Elsewhere (44)
Friday Ephemera

The Riots, Summarised

“A disorientated and bleeding teenager on the streets of London. A gang pretend to help him, and then mug him.”

Captures the ethos, I think.

Meanwhile, our pocket-size revolutionary Laurie Penny - who of course has “no problem with principled, thought-through political ‘violence’” - is telling her readers: “Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there.” Doubtless Laurie will soon tell us exactly what those politics are and how closely they match her own. She is, after all, keen to see the emergence of a “radical youth movement” – “a movement not just for reform but for revolution” – one that “requires direct action” and “upsetting… our parents, our future employers… and quite possibly the police.” Ms Penny also thinks that spitting on women she doesn’t know is pretty rad too.

Elsewhere, while Mothercare burned to the ground and female fire-fighters were dragged from their vehicles and punched insensible, a number of leftist anti-cuts groups announced their “solidarity” with the thugs, thieves and predators. “London,” we learn, “is the world’s biggest Black Bloc.” While student “activist,” chronic liar and Independent blogger Jody McIntyre was busy using his new media profile to urge further rioting and arson. No doubt the Indie, the Guardian and the New Statesman will be swollen with pride at the doings of their latest protégé. But remember, people. As the Guardian’s Priyamvada Gopal told us recently, setting fire to occupied buildings - resulting in thisisn’t “real” violence. Not when compared to “hypocritical language.”

Update, via the comments:

Outside of the delinquent left, it’s hard to see gangs of predatory vermin - robbing passers-by, setting people’s homes on fire and assaulting the people trying to put those fires out - as particularly sympathetic or deserving of indulgence. (It will, I think, be interesting to see how many of the rioters have records for previous convictions.) Conceivably, though, one might argue that those predators are products of socialist indulgence – and a cultivated belief that the world owes them whatever it is they want. And thus their neighbours’ homes and businesses are just a flammable backdrop for their own thrilling psychodrama.

Nevertheless, readers may have noticed just how readily and persistently many of our leftist commentators have tried to hammer their default narrative onto events, regardless of the fit. Our glorious state broadcaster spent three days referring to muggers and arsonists as “protestors,” until finally embarrassed out of doing so. I heard one reporter asking a besieged resident, “Is this about the cuts? It’s about the cuts, isn’t it?” When the resident disagreed, the disappointment was audible. Those actually doing the thieving offered more revealing explanations. As one pair of female looters put it while drinking stolen wine: “Chucking bottles, breaking into stuff, it was madness… good though. Good fun. Free alcohol.” Obligingly, with prompting, the duo added a political dimension, of a sort: “It’s the government’s fault. I dunno… the Conservatives… yeah, whatever, whoever it isWe’re showing the police we can do what we want.” 

In the Guardian, the comical Nina Power – yes, her - once again wheeled out her rickety Marxist boilerplate. For our academic radical, the causes of the riots are “clear.” And they just happen to correspond with her own doctrinaire outlook. And so, eagerly, she casts the muggers, thieves and arsonists as the “dispossessed” fighting against “entitlement” and therefore deserving of our “understanding,” which in her case means projection, excuses and flattery. Yet these “dispossessed” souls seemed for the most part quite well kitted out and intent on possessing more. Say, by beating up pensioners, punching women and robbing children of their clothes. The muggers’ own rather prodigious sense of entitlement – which you’d think was hard to miss – somehow escaped Dr Power’s notice. Must be all that “critical thinking” she does.  

And, as Tim notes,

We are told, endlessly, that only the rapist is to blame for rape. Nothing that the victim does, has done, where they go, how they’re dressed, nothing at all changes the fact that the rapist is solely and completely responsible, in and of themselves, for the crime. So why isn’t this true for rioters?

Maybe the socialist maths, premised as it is on Designated Victim Groups, doesn’t quite add up.


Update 2:

Causes, more causes and the politics of trainers.

Update 3:

I suggested it might be interesting to see how many of the rioters had records for previous convictions. And goodness, lookee here.