London Riots: “An Aggressive Form Of Late Night Shopping”

Those understated words were spoken by Peter Power, a crisis management specialist  today with regards to the third night of riots in London together with outbreaks in Birmingham.

There’s been a worrying number of proto fascist ‘get the army out’ type outbursts by many. Sorry we did that in Northern Ireland and did that really quell lawless activity quickly or did it inflame the situation further?

There are ways to deal with this but sliding down an authoritarian militaristic simplistic solution route isn’t necessarily the smartest move we could make right now. Simplistic solutions rarely work. We need to be smarter and more grown up about how we tackle societal breakdown.

That in no way excuses the riots (the original grievances of Tottenham aside) which seem to have been opportunistic in nature and exploited by criminality. There are no excuses for the criminal behaviour but don’t let the shrill knee jerk reaction style voices of some exploit our disgust to drive even bigger wedges between our communities and further erode our freedoms. The rise of gang culture, criminal activity, warped moral compasses. a fractured society ,the excesses of our consumer culture and simple selfish greed all played a part in this.

I hope that out of the ashes real community manages to make their collective voice heard  (and that the media allows them to be heard) and that they are able to rebuild their communities and help tackle the imbalance of power that has distorted and exploited the good that exists in many of those affected areas. I also hope the rest of us don’t just turn our backs on the good people in these areas and write them off as all one and the same. That would be an even bigger tragedy.


#riotcleanup –



Image by Dr John 2005 under this creative commons licence


2 thoughts on “London Riots: “An Aggressive Form Of Late Night Shopping”

  1. I don’t think we need confuse the issue by bringing the shooting of Mark Duggan into it. That may have been the event that was exploited to start the trouble but the vandalism and thieving are purely criminal and motivated purely by criminal intent.

    Slick witticisms about aggressive late-night shopping don’t help either: they are in bad taste and reveal a mind intent on trivializing serious events.

    As we saw with the student protests, people who organize mass demonstrations may subsequently be unable to curb activists who use them as a springboard to violence. Those who think they have a legitimate grievance should therefore think carefully before taking to the streets on yet another “peaceful demonstration” whose consequences lie beyond their control.

    • Hi SilverTiger.I didn’t feel that Peter Power was trivialising the riots at all with his use of words. Perhaps they sound trivial out of context but they were meant to sum up what the driving force of the rioters was as he saw it though there’s been plenty of trivialising of the riots spouted elsewhere. Coping gallows humour is part of our society and has its place in me ‘umble opinion.
      I take your point about the risks of legitimate protest being hijacked by darker elements and obviously we wouldn’t want democratic protest stifled by the actions of a relative small but disproportionately destructive minority.

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