A lot of words flying around in the “mainstream media” to describe the events in London over the last three days. “Anarchists” being my favourite misnomer (Sky News). “UK riots” has become the key phrase to google, recalling the classic CDA comparison: “10 rioters shot in vilent clash” vs. “Police shoot 10 demonstrators dead during peaceful march”.
It seems the news media and commentariat have forgotten the concerns which have been voiced since the Conservatives and LibDems came to power and started making their radical cutbacks to social services, including but not limited to closing many youth centres before the summer.
And, of course, the widespread corruption in the police which has been receiving major coverage during the Murdoch case – and would unsurprisingly fire up existing tensions between police and local residents.
These cutbacks and revelations, added to long-standing (institutionalised) social inequalities, are not serving to increase “community cohesion” in today’s UK.
Update (see Penny Red):
In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:
“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”
“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”
Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’
There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.
(…thanks to miriyam aouragh on mediantho for the motivation to write… she recommends:
“The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better for Everyone“. By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett)