • Comment number 32.

    30. At 13:28 12th Aug 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    @27 Interesting and fair comment Junkk. It depends on which school.

    Fair do's.

    Some were unlucky. I was not. Great school. Set a high bar and lured all up to it using hard work, respect and team support.

    Just wanted to ensure that not all public schools, or teachers, were unfairly categorised. Or many of those who attended being defined by where they went rather than what they have achieved.

    I just missed being a 'fag' (quiet at the back!) as it was being phased out. Always wondered what became of the guys ahead of me who had endured that with only the thought of getting their turn... and seeing that dashed. I'm guessing they are those serving as captains of industry, nuclear subs, etc now. Hope it didn't mess with their heads too much.

  • Comment number 33.

    compensation: far more likely to "compensate" the ultra-wealthy landowners and businesses rather than normal people and SMEs. Want to bet on that?

    cuts: the new debate - "police cuts". What about the cuts to youth services in inner cities, what about the cuts on the local council's budgets for youth and poverty programs, it seems there is a "consensus" in the Parliament that more these are having no effects.

    Chancellor Osbo: if there is a "huge overhang of debt" threatening the economy, then HOW COME there is still enough money for tax cuts to the wealthy?

    per capita UK GDP: "UK $36,298" (
    April 2010 median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were £499 (- £6,000)

    even given the difference between £ and $, that is a HUGE discrepancy.
    there are also over 6,000 individuals earning over £1,000,000 each year in the UK.
    link for the above:

    if people are not earning enough, how can they save, how can they even consider decent pensions? Most of these people have trouble paying their rent, heating, transport, clothing and food bills. Are they hope for philanthropy from the wealthy to help improve their living standards? That seems a rarer commodity than gold itself.

    'life of brian' - soldiers entering building sketch.

    ...more to come.

  • Comment number 34.


    the police are supposed to be trained - they are not supposed to be "feral", and we all know the difference when we see it. Total misdirection. We may not be able to have a perfect police force, but we can still demand it.

    the orders to "stand back" are highly questionable. Where did those orders come from, who has resoponsibility for them?

    blaming "recent tradition" in policing is just pathetic. I'm CERTAIN many police officers were dismayed and disgused by what happened to ian tomlinson at the G20, they do not need to have explained the them the limits of their own behaviour. Ergo, unless the worry was they were not sufficiently armoured to take on English kids, (or was it the Police Chiefs were concerned about the feralness of their own Police allowed to take initiative? I can't think of a worse insult to the many police out there!), there does seem to be some very strong questions to be asked as to that operational choice. WERE some senior police hoping to use this to force a discussion on police cuts, as the Polie union man hinted?? That is pretty shocking if so, and i very much doubt the police in the front-line wold personally have agreed with those orders if so. Most police, despite the few bad apples, want to live in a safe, secure and prosperous society, and they were as shocked as everyone else by these crimes, and would have done the right thing if allowed to.

    good point on the social networking from the audience - if the messages were going around the networks 3 HOURS beforehand, EITHER the senior police knew through the spying (and chose to do nothing - pity we cannot phone-hack *them* and those who give them their orders?), or ELSE there is an **massive** dislocation betwen State and youth, so that there was not even one 'snitch' from ANY reciever of the messages. Neither look particularly good for the trust between Govt/State, and the population. Ignoring the whole moral relativism of 'snitching' in itself for another day.

    so either elements of the State are untrustworthy, or else they are completely untrusted. Or both.

    is that entirely the Police's fault though, or do politicians have to take part of the blame?

  • Comment number 35.

    "numbers of police" "numbers of police" "numbers of police" - anyone else getting bored by it?

    "the more 'powers; the police get, the less actual power they have. Because a few misuse their powers, leading to more disenchantment with the population. Civilian police can only manage by the agreement, and acceptance, of those they police. Open resistance by populations exponentially increase the resources needed. Police can only function with the consent of those they help self-govern, if they are seen as 'outside', or above the Law, or also enforcing iniquitous laws, as, basically, "the Other" by many communities (ie "The Man" in US Counter-culture Fx), all factors that are increased by the Police having more Legal powers, all de-legitimise the Police in the eyes of the communities they ostensibly 'serve', and protect. This results in them having less natural authority, and thus less actual power. The police knew this when they refused extra powers under nuLabour, and the Met have understood that better than most."

    more police numbers could not have "prevented" what happened in the London riots, although possibly the other cities. What is needed is that feeling of concordat between the State and its citizens (even its youngest), that it is not just a RIGHT for the wealthy to soak up all the wealth, they have a RESPONSIBILITY to those they soak the wealth off, the millions of normal Britons and English. What is needed is that the young feel the politicians accept THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to PROVIDE a stable economy based upon good, skilled and respected work that pays them enough to live well. Or to support them into studies. THE YOUNG WANT TO FEEL THEY ***HAVE*** A STAKE IN THIS SOCIETY!! Many of those protesting are even too young to vote, - whatever good that seems to do. They want those in charge of their lives and futures, to CARE about those lives and futures, to invest in the future of Britain, to have Govt investment in creating new opportuities for them, REAL opportunities - just like those born to more wealth have. They want the UK Govt to wok for more egalitarianness, and ooportunity for ALL.

    these Govt ministers now cutting even the EMAs, every single one of them were actually PAID to go to university, with tax-payer *grants* and no fees. Even though THEIR families could afford it many times over. But now they are slasing the budgets for 100,000s of the poorest, who cannot afford to go to college, and cannot find a job because the economy is in recession and unemployment is extreme, ESPECIALLY amongst youth.

    the problem is not lack of police, or surveillance, or punishments, or violence, the problem is a lack of belief in a better future, with this Govts plans. The solution is to offer people hope, and invesment in the future of these people. As somebody said, "it would be far better to use the money wasted on imprisoning these people, spent on apprencticeships and skills training for them". Such obvious, blatant common sense - if your concern is really for the future, and not feral soundbites. The UK needs more skills, it needs more motivated young people, it needs to re-engage the youth, and whole sectors of the UK population. No doubt everyone now doesn't want to be seen as "supporting" the rioters, just as after 9/11 no-one wanted to be the unpopular 'voice of reason'. I await the proclamations that "shooting the rioters would have been cheaper", seeing as how common-sense conservative values would actually lead towards investments in the UKs future.

    "CCTV worked": but only in the areas where the rioters lived - the poor boroughs. In wealthier areas there seemed enough support, - where the senior police, politicians etc lived...

    ca we have CCTV in the bank boardrooms, Westminster offices and Downing St, please? That would prevent a LOT of crime. The loss of your job and homes may be less directly frightening than hooded-up children, but for millions, they are more long-term real.

  • Comment number 36.

    prescott: the police DO NOT NEED rubber bullets - AND NOT AGAINST ***BRITISH CHILDREN***!!!!!!!!! GOD[BLEEP]ITTTtttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!

    a greater cover-up for slum-clearance i simply cannot imagine. Whether worked out before, during, or after, the riots.

    i took, by accident, a Scandinavian friend of mine through Tottenham, 8 years ago. Being English, i didn't really look at the district as an outsider would, especially as she did from DK where there is a strong sense of duty to the population's living standards from the politicians (less perhaps in recent DK Govts), just taking it as ..."England". We all know there is tremendous poverty, right? What's the issue here? Move along, please, nothing to see.

    but i glanced at her face as we travelled, and i saw the absolute shock, she simply could not BELIEVE there was this level of poverty in the middle of the UK. She could not comprehend it. And i looked again at the streets we were passing - and i became ashamed. Especially as she KNEW that a well-run society could eradicate such poverty and deprivation easily, there is nothing comparable in Denmark, poverty is seen as a catastrophic failure of Govt policies, and would NOT be tolerated. Nor were punitive sanctions used against the Danish poor - instead the wealth gap was reduced by deliberate use of taxation, and the welfare state initiated to reduce poverty and inequality. And this was not done begrudgingly, but will the full-heart of the Danish people.

    i have tried to tell people i have met in Pakistan and Malawi the depth of the poverty in the UK/London/major cities - and they simply, absolutely, refuse to accept it. How would such areas have looked upon the TV screens of the world, during the Olympics? Well, now we may never know. Perhaps they would just have cordoned them off?

    i would not say the Govt are behaving like slum landlords* who pay hooligan arsonists to burn down properties, in order to 'cleanse' the current tenants, or for illegitimate financial gain. I would not say that at all, that would be complete slander. I do however worry about this knee-jerk reaction to evict those in social housing, it is hard to see it achieving anything except further social exclusion and 'feralness'. Apart from any (alleged) policies of gentrification, of course. Or to appease the far-right press/commentators, who are having a field day.


    The good comment about apprenticeships on the QT show, of interest perhaps, here is the REAL program of "Free Schools" this Tory Govt has lifted from:

    the cost of one of these courses would be far less than the cost of keeping someone in prison. A LOT less. Punish the poor - or improve their conditions? If *you* were poor (and many of you soon may well be on benefits, ...if you are not already), which would you prefer? And those worried about "lost generations", and those worried about a skills-less youth, and those worried about entrepreneurship... and loving parents who want their children, ALL children, to have a decent chance to make a decent life and future for themselves. Unless a society is suicidal, doesn't that make SOME sense?

    he has a good heart but the Christian guy has too slow a delivery for modern UK media-watchers - too slow speaking, but definitely has a good heart!

    fraser: in fact the LOW WAGES are creating the welfare trap. Was totally with you til then, however. Welfare benefits are set at the poverty level, if wages are LOWER than that, this is indeed a severe trap. Its doubtful that many of those who are arguing for lowering welfare have EVER tasted real poverty, beyond an occasional media-stunt for the cameras. People are already facing a real-terms cut in living standards of 6-10% a year, or more, there is nowhere lower for most people to go. And at the same time, there seems to be no upper-limit on the amount of greed acceptable at the top.
    wages need to go up, excessive exploitation slashed, and greater social equality and opportunity necessary - and not just empty soundbites. Even the TORIES must understand this, let alone the Liberals.

  • Comment number 37.

    david davis: sorry, you were wrong. A "criminal activity at all levels of society" - is BY DEFINITION "a political event". This is NOT just a "criminality" issue.

    stop and search: this keeps being raised, and i have a question: are these also used *against* white poor youths also? Is this an income thing, rather than race?

    sentencing: 6 months - for breaking and entering, and looting, is quite adequate. Or we could go Salafi-Taliban, and chop their hands off. Some wing-nut commentators are reaching that point. Perhaps the ME is not so different to "Enlightened Europe", after all?

    the woman in the audience with the great, complex ideas, what a *shame* david davies talked the points down. Worth listening to her comments/question again.

    off-topic: in this blog earlier in the week, i said to "observe and arrest them afterwards", not to ask for police inaction, but to request for political wisdom. That was obvious to ANY responsible police officer or politician at the time, of that i am certain. I may have had a place in this scheme of things, but not the the police inactions! I am hardly in a place to dictate police-policy. If i was, i would suggest a review of laws and enforcement that are helping creating crime-ghettoes, and wasting vast amounts of police resources. And no, i'm not talking about paperwork and backroom staff. As the Police spokesman said last night - ALL those roles are essential, and it is essential to have properly trained, professional staff doing them. For what reason were those extra Police drafted in to London and other cities, if then later they were ordered to do nothing? Strangest misuse of very scarce police resources those nights, it would be good to have transparency on some decision making.

    (still on QT, btw):
    ALL the panelists were excellent at points, and very bad at points. ...this was refreshing, rather than having "automatic bad guys". But it makes commenting harder - without a transcript. It improved noticeably towards the end, after that woman in the audience smacked down* the 'twit'-eratti sitting behind her. :)

    *verbally, with her intellect and ideas, obviously not literally. That would be violence, hitting people and i'm sure we are all AGAINST that?

    very good QT show though, better (i suspect) than the Commons 'debate'. At least there was a variet of views, from the panel as well as the audience.


    "If the young are not initiated into the village,
    they will burn it down just to feel its warmth"

  • Comment number 38.

    that's an African proverb, btw.

  • Comment number 39.

    OOOOPS!!!! on #33 - i made big mistakes on the maths for 'wages for full time work'. In fact i was looking for the figures on the MEAN AVERAGE for full time wages, instead. That would have shown the wage levels for the majority of workers in Britain. And yes, i am aware there are 52 weeks in the year really. I made a mistake, but i HAVE been writing a lot today. Sorry. If you didn't see it, don't worry. ;)

  • Comment number 40.

    an excellent intro to the events leading up to the riot:

    so... only "police cuts" from Milli-Labour? Are they hoping the blogo-sphere will take up the rest of the issues? - or is milliband terrified of having his own PRO-CUTS policies under scrutiny? Only time will tell.

    peter osborne article:

    one of the most amazing thing about this crisis, is the sheer number of people and journalists who are beginning to link past events to current ones - normally, if you think about it, events are seen in the media/public discussion as completely isolated from each other. This is a vast improvement. :)

    parenting. How come so many adults only know how to reach their kids through violence? It is shocking! Those who treat their kids well, through love and dicuss matters, are much more likely get their kids behaving with respect towards *them*. Were we so much different in our wants and needs? If *you* misbehaved at work, would you appreciate a quick 'clip around the ear'? Or a discussion about what happened? (Actually, in many cases probably the former...).

    i just don't happen to think that allowing parents to hit children would have prevented what happened in London, and elsewhere. It seems a bit farfetched.

    the later trio: the woman on the right was correct: spending a little more on child and youth care, can save a fortune in the long run. The problem with such a idea is that the State's services are being cut.

  • Comment number 41.

    from NN, thurs: how can parents explain why it's beneficial to work hard within 'the system', when the kids already know there will no good jobs at the end of it all? It is NOT just "the parents fault", Parliament has to take responsibiliy as well. What messages are THEY sending out?

    btw, david cameron wanted to use rubber bullets aganst English children, the rioters being 50% under 18. Wow. Even other authoritarian regimes were shocked.

    that ex-Sun political commentator on the show was spot-on about how the respective tory/nuLabour leaders are going to "position themselves". I hope it will be saved and remembered for future.

    CCTV: wouldn't have needed the CCTV in the centres, without the deprivation nearby. Perhaps this is one of those occasional cases of forethought? :o

    here's another:


    finished tw 03: 05, few days ago. Was this broadcast before or after the Banking 'crisis'? Just wondering.

    btw, seems to me, as the BNP have now dropped their racial requirement for membership, that their numbers could easily be swamped by minorities joining. Seems to me also that many poor communities have much in common, but no common political platform across the areas. Seems to me like this would be good karma. Many people in England are proud to be British, and this is not restricted to only white people.

    another reason to feel sorry for the younger generation, and possible effects of mass media: i grew up with Luke - they grew up with his father.

    even Beauty and the Beast didnt have such a hard ending.



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