London’s Burning

Features - August 29th, 2011
London1

Just as London’s chattering classes boast of next year’s Olympic facilities being completed ahead of schedule and within budget, those from an altogether different strata of life took to the streets of the capital in an orgy of rioting and looting that left large fires burning simultaneously across the city.

So many, that one commentator remarked it was reminiscent of nothing less than the blitz during World War II.

The vast majority of those making mischief in London and in several other inner cities across England in early August will know little if anything about why that war was fought and what the fighting meant to their present day freedom. Aside from a passing ability with computer games, many know little about anything else at all, nor do they care.

They are uneducated, without life skills—beyond those of feral survival—and essentially without hope. They come from single parent families living in deprived areas where welfare is seen as an inalienable right and the word responsibility means nothing. During some of the looting, children as young as nine years old were seen hauling off bottles of liquor and cartons of cigarettes. Where were the parents (unless joining in)? And why were nine year olds out on the streets at 1.00 a.m.?

“Why were nine year olds out on the streets at 1.00 a.m.?”

I have written before of how the insistence on political correctness in English schools has led to the breaking down of the teachers’ ability to discipline those in their charge. If you cannot impose sanctions how can you combat delinquency?

But the rot goes much deeper than that. The courts have repeatedly handed down essentially meaningless sentences to young offenders found guilty of “petty crimes.”

On more than one occasion I have had friends in the inner cities tell me of reporting to the police the theft of a bicycle or a car radio, only to have the police laugh away the complaint: even if we could find who is responsible, the courts won’t punish them, is too often the response.

Recently, there have also been disturbing reports of law abiding citizens being arrested for tackling intruders into their homes; the criminal perpetrator essentially becoming the victim. It is further severely complicated when the householders are white and the intruders are not. But this, of course, is the elephant in the room and in some quarters it is heresy even to suggest it might be worth acknowledging it.

Some commentators have suggested that this unprecedented release of public anger has been fuelled by repeated media reports citing the “obscene” bonuses paid to the bosses of certain British banks which have been rescued by the taxpayer and by the revelations of MPs claiming outrageous expenses.

I think I might be more sympathetic to that view if I believed that even a minority of the rioters were taxpayers or could read the media reports to begin with.

Ian de Stains OBE is the author of “The Business Travellers’ Handbook to Japan”
published by Stacey International in the UK and available from Amazon.