Following the unprecedented orgy of violence which was initially unleashed on Saturday evening, it would appear that last night there was very little unrest on the streets of the cities of England. Beefed up policing and public calls for rioters to be dealt with harshly, together with a general sense of shock and disgust, probably combined to bring about this halt to the disorder. Many of the perpetrators of the unrest are likely to be fatigued, and in Manchester and Liverpool, the rain must have deterred many from venturing out to cause mayhem. The question that everyone will be asking today is: are the riots over, or are we witnessing a temporary lull? We shall know soon enough.
Innocent lives have been lost; businesses, homes and livelihoods have been destroyed, and most of us are left with a distinct sense of unease. What does this destructive outburst say about the state of Britain, more specifically England, today? That is a question to which I will suggest some answers this evening, and they do not chime with the frankly nauseating attempt to make party-political capital out of the riots displayed by Harriet Harman on Newsnight yesterday. This violence was not about ‘Tory cuts’, but something far deeper and altogether more serious and worrying.
Below are two videos. The first relates to a tragic incident in Birmingham, in which a car was deliberately driven at a group of men, killing three of them. The father of one of the deceased speaks of his loss and calls for calm. One can only express sympathy for him and his family, as well as for the relatives and friends of the other young men who lost their lives. The second video displays a reporter steadfastly attempting to persuade a man to alter his story to fit with her ideological preconceptions. This attitude on the part of the reporter is alas, mainstream, for journalists have to subscribe to the NUJ code on the reporting of ‘minority’ racial and religious issues which demands systematic distortion of the truth if it does not accord with dogma.