London is burning...


Jan 30, 2008
Pandora|1313327065|2990546 said:
crasru|1313131878|2989173 said:
Is it true that Theresa May during the first days of riots said that use of water guns was not a good way to deal with riots? That the Ministry of Internal Affairs was practically dragging its feet on the situation? I get my info from the news, sorry if I am wrong.

It's a tricky one - we have NEVER used water cannon, tear gas or rubber bullets on the streets in mainland UK. There weren't enough police available to control the situation in so many areas and the looters were moving from place to place very fast. I'm loathe to call them rioters as I consider riots to have political motivations rather than just the desire for Nike trainers and a flat-screen TV.

Many of them were hardened criminals - burglary rates went down in those few days as the people that do them were out looting.

The Home Office are very loathe to do anything that could potentially inflame situations or turn it round so that the perpetrators can claim they were attacked, assaulted etc. They police came under a lot of attack for how they handled the G20 protests, the student fees protests etc (unfairly in my view).

The courts are doing the best they can - they were sitting 24/7 to get through everyone. The sentences will be low in most cases, but they aren't releasing people on bail so they have to serve time in prison before their case comes to court. Councils are also seeking to evict anyone convicted from social housing. There is also a petition with over 200,000 signatures calling for the looters to lose their welfare payments (any petition with over 100,000 signatures has to be considered by Parliament). A lot of those involved were also employed (a charity worker, a primary school teacher, a lawyer and an estate agent amongst others) or university students so they will be in big trouble regarding their jobs/future jobs. Idiots!

Since Tuesday it's all been very quiet - over 1,500 people were arrested so probably a lot of the ring-leaders and there are now 16,000 police on the streets as opposed to the 6,000 during the riots.

One thing that has been nice is a fund opened to do 'something nice' for the young Malaysian student who was mugged and then robbed by people who pretended to help him only to go through his backpack and steal his wallet and phone. So far it's raised over £12k. The 'Riot Wombles' have also done sterling jobs in cleaning up affected areas and supporting local businesses - Blitz spirit still alive and well in London!

But here's a question, while I understand the sentiments - no doubt I would share them, and a few more, say the authorities won't incarcerate them, people want them evicted onto the streets, and their money cut off. MORE than fair enough. But you're an island - where will they go and what will they do? Understand I'm not advocating that you guys SHOULD pat them on the back and give them lollipops, but none of those things is going to do much except make it so they end up doing something worse that will finally land them in jail, but only after they've had a chance (or chances) to ruin someone else's life. While I'm not entirely sure what the solution is, (and of course we deal with the same problems and more over here in the US) I don't think any of those things will ultimately change anything, do you?

* edited for sentence structure *


Feb 11, 2006

I think you might be surprised that taking away their benefits does do good. They pose an example to others and if its housing the whole family becomes involved in what, perhaps is only one member of that family who is acting out. We do it in the Chicago area and those that have subsidized housing in this area are afraid of losing their housing. Crime did not rise when welfare benefits were cut under Bill Clinton. What happened is that famlies had to live together, instead of individuals having their own housing.

My thinking is that families ought to be held more responsible for the actions of their own families. and the so called Religious community should begin to go back to when I was growing up and take care of the poor--Not rely on Governwent to give breakfast and lunch to children. Another job for the school system.

Sorry for your troubles. I agree these people are just looters.


Pandora II

Aug 3, 2006
It's what everyone is wondering ksinger.

We had some friends round today who are all actively involved in politics across the spectrum - although mainly on the left - and we were discussing this.

If someone is evicted from social housing then they will have to find housing in the private rented sector. They would still be eligible for housing benefit so could pay for housing but they won't have the added benefits of being a social tenant - ie a secure tenancy. As they are deemed to have made themselves 'voluntarily homeless' they won't qualify for emergency housing so it will fall on their shoulders to find new accomodation during the notice period.

Magistrates are calling for tougher penalty guidelines so they can hand down longer and more draconian sentences, but that takes time and we also have an issue with too few prison places (perhaps a new use for the Ark Royal aircraft carrier which has been recently retired???)

Taking benefits away will be a trickier thing as I'm presuming that we won't literally let people starve in the streets. However there are groups such as asylum seekers who don't qualify for benefits or housing and who are surviving.

It's time to deliver a shock to certain elements in society - including in many cases the parents. The language of some woman outside court when she left with her 12 year-old (who seemed totally unashamed of his behaviour).


Nov 3, 2009
I read US newspapers and also receive Russian news online - it seems that Russian newspapers describe more and dedicate more space to the events in Britain. Today they wrote that things are far from being calm... still.

Britain, actually, has a longstanding tradition of liberalism, a very old Parliament, laws, relatively fewer poor than on the continent, no antisemitism... I can imagine how difficult it is to use any form of force by the police in such a country. But honestly, these days I am relieved that US policemen carry guns. Because this can happen anywhere. I remember being in France in 2005 in the days of civil unrest when they were burning cars... was scary, too.
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