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Graham Stringer MP: Riot Report Whitewash

The MP for Broughton and Blackley on why the police should live up to their responsibilities

Published on August 21st 2012.

Graham Stringer MP: Riot Report Whitewash

IT IS just over 12 months since 15,000 of our fellow citizens took to the streets of London, Salford, Manchester and Birmingham and created havoc and mayhem. It was the most serious outbreak of public disorder and rioting for 30 years. About 2000 of the rioters have been convicted for burglary, theft, arson and public disorder. 

One could summarise the Chief Constables statements as ‘this is society’s problem don’t expect the police to do very much about it.’ 

The courts, reflecting public opinion, have doled out much more severe sentences than normal. Up to 90% of the convicted rioters were ‘known to the police’, having on average about 10 previous convictions per person. 

Graham Stringer MPGraham Stringer MPAlthough rioting daughters of millionaires got a disproportionate amount of publicity, most of the convictions were of functionally illiterate impoverished young men. We know the profile of the rioters but what have we learnt about how to stop such occurrences in the future? If the 7 reports and their recommendations on the riots, which I have just ploughed through, are anything to go by we have learnt nothing. 

The expensively produced report for the Cabinet Office, ‘August Riots in England’ does not even mention the Manchester riots. These reports are of mind numbing banality and the recommendations simply reflect the author’s initial prejudices. If one takes the view (as I do) that the riots were just opportunistic criminality this is perhaps not surprising. 

The chronic problem of a growing criminal underclass is not open to an easy solution. In this sense the Scarman Report, produced in response to the riots 30 years ago, had an easier task in responding to institutional police racism. This report changed policing forever by introducing the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Independent Police Complaints Authority which procedurally made it much more difficult for the Police to behave in an unaccountable and racially prejudicial manner.


Where the reports were irrelevant and a waste of money the response of the police was worrying and revealing in equal measure. The statements of our Chief Constable Peter Fahy show him to be more of a social worker than a copper and his tactical response to this and possible future riots to be vacuous. 

Let’s take just three of his statements. He has made other equally bizarre comments that could have been used to equal effect. 

“No one would have backed us if we cracked down hard on rioters” he stated recently. This begs a large number of questions. How does he know? The public response to the hard line taken by the courts indicates he is wrong, as do the opinion polls. But even if he is right does this mean that he determines police tactics by balancing the view of the Guardian and the Daily Mail. His job is to protect people and property. 

This statement is an abdication of that responsibility by relying on a false (and probably unknowable) assessment of public opinion. Of course in a democratic society policing has to be done with the overall consent of the public. There is not a smidgen of evidence that that consent would have been withdrawn if he had cracked down harder on the rioters. 

Even weirder is his statement that “rather than concentrating on the areas where there were disturbances we should look at areas like Moss Side which did not riot...” this is like saying that when a house is burgled the police should focus on properties that had not been burgled or if somebody is murdered we should remember the 99.9% of the population that are still alive. 

The third weasel statement was “...we filled our cells – not the hospitals” nobody wants disproportionate force but the fact remains that hardly anybody was arrested during the first six or so hours of the riots and looters and arsonists carried on with their criminal activity while the police stood by. 

The cells were only filled later using acres and acres of CCTV footage and many person years of police officer time. It also resulted in the ‘usual suspects’ i.e. those with records being arrested hence the very high rate of people with previous convictions being sent down. The implications are that first time offenders with no police record got away with it. 

One could summarise the Chief Constables statements as ‘this is society’s problem don’t expect the police to do very much about it.’ Interestingly this is in stark contrast to the Met Police who have recognised and apologised for their too slow too soft response. It is also nigh on impossible to imagine Peter Fahy’s predecessor Mike Todd making any of these statements. 

There is obviously a huge range of opinion within the police force about how our communities should be policed. From the societal analysis of ‘nothing to do with me guv’ of Peter Fahy to the more interventionist ‘let’s catch and lock up the criminals’ of Todd and others. This is a job for democracy and the electorate to determine, not one top copper. Our last four Chief Constables Anderton, Wilmot, Todd and Fahy embody four different philosophies of policing.

Let’s hope when it comes to the election of a police commissioner in November that these issues are central to that debate and result in a police service that follows the democratic will of the people and not one that guesses at it.      

Riot CrimesRiot Crimes

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48 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

You would think that if he's coming from such an informed position he could spell the name of the chief constable correctly.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

yeah thats really something important to this debate isn't it you silly sod!

AnonymousAugust 23rd 2012.

Oh God, the spelling police...

Jonathan SchofieldAugust 21st 2012.

We've sorted the spelling, thank you. Actually as editor I should have spotted that. Anyway dear Anon, what do think about the meat of the article, you know, the important bit.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

I think it's relevant as he's pontificating on this, but hasn't taken the time to learn a four-letter name of the guy he's slamming. This from a man who doesn't believe dyslexia exists.

In saying that, I quite like him and his spiky views but, in my humble and anonymous opinion, as usual with his views on policing he's got the broad thrust wrong but has some interesting points.

DavidAugust 21st 2012.

Is this the start of Mr Stringers campaign to be police commissioner?.He seems to be positioning himself in this article for it.

James FAugust 21st 2012.

Excellent article. The police have to enforce the law when the law is being broken

Simon TurnerAugust 21st 2012.

The knowledge that GMP had agreed to send officers and vans down to London incentivised the Manchester rioters. That was a big big mistake. The rioters knew GMP had their eye off the ball. Then, even with stretched resources GMP could have intervened more and harder; that's also clear. Failure at the highest level! Worst of all, if the police accept no failure, then we assume they have no better plan next time round.

AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

with an elected commisioner won't that increase the risk of policing for votes rather than reduce it? What happened was the police wimped out of the confrontation failed to keep the queens peace and so heads should have rolled by now.

Calum McGAugust 21st 2012.

“No one would have backed us if we cracked down hard on rioters” = I disagree. I and many of my Manchester pals WOULD have supported harsher tactics...

UrbanefoxAugust 21st 2012.

The statement saying that we should look at places like Moss Side that did not riot is not at all weird or strange.

I grew up near 'Salford Shopping Centre' in the 90's, where I think the Manchester riots initially started - it was pretty grim. Furthermore, in the 20 years since it is quite clear to me that it has got significantly worse.

Contrast this with areas such as Moss Side and Hulme where people didn't riot. These places have seen significantly more investment and while they certainly
have their problems, things have improved.

Leave people to rot and they're more likely to act up when the opportunity arises.

SmittyAugust 21st 2012.

Well I was about that night and think the police did a blinding job. They locked up how many of them on the night? And subsequently got the majority of them though good police work and public support. I'm sure I would've liked to see the bobbies knock seven bells of s**** out of the little bastards, but had they done so I would've been less impressed when they got their compo for police brutality. I think the point Fahy was making was that they locked them up rather than beat them up. Which seems relatively sensible.

UrbanefoxAugust 21st 2012.

For reference, most sensible people don't tend to use the term 'underclass' as it is considered to be both derogatory and counter-productive. In short it shows contempt for the poor.

Krystal CleerAugust 21st 2012.

The underclass is real though UrbaneFox isn't it? It's made up of those people who see themselves as operating outside the normal rules of society and use their lack of ambition and failure as stick with which to tell us their bad behaviour is our fault. The tag whether you agree with it or not changes nothing.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
UrbanefoxAugust 21st 2012.

All the things you say are true. There is a section of society that doesn't contribute, operates outside the law and makes society worse through it's bad behaviour.

Maybe how you lable these things shouldn't matter, but 'underclass' is a much criticised term and discredited term because it vilifies those who need help the most.

the Whalley RangerAugust 21st 2012.

Fox, in our social obsession with class hierarchy, the term 'underclass' denotes the social group below working, middle and upper. It is a term widely used by American sociologists, Karl Marx would have used a similar term to recognise this section of society.

Of course, you could reject the whole class concept and go and read Pierre Bourdieu for more relevant and meaningful distinction of social groups.

When applying the 'social, cultural and symbolic capital' criteria, you would be in danger of not being understood by most, though.

UrbanefoxAugust 22nd 2012.

Ranger - Thanks for this. I forgot that Marx used a similar term and the Bourdieu concept sounds interesting.

I think my main issue with the term 'underclass' is that the term was popularised by the divisive political rhetoric of the Thatcher Government. The term is academic in origins, but I think it's emotive now...

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2012.

just stick to chav

AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

The police would have been dammed if they did and dammed if they didn't. MP's just seem to get on a band wagon when they find their parties not in the driving seat.
All the decent people would have stood by the police if they had taken a hard line with the rioters but unfortunately society values have gone down the pan!
I'm sure everyone in positions they hold, try to do the right thing at the right time.
It's about time the courts made a stance. Shame they can't do it with some of the horrific cases we hear about on the news. Yet that opens a whole new debate around overcrowded jails. What percentage of those are non-UK residents??? Human right? Well that's another one! We could go on forever.........................
What about all the MP's looting public money??!!! We've not exactly seen a hard line taken to many of them now have we???

SmittyAugust 21st 2012.

Urbanefox - "underclass" is a phrase which resonates with many of the "poor", as you so patronisingly call them. I suspect that Stringer understands this, given his constituency has many of what you would perhaps term the "deserving poor" - ie decent, hard working, working class people who don't like the fact that there is a whole subset of their communities who don't work and are bone idle. That's what the "underclass" is and the real working classes have to live alongside them, unlike the metropolitan chattering classes who are quick to leap to the defence of the underclass, but would be appalled by the lack of parmigiano in Harpurhey if they ever had to step foot in M9.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
UrbanefoxAugust 21st 2012.

Smitty - I find the concept of 'undeserving' and 'deserving' poor both ridiculous and convenient.

You can dismiss me as a flag waving lefty, but I think if someone is in genuine need then a civilised society should be prepared to help them. That includes if they're bone idle, violent, a rioter and a thug. Who is qualified to decide if someone is deserving or undeserving?

The term underclass is as divisive and unhelpful as 'chav' or 'scally'. It demonises and alienates those who need help the most and is counter-productive to any meaningful discourse on the subject.

In my earlier comment I said I lived in that part of Salford. I got out. I'm not going back and it's not due to a lack of parmigiano. You'll have to excuse me for feeling sympathetic for those who didn't get the same opportunities I did.

SmittyAugust 22nd 2012.

Honestly? I deliberately used the phrase "deserving poor" to wind you up a little. My real point is that it is very, very easy for the chattering classes to have sympathy for those poor little rioters, but the point is you don't generally have to live side-by-side with them. If you did, then your view is likely to be rather different. And you certainly wouldn't dub them all - working class and underclass - as "the poor". It's just patronising.

Stringer understands this, because of the nature of his constituency. Yes, the fact that there are generations of people in our city who have never worked is a huge issue, it's a massive and complex problem. But the phrase underclass is one which resonates, mostly because it is true.

That doesn't mean he's got this right though - as I said above, being there on the night I saw the great job the police did.

UrbanefoxAugust 22nd 2012.

Honestly what?

I'm relieved you don't believe in the farcical concept of the 'deserving poor'. Although I don't really see the point in 'winding people up' by making spurious points you don't really believe in?

I do take your point about the people having to live cheek by jowl with the more disruptive members of society having to suffer the most though.

I didn't really intend to lump 'working class' people in with 'the poor'. I accept that it wasn't clear though and that it could possibly be percieved as patronising. It was a short, throwaway comment and I wasn't expecting it to be scrutinised to the extent that it has been. Perhaps I should have phrased it as 'those who live in poverty' or maybe even 'extreme poverty'?

The areas around Salford Shopping City where the riots started are not what I would consider to be 'working class'. The level of poverty is far more accute than the people who live nearby in areas such as Swinton and Irlam o' th' Height which I would consider, and many people who live there consider, to be working class. The main difference being that the majority of people who live there work and have a much higher standard of living.

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2012.

So when we talk about this what label is it OK to use? you need one or you cant have the conversation. perhaps instead of pontificating urbanfox would like to give us a clear label to use?

the Whalley RangerAugust 21st 2012.

Disclosure - I have not read any of the reports GS is referring to, nonetheless I can follow his string of arguments this time round - this has not always been the case.

With regard to the police response issue, I would like to add my own personal stance to the discussion: the initial lacklustre response did not surprise me in the slightest, given the press coverage just a few week earlier preparing us all for what was coming with respect to overall force numbers:


The response we got fell nothing short of the response of a child towards his guardian's insistence on finishing that plate of food, or else there would be no dessert.

Reluctance, followed by accepting fate.

Stephen NewtonAugust 21st 2012.

It's hard to see what this adds to the reports Stringer has found so worthless.

Stringer begins with a statement that there is no easy solution (a bit obvious), then blames the police for being too soft (a bit simplistic).

The police may well have enjoyed public support had they cracked down harder. We'll never know whether this would have stopped the looters or encouraged more thugs onto the streets.

All Stringer offers is an implied promise (easily reneged) that he'll support the police should they go in harder next time.

But what if an Ian Tomlinson type got in the way; an innocent bystander struck down by a short-fused policeman? Might that not be a route to more rioting and could that policeman rely on Stringer to stand by him and his superiors?

the Whalley RangerAugust 21st 2012.

Good point, Stephen - we have a Jekyll-and-Hyde-type relationship with the force. Why is that? Is it because we see G20 forces being unduly scrutinised, whist the likes of fine-dining John Yates reside untarnished in Bahrain?

What we have is evidence on camera by community elders stating that rioters had verbal carte blanche granted by police in London.

We also know from personal experience, that city centre workers in Manchester were advised by police around lunchtime of D-day+1 to go home early as they were expecting kick-off here.

Gruesome and truly shocking state of affairs when you put two and two together...

AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

GS doesn't mention one thing that was important. He claimed at the time that he had intelligence the developing situation during the afternoon before the riot in North Manchester. and no action was taken. Is that true? Did inform the North Manchester Chief (responsible for the City Centre0 and follow it up.

I would be interested to know what the police officer on the front page of the 'People' on the Sunday in Manchester following the riot, weilding a assault rifle was doing. Is that what GS would like to have happened?

There was of course a rehearsal for this riot control on the occasion of the Rangers visit. Was that better?

Incidentally if the kids in his constituency indeed are not 'functionally literate,'(ie can't read the Sun) what has he been doing about it all these years? or is it another jibe at the scallies..or just the 'dyslexics'? After all he was Leader of the Council for ten years before he became an MP.

DavidAugust 22nd 2012.

Stringer is position ihimself as a right of centre candidate for a job that would be very attractive for an MP who has reached the end of the line.He is not going to be in any future Labour government and is too old to ever run for leader.
But by blaming the police for being to soft,he is putting himself as a populist law and order candidate.

grangeAugust 22nd 2012.

I distinctly remember local radio stations and tv chanting


over and over

why did they do that ?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 22nd 2012.

because they were trying to send a message about policing getting tougher in the capital to bring those riots under control.

anneiaAugust 22nd 2012.

Plain and simple Grange they just got it wrong, underestimating the power of the computer, the rioters were well prepared and advanced on to the streets caught most of the police unpreperd. Fahey was cought napping, didnt expect the impact which had been made leaving young folk to their own devices. There was and poss still is not many in work yet, on dole not much money, feel no aspirations, not able to see any better future, this needs to be re addressed and re balanced. £9.000 education fees will not help as seen in the uptake of recent places.

We had our problems up north but London became a priority WHY !!! we receive less money than down south when money is being handed out. Redress the balance empower young people by giving then education to meet their needs.

1 Response: Reply To This...
James KayAugust 22nd 2012.

What on earth has university fees got to do with it? The majority of the low-lifes who were rioting and looting can't even read and write!
As for giving giving them education to 'meet their needs'... they've supposedly had it. It was called 'school'!

They wouldn't have bothered with school though as it interfered with being a feckless oxygen thief and all of the training that that demands. Sat at home on their Playstation and counting up the previous nights spoils whilst people apologise and make excuses for them.

You had exactly the same needs and opportunities, but decided that you would listen at school, learn and get a job to pay for the life that you wanted to lead which then leads to aspirations.

Regardless of their background, law-breakers should not be apologised for.

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2012.

The scum were focussed on THEFT -there was no "social element" - just little twats trying to steal what they can.

The police dropped the ball - it was OBVIOUS what was going to happen - and exactly WHERE and WHEN!

Screw this social nonsense - if they riot, break them. Hard.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyAugust 22nd 2012.

Bullseye ! -the frustration Stringer is trying to articulate but for obvious reasons is unable to say...

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2012.

Well done Manchester Confidential. Over 24 hours later and BBC Manchester "finally catch on" and have this as their lead story.

How many journalists do they employ down there at MediaCity??? (And all paid for by us by the way!)

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldAugust 22nd 2012.

Frankly if the story is good Anon I don't think it matters who has it first. Readerships and listenerships are different, so they won't necessarily have heard the thing before. And you can always add comment to make the story your own. If it's news-breaking that can be different because then you want it out first. But comment depends on the commentator's skill, not on getting it out early.

John NuttallAugust 22nd 2012.

The riots were a gift to the senior police officers that had been saying that planned cuts in police numbers would render them unable to provide an acceptable level of policing. A cynic would say that they then proceeded to let the rioters run amok so that they could then turn round to their political masters and say "see, I told you this would happen".

I don't know which riot Smitty was observing when he saw the police doing "a blinding job" but it definitely wasn't the one that I walked through that evening. I observed at close quarters a pack of around a hundred scallies bombarding the Armani store in Spinningfields with bottles and stones with not a policeman in sight. In fact, between Dimitris and Piccadilly station I didn't see a single police officer in a scene reminiscent of Escape from New York.

1 Response: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerAugust 22nd 2012.

are you a cynic or a realist?

Poster BoyAugust 22nd 2012.

Irrespective of party politics, Stringer has always been able to intuitively reflect the (general) public mood. His move to Westminster was Manchester's loss. The big frustration is why he has since been satisfied to sit on a back bench. He has had so much more to offer -which has been the country's loss.

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidAugust 23rd 2012.

Why was he sat on back bench under Labour government?.Because he. Not sScot and not considered talented.

Brian WilliamsAugust 22nd 2012.

GMP should have used the tactic that James Anderton employed during his suppression of the Moss Side riots in 1981: driving police vans at the rioters at high speed with snatch squads then went forward to make arrests. Of course Graham Stringer has forgot that he accused GMP of being too tough in 1981.

Brian WilliamsAugust 22nd 2012.

Graham Stringer is of course a hypocrite to accuse Peter Fahy of being too "soft" and "social worker like" while in the past accusing James Anderton of being too hardline and tough.

GordoAugust 29th 2012.

I have read a lot of words about the riots of last summer and listened to earnest debates on Radio and Television. Maybe a hundred thousand words and many hours of radio and four or five of TV.

The common denominator of 95% of the debate is that the debaters and commentators were nowhere near the riots at the time. Their viewpoint was gained from media comment in the main, from their armchairs

I am now going to give my opinion. From the front line.

But only on the Manchester Lootings. Why? Because I was there, in Manchester, taking pictures and reporting live through social media to an estimated 80,000 people from 3:00 pm in the afternoon through to just gone midnight. I cannot comment on London, or Birmingham. I can comment on Manchester.

There were four distinct periods. The first was the calm before the storm. This when, around three in the afternoon, Manchester was becoming a graveyard. Offices were closing early. It was three days into the disturbances in the south and people in Manchester were frightened. And I, for one, can’t blame them.
Everyone was aware, except it seems, the police.

It was like the sea rolling back before a tsunami hits, all goes quite but the atmosphere is crackling; you know something bad is going to happen. By five, the city was dead.

In the Confidential offices we had decided that we were going to set up base camp in Piccolinos on Clarence Street, a good spot to get to the various areas we thought were going to be the main trouble.

It was clear to us that, looking at the social media feeds, there was going to be real trouble. We decided to do a systematic live news report for the first time using our social media skills.

Around five thirty the second part of the phase exploded into life with pure vandalism, mainly centered at the top of Market Street. A mixed bag of young people, aged mainly from fourteen to late twenties, were acting like a football crowd out of control. They didn’t know why, or for what, but boy, were they up for it, starting to vadalise the street furniture and throwing stuff through windows.

Confronted by a small, but very brave team of Police in riot gear, the potential looters took note that the officers were moving back down Market street which had the effect of leaving a vacuum; one shop was set on fire and suddenly shop windows across the area were caving in.

Beside Tesco, I heard a ‘hoodie’ on his mobile phone. “Fuck me man, tell everyone to get down ere, the bizzies are fucking nowhere to be seen and its going to be like fuckin’ Christmas, were gonna clear the shops out…”

At the bottom of Market Street there was one man, white, who kept screaming at the police that they were the real problem, and bringing up the death of <name> in his verbal lashing. He then launched himself at the line and got himself arrested. He was the only person for the rest of the night who mentioned <name>, in my earshot at least.

A bunch of white teenage girls aged around fourteen and dressed for a brothel were laughing. “What a silly cunt”, screamed one, fag in one hand and a can of beer in another, “Right fuck this for a lark, lets get to Diesel, the lads have smashed the windows in”

I took pictures of this for about an hour. This second phase was coming to an end, that of the youths just looking for some action who had come into town to see what was going on. Realising the weakness of a city with no law and order they had been on their mobiles to let their pals know it was open season for looting in Manchester.

The police, apart from the original riot squad I had seen, and kept sporadically seeing for most of the night, were no-where.

The third stage for me was surreal. This was organised looting. I was photographing a group of black teenagers cleaning out the High and Mighty store on King Street, being directed by a thirty-something Fagin, who in turn had just seemed to have been given instructions from other, older guys in a souped up small saloon car which subsequently screeched around the city all night. He looked at me, and then shouted to the fourteen kids.

“Eh, this fucker is taking pictures of you, fucking sort him”.

I walked across the street to the Emporio Armani shop where I was surrounded by these children; two with knives. It was a bad time, but humour won the day and when they found out they were going to be on a website, they were, perversely, delighted. They ran back over the road to continue the looting of the store.

This phase was all about organised looting; systematic abuse of the vacuum left by the police, fuelled by technology, that being mobile phones.

The final phase unfolded after ten at night. The looting carried on, but the atmosphere turned from ugly to alcohol ugly.

I was threatened by three white guys, from the tough suburbs, who just wanted to “kick a fat cunt’s teeth down his throat”. It was dark and I was frightened. I managed to get out of that one by the skin of my teeth and the ability to face people down. It was time for me to get back to my flat just off Albert square.

I don’t want to do that walk again. Ten yards from my front door I realized something out of a horror movie was stalking me. He was baffled when I stepped through my front door, he didn’t realize the building was residential. He was ranting and raving, trying to smash the door down to get at me

I spent he rest of the evening listening to a bunch of looters spend two hours kicking in the window of Jessop’s, just around the corner of my apartment, whilst watching the cars screech around the city, along with kids fighting over a looted white box.

What I have to tell you after listening to all the debates and, crucially, being one of the few people who stuck it out, is this. This was not a riot. It was a looting, pure and simple

These people are the vermin that have always been there. They are the people who are outside of society and have been for a thousand plus years. They are the people who will give you grandmother a broken hip and blacken her eyes to get at her purse to buy ‘brown’. In the eighteenth century they were there, doing the same, for gin. It is not a new phenomenon.

But for three hundred years they have been kept in check by a police force, which we pay to do that difficult job. On that night, for whatever reason, our force failed us. The frightening thing was just how fast the vermin realized that they had and a mob took over Manchester city center for a night.

I know one thing, here in Manchester. This was an opportunity for the underclass of criminals to have their night.

They loved it. It was nothing, nothing ,nothing to do with rioting for a cause. It was simply criminal.

I for one, applaud the tough line the courts took. We must never again allow our great and magic city to be taken over by the mob. Our Chief Constable, as far as this writer is concerned, should apologise for being the only person in Manchester who didn’t know it was going to happen. And never allow it to happen again.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Dalai GuevaraAugust 29th 2012.

Never again....

may I remind you, that the last time town was looted, was on the lush summers day in 1996 when that bomb went off.

I was there on my bike doing what you were doing last year - of course, all a bit different in scale and overshadowed by the political aspect of it, but nonetheless looting in the classic sense.

I am told Nine Eleven was no different, the 'underclass' come out as soon as they see an opportunity.

Which takes me to straight to the point I wish to make: why is it that in Anglo-American culture, we allow ourselves the privilege of keeping an 'underclass'? What is it with this obsession that we need to keep a section of society excluded from work, political life and recognised cultural participation?

Would the looting you so eloquently describe be possible in Norway, or Korea, or Barbados? Why not?

There is something seriously wrong in a society which creates 16h/week hurdles for the unemployed, whilst struggling to come to terms with bank runs and money printing FIVE YEARS after the event.

The banksters 'looted' so many flat screen tv-equivalents, if you lined them all up, you could get a wired connection directly to curiosity rover. Has ANYONE gone down for that?

What a hypocritical and moral effing mess we are all in...

AnonymousAugust 29th 2012.

A powerful testimony Gordo but I don't think it adds much to Stringer's piece. Several analyses since the riots have highlighted the correlation between socio-economic background and participation in the riots (despite a few high profile exceptions). Sure, robust enforcement is needed - and perhaps the police have a case to answer, I don't know - but enforcement can only hope to address the symptoms of the issue. What's also needed are measures that address the underlying causes that are inevitably rooted in poverty and disadvantage.

the Whalley RangerAugust 29th 2012.

Great bloggy analysis rant, Gords. I am fully with you.

Now, can you sort the banksters out, please?

ChicoAugust 29th 2012.

Bankers jail time is not chico time.

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