Preoccupations + riots + 2011 + uk   80

Rowan Williams: Rioting is the choice of young people with nothing to lose | Comment is free | The Guardian
"The big question Reading the Riots leaves us with is whether, in our current fretful state, with unavoidable austerity ahead, we have the energy to invest what's needed in family and neighbourhood and school to rescue those who think they have nothing to lose. We have to persuade them, simply, that we as government and civil society alike will put some intelligence and skill into giving them the stake they do not have. Without this, we shall face more outbreaks of futile anarchy, in which we shall all, young and old, be the losers."
Rowan_Williams  Guardian  riots  UK  2011  youth  materialism  social_mobility  inequality 
december 2011 by Preoccupations
UK riots analysis reveals gangs did not play pivotal role | UK news | The Guardian
"Official figures show that 13% of those arrested in the riots have been identified as gang members, rising to 19% in London. But even where police identified gang members being present, most forces believe they did not play a pivotal role. … This analysis contrasts sharply with the picture presented to the Conservative party conference by Duncan Smith, when he said gangs played "a significant part" in the riots. An anti-riots tsar, Louise Casey, has been appointed to lead the drive against gang culture. Instead, the MoJ analysis stresses the poor educational and socio-economic background of those arrested in the riots. "It is clear that compared to population averages, those brought before the courts were more likely to be in receipt of free school meals or benefits, were more likely to have had special educational needs and be absent from school, and are more likely to have some form of criminal history. This pattern held across all areas looked at," it says."
riots  London  UK  2011  Guardian  gangs  Conservatives  crime 
october 2011 by Preoccupations
why do so many people in court over riots have criminal records? #newsnight - bengoldacre - secondary blog
"people with criminal records are easier to identify, because theyve already got a criminal record, you know who they are when you try to find their identity, etc. so it's important to remember that the denominator in these conversations is "people who've been arrested for rioting" rather than "people who rioted"."
riots  UK  2011  Ben_Goldacre  crime 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
English city riots involved 'hardcore' of repeat offenders, first analysis shows | UK news | The Guardian
"More than 70% of the 1,715 brought to court had previous convictions or cautions, but many youngsters had clean records"
Guardian  2011  riots  UK  crime  prison 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
Keep Social Media On During Civil Unrest, Executives Tell MPs | paidContent:UK
"Representatives of Rim and the two social networks told a committee of MPs on Thursday that they had seen “no evidence” to suggest that their social media services had been used to coordinate the riots and looting, as David Cameron and senior Scotland Yard officers claimed in August."
social_media  2011  UK  riots  Twitter  Facebook  RIM 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
Magistrates were told to send rioters to court, emails show | UK news | The Guardian
"Commenting on the emails, Sally Ireland, the director of policy at the civil liberties group Justice, said: "Justices clerks can give directions to assistant justices' clerks under the Courts Act; however, the content of the email is disturbing. The application or disapplication of sentencing guidelines should be a matter decided on a case by case basis." She also questioned the term "higher judiciary", saying: "In what way did they give this general advice? The higher judiciary does not have a role in allocation/sentencing by magistrates, except in the case of appeals and guideline judgments." Paul Mendelle QC, a former chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: "The idea that established Court of Appeal authorities can be set aside or ignored by the secret advice from an anonymous civil servant strikes me as undemocratic at best and unconstitutional at worst. "Blanket advice to magistrates to deal with all cases in one particular way – commit to crown court – regardless of the facts of the individual cases might be seen as an unlawful fetter on their discretion.""
courts  Law  justice  riots  UK  2011  Guardian  civil_liberties 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
Jailed rioters need help to turn their lives around, says Boris Johnson | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"The prime minister, David Cameron, lay great stress on gangs being behind the riots. But Johnson said just 20% of the 2,300 arrested so far had gang affiliations. The Conservative mayor, who faces a battle for re-election next year, said police were not asking to use weapons such as baton rounds and water cannon, and he dismissed the notion floated by Cameron that social media could be blocked in the event of future disturbances. Johnson said monitoring such sites helped police to gather intelligence."
riots  London  UK  2011  Boris_Johnson  David_Cameron  police  prison  crime  gangs  social_media  Guardian 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
Reading the Riots study to examine causes and effects of August unrest | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"The causes and consequences of the English riots last month, the most serious bout of civil unrest in a generation, will be examined in a study by the Guardian and the London School of Economics. Researchers will interview hundreds of people who were involved, in the first empirical study into the widespread rioting and looting. … Reading the Riots is modelled on an acclaimed survey conducted in the aftermath of the Detroit riots in 1967. The findings of that study, the result of a groundbreaking collaboration between the Detroit Free Press newspaper and Michigan's Institute for Social Research, challenged prevailing assumptions about the cause of the unrest. Prof Phil Meyer, who co-ordinated the Detroit study more than four decades ago, will advise the research into the English riots. The LSE's involvement will be led by Prof Tim Newburn, head of the university's social policy department, which has the highest possible research rating in the UK. Newburn, a former president of the British Society of Criminology and an advisor to the Metropolitan police and Home Office, said: "There is an urgent need for some rigorous social research which will look, without prejudice, at the causes and the consequences of the recent riots. "Crucially, it is vital that we speak with those involved in the disturbances and those affected by them to try to understand any lessons for public policy." … Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian News and Media editor-in-chief, said: "The Guardian continues to make great strides in the field of data journalism, and the volume of information and statistics we have gathered since the riots erupted this time last month is vast. As a newspaper we can draw objective conclusions from this data, but working with LSE will enable us to slot these facts into the wider social picture and present a more comprehensive look at what caused these events to unfold.""
riots  UK  2011  Guardian  LSE 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
Kenneth Clarke blames English riots on a 'broken penal system' | UK news | The Guardian
"The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has blamed the riots that swept across England last month on a "broken penal system" that has failed to rehabilitate a group of hardcore offenders he describes as the "criminal classes". Revealing for the first time that almost 75% of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions, Clarke said the civil unrest had laid bare an urgent need for penal reform to stop reoffending among "a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism"."
riots  UK  2011  prison  crime  Guardian 
september 2011 by Preoccupations
Open Rights Group | Update on the Home Secretary's social media 'riot summit'
"In this coalition Government, which promised to row back on what many saw as intrusions into our liberties, the plans have resurfaced under the name Communications Capabilities Development programme. The meeting yesterday can be seen through that frame - of the process of updating how interception laws work, either through informal relationships between communications providers or social networks and police, or through formal updates of the law. The New York Times reported comments from Gordon Scobbie, 'a senior police officer who leads efforts to sharpen the force’s social media presence'. He told the NYT that 'the group had discussed how far the networks might be willing to bend privacy rules to assist the police in pursuing online criminal activity.' A greater willingness from communications providers to bend privacy rules, at the encouragement of the Government or police, would be somewhat worrying."
ORG  social_media  riots  UK  2011  privacy  censorship 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Government backs down on plan to shut Twitter and Facebook in crises | Media | guardian.co.uk
"Unprecedented measures such as shutting down websites and banning users are understood to have been dismissed by all sides early at a Home Office summit between the home secretary, Theresa May, and the major social networks on Thursday afternoon."
social_media  2011  Twitter  Facebook  RIM  riots  UK  censorship  rights  Guardian 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Open Rights Group | Joint letter to the Home Secretary
"there is existing legislation regulating the interception and disclosure of communications information, the use of communications evidence by law enforcement and restrictions on people's use of communications technology. It is reasonable to review the existing legal regime to ensure that it appropriately fits new technologies.  However, turning off, restricting or monitoring people's communications networks are matters that require extreme care and open, detailed deliberation. We are very concerned that new measures, made in good faith but in a heated political environment, will overextend powers in ways that would be susceptible to abuse, restrict legitimate, free communication and expression and undermine people's privacy.  This is especially so if proposals involve unaccountable voluntary arrangements between law enforcement and communications providers. It is essential that any review of regulations covering communications networks happens through a public consultation, with full details of meetings between the Government and social network platforms made public as soon as possible.  This should involve a genuine multi-stakeholder process that includes not only the communications providers but groups representing broader citizens' rights such as freedom of expression and privacy."
ORG  Amnesty_International  Liberty  social_media  rights  riots  UK  2011  censorship 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Twitter traffic during the riots | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"The Guardian has compiled a unique database of more than 2.5m tweets related to the riots, showing that the majority of surging social media traffic occurred after the first verified reports of incidents in an area"
Guardian  Twitter  2011  riots  UK  social_media 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Twitter study casts doubts on ministers' post-riots plan | UK news | The Guardian
"A preliminary study of a database of riot-related tweets, compiled by the Guardian, appears to show Twitter was mainly used to react to riots and looting. Timing trends drawn from the data question the assumption that Twitter played a widespread role in inciting the violence in advance, an accusation also levelled at the rival social networks Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger."
Twitter  social_media  riots  UK  2011  Guardian  censorship 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
UK riots were product of consumerism and will hit economy, says City broker | Business | The Guardian
""We conclude that the rioting reflects a deeply flawed economic and social ethos… recklessly borrowed consumption, the breakdown both of top-end accountability and of trust in institutions, and severe failings by governments over more than two decades.""
riots  UK  2011  Guardian  consumerism  consumption 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Teenager cleared of setting fire to Miss Selfridge during Manchester riots | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"His solicitor, Kerry Morgan, criticised the judicial system for pursuing instant justice so much it resulted in an innocent man being locked up."
riots  UK  2011  Observer  crime  justice  CCTV 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Has Newsnight lost its way? | Comment is free | The Observer
"JN I agree about Paul Mason. His blog post about the origins of the Arab Spring was a model of what sense-making should be. What was most striking about Newsnight's attempts to cover the recent unrest was the absence of any sign of intellectual curiosity. The riots were alarming, complex and baffling. Why were they happening? Why were the police responding as they did? Did we really need new laws to cope with the phenomenon? Were social networking tools really being used to co-ordinate looting? How could a prime minister be so clueless about the internet? What happened after the Toxteth riots in 1981? And so on. Britain is full of knowledgeable people who could have helped answer such questions. Academics such as Paul Gilroy and Conor Gearty of LSE, for example, or Janet Bujra and Jenny Pearce of Bradford (whose careful study of the 2001 riots in that city showed that most of the instant explanations offered at the time turned out to be wrong). Where were the technology experts who could have dissected the idea of squelching Twitter? Or the retired judges and police officers who could have explained why the disorder was being handled the way it was? None of them appeared on Newsnight, for the simple reason that they are probably not in the contact books of the programme's researchers. So if I had one recommendation for the editor it would be to insist that his researchers prune their Rolodexes, get out more, read more widely and above all wean themselves off the news agenda of the rightwing, xenophobic British press.
JC That's a lot of questions and they should be directed not at me but at Newsnight's editor. It was unfortunate for them that Paxman was away during the riots. He at least would have been able to direct the traffic. I'm not sure I agree that the programme's researchers and producers are poorly read. Your suggestion for alternative contributors betrays your own generational preferences. Instead of Gilroy, I would like to have heard from Hari Kunzru; instead of Conor Gearty, David Allen Green, a lawyer-blogger and an expert on new technology and social networks, and so on. One of the flaws of the present programme is that it attempts to do too much too quickly. There is an addiction to haste and compression. Complex subjects are necessarily trivialised because of the desire to move briskly on to the next subject. Contributors gather in the "green room" – a dismal, untidy, cramped space the size of a small tent – and they are hurried on and off the set. The whole experience can be unsatisfactory. And yet, when Newsnight is at its best, there is nothing as good. We can wish it were better, but equally we would miss it if were no more."
media  BBC  politics  current_affairs  riots  UK  London  2011  John_Naughton  Observer 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Blaming a moral decline for the riots makes good headlines but bad policy | Tony Blair | Comment is free | The Observer
"In 1993, following James Bulger's murder, I made a case in very similar terms to the one being heard today about moral breakdown in Britain. I now believe that speech was good politics but bad policy. Focus on the specific problem and we can begin on a proper solution. Elevate this into a high- faluting wail about a Britain that has lost its way morally and we will depress ourselves unnecessarily, trash our own reputation abroad and, worst of all, miss the chance to deal with the problem in the only way that will work."
Tony_Blair  Observer  2011  riots  UK  society  David_Cameron  Ed_Miliband 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
BBC - Adam Curtis Blog: THE TERRIFYING GANGS OF ENGLAND
"I want to put up a wonderful and oddly-touching film I have found in the BBC archives. It is a documentary made in 1969 in response to a growing panic about violent teenage gangs in England and it focusses on the Hells Angels and Skinheads. The filmmakers went off to get in with a group of Hells Angels and with a gang of skinheads. Their aim was to find out who the scary psychopaths were that made up the gangs that were threatening society. But what they came back with is a weird and brilliant mini-drama about two groups of individuals who are just like us - but more bored. It is also sometimes very funny - because the gangs have their own rules and structures that are absurd and distorted reflections of our own society."
Adam  Curtis  BBC  gangs  England  society  history  riots  2011  UK 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Slavoj Žižek · Shoplifters of the World Unite · LRB 19 August 2011
"Zygmunt Bauman characterised the riots as acts of ‘defective and disqualified consumers’: more than anything else, they were a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realise itself in the ‘proper’ way – by shopping. As such, they also contain a moment of genuine protest, in the form of an ironic response to consumerist ideology: ‘You call on us to consume while simultaneously depriving us of the means to do it properly – so here we are doing it the only way we can!’ The riots are a demonstration of the material force of ideology – so much, perhaps, for the ‘post-ideological society’. From a revolutionary point of view, the problem with the riots is not the violence as such, but the fact that the violence is not truly self-assertive. It is impotent rage and despair masked as a display of force; it is envy masked as triumphant carnival."
Slavoj_Žižek  LRB  2011  riots  UK  society  consumerism  capitalism 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
England rioters: young, poor and unemployed | UK news | The Guardian
"One of the most striking features to emerge is the proportion of those who have appeared in court so far who come from deprived neighbourhoods. A Liverpool University urban planning lecturer, Alex Singleton, analysed the Guardian's preliminary data by overlaying the addresses of defendants with the poverty indicators mapped by England's Indices of Multiple Deprivation, which breaks the country into small geographical areas. He found that the majority of people who have appeared in court live in poor neighbourhoods, with 41% of suspects living in one of the top 10% of most deprived places in the country. The data also shows that 66% of neighbourhoods where the accused live got poorer between 2007 and 2010. Singleton said: "Rioting is deplorable. However, if events such as this are to be mitigated in the future, the prevailing conditions and constraints affecting people living in areas must form part of the discussion. A 'broken society' happens somewhere, and geography matters." The findings are backed up by research carried out by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) published this week. The thinktank looked at the relationship between different indicators of poverty and deprivation and the boroughs where violence and looting took place. Researchers found that in almost all of the worst-affected areas, youth unemployment and child poverty were significantly higher than the national average while education attainment was significantly lower. "Child poverty rates in local authorities where riots flared are stubbornly high," it stated. "While poverty is no excuse for criminality, it places additional pressure on families not only to make ends meet but also to spend time together … The political debate is likely to rage on for some time but there is also an urgent need to understand what is happening in communities where violence flared.""
Guardian  poverty  inequality  2011  riots  London  UK  society 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Revealed: the full picture of sentences handed down to rioters | UK news | The Guardian
"The courts are handing down prison sentences to convicted rioters that are on average 25% longer than normal, according to an exclusive Guardian analysis of 1,000 riot-related cases dealt with so far by magistrates. The data proves for the first time that the handful of high-profile individual cases – including a four-year sentence for inciting disorder on Facebook – are indicative of a more punitive general trend. This unprecedented access to national court results reveals that 70% of defendants have been remanded in custody to await crown court trial, fuelling a surge in the prison population, which reached a record high of 86,608 in England and Wales. The Guardian's data also shows that 56 defendants of the 80 who have already been sentenced by magistrates were given immediate prison terms. This 70% rate of imprisonment compares with a "normal" rate of just 2% in magistrates courts. More than half those imprisoned were charged with theft or handling stolen goods, receiving an average of 5.1 months. This is 25% longer than the average custodial sentence for these crimes of 4.1 months seen in courts during 2010, according to Ministry of Justice statistics. Public order offences are leading to sentences 33% longer than normal and those convicted of assaulting police officers have been jailed for 40% longer than usual."
Guardian  2011  riots  UK  sentencing  courts  Law  crime  prison 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Sentencing Remarks HH Judge Robert Atherton
"Rv Dane Wesley Twemlow, Thomas Downey, Conrad McGrath, Lloyd Brian Coudjoe, David Christopher Swarbrick and Anthony Winder 18th August 2011 at Manchester Crown Court Riot Cases"
PDF  courts  justice  Law  riots  UK  2011  sentencing 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Riot sentence rift opens between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives | UK news | The Guardian
"Two of the most significant figures in the British legal establishment have made urgent warnings about tough sentencing for riot-related offences as the split in the coalition over the response to last week's violence dramatically widened. Lord Macdonald, who led the prosecution service in England and Wales for five years, warned that the courts risked being swept up in a "collective loss of proportion", passing jail terms that lack "humanity or justice". Meanwhile his fellow Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile, the barrister who was until this year the government's independent adviser on terrorism strategy, warned against ministerial interference in the judicial process, arguing that "just filling up prisons" would not prevent future problems.Macdonald told the Guardian: "Some of the offences that have been committed are exceptionally serious and they require grave punishment, and the sentencing guidelines cater for this. But we are also seeing exceptional punishment for opportunistic offences that appear, on the face of it, to be less serious. Coupled with the threat to remove benefits and to evict the families of rioters from their homes, we are seeing a response that risks becoming excessive and contrary to the norms of justice. "I think it's essential that the courts don't become swept up in a collective loss of proportion. There is a difference between a sentence that deters and a sentence that lacks humanity or justice. Nothing could be more destructive to social harmony than criminal sentencing which is ill-judged and unfair.""
Guardian  Liberal_Democrats  LibDems  justice  sentencing  courts  politics  crime  riots  UK  London  2011 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
England riots: ministers wrong to 'steer' courts, says Lord Carlile | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"Lord Carlile, the barrister and former Liberal Democrat MP warned that the sacrosanct separation of powers between the government and the judiciary had appeared to have been breached by some of the messages coming out of government since the riots engulfed neighbourhoods last week. Carlile, who served for 10 years under Labour and the coalition as the government's independent anti-terror adviser, told the Guardian: "I don't think it's helpful for ministers to appear to be giving a steer to judges. The judges in criminal courts are mostly extremely experienced and well capable of making the decisions themselves. Ministers should focus on securing the safety of the public." Asked whether ministers had overstepped the mark, he said: "Some judges may feel that and some ministers may feel that they have had a responsibility to use the language of sentences rather than policy." He defended the actions of judges saying it would be inevitable that sentencing would be tougher in the circumstances of the public disorder that took place last week, but he warned that there would be numerous appeals and called for the court of appeal to produce guidelines for judges and magistrates. He said that "just filling up prisons" would not contribute to maintaining the peace of England's streets, and warned that there were too many first-time offenders who had been remanded in custody on relatively minor offences after the events who would be eligible to appeal for bail. … "My suspicion is that as time passes the level of sentencing in these cases will reduce. I am actually more concerned with the number of people who are on remand in custody. There are numerous first offenders who have been remanded in custody who in other circumstances would not have been remanded in custody. I think there will be crown court appeals. A lot of people have been remanded in custody by magistrate courts for relatively minor offences such as receiving small quantities of stolen clothing. In ordinary circumstances people in that situation would not be remanded in custody – they might get a custodial sentence but they would not be remanded in custody in the first instance." He said that deterrent sentences were to be expected for those who commit acts of violence or theft of valuable items but added: "There will be a shakedown of the less serious cases although all forms of looting and rioting are going to attract greater sentences. In due course people with no previous convictions who have received stolen clothing for example may be more likely to find themselves with non-custodial sentences." He added: "Just filling up prisons may not be contributing in the long term to the peace and orderliness of society. They may only have themselves to blame but prison should never be the first option.""
Liberal_Democrats  LibDems  Law  justice  courts  sentencing  UK  2011  riots  London  politics  Guardian 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Why CCTV has failed to deter criminals | Technology | guardian.co.uk
"the deterrence theory of surveillance had no nexus with the motivations of the rioters. The theory of street crime as a rational act is bankrupt. Evidence-led CCTV deployment shows us where CCTV does work, and that's in situations where crimes are planned, not pulled off in the heat of the moment. Parking garages, banks and jewelry stores, yes. And CCTVs make perfect sense as part of burglar alarms that switch on when the glass breaks (or buffer continuously, but only save the few seconds before a break-in). But the idea that we can all be made to behave if only we are watched closely enough all the time is bunkum. We behave ourselves because of our social contract, the collection of written and unwritten rules that bind us together by instilling us with internal surveillance in the form of conscience and aspiration. CCTVs everywhere are an invitation to walk away from the contract and our duty to one another, to become the lawlessness the CCTV is meant to prevent. After the London riots, one thing is certain: anyone promoting CCTVs for deterrence is most likely selling something, probably CCTVs."
CCTV  Cory  Guardian  crime  deterrence  society  social_contract  riots  London  UK  2011  surveillance 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Civil disorder and looting hits Britain: We have been here before | The Economist
via Kim (Twitter). "avoid moral panic and a rush to historically-illiterate judgement".
Economist  2011  riots  London  UK  history  panic  youth  society 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Facebook cases trigger criticism of 'disproportionate' riot sentences | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"Andrew Neilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, told the Times it was "fair enough" that the public disturbances were seen as an aggravating factor but added: "There seems to be a complete lack of proportionality to some of the sentences. These make a mockery of proportionality, which is a key principle of the justice system." The revelation that magistrates were advised by justices' clerks to disregard normal sentencing guidelines when dealing with riot-related cases has alarmed some lawyers, who warn it will trigger a spate of appeals. Sally Ireland, policy director of the law reform organisation Justice, said: "Some instances are completely out of all proportion. There will be a flurry of appeals although, by the time they have been heard, those sentences may already have been served. There's a question about this advice [from justices' clerks] and whether it should have been issued at all. We would expect them to be giving advice [to magistrates] in individual cases rather than following a general directive." Rakesh Bhasin, a solicitor partner at the law firm Steel & Shamash, which represents some of those charged following the riots, said some sentences seemed to be disproportionate. Paul Mendelle QC, a former chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: "The idea that the rulebook goes out the window strikes me as inherently unjust. It sets all manner of alarm bells ringing. Guidelines are not tramlines. There are guidelines and they take account of aggravating and mitigating circumstances. "There have been rulings following the Bradford riots and Israeli embassy demonstrations that said which sort of guidelines should be followed. I don't see why [magistrates] should be told to disregard these.""
social_media  justice  Law  courts  sentencing  riots  UK  2011  Guardian 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
UK riots: Paul Lewis's five-day journey | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"So why did the English riots of 2011 stop? Police chiefs will argue their strategy, which took three days to formulate, of flooding the streets with riot officers, proved a significant deterrence. The fact police numbers were bolstered by people determined to protect their own streets must also have had an impact, as did the rain. But there was also a social pressure at work, and it came from the very same "culture" that David Cameron has blamed for the riots. I spoke to parents who said they had persuaded their children to stay indoors, and young people who had held back their friends from taking part. Even in the midst of the seeming immorality of rioting without a cause, there were signs of a moral compass, with young men trying to rein back others they felt were going too far."
Guardian  2011  riots  London  UK  society  history 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
fleet street fox: 43 and never been spanked.
"Intending to commit a crime is different to actually committing one. Getting swept up by an event is different to a pattern of behaviour planned and conducted over a period of years. Michael Gove is a a greedy man who has gained financially from playing a system which was never intended to pay for sheets, doormats or flippin' elephant lamps. But he has never been brought to court, and nor will he, because he was "following the rules" which he helped to write himself. Shonola was stupid, and Gove was clever. She has learned that rules are just for the poor, and he has learned how to get away with it. The law must be robust, it seems, except with those who make it. Dishface said of the rioters last week: "You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment." Michael Gove is 43."
riots  London  UK  2011  MPs  hypocrisy  crime  corruption  justice  inequality 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Facebook riot calls earn men four-year jail terms amid sentencing outcry | UK news | The Guardian
"Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an "event" called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested. Perry Sutcliffe, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result. Sentencing Blackshaw to four years in a young offenders institution, Judge Elgan Edwards QC said he had committed an "evil act". He said: "This happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation. Your conduct was quite disgraceful and the title of the message you posted on Facebook chills the blood. "You sought to take advantage of crime elsewhere and transpose it to the peaceful streets of Northwich. The idea revolted many right thinking members of society. No one actually turned up due to the prompt and efficient actions of police in using modern policing." Sutcliffe, the judge said, "caused a very real panic" and "put a very considerable strain on police resources in Warrington". He praised Cheshire police for their "modern and clever policy" of infiltrating the website. The heavy sentences came as defence lawyers and civil rights groups have criticised the "disproportionate" sentences imposed on some convicted rioters as the latest official figures show nearly 1,300 suspects have been brought before the courts. … Also on Tuesday, a looter was warned he could be jailed for helping himself to an ice-cream cone during disturbances. … In sentencing four other convicted Manchester rioters, a crown court judge, Andrew Gilbert QC, made clear why he was disregarding sentencing guidelines when he said "the offences of the night of 9 August ... takes them completely outside the usual context of criminality". He added: "The principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation. For those reasons, I consider that the sentencing guidelines for specific offences are of much less weight in the context of the current case, and can properly be departed from.""
police  riots  UK  2011  social_media  sentencing  Law  courts  justice  Guardian 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
England riots: pair jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"Assistant Chief Constable Phil Thompson said: "If we cast our minds back just a few days to last week and recall the way in which technology was used to spread incitement and bring people together to commit acts of criminality, it is easy to understand the four year sentences that were handed down in court today.""
police  riots  UK  2011  social_media  sentencing  Law  courts  justice  Guardian 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Lib Dems signal opposition to curbs on social media networks | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"Evan Harris, the vice-chair of the Lib Dems' ruling federal policy committee, will table an amendment at the party gathering. At this spring's conference, a vote on a Lib Dem amendment presaged a U-turn on NHS policy as Clegg came under pressure to reflect the views of the Lib Dem grassroots. The amendment, entitled "Protecting the essential freedom of the internet", calls for "additional safeguards for online freedom of speech to be in place". It reads: "Oppose additional powers for the police or the government to restrict access to the internet or to social media or to order its suspension. "[We should be] making it clear that the government will not allow a two-tier internet, and will hold to the principle of net neutrality, if necessary through regulation.""
LibDems  David_Cameron  riots  UK  2011  social_media  Liberal_Democrats 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Listening | Vice-Chancellor’s blog | University of Salford - A Greater Manchester University
"understanding the 2001 Bradford riots had taken many months of careful work in partnership with a wide range of people and organisations. Most of the instant explanations that had been offered at the time turned out not only to be wrong, but also to be a bad foundation for appropriate public policy. Janet Bujra and Jenny Pearce’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: The Story of the Bradford Riots, published earlier this year, shows how a closely informed understanding of what went wrong in 2001 directly informed civic leaders when they were faced with the provocations of the English Defence League in 2010. This sort of experience-based expertise will be vital over the next few years in shaping future interventions, policies and responses that can work. Above all, this is a time for listening. All the affected cities have community organisations with close knowledge of local circumstances. In our case, these are organisations such as the Broughton Trust and the Seedley and Langworthy Trust.  We need to listen to teachers from local schools, to local councillors and to police community support officers. We also need to listen to our own experts in the health and social care professions, who interact with local communities and community organisations on a daily basis. We need to appreciate the difference between criminal justice and criminalising communities."
riots  UK  2011  society  crime 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
England riots: was poverty a factor? | News | guardian.co.uk
" • The majority of areas where suspect live are deprived - and 66% of them got poorer between 2007 and 2010, when the last survey was published. • 41% of suspects live in the 10% most deprived places in England. Of course, riots are complex things and all sorts of things play a part, shown by the cases where reasonably well-off people took part. But what if poverty matters, whatever the prime minister says?
Guardian  riots  London  UK  2011  poverty  deprivation  inequality  maps  mapping 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Police accessed BlackBerry messages to thwart planned riots | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"Scotland Yard stopped planned attacks by rioters on iconic sites across London hours before they were to take place after they managed to "break into" encrypted social messaging sites, it has emerged. Attacks on the Olympics site, upmarket stores in Oxford circus and the two Westfield shopping centres in east and west London were plotted using BlackBerry Messenger. Detectives made the breakthrough hours before the planned attacks after scouring the mobile phones of people who had been arrested during the riots. It gave them access to the messages planning riots and looting, which were bouncing around the heavily encrypted BlackBerry Messenger service. In effect by last Monday afternoon they were able to monitor BlackBerry messaging, and send extra officers to disrupt attacks on the high profile sites in the capital – attacks that would have heightened the sense of threat and danger felt by Londoners. … Godwin [acting Metropolitan police commissioner] revealed that police were not "at this moment of time" asking the government for new powers to turn off social messaging sites during outbreaks of extreme disorder. … Also testifying was Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who said police had no inkling the riots would erupt. "What we saw, fundamentally different in my assessment, was almost nonexistent pre-intelligence. This was spontaneous rather than organised," he said."
social_media  BBM  London  riots  2011  UK  police  government  Law  gangs  Parliament 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Riots: magistrates advised to 'disregard normal sentencing' | UK news | The Guardian
"Magistrates are being advised by the courts service to disregard normal sentencing guidelines when dealing with those convicted of offences committed in the context of last week's riots. The advice, given in open court by justices' clerks, will result in cases that would usually be disposed of in magistrates courts being referred to the crown court for more severe punishment. It may explain why some of those convicted have received punitive sentences for offences that might normally attract a far shorter term. … The Crown Prosecution Service also issued guidance to prosecutors on Monday, effectively calling for juveniles found guilty of riot-related crimes to be named and shamed. Those dealt with in youth courts are normally not identified. The youngest suspects bought before the courts last week in connection with the riots were an 11-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy."
riots  London  UK  2011  Guardian  Law  courts  justice  crime  sentencing 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Ten theories why most northern cities stayed calm last week | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"8. Diversity. The history of violent protest in the UK overwhelmingly involves groups of people who feel they are missing out or are targeted because of their perceived distinctiveness. This, rather than racism, makes an exploration of the relationship between trouble and the presence of different and fairly distinct communities worth exploring. It's interesting and encouraging that potential inter-communal trouble in Birmingham and Leeds seems to have been held at bay by impressive restraint and, no doubt, thousands of unsung initiatives over the years. Another fertile field for research."
Guardian  2011  riots  UK  London 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron 'hoodie' speech in full
"not everyone who grows up in a deprived neighbourhood turns to crime - just as not everyone who grows up in a rich neighbourhood stays on the straight and narrow. Individuals are responsible for their actions - and every individual has the choice between doing right and doing wrong. But there are connections between circumstances and behaviour. … we'll never get the answers right unless we understand what's gone wrong. Understanding the background, the reasons, the causes. It doesn't mean excusing crime but it will help us tackle it. … debating the symptoms rather than the causes won't get us very far. Because the fact is that the hoodie is a response to a problem, not a problem in itself. We - the people in suits - often see hoodies as aggressive, the uniform of a rebel army of young gangsters. But, for young people, hoodies are often more defensive than offensive. They're a way to stay invisible in the street. In a dangerous environment the best thing to do is keep your head down, blend in, don't stand out. For some, the hoodie represents all that's wrong about youth culture in Britain today. For me, adult society's response to the hoodie shows how far we are from finding the long-term answers to put things right. … when you see a child walking down the road, hoodie up, head down, moody, swaggering, dominating the pavement - think what has brought that child to that moment. If the first thing we have to do is understand what's gone wrong, the second thing is to realise that putting things right is not just about law enforcement. It's about the quality of the work we do with young people. It's about relationships. It's about trust. Above all, it's about emotion and emotional development. Of course we should never excuse teenage crime, or tolerate the police ignoring it. We need tough sanctions, protection and punishment. … Justice is about setting boundaries, and stepping over those boundaries should have painful consequences. But that's not the whole answer. To build a safe and civilised society for the long term, we have to look at what goes on inside the boundaries. … no child is ever really feral. No child is beyond recovery, beyond civilisation."
2006  BBC  David_Cameron  youth  riots  London  UK  2011 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Cameron and Miliband to face off over riots as cross-party unity crumbles | UK news | The Guardian
"Miliband will also link the behaviour of the looters and bankers, phone hacking and MPs' expenses scandals, saying: "It's not the first time we've seen this kind of me-first, take-what-you-can attitude. The bankers who took millions while destroying people's savings: greedy, selfish, immoral. The MPs who fiddled their expenses: greedy, selfish, immoral. The people who hacked phones to get stories and make money for themselves: greedy, selfish and immoral. Let's talk about what this does to our culture." … Miliband is pushing for a national inquiry. He will say: "A new policy a day, knee-jerk gimmicks unveiled without being properly thought through, are unlikely to solve the problem." The Labour leader will also taunt the prime minister, saying that when Cameron was developing his analysis of "broken Britain" in opposition he acknowledged that deprivation mattered as much as culture in explaining antisocial behaviour. Miliband will say: "I don't understand why he has changed his mind. The world hasn't changed. Maybe it isn't his view of the world that has changed, but his view of what would make him popular that has changed. I am clear: both culture and deprivation matter. To explain is not to excuse. But to refuse to explain is to condemn to repeat.""
riots  London  UK  2011  Guardian  society  banks  banking  media  MPs  politics  Ed_Miliband  David_Cameron 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
The Great Splintering - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review
"a social contract's been torn up. … The bedrock of an enlightened social contract is, crudely, that rent-seeking is punished, and creating enduring, lasting, shared wealth is rewarded and that those who seek to profit by extraction are chastened rather than lauded. Today's world of bailouts, golden parachutes, sky-high financial-sector salaries — while middle incomes stagnate — seems to be exactly the reverse. Perhaps, then, our societies have reached a natural turning point of built-in self-limitation; and this self-limitation is causing a perfect storm to converge. … The eye of this perfect storm is extreme income inequality that makes the Glided Age look Leninist: London's the most unequal city in the developed world. … a few super-rich get super-richer while incomes stagnate and decline for the vast majority of the "rest." And when the rule of law is visibly, easily flouted by the rich, it usually ends up being seen as laughable by the poor. London's become a city where many young people feel they're finished before they start. … From Tahrir Square to Syntagma Square to Puerta del Sol Square, social upheaval's spreading — sometimes in droplets, sometimes in floods, sometimes placidly, sometimes...not so placidly. Each example is very different from the others. Yet, the underlying ruptures might be said to be similar … Our institutions are failing — they're failing us; failing the challenge of igniting real, lasting human prosperity. If institutions are just instruments to fulfill social contracts, then ours are shattering because the social contracts at their hearts have fractured. I call it a Great Splintering … We're going to have to build shelter: more resilient, less dysfunctional institutions that can deliver on the promise of real human prosperity that matters, lasts, and multiplies."
Umair_Haque  HBR  2011  riots  London  UK  inequality  social_mobility  establishment  banks  banking  youth  employment  prosperity  society  social_contract  hope 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Statement from Chief Constable Chris Sims - Press Release - West Midlands Police
"Officers have been overwhelmed by the support shown by the public and it feels a million miles from the debates apparently raging in Westminster. … I continue to work with the Police Authority to develop a policing response that is consistent with available good practice but is not slavishly adopting empty slogans. The ethos of local policing has been the bedrock which has allowed collective common sense to prevail."
police  policing  UK  2011  politics  riots 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Riots: the Sunday papers tell us what is to be done | Media | guardian.co.uk
"another liberal, Will Hutton in The Observer, is as eager as ever to understand, explain and try to improve: "We are arriving at a major turning point in our national life. It is not enough to talk of being tough on crime and the causes of crime. We need an entire root-and-branch reshaping of our economy and society – where both rewards and punishments are judicious, proportional and deserved, and all within a revived and larger understanding of fairness. We cannot let the brute bad luck of birth dictate destinies as lethally as they do in Britain. Nor can rewards be so gigantic for so little contribution or genuine innovation – or responsibilities be so widely evaded. We need a good capitalism and the good society that accompanies it." And how do we get a good capitalism? I seem to recall that capitalism's greatest detractor, and incidentally admirer, K Marx, argued that it was an economic system designed specifically to benefit the wealthy middle and upper classes. Can it really be reformed to do anything but that?"
Roy_Greenslade  Will_Hutton  2011  London  UK  riots  society  inequality  politics  capitalism  reform 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
England riots: coalition row grows over 'kneejerk' response | Politics | The Observer
"Senior Liberal Democrats attack 'hasty' measures as housing charities condemn the threat of eviction … Chris Goulden, programme manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity, condemned the actions. "There's a real danger here. The courts are there to punish wrongdoing through the justice system. It's not fair for a family to suffer because of the action of one individual. It means families who happen to be living in that kind of accommodation are punished twice, double what anyone else in society would be." Kate Green, Labour MP and former chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said the evictions were wrong. "It's absolutely right that people should go through the due process of the courts but these evictions are something entirely different. That a whole family should be evicted because of the behaviour of one family member, and their siblings should be made homeless, is not right at all. "Children in effect are being penalised twice for the socially excluded situation in which they are being brought up in a way that children from other families would never be.""
Guardian  politics  riots  London  UK  2011  LibDems  justice  Liberal_Democrats 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Ed Miliband: we need to give people a stake in this society | UK news | The Observer
"Responsibility is important but so is opportunity, so is inequality, all of these things are factors. We have got to understand all of these issues. … I am not saying that inequality caused the looting because that is far too simplistic, but I do say that giving people a sense that they have a stake in society, and that we are one society and not two parallel worlds, is really, really important. How do you do that? It is partly by showing responsibility at the top. If people see bankers with their millions in undeserved bonuses, what does it say to people about the values and the things that matter in our society?"
Ed_Miliband  riots  London  UK  society  inequality  opportunity  Observer  interview  2011  banks  banking  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Farewell youth clubs, hello street life – and gang warfare | UK news | The Guardian
Friday 29 July 2011. "Others worry that a perfect storm of unemployment, the withdrawal of the Education Maintenance Allowance and a squeeze on programmes to help disadvantaged youths could bring more than just a rise in crime figures and result in a "lost generation"."
youth  gangs  Guardian  2011  crime  riots  UK  unemployment  inequality 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
CCTV cameras have led police to lose their focus | Guardian Government Computing | Guardian Professional
"For the law abiding public, CCTV with little or no human support suggests the authorities are more interested in watching and keeping score than stopping crime. And for determined or mindless criminals, it is no barrier whatsoever."
CCTV  crime  riots  London  UK  2011  police  policing  surveillance 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
British police use facial-recognition technology to find riot suspects | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
"Facial-recognition technology being considered for London's 2012 Olympic Games is getting a workout in the wake of Britain's riots, a senior police chief told the Associated Press on Thursday, with officers feeding photographs of suspects through Scotland Yard's newly updated program."
police  London  UK  facial_recognition  surveillance  riots  2011  crime 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
UK riots: Big Brother isn't watching you | UK news | The Guardian
"Why am I surprised that these young people behave destructively, "mindlessly", motivated only by self-interest? How should we describe the actions of the city bankers who brought our economy to its knees in 2010? Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that's why not one of them has been imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of trainers. These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there's no such thing. If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together. … If we want to live in a society where people feel included, we must include them, where they feel represented, we must represent them and where they feel love and compassion for their communities then we, the members of that community, must find love and compassion for them. As we sweep away the mistakes made in the selfish, nocturnal darkness we must ensure that, amidst the broken glass and sadness, we don't sweep away the youth lost amongst the shards in the shadows cast by the new dawn."
Russell_Brand  2011  Guardian  youth  society  riots  London  UK  David_Cameron  politics  community  banks  banking  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Twitter / @evgenymorozov: Cameron: "I have also aske ...
"Cameron: "I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers" goo.gl/UXj2c Because, remember, police always say no"
Evgeny_Morozov  2011  Twitter  David_Cameron  riots  UK  police 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Epeus' epigone: David Cameron should heed Douglas Adams and ORG
"Cameron should be careful, or he'll look to posterity like William Cobbett ranting about the pernicious evils of tea."
Kevin_Marks  2011  David_Cameron  social_media  Douglas_Adams  riots  UK 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Repressing the Internet, Western-Style - WSJ.com
"Technology has empowered all sides in this skirmish: the rioters, the vigilantes, the government and even the ordinary citizens eager to help. But it has empowered all of them to different degrees. … Authoritarian states are monitoring these developments closely. Chinese state media, for one, blamed the riots on a lack of Chinese-style controls over social media. Such regimes are eager to see what kind of precedents will be set by Western officials as they wrestle with these evolving technologies. They hope for at least partial vindication of their own repressive policies. … On Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the government should consider blocking access to social media for people who plot violence or disorder. … We tolerate such drastic proposals only because acts of terror briefly deprive us of the ability to think straight. We are also distracted by the universal tendency to imagine technology as a liberating force; it keeps us from noticing that governments already have more power than is healthy. The domestic challenges posed by the Internet demand a measured, cautious response in the West. … To the rest of the world, the efforts of Western nations, and especially the U.S., to promote democracy abroad have often smacked of hypocrisy. How could the West lecture others while struggling to cope with its own internal social contradictions? … In their concern to stop not just mob violence but commercial crimes like piracy and file-sharing, Western politicians have proposed new tools for examining Web traffic and changes in the basic architecture of the Internet to simplify surveillance. What they fail to see is that such measures can also affect the fate of dissidents in places like China and Iran. Likewise, how European politicians handle online anonymity will influence the policies of sites like Facebook, which, in turn, will affect the political behavior of those who use social media in the Middle East. Should America and Europe abandon any pretense of even wanting to promote democracy abroad? Or should they try to figure out how to increase the resilience of their political institutions in the face of the Internet? As much as our leaders might congratulate themselves for embracing the revolutionary potential of these new technologies, they have shown little evidence of being able to think about them in a nuanced and principled way."
Evgeny_Morozov  WSJ  2011  internet  social_media  riots  London  UK  David_Cameron  control  censorship  surveillance  behavioural_profiling  anonymity  democracy  West 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
rejectamentalist manifesto: There has been universal condemnation of David Starkey’s extraordinary outburst on Newsnight
"It is uncontroversial of course that such explicitly racist statements are beyond the pale. The fascist right is delighted, but no mainstream commentators have anything but condemnation for these remarks. Oh wait, my bad."
China_Miéville  racism  riots  2011  UK 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Why Has BlackBerry Been Blamed for the London Riots? | Epicenter | Wired.com
"Widespread calls to block BBM are misguided and will affect a majority of law-abiding citizens taking advantage of a great free service. Tory MP Patrick Mercer told the Today program on the BBC’s Radio 4 that blocking the BlackBerry Messenger would be “interfering with our own liberties”."
BBM  social_media  riots  London  UK  2011  Wired  liberty  civil_liberties 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
These riots reflect a society run on greed and looting | Seumas Milne | Comment is free | The Guardian
"David Cameron has to maintain that the unrest has no cause except criminality – or he and his friends might be held responsible"; "While bankers have publicly looted the country's wealth and got away with it, it's not hard to see why those who are locked out of the gravy train might think they were entitled to help themselves to a mobile phone. Some of the rioters make the connection explicitly. "The politicians say that we loot and rob, they are the original gangsters," one told a reporter. Another explained to the BBC: "We're showing the rich people we can do what we want." Most have no stake in a society which has shut them out or an economic model which has now run into the sand. It's already become clear that divided Britain is in no state to absorb the austerity now being administered because three decades of neoliberal capitalism have already shattered so many social bonds of work and community. What we're now seeing across the cities of England is the reflection of a society run on greed – and a poisonous failure of politics and social solidarity. There is now a danger that rioting might feed into ethnic conflict. Meanwhile, the latest phase of the economic crisis lurching back and forth between the United States and Europe risks tipping austerity Britain into slump or prolonged stagnation. We're starting to see the devastating costs of refusing to change course."
Guardian  2011  riots  London  UK  society  inequality  banks  banking  politics  power  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Panic on the streets of London | openDemocracy
"Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart. Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter."
riots  UK  London  2011  inequality  society  power  hope  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
The year we realised our democratically elected leaders can no longer protect us | Jonathan Freedland | Comment is free | The Guardian
"This scepticism toward the potency of democratic politicians – and therefore democratic politics itself – is oddly echoed by the looters themselves. Certainly no one outside the Iranian state media is calling them "protesters", but even "rioters" seems the wrong word, carrying with it a hint of political purpose. For some, especially at the start in Tottenham, there was clearly a political dimension – with the police the prime focus of their anger. But many of the copycat actions across London and elsewhere have no apparent drive beyond the opportunistic desire to steal and get away with it. It's striking that the targets have not been town halls or, say, Tory HQ – stormed by students last November – but branches of Dixons, Boots and Carphone Warehouse. If they are making a political statement, it is that politics does not matter. And while the revulsion at the looting has been widespread and bipartisan – with plenty of liberals admitting to "coming over all Daily Mail" at the ugliness of the vandalism – that sense of the impotence of politics is widespread, too. One aspect of the phone-hacking scandal that went deep was its revelation that those we might think exert authority – police and politicians – were in fact supine before an unelected media corporation. The sheer power of News Corp contrasted with the craven behaviour of those we elect or entrust to look out for us. Even if few years have brought the news congestion of 2011, there has been trouble before, with 1981 an obvious precedent. But in previous periods of instability the assumption was that if only political power was in different hands, or if key institutions like the police modified their behaviour, things would be better. Now what small glimmers of optimism there are come from pockets of communal action, like the collective clean-ups that started in London . Democratic institutions themselves are seen as weak or broken. The irony of all this is that outside Britain, Europe and the US, the great story of 2011 has been the Arab spring, as the people of Syria, Yemen and beyond have taken to the streets. It seems that just as those nations demand the tools of democracy, we are finding them rusting and blunt in our hands."
banks  banking  phone_hacking  politics  riots  UK  2011  Guardian  democracy  media  Parliament  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Memex 1.1 » Blog Archive » Cameron and the feral rich
"There was a time — round the time when his young son died and he was running for office — when Cameron seemed to have the makings of a rounded human being. But it turns out to have been an illusion. What’s happened is that the shallow, oily, polished PR-flack that he used to be has reappeared. And he’s running a corrupt, morally-compromised, untruthful administration that is more divisive than anything we’ve seen since Thatcher at her peak."
John_Naughton  2011  David_Cameron  UK  riots  society  politics  corruption  hypocrisy  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
“Absolute explosion” — How BlackBerry BBM fed the riots, says contact
"shutting down BBM would have done little to avert the crisis and the rioters would have simply switched to other mobile apps, and innocent people using BBM would have been affected. But there is no denying that the BlackBerry / BBM combination is an extremely powerful one. The fact is that some 37 percent of British teens have a BlackBerry handset according to Ofcom. Our non-scientific research puts that at about 90% amongst London’s urban youth. According to last week’s Ofcom study while the iPhone is more popular among 25-34 year old Brits, BlackBerry is favoured by as much as 37% of 16-24 year olds and 37% 12-15 year olds precisely because of the free BlackBerry messenger service."
BBM  riots  London  2011  UK  social_media  youth 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Twitter / @fieldproducer: Chief Constable of @GMPoli ...
"Chief Constable of @GMPolice tells me 'on balance social media & twitter in particular has worked to the benefit of the public' #riots"
police  social_media  riots  UK  2011 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
LIVE LOG: Social media a force for the good in Sussex - Sussex Police
"Assistant Chief Constable Nick Wilkinson said: "While there has been a lot of focus on the negative aspects of the use of social media in other parts of the country, in Sussex we have seen how it can be a force for good. "People are increasingly turning to police Twitter accounts for timely, accurate and honest information and we have seen followers across all our various accounts rise. We have been using Twitter to engage with people, to quickly dispel rumours and put people's minds at rest. I would particularly like to thank everyone who has helped us with this and also express our gratitude for the enormous number of messages of support and appreciation that we have received. "Thankfully, we have not witnessed the sort of sad scenes that have occurred elsewhere in the country and I believe this is down to a widespread determination that ordinary, decent people in Sussex will not tolerate it. Indeed, the few minor instances that could possibly be linked to what has happened over the last couple of days have been nipped in the bud and I would encourage everyone to work with us in ensuring that it's business as usual." Twitter followers have risen from around 19,000 to over 30,000 in less than a month, the majority of this rise coming in the last few days. Our main account @sussex_police has more than doubled in popularity, rising from just over 4,000 followers in mid-July to 9,599 at midnight last night."
police  social_media  2011  riots  UK  crime 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
UK riots: police round on government | UK news | guardian.co.uk
"Met chief dismisses criticism from PM and home secretary as 'people making comments who weren't there'"
David_Cameron  2011  UK  police  riots  government  Guardian 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
London, Egypt and the complex role of social media - The Washington Post
"over-generalizing social media’s role could do more to harm our understanding of an uprising than help it. … Social media are part of a much larger matrix of tools and intentions that rally masses. That said, they are neither necessary nor sufficient to make a revolution possible. … By being so quick to blame social media for political and social unrest, we ignore the powerful economic and political grievances that drive discontent. With or without these technologies, people will ultimately stand up and speak their minds. If we continue to focus on technologies rather than peoples, we risk ignoring the source of their grievances and the more complex, organic networks by which they choose to communicate."
social_media  riots  UK  London  Egypt  2011  society  inequality  West  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
BBC News - US 'supercop' Bill Bratton says riot arrests not only answer
""You can't arrest your way out of the problem. Arrest is certainly appropriate for the most violent, the incorrigible, but so much of it can be addressed in other ways and it's not just a police issue, it is in fact a societal issue.""
riots  UK  London  police  crime  David_Cameron  BBC  2011  society 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom – Telegraph Blogs
"I believe that the criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up. It is not just the feral youth of Tottenham who have forgotten they have duties as well as rights. So have the feral rich of Chelsea and Kensington. … [They are] every bit as deracinated and cut off from the rest of Britain as the young, unemployed men and women who have caused such terrible damage over the last few days. For them, the repellent Financial Times magazine How to Spend It is a bible. I’d guess that few of them bother to pay British tax if they can avoid it, and that fewer still feel the sense of obligation to society that only a few decades ago came naturally to the wealthy and better off. Yet we celebrate people who live empty lives like this. …the rioters have this defence: they are just following the example set by senior and respected figures in society. Let’s bear in mind that many of the youths in our inner cities have never been trained in decent values. All they have ever known is barbarism. Our politicians and bankers, in sharp contrast, tend to have been to good schools and universities and to have been given every opportunity in life."
Peter_Oborne  Telegraph  riots  London  2011  UK  politics  banks  banking  society  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
Twitter is right: keep the tweets flowing
"It is easy to blame these ‘new’ platforms, but it’s also short-sighted and quite frankly stupid.
Twitter and BBM are no different to text messaging, phone calls, emails and even megaphones.
Yes, in Twitter’s case, people now have access to self-publish information on a global platform – but that leads to good results as well as bad. But at the end of the day, they are all communication platforms and their usage and impact are wholly defined by their users. It’s not the platforms’ fault."
Telegraph  social_media  2011  riots  London  UK  Twitter  BBM  communication 
august 2011 by Preoccupations
An Open Letter to David Cameron's Parents
"There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it. The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter. David Cameron was entirely right when he said: “It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to think that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities, and that their actions do not have consequences.” He was more right than he knew. And I blame the parents."
UK  David_Cameron  society  riots  2011  London  establishment 
august 2011 by Preoccupations

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