Tuesday, August 09, 2011

English Riots Metastasize

England has sustained its third night of widespread rioting and looting.   What began as an isolated uprising over a police shooting in Tottenham has rapidly spread to other greater London buroughs including Enfield, Islington and Oxford Circus Monday night and to Peckham, Clapham, Lewisham, Bromley, Stratford, Croydon, East Ham, Bethnall Green,Woolich and even the Medway town of Gillingham last night.   What appear to be copycat riots also spread to Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.

David Cameron has cut short a holiday in Tuscany and is recalling Parliament to deal with the unrest.    Police officers are being drawn to the riot sites from across Britain and all leaves have been canceled. 

What began as a protest against one police shooting in one London burough seems to have triggered widespread fury, perhaps even anarchy.   Handling this and containing the further spread of these riots will be a major test of the Cameron government.   This could go very wrong, very quickly.


Lorne said...

Although I have been and always shall be opposed to the kinds of violent rampaging evident in these demonstrations, I can't help but think that this is what happens when people live largely without hope. Given England's high unemployment rate and the austerity measures that are gutting funding for education and social services, can we really be all that surpised by this sad spectacle?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lorne. I do have to wonder if this is a fore-warning for the USA. Obama and his liberal cronies have handed out so much money to certain groups, that when it gets cut from the budget due to the huge deficit, the mouth may bite the hand that fed it because they have grown lazy and complacent, expecting to be taken care of.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's interesting how divided British public opinion is on the nature and roots of these riots. Cameron, quite predictably, dismisses it as nothing more than mass criminality. He sees it as nothing but an overblown law enforcement problem. Others perceive it as having deeper origins similar to the anti-austerity protests that plagued Spain and Greece recently.

Could this sort of thing break out in the United States? I suppose anything is possible but I get the feeling that effective dissent there has been intimidated and pretty thoroughly subdued ever since 9/11. Americans have shown remarkable tolerance for the forces within their society besetting them. It may take more to provoke them but, in that scenario, eventual unrest could potentially be more extreme also.