Some thoughts on the looters


           I am grateful for the big response to my request for comments on the looting and arson in our cities. Many of you want tougher policing, and have specified how.  A few have warned against reactions which damage the liberties of the rest of us, or undermine the tolerance and consent of British society at its best.

         Some of you do not like the fact that I have removed some of your comments. I have done so in accordance with my request for facts, evidence and analysis. I do not wish to have to spend time defending this site for posting material which offends innocent people because it falsely brands too many with the stamp of criminality.

           A few posters are infected by the Ken Livingstone approach. He condemns the looters whilst at the same time claiming it is the result of cuts, social exclusion and other mistaken policies. He does not pause to think it is mainly an indictment of many years of Labour rule nationally and in London, if public policy is at fault. No-one can claim Mr Johnson or Mr Cameron have made much difference yet to levels of spending or the general approach to the public sector, other than to put spending up a little more.

          I reject the proposition that we have been witnessing the spontaneous political outbreak from a dispossessed underclass reacting to draconian public sector cuts. To start with, overall spending has gone up.  Consider three types of people we have seen or heard about involved in these criminal activities.

           There are the schoolchildren. They are attending well financed state schools, whose budgets were increased substantially during the Labour years, and whose budgets have been protected by the Coalition. Those who attend inner city schools receive substantially more cash per head for their education than the schoolchildren in  Home Counties suburbia. Their schools may well be getting double the amount per pupil.  Both past and  present governments are dedicated to improving their life chances through their reforms. The consistent message has been there is a decent life for you too, if you behave and perform well at school. The fact that too many of these children do not respond, may not get support at home, and get to the position where they wish to drop out from the mainstream argues for changing the way we do things but does not prove a lack of concern or cash.

           There are the employed twenty somethings who have now been charged with theft  and violent entry into shops. Listening to the roll call of oocupations, they did not sound like the dispossessed. They are not the frustrated unemployed. They were greedy people who thought they saw an opportunity to have something free that they could probably afford to buy from their incomes in the normal way if the budgetted sensibly. Those who have been caught have just made a mess of their lives. The danger is their criminal record will then get in the way of them taking responsiblity for themselves and their familes and continuing in worthwhile paid employment.

           There are, we hear from government sources, the gang leaders and organisers. These are people who make a living out of selling misery to people by trading in drugs, protection and other illegal activities. Gangland culture is not a healthy part of some of our urban areas. It is run by people who show considerable entrepreneurial skills, but choose to exercise them in dark ways on the wrong side of the law, often with dreadful consequences for those caught up in their activities.

         It is difficult to conclude from the tv pictures that this is a revolt of the very poor. Many of them went looting in cars, or were  directed to the crime scenes through their  blackberries as they raced there in their designer trainers and tops.

       As many say, we have created a society where this type of behaviour is possible. There are too many children without parents controlling and encouraging them, too many school pupils who are not motivated and  disciplined within the walls of academy, too many young people who know their rights but do not accept their responsibilities. We have concentrated on the politically correct at the expense of old fashioned virtues and orderly conduct. The last government encouraged the police to to spend more time and energy on  thought crime and less on anti social behaviour or worse.  People have been encouraged to worship the cult of celebrity, to think the possession of branded products is what matters most, and to think that almost any means are justified by the end. Civility, courtesy, moderate language, mutual respect, consideration for others and efforts to improve the social fabric have been regarded as old fashioned or middle class. Everyone else has been told to look to the state, to insist on their entitlement, and to think more public money will solve all ills and create fine lives. Deprivation, past hardship, low income beginnings have been advanced as excuses for criminal or self defeating behaviour. Ambition has been set low or snuffed out for those from poor backgrounds.

         In a later post  I will look at the kind of policing many of you would like to see to prevent this happening in future.


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  1. Quietzaple
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Ken is quite right that Tory cuts have the biggest role: read Lprd Toby Harris’ blog.

    He was Leader of the relevant council when the previous riots took place and, to summarise, your party’s cuts were a factor then.

    (a challenged allegation about police removed-ed)

    • Yudansha
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Quietzaple – A couple of points here:

      – no cuts have been made.

      – most of the looters were dressed more expensively than I am.

      – I am crippled by taxes despite working sixty hour weeks

      – I can’t afford a Blackberry

      – We don’t get free school meals but can’t afford to pay for them either

      – I pay through the nose to live in an ex council house

      By all of your measures I am deprived. However, I am white and I speak with a middle-English accent so I guess that I don’t qualify.

      I see your point though. Engage in looting and burning down buildings and you can intimidate the government into diverting cut-backs and force the police out of your vicinity at the same time.

      I can’t say that there are any circumstances which would make me feel that was a desirable way to behave.

      I suppose that’s why I’ve never been unemployed for long. I suppose that’s why the millions of black people I see working hard in London will never be unemployed for long too.

      It comes from innate decency. Something which the people you are trying to defend simply don’t have.

      Ken Livingstone is wrong … as usual.

      • Yudansha
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        PS, “The youth have no stake in society. None of them can hope to buy a house in London.”

        Nor can the average police officer under 10 year’s service.

        • Simon
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          A met police constable is paid a package of over £60k/year before overtime .

          This is quite a bit better than highly qualified teachers will manage .

          The only reason this high figure is not readily apparent is because a huge proportion of this is pensions benefits . These far exceed the contribution paid by the employer and employees during the time the policeman is working and the shortfall will be made up by the taxpayer when they come to retire .

          They basically get 2/3rd of their remuneration now and the remaining 1/3rd is pensions benefits .

          For the record I think this is about the ideal ratio between immediate and deferred remuneration and would like to see everyone in the country saving at approximately this ratio .

          If that happened the price of things like houses and fuels would
          miraculously fall .

          Deferring remuneration for police and teachers when everyone else gets theirs immediately does tend to penalise police/teachers in the housing market .

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          Clearly not everyone who want one can have a house in London. There can never be enough, there in not enough land so they are correctly rationed by the market supply and demand as are cars and much else in life.

          Personally I would like one in Chelsea but alas I am not prepared to pay the going rate there.

          • StevenL
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 3:45 am | Permalink

            They are rationed by planning regulation, we could easily build higher if doing so was more popular with the incumbent landowners.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          If you don’t have a job you can also go to the pub much more. True. For many it is a lifestyle the debate is the how much choice if any they have in living this lifestyle. Lets face it would you want to live like this every day of your life?

          • zorro
            Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

            How can you spend so much time in the pub if you have no job? Beer is so expensive there unless they spend all their benefit money there. Maybe some people get too much benefit money?

            You live where you can afford. What you are is more important than where you live. Be noble and of use to society rather than being a parasitic looter/benefit consumer. Everyone, yes everyone in the UK can go to school for free and need not starve and can be housed. As John says the poverty of ambition is totally depressing.


      • lifelogic
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        I read that 600,000 adults under the age of 25 in the UK have never done a days work in their life. Should they (if able to work) really be entitled to any benefit at all before any contribution has been made?

        Does benefit really help them anyway or just reinforce their dependent behaviour?

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          After all they are not likely to learn how to work sitting a home watching tv.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            So what you are proposing is to stop their benefits?

        • zorro
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          It encourages dependency, no contributions – no money, work schemes can be made available. Enough is enough.


      • uanime5
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        The Government already has made some cuts and many people have lost their jobs in the private sector. Given that the Government is always talking about cuts is it any surprise the most people think the cuts have already been implemented in full.

        I can’t recall seeing any well dressed looters. Some were wearing clothes with designer labels but these can be purchased cheaply if you buy during a sale.

        Your comments about not being unemployed just show how ignorant you are. It is much easier to get a job if you have work experience than if you don’t. 2.5 million people aren’t unemployed because they want to live in poverty.

      • Quietzaple
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Two points because tie short:

        There have been cuts to youth clubs where some of the rioters might have spent the time they were rioting Nonsense to pretend there are no cuts already in progress

        Few can afford a Blackberry or iPhone on a B i N basis: but these are available on monthly contracts relatively cheaply albeit that people have different priorities: up to you

        I don’t say that simple deprivation is a factor for all the rioters/looters

        The biggest factor most likely is the demoralisation the Tories have set about for some years now and the Cuts are a big part of the threat

        • zorro
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          Why don’t they go to a library to read and improve their prospects. Why do they have to go to (the youth -ed) club? Innit?

          If the poor dears can’t afford Blackberries so what? So what?

          These rioters are pathetic and cowardly.


          • Bazman
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            “Don’t be a surgeon come to Benidorm! We’ve got everything! Beer! Plastic chairs!” To quote in his own words, ‘eighteen stone of idiot’ Johnny Vegas.
            Are they supposed to live live in some quaint 21 century version of penniless English peasants tilling the land or robbing the landlord and then falling out of the tavern with woman cackling?
            They do have ambition much of the sort middle class people have, but as a career is often closed to them exists in their families and having prestige or seen as prestige goods.
            You people need to educate yourselves a little more.

        • norman
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          I think you’ll find the Tories haven’t governed alone since 1997. Why let facts get in the way of a good prejudice though?

          Out of interest I wonder who controls the councils in these areas which are being demoralised with cuts to youth centres, etc. I know who my money is on.

      • APL
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Yudansha: “- no cuts have been made.”

        Worth saying that again.


        That is a bad thing.

      • Kenneth
        Posted August 13, 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Yes, no (net) cuts have been made. This is becoming urgent. If we seriously want to avoid an unmanaged crash, worse than any before; if we really want to avoid 4 hours of electricity a day and avoid having to live off of the land we should really start cutting public spending here and now.

    • John Bucknall
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      …presumably because they were trying to apprehend someone they thought was a known gangster who might be proved to have been armed with a loaded gun.

    • Quietzaple
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Ask them

      (piece removed following challenge to the facts about the incident-ed)

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Moderators should be careful on what they allow people to post. (Goes on to say the police did not shoot a named individual. I am trying to remove the contested prior comment, but so far my system is not giving me access to it.)

  2. Martin Cole
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    There are winners and losers in life. Hard work is generally rewarded by ending among the winners. This was once taught at primary school with the eleven plus. (Not necessarily IQ based) Failures at eleven, as occurred in my family, could be corrected (again by hard work) at age 13 and again at age 16 after GCE/GCSE.

    Yet you serve a party that rejects Grammar Schools and has swallowed the socialist/marxist agenda lock, stock and barrel – hence the riots.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Hard work is rewarded but doing nothing and being rich pays much the same. Few people are able to match the natural advantages of being rich and well connected through hard work.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Agreed but what other remotely sensible party is there that has any chance under the current system?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Hard work in a dead end job with no end in sight is just to much like hard work for me. The dead end job I can live with the dead end I can’t.

      • zorro
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        Then study and do something else then instead of your dead end job.


        • APL
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          zorro: “Then study and do something else .. ”

          Don’t be silly, in New Labour britian one is owed everything, no effort is required.

          When you think of the self help, the workmans institutes in the mining areas, the idea of self help and self sufficiency of the late 19th and early 20th century, its all been swept away by the socialist idea that the state is your first port of call for anything.

          • APL
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            There was supposed to be [sarcasm] tags around my first paragraph.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          I have often pondered medicine or the stage but it’s the most devastating moment in a young mans life, when he quite reasonably says to himself, “I shall never play The Dane!” It is at that moment that all ambition ceases to exist.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    There is simply no deterrent in place to this behaviour and clearly many people have a human nature that requires such a deterrent. What are Ken Clark’s plans now?

    A generation brought up, by socialism, believing in their rights to everything with no responsibility and full of excuses as to why everyone else should continue to carry them. Encouraged by the over large state, that uses them as justification for their jobs providing “services” to this underclass that they have created.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Most to blame are, as usual, the BBC, the equality and human rights commission, labour party Blair and Brown, socialism, local authorities, the over large state sector, the poor education system, the police’s general “right on” social worker approach, and a tax and benefit system than encourages people to never get a (legal) job, pay their way or take any responsibility for themselves.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        What deterrents do you have in mind? Ending their human rights, equality, income from the state, and increasing police oppression. I wonder how far that will get you? About as far as Egypt or Syria I would think. Sky or ITV is not to blame?

        • zorro
          Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

          Why do you go to extremes all the time? ‘Ending their human rights’ – Who is ending their human rights? – Get a grip!


          • Bazman
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            As extreme as stopping their benefits? What next healthcare? Get a grip.

          • APL
            Posted August 13, 2011 at 12:22 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “What next healthcare?”

            Er, yes!

            If I take up a dangerous sport, is it easy to get life insurance, if I can get it can I get it cheaply? No, No.

            If through the individuals choice he engages in illegal activity that leads to bodily injury. Should that person be treated at the expense of the state?

            Perhaps he should be treated but billed and failure to pay will lead to sequestration of assets to settle the bill.

            Goes for the drunkards that fill the A&E wards each weekend.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          The main deterrent is the likely hood of being caught (currently very unlikely as the police do so little to even bother to record or investigate most crimes). Then a sensible range of deterrent punishments available to the courts and sensible judges (with sufficient freedom) and who make good decisions in the light of all the particulars of each individual case.

          • StevenL
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            There’s no freedom when it comes to sentencing arsonists, all they can do is hand down a life tariff.

          • rose
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            The greatest deterrent is stigma and taboo. The cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s deprived us of a simple and cost effective means of preserving our civilization.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      The underclass are created by capitalists, not socialists. The rich only become rich by paying the poor as little as possible.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Capitalism employs the working-class. Socialism initially protected the underclass. It has since expanded it through State dependency and removing individual and family responsibility and aspiration. You are in 19th century timewarp.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Aspiration and expectation without any means for it to be fulfilled is the main problem. British peasants working the land or an underclass happy with their lot living hand to mouth is a fantasy.
          You could argue that this has always existed, but in advanced western countries not to this extent. The old argument is that you could leave your door open is counteracted, at least by me, that they did not have anything to steal and images of wealth where not everywhere.

      • APL
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “The rich only become rich by paying the poor as little as possible ..”

        Boilerplate socialist claptrap.

        But it is instructive to see how much those wonderful socialist states pay their working proletariat.

        China for instance – what do you think is the mean wage in China?

        By the way, when was the last time you bought a DVD player or a TV that was made in Britain?

        Probably not in the last ten years because you want to pay the lowest price you can. That means, oh socialist one, exploiting your fellow workers in China, because you won’t pay the retail price that is required to employ a British worker to produce the same good.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          ‘China for instance – what do you think is the mean wage in China?’
          It’s a bit like saying most people are better off than they were in the 16th century and at least you not afraid of bubonic plague.
          Poverty in China is not the same as poverty in Britain. Rural peasants living off the land do not exist in Britain for a start. In Russia they do selling what they grow to buy what they cannot grow or make. This is not realistic here. A middle class fantasy no less. The Good Life, but harsh and difficult existence they eat a lot of vegetables and vodka is an escape. Prices are the same or more for all goods even potatoes. A bit like here without the work. Pot Noodle and beer instead of vegetables and vodka.
          You could look at Britain like a train crossing the desert with some of the people needing to be helped as they get left behind.

          • APL
            Posted August 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “You could look at Britain like a train crossing the desert with some of the people needing to be helped as they get left behind.”

            Ah the ‘we don’t want to get left behind’ metaphor. I don’t mind helping people who make a effort to help themselves.

            Nothing to say why you would prefer your dvd player manufactured by near slave labour in China but not by reasonably paid workers in the UK.

    • javelin
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I’ve posted a little later that it may be better to reframe this problem by viewing “unconditional love” coming from the mother and “conditional love” coming from the father.

      Max hastings says something similar in the Mail when he says “They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings.” and hes says “too many children without parents controlling and encouraging them” but he doesnt see the link between motherly (unconditional) love and fatherly (conditional ) love and single parent families and the problems they cause. If you read his article he simply blames families. He is wrong.


      I think reframing the argument like this is very constructive. Because it does not deny the mothers type of love. It does not put her into the corner. What I am saying is you need both types of love in a family. Unconditional love means the child loves themselves (this is is the basis of self confidence and without unconditional love the child becomes neurotic) but conditional love means the child is shaped to be a good member of society (fathers get their children to be good citizens).

      So what I am saying is that it is healthy for BOTH parents to be in a relationship with the child. This is the Tory line – but the Tory line is incoherent and sounds old fashioned. But by looking at the consequences of unconditional and conditional love you can come up with a coherent explanation for (1) why father less children are over confident and believe they are special (2) why (some unfortunate-ed) fatherless children do not fit into society. (there are many examples of successful child rearing by single parents-ed)

      Psychotherapy also explains how mothers/sons over attach and create dysfunctional families – as sons are brought up to the the single moms “partners” in over 30% of single mum families. This leads to boys having problems forming adult relationships (look up “emotional incest” on google).

      It also sends a positive message that YES mothers are highly valued and it is not their fault that the children are ferral. But also that fathers need to be responsible and involved with their children. The message is that you cant give unconditional love and conditional love from the same parent – its impossible. You do actually need TWO parents to create a healthy child. The mother creates love for yourself and that is the basis of love for others, but the father creates good behaviour and that is necessary to function in society. All this must happen all the time AT home and cannot be taught by teachers or a nanny state. Every child s different and every set of parents must learn to customise their love for each child.

      All this is very solidly understood by psychotherapists and would provide a strong grounding for the Big Society concept.

      Please read my post on this subject further down the page.

  4. Roger
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Good article, but the elephant in our living room is not mentioned.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Is it a white elephant?


  5. StevenL
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    ‘Policing’, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and all the Criminal Justice Acts are one option.

    There is however another viable option for people that want to burn our country down.

    The Mental Health Act regime. Even the medium secure wards not of Rampton and Broadmoor fame are not ‘pretty’.

    Parliament should do its job, and let the authorities do theirs.

  6. StevenL
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Where is the acknowledgment from the tories that people in the UK’s real areas of high youth unemployment are not rioting.

    Before you start throwing money into these bottomless pits please think of the people of Newcastle etc. The Thatcher government won us Nissan, what are the Cameron government doing for us?

    • Amanda
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      I think you mean acknowledgement from ‘the socialists’ eg Miss Harman. And, considering Newcastle is a sea of red on election nights, perhaps you should ask yourselves what you can do for yourselves !!

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Brown’s money for votes doing as intended.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        So high youth unemployment in Labour areas = no rioting, but high youth unemployment in Conservative strongholds = rioting. Could the problem be the way these areas are run?

        • APL
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “Could the problem be the way these areas are run?”

          Or not enough graft in Tory areas?

      • StevenL
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        There are a few tory constituencies in the north east, and many of the residents work in or around Newcastle.

        Newcastle voted blue in 1979 but there is a kind of perception up there that the tories are a party that only cares about the south east.

        What geordies like me have done is move down south. I know plenty who have. The reality is that it takes government to attract big business and good quality sustainable jobs. We live in a corporatrist world and the multi-nationals want something in return for setting up here instead of in Spain.

        Tories will never get a big majority without winning back some of the seats they lost in 1983. The perception of the tories as a party thst only cares about the south east is wrong in my view. The 1980’s economic reforms did more for north east women in the workplace than any of Ms Harman’s equality laws for a start.

  7. Viv Evans
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    “too many young people who know their rights but do not accept their responsibilities. goes hand-in-hand with “look to the state, to insist on their entitlement, and to think more public money will solve all ills and create fine lives.”

    It is sad, but needs to be stated repeatedly: this attitude has been taught not just to the present generation whom we’ve seen looting and burning, it has been taught to the generation of their parents and grandparents.
    Else how to explain the thirty-something teachers appearing in court for looting?

    I think conservative politicians both on local and national levels need to be less mealy-mouthed about putting the blame firmly where it belongs: the socialist ideology pervading our schools, our media, our universities and colleges which inform not just Labour politicians but the ‘clientele’ they have so successfully ‘nurtured’ since the end of WWII.
    The fact that some groups of immigrants have stood up against the thugs may simply be due to the fact that they haven’t been fully introduced to the ‘my rights – you pay’ attitude yet.

    • outsider
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      No, it is because some immigrants, from all over the place, have a stronger moral compass than the average native. And the “my rights, you pay” attitude, which you rightly abhor, has not just been learnt by people of a different origin.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        Correct in general in my experience. But it will not take them long to adapt to the UK

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Quite. West Indian migrants who arrived here in the 50s were hardworking, educated and ambitious. The welfare State had detroyed that culture for a significant part of (our-ed) community within a generation. This is the socialist’s burden.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The biggest casualty has been the idea that mankind is good.

    Kiddies are sweet and, if teacher just leaves them alone, they will all grow up lovely.
    Original sin is a huge trick played by the (YUCK) Religious Church. Authority is rubbish, property is theft and the Police are Pigs.

    Last night we all saw the Police beating a rioter to the ground with batons. I could almost hear the cheer go up. A week ago, this would have been shown round the world as an outrage to Liberal Opinion. Last night, Diane Abbott sad, confused and passe.

    So good night Liberal Woolly Caring and Sharing. We have (at last) got real. Civilization is a terribly thin crust which can easily crumble leaving the grinning monster beneath.

    The poor man being ordered to take his trousers off was the worst for me. What was it for you?

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Since the Blair Government I have foreseen an increasing apocalyptic future for this country – the last few days have re-inforced my opinion. The reality is under the veneer (in some cases very thin) of civilisation an increasing percentage are unproductive, uncontrolled and uncontrollable and without discipline, particularly in schools and on the streets, and strict law and order e.g. zero tolerance policing, proper jail sentences, chaos or brutal dictatorship will ensue. With the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Clarke (where is he?) in charge I do not share your view that we will get real. This is just a short term knee jerk reaction in the best Nulab tradition and remember we are completely hamstrung by the ever increasingly dangerous EU and its control over our lives.

    • rose
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      The worst moment for me was in 1980, when firemen’s oxygen hoses were cut during the Bristol riots. Scarman’s response to that was to destroy our values and our culture. Here we are, 31 years later, with the PM apparently noticing for the first time that firemen have been attacked during a riot.

      His performance today was splendid, except in one respect: his nasty, weak, and gratuitous attack on the EDL, presumanbly to win brownie points with all the wrong sort of people. If it is laudable for Sikhs and Turks to defend their own, then why is it “sick” for Englishmen to do the same? It is this sort of mindless marginalisation of natural and decent instincts which have brought us to the point where no-one dares intervene when things are getting out of hand. I had hoped for better from him, in that one respect.

    • StevenL
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Easy one that Mike, it was the arson. You do know it’s a mandatory life sentence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971?

      Playing with matches can seriously ruin your life. A lot of them can’t hack a life tariff in with the hardened crims so end up a nervous wreck in the secure wards.

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Most crises also provide opportunities. Here the opportunity may indeed be a campaign to improve the social fabric in society. Some initiatives at grassroot level (like the broom squads) could be seen already. Improved community spirit may only be a small part of the social fabric but it will be indispensable.

    • norman
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I somehow think the people of Britain are expecting more than yet another Big Society relaunch to come out of this.

      • APL
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Norman: ” .. more than yet another Big Society relaunch ..”

        It seems the ‘Big Society’ and ‘Localism’ are both dead as far as Cameron is concerned.

        The response to the riots was at a ministerial level. The Mayor of London seems utterly irrelevant. The knee jerk response of MPs and politicians is to pass more laws.

        It’s not as if we haven’t experienced riots before in this country and the local police forces were able to deal with them sometimes with the aid of the local militia.

        Read the riot act to the assembled disorderly mob, god help you if you are still on the streets thereafter.

        If the riot act is no longer on the statute book then maybe we should ask the politicians why a perfectly adequate law was repealed?

  10. Peter Campbell
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    A quite from Joel Bowman of The Daily Reckoning sums it up very well-
    “England is a socialist state, like most mature, ageing western nations. It is a toad in search of a tire…a “bug in search of a windshield,” as John Mauldin puts it. As such, it is a breeding ground for ne’re-do-wells, grifters, layabouts, leeches, social parasites and welfare recipients of all stripes. These individuals, guided by the blinding force of mob mentality, are simply doing what the state conditioned them to do: They are trying to get something for nothing. They are the violent sons begat of a violent institution. And they’re giving anarchists a bad name.”

    • APL
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Peter Campbell [Quoting Bowman] “England is a socialist state, like most mature, ageing western nations. ”

      The mark of the utter failure of a reactionary Tory party that it has been unable to hold back the march of socialism.

      Only once briefly under Thatcher did it ever in the post world war period attempt to articulate an alternative way to the dead socialist path we have trodden.

      Other than that one brief instant, the Tory party has been on the back foot, always reacting and conciliating with the socialists to the extent that they have elected a Socialist to be their leader.

  11. Ian Waddell
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    These are all good and valid questions that you raise. My question to you is, how do we teach the countries children, and their parents the morals and values that will prevent these sorts of things happening?

    In times gone by, religion used to play an important part in teaching morals, but as we as a society have become less religious, we haven’t found a replacement for teaching morals to society.

    The law can tell us what is legal, and what is illegal but it can’t give people a moral framework for what is right and what is wrong. I think it is this that we need to address and start rebuilding the moral fabric of this country.



    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      I think there has been a few thousand years of philosophical discussions on morality, it is not a subject owned by religion. Additionally I believe there has been much educational research on children’s stories and morality (though again this isn’t new; fairy tales and fables). I believe there are also secular family groups (some online).

      And the other learning point is that training and feedback (stick or Saturnalia carrot) can work before an education based on understanding.

      [I don’t like saying this dubious analogy as it may be taken in the wrong way, nevertheless, some owners manage to train pet dogs to behave well without the need for the dog to develop a religous induced moral compass.]

      • Grupi
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        A lack of religion doesn’t mean somebody will turn into a criminal, but the absence of religious teaching is part of the problem in these places. Ideally, moral guidance should be coming from the parents, but in many of the poorer areas the parents are as disreputable and as lost to society as their children – no coincidence there.

        Schools could fill the gap, but the children often pay little attention to their teachers, and the latter lack the disciplinary tools and support from the law and educational authorities needed to get their more wayward pupils back on the right path.

        At least in the days when most children attended some sort of church service once a week or more, they would get some consistent education about what was right and wrong – even if they were taking it in only unconsciously. Many children would doubtless ignore these teachings, but in some cases the words would be just enough to keep them from falling over the edge. Where parenting and education are both absent, church teachings could be the only moral guidance these children get. For that reason, the collapse of religion is something to be lamented.

        (By the way, I’m not religious myself. However, I was raised by parents who taught me how to behave, and brought up in an area where you were expected to have respect for those around you. I can see that where those factors are lacking, regular religious teaching might fill part of the gap.)

        • Caterpillar
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          I agree with moral guidance and that it appears to be absent. I do not agree with bringing moral guidance back through religion is appropriate, as well as a moral country I would like a rational rather than superstitous country. (I don’t agree with some people using the confusing ‘virtue’ word. I am ‘liberal’ to the extent that I don’t mind if people wish to live in clumps rather than couples, I don’t mind if drugs are legalised but with licensed clean supply chains and use, I wouldn’t mind if people sunbathed nude in the park, I don’t mind if people have a tinnie in the park … some would not consider these as ‘virtuous’ but I do not care if people have freedoms to do these or other things but I just simply want people to behave and take responsibility when pursuing freedoms).

          I definitely agree that schools can no longer discipline, but more generally adults cannot discipline kids in any public environment. It has been a number of years since I last tried to tell a youth to pick up a chip wrapper, until there are bobbies on the beat that would take the right side, I will never do this again.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Which religion?

        Christianity teaches this: Love God first of all and above all.
        Second, love you neighbour as you love yourself.
        If you do this, then you will live.
        I reckon that is a message which people understand. It can also build a real community where people look after each other. It is found in our local church, for example. It really is.

        Bentham teaches this:
        Greatest happiness for the greatest possible number. So, why not loot if you can get away with it? If more people are looting than owning shops, why not?

        Kant teaches this:
        You have just gotta.
        Well, that is OK. But just gotta what? I find him rather hard to read and I cannot make out exactly what he is saying. Can you?

        Islam teaches this:
        The Angel Gabriel has revealed to the Seal of the Prophets how you should live your lives. Keep to the straight and narrow – no pork, fasting during the current month, marry and look after your wives and so on. If you do this and obey God, you will be OK. Otherwise the angry Allah will destroy you.

        I am not very sure what the other religions and philosophers teach. But, believe me, they are none of the above!

        • Grupi
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          I seriously doubt that any of the youths we’re talking about here will be delving into the inner teachings of Kant or Bentham – although I wouldn’t mind too much if the youths became more acquainted with Bentham’s famous Panopticon..

          As for what Islam is teaching, I have no personal knowledge of that, so wouldn’t really want to make any comments about that on here… However, I think where the families are Muslim, mosques are still being attended on an extremely regular basis!

          The Christian families are the ones who appear to have ‘lost’ religion. And, while I don’t have a problem with that from an intellectual view, it is a trend that’s depriving some of these children of exactly the positive message that you mention. Despite my own lack of faith, I do sometimes attend church with my mother, and many of the teachings are ones that a child would benefit from hearing, regardless of whether or not they believe in the existence of God or gods.

  12. Amanda
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    From court attendance this seems a reasonable analysis of who. However, from a factual look at pictures of events you maybe be economical with the details of exactly which ‘who’s’ were causing the trouble. (And, I will say, I really resent being cast in the same vein as a Norwegian mass murderer, day in day out by ‘the media’, simply because I think that multi-culturalism is a disaster, and that small government is the best economic system, whilst you and other ‘officials’ will not even say ‘who’ exactly seemed to be predominant in the rioting, and, how, that has happened !!)

    There are racial/cultural factors included in this, besides the general ones you list above – and it is dangerous to ignore it. It has been said that the deaths in Birmingham were the result of already volatile racial tension between black and Asian groups – and I know about that from experience in Bradford. You cannot ignore the racial multi-culturalism element in all this, and I am not talking about English vs the rest !! In fact there are very healthy signs that from the fire of such an event we could start integrating some of our more recently arrived population into a unified, PATRIOTIC country. And, although you do mention old fashioned values, let us mention by name one of the most important, patriotism – loyalty, and responsibility to ones countrymen.

    The riots can be looked at as a disaster, the socialists will make as much hay as they can (and I think the news that the socialist workers party was causing trouble in the initial stages has been missed), but with the right leadership, all I can see is the phoenix of Great Britain that is waiting to rise from the fires – especially with the Olympics less than a year away. What I despair of, is the right leadership, and people like you John, whom I respect enormously, pulling your punches. Meanwhile,the Today programme this morning is wringing its hands over ‘no money’ to sort the problems out – ” well, we need more youth programmes, but, well, you know, Government cuts and all that, there is no money”. For heaven’s sake get Chris Patten to sort out the wretched BBC – I am going to write to him, and tell him that until he does I will not be paying my television licence: and I consider it my patriotic duty to now do so.

    Reply: I described three groups, but did nto attempt to quantify or include the other groups of people who joined in the looting. At a time of extreme conduct I myself do not wish to wind things up more with extreme language. We need to find ways to cool tempers and find psoitive solutions.

    • Amanda
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Well I do hope the Government are considering ways to ‘cool the temper’ of those of us who see an enormous issue, that officials are afraid to speak about, let alone tackle. The ideology of multi-culturalism is a disaster, it is a huge factor in the riots: whether that be police afraid to tackle ‘ethnic’ crime, or teachers who are told all cultures are ‘worthy’ and so fail to combat gangs. It has led to three deaths in Birmingham. It simmers away as the EDL are called fascists, whilst others ‘ethnic’ groups are defending their communities. Why is it ‘extreme’ to talk about this? Isn’t this one of the issues??

      Reply: the reports I saw and heard show this was not a racial riot. The looters were from varied backgrounds.

      • zorro
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

        It was not a racial riot. It was opportunistic plundering by gangs who have a temporary truce to take on the police. John, I suggest that you ask the police about the composition of those gangs.


        • rose
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          Because the first riot of its kind, in the Spring of 1980 in Bristol, was not properly responded to, the rest has followed. In the wake of that one, not only were we not allowed to identify the rioters, we were not even allowed to use the word “mob”. At least the word mob is back now, though the BBC insisted this time – until their own film crews were attacked – that the word “protesters” must be used officially. Maybe some more honesty will follow.

          The saddest thing is seeing how a nasty alien habit of mugging, and then rioting if challenged by policemen, was imported from another part of the world in the second half of the last century, and then spread amongst the native population. It should have been ruthlessly taken out when it first appeared.

          Reply: There is also a long home grown tradition of criminal activity and riots against authority.

          • rose
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            I know there were riots and garottings in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but we had lifted our own population out of that grim past.

          • rose
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            PS I am not of course including the genuine political and trade union strife of the 20th century, or the East End and Glasgow gang culture. I am just talking about normal civilian life in most of our towns and cities. When the vital debate was shut down in 1968, the die was cast, and Scarmanisation inevitable.

          • rose
            Posted August 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            There may indeed have been many riots in our past, but it was only from 1980 that the perpetrators were appeased and rewarded, and our whole criminal justice system perverted.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Amanda – the BBC and the rest of the media is certainly part of the problem, along with Labour, political correctness, ‘uman rights and the EU. Kids are free to do as they like, discipline and hard work is scorned, and all the ‘successful’ people are pouty, spoiled brats who take drugs and sleep around, eg. footballers and Big Brother contestants etc.
      Syrians, Libyans and Palestinians who throw stones at cops are feted, and yet the ‘hoodie spring’ is being (belatedly) condemned.

      • electro-kevin
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 3:27 am | Permalink

        +1 With regret.

  13. Caterpillar
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I appreciate that this is somewhat off-topic (so if it is cut I understand), but when the state of the economy issues return to the headlines after phone hacking and the looting meltdowns have developed appropriate responses, could the Chancellor issue a statement on inflation and the BoE’s “responsibility”.

    The situation remains that that the academic papers suggest a threshold effect of inflation on growth. In developing countries the threshold is about 15-18%, in developed it is 1-3%. We need clear clarification of what the impact of the BoE’s unoffiical 4-5% inflation target has been on growth and the transmission mechanisms of the effect. To put it simply ‘we’ (by which I might mean ‘I’) need a simple talk through of MV = PQ over the past few years, and into the future. All four variables change to maintain the identity, supposedly the BoE has some effect on M whilst policy, confidence and population can affect changes in Q. But it doesn’t seem that the BoE is necessarily getting it right with the movement of these. If only the Chancellor would take “responsibility” to communicate a simple, understandable explanation.

  14. Richard
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    It still isn’t too late to turn things round but is there any realisiation by poliicians that voters have been waiting for years for some radical action in areas such as:-

    1. Benefits, and the need to re create an advantage to going out to work and to being a two parent family.
    2. Schools, every day you play truant or misbehave and get suspended, then that is one day less holiday or weekend day off.
    3. On leaving school there should be fixed options- get a job, go to college, or be drafted into the “pioneer corp” and do compulsory work in the community.
    4. Shoplifting to become a criminal offence again.
    5. Parents to be made to attend the Police station and the Courts when their children are in trouble.
    6. All criminals should be made to pay back the costs of their acts to the victim in full.
    For example, if you damage a shop or a car in an act of vandalism or theft then the courts should insist you pay the back the owner his or her losses. This could be a set weekly amount or by doing community work which could be credited.
    7. Police need to stop seeing themselves as a 999 emergency call out service and return to visible, preventitive policing.

    Thats enough for now!

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      1) Agreed. Benefits should be with by 66p for every £1 earned, rather than the current system where people lose all their benefits as soon as they get a job. More benefits for couples would also help.

      2) Who is going to run the school to punish those who truant? What stops them playing truant during their extra schooling?

      3) Given that there are 500,000 jobs available and 2.5 million people unemployed it is currently very difficult to get a job even if you want one. Will the pioneer corps be paid minimum wage? If not then it’s nothing more than slavery and a human rights violation.

      4) Shoplifting is a crime.

      5) They usually do.

      6) No chance of this happening. Most criminals are poor so you won’t be able to get any money from them. Don’t expect them to do community work willing either.

      7) Visible policing is a waste of money. An officer only comes across a crime in progress once every 7 years.

  15. iain gill
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    We may spend a lot on sink schools but they are still rubbish and have been through all parties being in power

    Throwing money at them has done little to sort them out

    That’s the reality and if you or cameron had gone to such a school you would be in a very different place

    • Bazman
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Dave, Gideon and Boris would have formed an after school homework club worked ten times harder and all would be in exactly the same position. Not that any of them had any money thrown at their education as money does not work.

      • zorro
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        People from sink schools can achieve too. Ask me.


  16. Acorn
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Excellent summary in your last paragraph JR. It was a given that the economy would be a busted flush when Labour left power, it always is. We should have realised that Labour would leave us a society that was a busted flush also.

    You have to admit that Labour did a good job of destroying middle class family values and standards. The family is the enemy of the state as far a socialists are concerned, so the family must be destroyed. Everyone must be beholden to the state machine and its commissars. Everyone must be a client of the socialist state.

    Labour’s mass immigration policy, a tool deployed in the war against the white man, did have a side affect. Some actually came with strong family values and a binding mechanism; a religion.

    Yesterday the Labour commissars, led by Harman, looked and sounded so pathetic in front of a TV camera. Not a sign of remorse for what they have done to a once great nation.

    • Simon
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      It took me quite a while to realise that middle class socialists actually detest the working class .

      New Labour did a very good job of taking the “work” out of “working class” .

  17. Elliot Kane
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I don’t think policing is the whole answer, although throwing in jail anyone who sets out to deliberately create division and distrust for their own gain (The true purpose of Political Correctness, of course) would be a good thing regardless. It’s pretty much closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Policing improvements won’t hurt, granted. The obvious paralysis of the Met in the face of trouble was utterly terrible to behold. I do not blame the poor bobbies on the front line, but there is no question that heads must roll amongst their leaders. The overall response to the crisis was both inadequate and incompetent.

    What needs tackling most, however, is the sense of absolute entitlement to anything they want without ever having to earn it that is the over-riding factor in the looting. Yes, parenting plays a role, but it is also obvious that the looters feel no connection to their own nation; no sense of solidarity or kinship with those they were stealing from.

    Simply put, one does not foul one’s own nest. Anyone who felt they were a part of even their local community, never mind the wider society, would not have taken part in any of this.

    Greater integration must be encouraged and the poisonous doctrine of Political Correctness must be destroyed. Any further looting must be ruthlessly suppressed, rather than PC PCs presumably waiting on the results of risk assessment studies before ordering their men into action.

    Greater political leadership is needed. No excusing the looters with fantasies, no more silly talk of ‘we police by consent’ in the middle of a riot and no more utterly foolish ‘water cannon will be available in 24 hours upon request’ when they are needed immediately. All parties have failed in their duties by spouting this rubbish, and it needs to stop.

    A stand must be taken in favour of order, and it must be taken now.

    • Graham Cook
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Fully agree with that.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Political correctness isn’t responsible for any of the problems you mention, the police often didn’t try to stop rioters because they were heavily outnumbered, and water cannons are useless in a riot.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        They weren’t out numbered in the initial outbreak. Political correctness and mismanagement from senior officers made them stand back and watch in Tottenham, whilst arson and looting was broadcast across the UK. The criminally minded realised there was an opportunity.

  18. Electro-Kevin
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    There are times of emergency when the good menfolk (of all races in England) take to the streets in defence of the businesses and homes. I am heartened to see that this has happened.

    The Government and senior police officers are in no position to tell us that this is wrong, that this is ‘vigilantism’ or ‘taking the law into our own hands.’

    What’s wrong with taking the law into our own hands when it has completely broken down ? The law is ours anyway – not yours. What sort of nation would ours be if we didn’t take the law into our own hands under such circumstances ?

    Do those in the Parliamentary bubble expect that we are so helpless and dependant on them that we’d just throw our hands up and surrender ? Get real. We operate in spite of politicians – not because of them. We operate under policies that none of us voted for and which cause us to be permanently dismayed and bewildered.

    I was shocked to hear the chief of the Police Federation ask on TV “Are gangs of middle-class any better than gangs of looters ?” a question which tells us much about the insane degree of impartiality which the police have between criminals and victims. A manifestation of the deranged thoughts of the permanent Left-wing establishment which has crept into every corridor of Whitehall.

    I was also irked to hear a Guardian journalist get away with spouting all sorts of tosh about deprivation:

    “There is no work for these youth.”

    “Yes there is. Poles are having to come here to do it.”

    “No. I mean there is no work in the vicinity of these youth for them to do.”

    The stark staringly obvious challenge to this statement was not made. Why are Guardianistas given such an easy ride ? Why do the Guardianistas have such power over government ? Why are the Guardianistas (of a loss making paper) given such a disproportionate say in British affairs ?

    However, for all that, I am heartened that there is a solution right under our nose. Real people power. Stepping – as they did in recent nights – into the dangerous vacuum that years of misguided (and downright mischevous) social engineering has caused – and all of it against majority opinion.

    Mr Cameron would be foolish to disparage it – it is not vigilantism, but I admit that it is ‘taking the law into our own hands.’

    Sometimes (when government fails – as it clearly has after decades of failed policies and pandering to violent minorities) ‘taking the law into our own hands’ is what has to be done and I am gratified and optimistic that our people have shown themselves willing to do it.

    This may well be the one thing that can save us.

    And as a final point. Please. Ignore the powerful minority of bleeding hearts and their veiled threats. Do not take any more of our money to bribe this scum to stop them from robbing us.

    We would see this as capitulation.

    Things have changed over night. The greatest change has been between the law-abiding British public and the Government – not the rioters and the police. Please recognise that.

    Reply: There has to be one law which practically all accept in a democratic society, where all accept the way to change it is through democratic means. The few who do not accept have it enforced on them. The state does need to have a monopoloy of force but needs to use it wisely under democratic control. Of course a hosueholder or individual has a right to self defence, but it would not b e good to live in a society with private groups arming themselves because they no longer accept the way the state uses and fails to use its powers.

    • APL
      Posted August 13, 2011 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      JR: ” but it would not b e good to live in a society with private groups arming themselves because they no longer accept the way the state uses and fails to use its powers.”

      We – the average man or woman – live in that world.

      It’s you lot, the likes of, for example Nick Clegg who have at our expense armed themselves with private state subsidized police escorts and armored vehicles.

      What sort of democracy have you politicians made where you feel you have to protect yourselves against the population?

  19. Gary
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Too many children without parental supervision, you say. And that may be the nub of the problem. But I don’t hear anyone ask the obvious next question. What has happened to parental guidence ?

    There was a time when one person in a family could work 8 hours a day and pay off a house in a decade, keep the family fed and clothed and still have time to spend with them. Through the theft of real income and savings by a debt based usurerous financial system, now both parents have to work all hours of the day, the kids are left behind and the parents relationship decays as they hardly see each other.

    The basic building block of society, the family, has been decimated. The debt based fractional reserve system of usury is the cause.

    That is the great unspoken truth.

    • Andy
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      This is exactly right. The problem started when banks first allowed 2 incomes to go towards a mortgage, driving up house prices to the point where for most people 2 incomes became a requirement and parents could not afford for one of them to give up 5-10 years to take care of kids at home.

      Who benifited from this? The baby boomers of course! to add property wealth to their final salary pensions, free heathcare, free university, buss passes and TV licences.

      I consider myself and family very lucky that we can afford to have only one of use go to work whilst our kids are young. We only managed this by waiting untill being in out late 30’s before having kids, and nearly got caught out when we had fertility issues.

      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Lawson compounded it when he gave double mortgage tax relief.

  20. javelin
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink


    I would like to point your attention away from politics and to family psychology, which is the crux of the matter. I think your argument that there are “too many children without parents controlling and encouraging them” lacks any real substance and, though correct, is too easily dismissed by those on the “progressive” left.

    I think if the Big Society is to have any substance you need to get a better understanding of the family unit. That understanding should allow us to get a better idea for new policies.

    Yesterday I pointed to a book called “The Art of Loving” by Eric Fromm which is a seminal book on the psychology (and psychotherapy) of love. I think the new concept of the “Big Society” needs to have a solid grounding in the family and havea solid theory to support its ideas by looking at this and other ideas such as love and attachment theory.

    One of the problems of “progressive” families is that they were based on the early work about how important mothers were in the family unit. This work was seized upon by the left to mean that the family unit without a man produced healthy children as well as those without a man. The Tories need to reverse this idea with good solid arguments. These arguments should stop bashing single moms and put the empahasis back onto fathers and the courts and mothers and benefits needing to be more responsible.

    Let me make that argument and I hope youll agree it is a very good one and could back up and change many policies.

    Eric Fromm says there are 4 main types of love

    1) Brotherly love – not necessarily for your brother but for you fellow man. We saw that yesterday inthe clean up operations. This is the most important form of love. You need to love others before you can love your partner and your children and yourself. The Tory party needs to find this love and respect in British society.

    2) Motherly love – this is UNCONDITINAL love. Children are loved no matter what they do. This gives the children a sense of self and rightness from which to build on. Without this unconditional love children become neurotic. However there is a big down side. With just motherly love children will not adjust their behaviour to cater for society. They may find their mothers love unfounded. They will end up with high expectations and may ultimately end up disappointed. (How true this is for todays narcissistic, celebrity obsessed kids with high expectations and levels of unhappiness).

    3) Fatherly love – this is CONDITIONAL love. When a father says to a child. Swim the width of the pool, or work harder at school and I will … , this is preparing the child for their future in soceity. Its not just about discipline. Its constant forming of the child. Extending the childing and limiting the child makes the child a good citizen. Fatherly love is strong and protecting and gives the child a role model of being responsible as well as shaping the child.

    You cannot say one parents love is better or worse, both parents would give their lives for the child . But together they create an individual who is confident in themselves and ready to live in society.

    4) Finally we have passionate (or sexual) love – this is where you love and treasure your partner. You are the core of the family and prioritse yourselves to create a strong unit that your children live in. Only by prioritising yourselves can you provide that for your child.

    Mothers and fathers often create dysfunctional family units by raising the child as their partner. It is estimated up to 30% of single mothers treat their sons in some way as their partners – by discussing personal problems or letting their sons adore them as beautiful. This creates children who carry this dysfunctional views of love onto their future marriages and when those marriages fail the cycle starts all over again.

    I hope this provides a solid grounding for those reading it as to why the family unit is best. I hope it also provides some underlying theory to supoprt the idea of the “Big Society” – which so far to me seems an empty idea. I think the ideas I have laid out should destroy the “progressive” aspect of the left in the eyes of a reasonable member of the public.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Are you being serious? You can cut your way into the densest, most inaccessible place on the globe, entirely without contact of ‘civilisation’ and find people living as families. If they had any use at all for idiots roaming Downing Street in their T-shirts bloviating about the Big Society or an adherent of the Frankfurt School, of which, incidentally, Fromm was a founder member, it would be not to sustain their psyches but their stomachs.

      You are suggesting that we the English people have to gain permission of the Frankfurt School by argument to re-adopt the mores that have supported this country down the ages before they infested us and undermined us? John (Plantagenet) of Lancaster believed the best way of addressing the enemies of England, was with a two handed English poleaxe; I think he was on the right lines.

    • lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      This reminds me of my schooldays, when our headmaster went to great pains to explain the difference between Agape and Eros.

      He also went to great pains to explain the life of Christ and the story of the resurrection and redemption, and seemed most put out when a fellow schoolboy asked the question “Sir, why did God go to so much trouble?”. It is a question that I still haven’t had an answer to.

  21. Simon
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    ” It is difficult to conclude from the tv pictures that this is a revolt of the very poor. Many of them went looting in cars, or were directed to the crime scenes through their blackberries as they raced there in their designer trainers and tops.”

    Is that genuinely the extent of your research into who is rioting and why they are doing it?

    With all due respect, by making wild generalisations from such irrelevant observations (and yes, all of those things you pointed out in that quotation are so, so irrelevant), it sounds like you are in no position to be giving anyone a lesson on rioter motivation.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      What part of John’s analysis is factually incorrect?


  22. David
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Why have there not been similar problems in Spain? Youth unemmployment is
    much higher there.
    I think three reasons
    1) Stricter punishments
    2) The police have guns
    3) Sorry John but unlike the Tories 79-97 and Labour the Spanish don’t have a benefit system which encourages single motherhood. If Thatcher had changed this we would have a better country now.

    • norman
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately we all know Camerons position (or at least it was his position last time it was brought up but that was a few months ago so it could be the same, the polar opposite, somewhere in between, or all 3 simultaneously by now!) on ‘benefit parent(s)’.

      When a Tory peer brought it up and suggested that perhaps paying this group more and more to continue to have more and more children by whomever the poor chap was unceremoniously dragged through the coals and forced to resign. No place for such cold-heartedness is the Modern Conservatives, no siree! We must celebrate such diversity, nay, encourage it, lest Labour steal a march on us in the caring vs nasty stakes.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Spain had anti-immigrant riots in 2000 and 2007. There have also been a large number of peaceful protests recently because of high levels of unemployment. Maybe there are fewer riots in Spain because the Government listens to peaceful protests.

      Also Spain does have a welfare system, though how long you can claim is based on how long you’ve worked. Given that Spain has 21% unemployment it seems that a lesser benefit system doesn’t get more people into work.

      • zorro
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Spain has restrictive practices which do not encourage job creation. They have a far stronger sense of family identity (no single parent culture/benefits).


  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The looters are simply criminals who want to steal and cause destruction. There should be no excuses made for their behaviour and they should be punished severely. For too long this country has been under the influence of politicians and pressure groups which has resulted in a lack of discipline, created a culture of “entitlement” and encouraged a lack of personal responsibility. We have witnessed this over too many decades. Too many of our chief police officers seem to behave like social workers and the courts have been too lenient. Unsurprisingly, rather than seeing a better country we have the near anarchy we have just witnessed. Politicians today must show that they will have no truck with those like Harman and Livingstone who will utter their doublespeak and show that there is nothing which justifies this behaviour and that you are going to provide the strong leadership on behalf of the decent law-abiding majority which has so sadly been missing for far too long.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      If those things are so bad than why are have these riots caused fewer deaths and damage the the 1980’s riots?

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        What a warped mindset you have, where society’s problems are dismissed because less people died than last time.

  24. gyges
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    (i) A large number of people don’t have an opportunity to have an economic stake in this country. One of the few politicians to do anything about this was Thatcher who gave people the opportunity to buy their council houses. This policy should be extended such that every rental payment is an equitable stake in the house/business/farm where the ‘renter’ lives/works. In other words, rent should buy equity; not, as it is at the moment: nothing.

    (ii) Education shouldn’t, particularly tertiary education, be allowed to continue as a form of apartheid. Many people are being discriminated against because they don’t have a degree, which isn’t necessary in a lot of cases, in the employment market. People should be protected from this discrimination as they are with respect to gender/race/age.

    (iii) Tax should apply to everyone irrespective of whether you work or not. If someone brings in GBP20,000 pa on benefit they should be taxed at the same rate as someone who brings in GBP20,000 pa by working.

    (iv) Both lending and borrowing should be taxed. Borrowing shouldn’t be easier than working. (George is wrong, we are not all in this together. Not all of us have annual once in a lifetime holidays through re-mortgaging).

    (v) State pension should be related to earnings. If you’ve earned throughout your life and spent it; you should have the same pension entitlements as those who have earned the same amount but saved it.

    None of the above may be considered to be specific to rioting/thieving/looting but they make up a large part of the inequality in our society; addressing these issues will go along way to creating a fairer society.

    And there are many other issues eg principle of equality in tax law but since you’re not publishing all posts there’s little point elaborating.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      ii) There isn’t an apartheid between those with degrees and those who don’t. Though there is an apartheid between those with work experience and those without. Look in any job section and you’re more likely to fund jobs asking for 2-3 years work experience than a 2:1 degree.

      iii) If you do that you’ll need to give people even more in benefits to pay for the taxes you make them pay. People get high levels of benefits because they often live in high cost areas where they perform low paid jobs. Cleaners, teachers, and nurses simply cannot live in London without the support of the tax payer.

    • rose
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      And she gave them the opportunity to be shareholders.

  25. Cityunslicker
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    There is a real need to cut benefits. the country has generated millions of jobs since 2000 – under labour and tories. This has not been the problem. The problem is only foreigners willing to do them. The domestic population is not keen to move from their inner-city homes or pit villages to where the jobs are – and why should they when they have free housing and some benefits plus what they make on the side.

    Even now, with immigration reducing quite fast, there really are enough jobs – it is a labour peddled lie to suggest otherwise which appeals to their client state. Reducing state benefits is tough love but it is the only one which will work.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Labour would think that they would lose seats if their client state had to move and work to support themselves.


  26. David John Wilson
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    We need to teach children social responsibility. This could be done for example by focussing their work experience. Teachers should nominate children who would benefit from such a placement. For example a week of work experience in a care home could be arranged. I would take this further and use much longer but similar placements for community service. If this actually replaced some of the jobs in care homes, these would usually be jobs being done by low paid immigrants on work visas. It could have further benefit that a few of those employed in this manner may actually see it as a future career.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Interesting information from Simon McClean in a letter in the Telegraph:

    “Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 empowers any uniformed constable “to require any person to remove any item which the constable reasonably believes that person is wearing wholly or mainly for the purpose of concealing his identity”.”

    I find that it does, through an amendment inserted in 2001 as Section 60AA, although not in Scotland:

    However, that only applies:

    “Where –

    (a) an authorisation under section 60 is for the time being in force in relation to any locality for any period, or

    (b) an authorisation under subsection (3) that the powers conferred by subsection (2) shall be exercisable at any place in a locality is in force for any period …”

    Without going through the details of Section 60, and possibly misunderstanding the multiple amendments which have been made, the powers to order the removal of items being used as a disguise, and also to confiscate them, are not generally available to police constables but only under the restricted circumstances where that special authorisation has been given.

    That will probably be the answer to his closing question:

    “Why was it not invoked in recent days?”

  28. John Bucknall
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I live in Enfield.

    The police have failed to confront the drugs gang who through competition with each other have now created a fantastic capability to break the law.

    This is the capability which has now been used against society and the police.

    We will not make progress in this matter until these gangs are dismantled – this will also require some change in our approach to drugs. Prohibition did not work in the 1920s in the US, why should it work in the UK in 2011?

  29. MajorFrustration
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    The following is small beer but possibly exemplifies one of the issues – here in a small West Sussex town, there are, in the main pedestrian areas, several signs prohibiting cycles,skateboards etc – are these signs respected no – are these signs enforced no.
    When you listen to children talking in the streets its very easy to see how unemployable they are, swearing seems to be the norm and most sentences are bounded by “innit” and “you know what I mean”
    We have a whole generation working their way through the system where parenting,education and politics has failed and if you think the riots are over dream on.

  30. Dan Holdsworth
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, the real problems here are twofold. Firstly, whilst we have an admirable and highly effective police force, the criminal justice system behind the police has been under-resourced and crippled by decades of political correctness and stupidity. The whole point of a criminal justice system is to make getting caught committing a crime a very unpleasant experience.

    So, for the very low-end punishments, I would favour the system places such as Singapore uses; corporal punishment of some description. A caning or similar punishment has a number of very great advantages; it is quick, easy and cheap to administer and provides a very rapid negative reinforcement against a crime.

    Secondly, build more prisons of a couple of types. Firstly, you need a number of institutions which are little more than warehousing for idiots, and secondly a lesser number which are more intensive retraining systems, to try to train convicts out of crime and instil at least minimal writing and arithmetic skills. Do away with concurrent sentencing, and institute a policy whereby the maximum sentence discount that a convict may obtain is only 15%, and then only for exemplary behaviour.

    What you’ll end up with is quite a number of vaguely criminal morons in prison for stretches of a few months (first bit in the moron-warehouse, last bit in retraining) plus rather fewer hardened criminals serving sentences of decades. Long prison sentences must be the inevitable consequence of repeated criminal behaviour; the prisons will cost us more, but the alternative is a steady slide into a miserable police state.

  31. lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Working abroad, as I am at the moment, it is not easy to have insight into this sort of problem. Clearly, the criminal elements must be dealt with, especially those driving cars in order to carry out looting.

    What I worry about is the amount of wealth concentrated in the hands of the elderly and how asset poor the young are. Was it always this polarised?

    The other concern I have had for some time is the quality of education. Years ago, Kieth Joseph decided that exams for the academically gifted and the vocationally orientated should be combined into a single set, GCSEs and A levels. Sorry, Mr Redwood, but that decision was absolutely crass and should be reversed. Then we can return to making A levels the proper gold standard that they once were. Never forget that in recent years, a maths A level question set was an exact replica of an O level question posed some 30 to 40 years earlier.

    As my fellow bloggers know, I am not in the least religious but “Change and decay in all around I see ……………………” sometimes seems apt.

  32. Neil Craig
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    “we have created a society where this type of behaviour is possible”

    I do agree that the break up of the family, particularly fatherlessness, produces feral young people.

    I believe that a particular age group & particular ethnic group (without specifying which – it might be Welsh old age pensioners) may be more inclined to lawlessness .

    Nonetheless everybody is to some extent inclined to take advantage of opportunities. Who among us, seeing a £10 lying in the street would hand it in to a police station – it is all a matter of degree.

    The most immediate failing is that the police, by failing, largely because the political class will not allow them to, to initially make looting an unatractive option, made its spread inevitable.

    Reply: I do not accept that this was racial looting. I saw a wide range of backgrounds amongst the looters. The two things they appeared to have in common was they were UK citizens, and they wanted to steal and damage property.

    • APL
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Neil Craig: “.. the police, by failing, largely because the political class will not allow them to .. ”

      Spokesman for the political class: “I do not accept that this was racial looting”

      Assertion proven.

      JR: “I saw a wide range of backgrounds amongst the looters.”

      But the first couple of nights participants were not so diverse. It was when the impotence of the Police became apparent to even a blind man, that it became a free for all.

      Reply: None of us posting on this site had a good view of the totality of it, but I have seen and heard enough to conclude this was not a racial riot. That is the accepted view of those who are in a better position than I to review the criminal activities, the criminals and the range of looters and arsonists.

  33. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Very well said.

    However, there are some key issues which you have not addressed:

    1. The Government as a role model: How does the Government tackle problems in the Middle East – through violence (etc). If the Government proved to people that they could negotiate without resorting to violence – then the Government could seriously criticise the copy cat bevaviour of the young, unfortunately they are copying the Government and the Police are put in jeopardy.

    2. Parental guidance for the young: House Prices – related to income over the last 40 years have more than doubled. Both Parents are required to earn the money to pay back the Banks – who create this money from nothing. That’s (inflationary and unhelpful to honest savers -ed).

    3. (Gives a named example of bank bahviour which he regards as unacceptable-ed)
    4. Many Jobs have been moved overseas because British firms are forced to pay (low-ed) wages to Third World Countries inorder to compete. Despite this, Labour actively encouraged immigrants from Eastern Europe and Other Countries to come to this Country – further driving down wages and reducing employment opportunities – especially for the Young. Why take on an Apprentice when you can employ a 40 year old Polish person with skills and experience?

    5. The fanatical Liberalism and Socialism and the removal of discipline from our Schools has turned our children into little Lawyers who are now empowered to wreck a Teacher’s Career at the mere rumour of them hitting them in an act of instilling some discipline to an out of control generation.

    6. The enormous continual loss of revenue to the Banking Sector through allowing them to create money from nothing. Why has the 1844 Bank Charter Act not been updated? Banks already have to buy coins and notes from the Treasury, which now only reprents 3% of the money supply. If Banks had to purchase the rights for the other 97% – the economy would be more stable, we would have far less debt and House Prices would be at a sensible level relative to the Average Wage. The Government’s willingness to Bail Out Banks and shaft everyone else has not been ignored. Now even the Police are suffering from cuts.

    You articulated some fine points above but you still do not comprehend the real structural issues. You are from a Priveleged background who benefited from Free Higher Education. You may have even received a Grant to pay for your living expenses and Books. The Young now have none of that. They are laiden with Debt after Graduation – effectively working for the Banks. They will then have to get a mortgage for a Home. This system benefits the benefit cheats and the fraudsters.

    How much have we saved through Housing Benefit Cuts? I would suggest very little as the Housing Market is the sacred cow of the economy. It provides our money supply through the Private Banking Cartel.

    reply: I came from modest background through state education. Yes I received a grant for my living expenses and fees at university. I then got a well paid job and paid considerably higher tax rates on my income than the present generaiton have had to pay as a result. The alternative of a student loan would have made me better off if linked to the last Labour government’s Income Tax rates.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted August 13, 2011 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood,

      Thank you for your reply.

      Yes – you may have paid a higher percentage of tax, but – this is the point; you were not laiden with debt. The State invested in your education – and I would argue it was a very good investment.

  34. Richard1
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Another category of person from whom it is irritating to hear is ‘independent’ commentators selected by the publicly-funded broadcasters, the BBC and Channel 4. The ubiquitous left-wing economist Joseph Stiglitz, a long-time favourite of the BBC, was interviewed on Channel 4 the other day. Most of what he said was his normal line of arguing that the solution to economic growth is more public spending financed by borrowing and tax (he was not asked of course why this seems to have been a disasterous policy in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy & now perhaps France). Then, despite his being American, he proffered the view that the riots in England are due to public spending cuts (like Livingstone and Harman), a position apparently supported by c. 8% of the people who actually live in the UK. Again, the interviewer didn’t ask how this could be when there haven’t been any spending cuts. It really is a concern that taxpayers are funding these hugely powerful media organisations which then present a grossly distorted picture through supposedly independent comment to support constant increased exproriation from taxpayers to fund a bigger and bigger state. It is a great pity that, as a consequence of the BBC’s successful attack on Rupert Murdoch, we are unlikely to see a real private alternative to the state-funded news & current affairs programmes (Sky is only News). Conservative MPs should pay much greater attention to this pernicious behaviour.

    Reply: I saw that interview and was appalled that a reputable academic could make so many loose and unsubstantiated comments with little knowledge of the facts.

  35. forthurst
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Melanie Philips has written in the DM concerning the present difficulties being a consequence of the impact of the ideas of the “liberal intelligentsia” on our society.

    Who are the ‘liberal intelligentsia’? Are they really ‘liberal’ and are they an ‘intelligentsia’? They are actually the proponents of the Frankfurt School whose objecive is the destruction of our nation from within by the adoption of maladaptive norms. They are the begetters of Cultural Marxism, understood by most as ‘political correctness’.

    No doubt many of those brought before the courts will be those less fleet of foot, less likely to be part of an anonymised pack. What can be certain though is many will have been through our education system as meriting ‘special needs’ whilst their classmates will have merited, bright or less bright, no such attention. Some no doubt will have decided that only those who have ‘special needs’ are valued by society and decided to behave accordingly. This is the world created by design by the Frankfurt School.

    Maybe it is time to start looking more closely at the judge who awards an ‘exemplary’ sentence to the Englishman for thought crime, but treats (more serious crime-ed), one for slaps on the wrist? Is he following the Statute book or the rule book of the Frankfurt School?

    Maybe its time to look at some in Parliament and their advisors, in our universities, in the BBC, in our departments of state, particularly of law, of education, of immigration, to consider whether they are sincerely acting in the national interest or whether they are abusing their authority to force through destructive changes in our society or proclaiming standards which likewise undermine our natural, healthy beliefs about what is right or wrong or best or worst.

    It has now become paramount that all the offences of thought crime be struck from the statute book and replaced by a US First Amendment style freedom of speech. The nation cannot function if lawmakers and all those others charged with legitimate authority or for that matter, the ordinary citizen, yes, and the infant in the classroom who has no understanding of the crazy world she has been born into, are unable to speak out of turn or call a spade a spade, even if they are wrong, even if they give offence. There seems little inhibition in demonising English males (and they also have awarded themselves freedom of speech with regard to Moslems; well, they would, wouldn’t they?) when it suits the Frankfurt Scholars; should not sauce for the goose not also be sauce for the gander?

    • forthurst
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The issue of thought crime also relates to physical offences; it cannot be right that the victim of a crime may determine the motivation of the assailant and thereby the severity of the sentence, especially when in practice the ‘victim’ is always of alien stock and never the English native who may have been assaulted by a crazed gang with a claw hammer. The objective circumstances of an offence alone should be used to determine the seriousness.

      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Hear, hear.

  36. uanime5
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I feel that the Government needs to do more to help broken families. More social and youth workers are needed to prevent families being dysfunctional and young people turning to crime.

    People also need more local jobs to give them something to aspire to. If the only jobs that are available are dead end jobs then most people won’t bother trying to make anything of themselves.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Everything is a dead end job if they have to work and apply themselves. Can they not clean toilets, clear gardens, shovel excrement? I did but have a decent role in society now.

      They are lazy people who want everything on a plate. Spoilt, indulgent, pathetic excuses for human beings.


    • norman
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Why don’t we just go all the way along the ‘Brave New World’ route? Forget social workers and youth workers, the government bureaucracy obviously does such a good job we should break all familial ties and let the state be both parents, instead of only one as is so often the case now. After all, no matter how good a job the social worker does in their 10-11am visit, with parent and child nodding along and both watching the clock, all that will be undone in the other 23 hours.

      More government, that’s the answer, we’re not doing enough but if we do just a little bit more, then a little bit more when that fails I’m sure everything will work out fine.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      British jobs for British workers? Can I assume you want an immediate halt to migrant workers from the EU and elsewhere?

  37. Mark
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    The bankers arguably did more financial damage to the country than the recent riots and got away with it. Not even a knighthood was lost!

    A lot of MP’s fiddled their expenses and only 4 went to jail, for derisory sentences.

    I dont suppose that the rioters were thinking of these examples as they were looting but these “leaders of society” did set a tone.

    • APL
      Posted August 13, 2011 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      Mark: “A lot of MP’s fiddled their expenses and only 4 went to jail, for derisory sentences.”

      Good point.
      Working class looting – Bad (which it is)
      Middle class looting – Good – so long as you are in the club – Parliament for example. (It isn’t good its as bad if not worse than the former involving as it did a betrayal of trust).

      Reply: All looting by all groups is unacceptable behaviour.
      Most MPs claimed for second home expenses under a scheme which allowed them to charge most second home expenses as part of the costs of doing their job. The scheme was too lax, and was rightly changed after popular disquiet. Most MPs did not loot – some showed misjudgement about the items they claimed, and collectively MPs showed misjudgement in continuing a scheme which did not have public approval . Those who did loot or steal are being prosecuted.

  38. Bob
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    You have managed to avoid the elephant in the room once again. Well manoeuvred.

  39. Mike Fowle
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Last Sunday I went to the HMS Ganges museum at Shotley, a naval training establishment for young men, where the discipline was quite harsh but the young men gained immeasurably from it. Closed down years ago, and the health and safety brigade would have kittens at some of things they had to do. Not for everyong, of course, but nowadays that sort of regime has been replaced with a gang culture.

  40. Vanessa
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    If you set a bad example, don’t be surprised if people follow you. Politicians stole millions of pounds from us the taxpayers and thought they would get away with it. Well, thanks to The Telegraph, we found out your nasty little game. Did you all pay for what you stole, did you go to prison as punishment – NO. You cannot blame people who see you get away with impunity so why shouldn’t they have a go. After all you make the laws you don’t bother to obey, so why should we. Bit like the EU and the Lisbon Treaty which said, no country should bail out another – well they break their laws so why shouldn’t YOU.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      Should we all break their law then? Tell me your address and I’ll rob your house….Thought not


  41. simon
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Come come John the coalition has held the reins for some time now, for how long will you go on blaming labour?

    Maybe Margaret is to blame?

    I remember the last riots in London who was in power then and what was happening?

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely Labour were only in power for 13 of the last 14 years…I mean what possible blame could be attached to them. They never did anything during those years.


      • APL
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Zorro: “They never did anything during those years. ”

        Isn’t it odd thought? The government changes to a nominally Tory administration and all hell breaks loose.

        Coincidence, it must be.

  42. Bazman
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Just because you have designer clothes and use certain expensive branded merchandise does not mean you have money and in many cases means you are of low social standing as brands are for people of little education who do not know what quality is, so don’t know what to buy, and so think by having a certain brand or the latest gadget increases their self esteem and social status. Cars are a status symbol, but anyone can afford a car these days if you have some sort of income and often to get an income you need a car. Look at Chav scum and the Burberry massive with their often comical cars and clothes which caused s0 much sniggering and amusement among the middle classes and defended by other middle class faux-bleeding-heart-liberals. Who can **** right off in my opinion, to use their own daring dinner party language. What will this do to house prices?

  43. dustybloke
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I write under a pseudonym to protect my wife, who is a teacher.

    The reason that intelligent people have been aghast at educational policies for the last 50 years and government policies for the last 20 years, is that we have bred and conditioned a creature that believes itself to be invulnerable and has had that attitude reinforced time and time again.

    There are never any simple, easy solutions to any problems. The pendulum will swing toward massive restriction of civil liberties. My children, brought up to be decent, law abiding people will fare badly. They are not the sons of the rich or the priviliged and will be treated appallingly.

    The political class will realise (as Clegg and Cameron are quickly learning) that they require serious protection from the public. The Celebs are more astute and have already arranged their personal security, albeit for the wrong reasons.

    The State already dips its murky fingers into the private affairs of its citizens, but shrilly cries out at the private companies that do the same.

    This double think will serve it well in suppressing the rights of the individual.

    There remains only the question of who, exactly, will inherit the United Kingdom.

    Privately educated public school millionaires assume it will be them. But they are too stupid to realise that if you destroy a certain level of infrastructure, it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Your Prius may consume very little petrol but it takes an enormous amount to make it in the first place. The batteries from which you will recharge your electric cars are among the most environmentally unfriendly artefacts one can imagine and rely heavily on Bad Things.

    Once the elite have become blindingly obvious in their hypocrisy, the peasants will revolt.

    They will have no reason not to, which is the cause of all revolutions.

  44. David Price
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I agree the riots have nothing to do with cuts however I would caution against spending yet more money on those elements of society involved in the disturbances. To do that would reward the wrong doers at the expense of the law abiding majority, in particular those of the same generation who have never rioted or broken the law.

    When you do discuss “policing” could you please broaden it to encompass the justice system. It’s no good allowing and equiping the police to be more effective in catching wrongdoers unless the punishments are effective, the courts hand down the proper punishments and the victims are properly helped.

    Also, it is all very well for David Cameron et al to have fire in their bellies over the rioters but to then ignore the wrongdoers in suits doesn’t really start to address the sickness. I hope they are as diligent in the pursuit of law breakers in the financial sector, for example, whose actions can harm tens of thousands of people yet they seem to get away without punishment or constraint. The morals and actions of some of these so-called professionals are no better than the rioters and looters.

  45. uanime5
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    “It is difficult to conclude from the tv pictures that this is a revolt of the very poor. Many of them went looting in cars, or were directed to the crime scenes through their blackberries as they raced there in their designer trainers and tops.”

    On Auto Trader cars can be purchased second hand for £75-100. Alternatively if you steal a car and don’t pay for any insurance or a tax disc it’s free.

    Blackberries can be purchased second hand on Amazon for £50-60. They can also be stolen so the thief doesn’t have to pay anything.

    Designer clothes and trainers can be purchased cheaply if they’re a discontinued item or in a sale. They can also be stolen so the thief doesn’t have to pay anything.

    None of these items are evidence that a person is poor. Indeed many people are poor because they waste all money on designer products and other needless things.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      ??? If you didn’t have that money you’d be poor. I see….They are not poor because they had the money to buy those goods anyway. So your point is what exactly?


    • Bazman
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      I would agree with this, very expensive clothes worn by wealthy middle class people are often very low key a sort of secret handshake between them. Wear totally blank clothes, worn out digital work watch, old ten quid Tesco phone and drive a ten year old Ford to confuse them and look skint to everyone else.

  46. Andrew Smith
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    John’s analysis seems fair enough so far as it goes.

    But to listen to the PM, this is all a surprise. Tell him to listen to teachers who regard class rooms as crowd control. Listen to shop keepers even in apparently placid towns who decline to serve adults just after the end of school because they have to watch children who will otherwise steal their goods.

    Listen too to the father interviewed (but dare not show his face) who pointed out that he could not smack or seriously chastise his children or lock them in their room to prevent bad behaviour on the streets. It was the political class “WOT DID IT”

  47. Bernard Otway
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    If you look John at all the media since yesterday morning ,you will see it has discussed and
    not hidden the issues you stopped me ant others from talking about.As others on this thread before me have said ANYTHING about this horrendous event HAS to be brought out into discussion,look at the cartoon in yesterday’s Express and see what it portrays, (etc etc)

    Reply: I made it clear when I invited comments I did not wish to post or host arguments about race. I did so both because there is rightly a law against incitement to racial hatred, and because I do not think this mass outbreak of criminal activity was racially driven.

    • Neil Craig
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      There is a difference between racially driven, which I would agree with you was not the prime motivation (the main motive was fun and larceny, probabky in that order) and some crime being more common, for whatever reasons, among some ethnicities.

      (At airports looking for terrorists it would be possible to target security measures on people whose profile makes them more likely to be terrorists than others-ed)

  48. Caterpillar
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    (1) We have seen for many years that throwing money at problems does not work. I support the police budget cuts going ahead but ALL THREE main political parties must be held to account and achieve the aims of (i) simplifying and speeding up police procedures so that a higher percentage are on the street, (ii) most/all police are gradually riot trained such that the SURGE tactic that the PM mentioned is available and (iii) network intelligence is improved so that the police know when to surge. We must not give the politicians the easy escape route of just spending more money, it provides an excuse for not getting the processes and ‘rules of engagement’ correct.
    (2) People must stop using the phrase “underprivileged”. It is a privilege to have health and school free at the point of use, it is a privilege to be provided with subsidised / free housing, it is a privilege to be able to have a child at a young age and not have to put it off into one’s thirties or more risky forties. It is also a privilege to live in London where there are numerous free museums, free art galleries, free newspapers and well maintained parks. Elsewhere in the country these privileges do not exist.

  49. gyges
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    (quotes another site he thinks is better on this topic-ed)”A housing boom is a direct analogue of a smashed JD sports window. You might not have created the situation, but if everybody else is at it at, you’d be a mug not to join in.
    Early adopters benefit most.
    Late entrants get f[*]cked.”

    I don’t say this to snipe but surely if this is the case, there’s something not quite right? Are your opinions constrained by pandering to an electorate?

    Why do we accept looting through house price inflation, through transferring debt to the public sector, by (continued) currency devaluation; when there is very little difference between what we saw over the last few days and what we have seen beginning with Greenspan’s currency manipulation. Even the goods that were being looted, consumer crap, was the same in both instances.

    Reply: There is a great deal of difference between currency manipulation/inflation, and theft and arson. All democracies put up with some inflation and many put up with some devaluation. Individuals can protect themseleves aginst it to some extent, or can vote to change it.
    Wanton destruction and theft of other people’s property is altogther more terrifying and unacceptable. I speak for the majority in saying so.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      To JR,

      As I have also posted, I think there is some equivalence between the want-it-now mortgagees and the want-it-now looters. Of course the latter leads to more visible property damage, more immediate fear and the lives lost are more visible, but which does more overall damage? Which is more decent, benefits given via clear taxation, or the transfer of savers’ wealth to wreckless debtors and banks? Why should one believe the PM does value the law-abiding when the Chancellor will describe the “virtuous saver” but run policies that punish them? It is very easy to state there is a great deal of difference, because it is a difference of visibility and immediacy. How many quality-adjusted years of life have been destroyed because of pensioners’ savings being devalued? How many prudent people’s dreams of emigrating have been lost forever due to the currency devaluation (look at the net migration data)? Why does the heavily mortgaged house-sitter seem to have a higher ethical weighting than the person trying to save a deposit?

      One cannot vote against the MPC, it is unelected. One of its routes of accountability is through the Chancellor chosen by an elected party. Nevertheless the Chancellor provides the MPC with a remit – inflation target and SUBJECT TO that support of Govt economic policy. The MPC ignores the remit (ficitious models about the future, when the historic data demonstrates failure, there is no medium term left to use), but the Chancellor does nothing. How should the average voter protect themselves from a systemic risk that the central bank does not follow its remit?

      Reply: But you can vote against the MPC. It was created by political will, can be modified by political will or abolished by political will.

    • gyges
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      “There is a great deal of difference between currency manipulation/inflation, and theft and arson.”

      The difference is between the implementation rather than the outcome. Just because State violence is subtler doesn’t make its misuse acceptable; people are still getting their wealth taken from them and transferred to others. This is simply wrong. I expect you to condemn both examples of wealth misappropriation.

      “All democracies put up with some inflation and many put up with some devaluation.”

      Some communities put up with racketeering/vandalism/petty criminality. That doesn’t mean that it’s right. As an advocate of the free market shouldn’t you be advocating for the privatisation of money?

      “Individuals can protect themseleves aginst it to some extent, or can vote to change it.”

      But not all individuals can protect themselves; nor can individuals vote against it. On issues such as ideology there is very little difference between the parties. Further, I doubt that any of your readers would have the faintest clue as to what I meant when I suggested that you should advocate the privatisation of money.

      “Wanton destruction and theft of other people’s property is altogther more terrifying and unacceptable. I speak for the majority in saying so.”

      I don’t disagree with you and I’m sure that you do speak for the majority. My issue is that you’re not addressing the deliberate theft of other people’s property through some of the mechanisms outlined earlier. These are just as unacceptable if not more so; in terms of their immediacy they may not be as terrifying but the effect of these mechanisms is certainly debilitating. As for speaking for the majority, I appreciate that I do not do so; my contentions are opaque to most people yet I’m sure that they’re clear to you.

      It wouldn’t go amiss if you asked people what they did to earn/deserve the massive rise in the value of their property and where they thought that money came from. Leadership is sometimes about telling people what the need to hear rather than what they want to hear.

      Reply As an elected politician I do not agree with the privatisation of money. I am a strong critic of the way monopoly state money is often badly run,and did urge a different approach in the period 2006-10 which would have controlled inflation much better. House prices can rise as a relative price movement, which may be fine. It is not government’s job to protect people against adverse relative price moves, or to confiscate winnings from those hwo correctly foresaw such moves. The burst of house price inflation which flowed from too easy credit in 2005-8 was unhelpful, and some of us opposed it at the time.

  50. rose
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I would like to say how much I feel for you in trying to moderate our pent up expressions on this still raw, if long taboo, subject. It must be truly taxing.

    reply: As a lover of democratic debate I do not like censorship, but I am too busy to take risks by posting things that could be false and could upset people

    • forthurst
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      “As a lover of democratic debate I do like censorship” I’m sure you meant the opposite?

      With regard to the disturbances, if people without the ability to commit fraud, engage in opportunistic theft, is that worse, the same, or less serious than the fraudsters doing God’s work who packages up unlawfully tranferred mortgages, sold to financially bereft mortgagors at tickler rates and sold them on as CDOs with a triple A rating and then purchased CDSs against the clients to whom they had sold the CDOs, bearing in mind that the former individuals would have profited by a few pounds and the fraudsters by billions and in the process, wrecked the world economy? Why should one be prosecuted and not the other?

      Reply: Yes, there is a “not” missing! If bankers broke the law and misrepresented what they were doing in an illegal way then of course they should be prosecuted. Poeple should not be prosecuted for making honest mnistakes. What were the regulators doing at the time?

      • forthurst
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Bearing in mind that many victims of this fraud were British and European banks, is it not the case that these illegal acts physically took place in this country (in the City) and also that the private secret FED agreed to ‘buy’ some of this toxicity which together with other dispensations to banks amounted to $16Trillion? What has the Attorney General been doing?

        reply: I do not recognise your allegation and number. If you believe a fraud has been committed then you send in evidence to the authorities who will investigate. The Fed is a public institution, and is accountable.

        • zorro
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes….who owns/set up the FED? If the FED is a public institution and is accountable, I am sure that it can evidence its dealings and what happened to the TARP money….or would that be a problem?


        • forthurst
          Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

          I think you are technically incorrect. It is true that the FED has been obliged by Congress to explain who have been the recipients of the TARP funds which have been charge to the US taxpayer; however, I believe that the FED is not subject to a statutary audit and that it is still as constituted (illegally) under the US constitution in 1913, a private secret bank whose shareholders are not publicly disclosed. Why otherwise would Ron Paul be campaigning for President on the ticket of “Audit the FED” if it were a public institution, thereby by definition subject to Congressional oversight which without a statutary public audit would not be possible?

          Reply: You can read about the Fed from extensive documents made available.

          • forthurst
            Posted August 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

            Having checked, I see that Dr Ron Paul is now running on a Presidential ticket of “End the Fed”; his prior “Audit the Fed” campaign resulted, after watering down, to a bill that required details of the TARP and TALF disbursements only, therefore any claims in documentation that the Fed is subject to Congressional oversight are deliberately misleading; furthermore, although it is claimed that the Fed hands over its profits to the Federal government, certainly not the intention of the original private bankers who founded the deliberately misdenominated Federal Reserve bank, since a public audit has been successfully resisted by the private bankers who run it, there can be no certainty that that is in actuality the truth.

            (Dr Ron Paul has a platform which closely corresponds with that of JR, so needless to say, the MSM are determined to deprecate his obvious popularity in favour of assorted airheads, more congenial to those who like to operate the Presidency from behind the curtain).

  51. Tony Houghton
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    The following paraphrased comments in a Forces Reunited Website Forum by Jack Higgin, a former Royal Navy sailor, sums up almost precisely my views on the causes of the violence:

    ‘We went soft on discipline. We went soft on immigration. We went soft on crime, Parents were told “no, you can’t smack your kids” Teachers were prevented from chastising kids in school. The police couldn’t clip a troublemaker round the ear.
    Well done Britain – Ye shall reap what ye sow.’

    We now have parents who cannot control their own 12 year olds. They have been set no boundaries by the parents, therefore, they form their own gangs to set their boundaries for them, but they still lack self esteem and get their kicks by indiscriminate attacks on property and society. And these same children then become teenage parents and the cycle starts all over again.

    The Services have a way of building self esteem during initial training and that is by breaking you down, through giving you demeaning trivial tasks to perform, through the use of strong discipline, so that as a group you build up an esprit de corps against your instructors and the training establishment. This group spirit develops throughout your initial training until you realise that you are becoming really quite good at your drill and the other skills that you are being taught and you become proud of the uniform that you are wearing and finally realise that your NCO instructors are not against you, as you thought but really on your side and you then realise that you have become like them.

    We need to adopt a similar approach with our children from the start, so that they learn why there needs to be discipline at home and in their school and learn to respect their parents, teachers and most importantly themselves. Most children respond to this kind of treatment and see the boundaries being set for them, as useful and in some way a comfort.

    Finally, most of the public seem to respect and admire our servicemen, because they are brave, efficient and good at what they have been trained to do. There is no reason
    why all of our children should not be respected just like our servicemen, but society has got to accept that discipline has to be enforced both at home and in the school. A clip round the ear never did anybody any harm!

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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