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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

From a riot near you


The above picture shows people in Clapham with their brooms engaged in #cleanup which shows that Twitter can be used for other purposes than organising opportunistic looting. I have seen plenty of articles asking whether Twitter or Blackberry broadcast was responsible for the riots. To my mind, you might as well blame paper manufacturers for the Russian Revolution.

The question that doesn't seem to have been raised much is whether the mainstream news reporting was responsible for some of the trouble. Wall-to-wall coverage of burned cars and thieves smashing windows might after all have encouraged others to go out and loot n'est ce pas? I'm not suggesting that the news should necessarily be censored but there does seem to be room for an examination of conscience about the coverage.

So far, London seems to be quieter tonight though there is trouble in other parts of England. In the next door parish to me, there was a self-help programme organised ad hoc by Milwall and Charlton fans to protect Eltham High Street. If you know anything about the football loyalties in this part of London, you will understand that this is a major ecumenical breakthrough. Millwall fans will know the tune to "No one loots us. We don't care."


If you are looking for an explanation of what is behind the "civil unrest" that seems to have taken everyone by surprise, here is an account from two girls in my childhood home, Croydon:

Leana Hosea speaks to Croydon looters on @bbcworldservice (mp3)

"Just showin the Police and the rich people we can do what we want" about sums it up, I think. "I can do what I want" is the net result of moral relativism applied by the ordinary teenager affected by original sin and educated in a system that undermines any real foundation of duty to God, country or neighbour.

Few people have noted the irony of the appeals by the Police to parents to "contact their children." For several decades our country has undermined marriage, the family, and the rights of parents. Agents of the state can teach your children how to have sex, give them condoms, put them on the pill, give them the morning-after pill if it doesn't work, and take them off for an abortion if that fails - and all without you having any say in the matter or necessarily even knowing about it. Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave.

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Now for one or two lighter items that have found their way onto the social media. First, what is possibly a blunder in advertising terms right at the moment:


And then a bit of good British stiff upper lip in Chiswick:


Apparently a Waterstone's employee said on the news this evening:
"We'll stay open; if they steal some books they might learn something."
Witty, but to the point when you consider that in Peckham the Pound Shop was looted (seriously!) If only there were footage of someone swaggering triumphantly down Elm Grove waving a five-pack of sellotape and a bumper bag of wine gums.

But my award goes to the tweep who wrote:
Reports from Hampton Court: A group of youths dressed in tabards and pointy shoes has just begun luting.
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