Anorak News | Reasons Why The London Riots Happened: From Mark Duggan To Blackberry An Arab Spring And Polar Bears

Reasons Why The London Riots Happened: From Mark Duggan To Blackberry An Arab Spring And Polar Bears

by | 19th, August 2011

RIOTS in London, Manchester and Birmingham… Why? Let’s see the reason presented by the experts, politicians and the media:


“I blame the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and loathing of authority (especially the police but including parents), exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs.” – Paul Routledge, Daily Mirror

Rupert Murdoch:

Speaking on The Drum, former diplomat Bruce Haigh reveals a thus-far unknown cause of London’s riots:

Recently the police have lost the moral high ground in London because of the Murdoch thing …

The Educational Maintenance Allowance:

Harriet Harman, smirky Deputy Labour Party leader, was on the BBC’s Newsnight:

I don’t agree with Cameron when he says it is simple. It is not. It is very complex. But unpicking those strands is for another day. But there is a sense that young people feel they are not being listened to. That is not to justify violence. But when you’ve got the trebling of tuition fees, they should think again about that. When you’ve got the EMA being taken away, when you’ve got jobs being cut and youth unemployment rising and they are shutting the job centre in Camberwell – well you should think again about that because this is going to cost money. all of this does not help reduce the deficit.

It’s Fun:

Leana Hosea speaks to Croydon looters on @bbcworldservice (mp3)

No Football On:

Millwall fans have been protecting Eltham High Street.

you might hate them but tonight you’l love them.

Mark Duggan:

The Tottenham man was shot dead by police. They shoot to kill. Did he have a gun? We wait to find out. One was found at the crime scene. Did he fire it? No.


“Mankind is programmed to live in villages, not in sprawling, noisy cities, where the noise and lack of space create a permanent tension. Did you ever hear of a riot in a village. In a village everyone knows each other, so there are ties of mutual obligation. But in a city full of strangers, the looters feel  that they could act with impunity” – Desmond Morris, Zoolologist


THE Daily Mail says the rioting that followed Mark Duggan’s death in Tottenham (a man the paper calls a “gangster”) was sparked by Twitter…maybe. One caption to a  photo of the car-b-cue calls it ‘Twitter Riot’. The paper yells:

Fears that violence was fanned by Twitter as picture of burning police car was re-tweeted more than 100 times

The Daily Mail published the photos of the violence. It is read by hundreds of thousands of people.


The riots are the apotheosis of the welfare state and popular culture in their British form. A population thinks (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class) that it is entitled to a high standard of consumption, irrespective of its personal efforts; and therefore it regards the fact that it does not receive that high standard, by comparison with the rest of society, as a sign of injustice. It believes itself deprived (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class), even though each member of it has received an education costing $80,000, toward which neither he nor—quite likely—any member of his family has made much of a contribution; indeed, he may well have lived his entire life at others’ expense, such that every mouthful of food he has ever eaten, every shirt he has ever worn, every television he has ever watched, has been provided by others. Even if he were to recognize this, he would not be grateful, for dependency does not promote gratitude. On the contrary, he would simply feel that the subventions were not sufficient to allow him to live as he would have liked – Theodore Dalrymple:


I can’t believe that no one has mentioned this yet. Last night Moz played Brixton Academy and finished a blistering set with a powerful high octane version of The Smiths’ classic Meat Is Murder. Within an hour or so KFC/McDonalds and Nandos had been wrecked. Are the two connected? Should we really be calling the Brixton disturbances the Vegan Riots? Were Smiths fans driven into a frenzy by images of slaughtered cattle responsible.

So blame tech companies, musicians and whoever else you like. The riots had nothing to do with people in poorer parts of London deciding to help themselves to a few freebies did it? It had nothing to do with poverty, estrangement  and greed did it?


The Daily Mail was quick to label Duggan a “gangster“. This term served to buy into the glamour of the gangsters – so much better than a mere drugs dealer or villain – and also create an impression that Duggan was involved in heavy organised crime. If he was, was he any good at it? He lived on the Broadwater Farm Estate. Is that where top villains live – on a shabby estate in North London? You can keep your big house in the country and villas in the sun.

The Mail’s reporting suggests that gangsters deserve to die more than men in mini cabs. As far as Anorak knows, the debate on capital punishment has not been resolved and summary executions – even of gangsters – have not been passed into law.

The paper then links Duggan to jailed kidnapper Mark Lambie and torture.

Social networks and groups – death of the neighbourhood:

An amazing thing about the internet is the ability to connect with people all over the world – whether you share an interest in fly-fishing with someone from Bolivia, you read a food blog from San Francisco or you listen to music and identify with a rapper in New York. But it does mean your allegiances and your identity are increasingly dislocated from the people around you. The friends you owe allegiance to are in your social networks, but they’re not necessarily the people who live next to you. You can become very insulated from other groups and other areas, they call it the “filter bubble” and it has been highlighted as one of the dangers of the net. Everyone in your social networks agrees with you. None of your acquaintances are 50 year-old shopkeepers so you never think about what or how they think. Equally, we, the baffled middle-classes are very isolated from this discontented youth and have no idea where the anger comes from. Whole slivers of society are very insulated from each other and social networking is currently only reinforcing this.


We’re all baseball mad – sales of baseball bats are soaring.


In this video a bleeding boy is robbed by goons.

An Arab Spring (Jody McIntyre via Harry’s Place):Racist Police:

Darcus Howe, a West Indian Writer and Broadcaster with a voice about the riots. Speaking about the mistreatment of youths by police leading to an up-roar and the ignorance of both police and the governement.

The Undo Button:

Almost everything you can do online is undoable. Online, you can hit the back button, you can hit Ctrl+Z, you can delete the comment, take down the photo or update the page. Things can linger on if something gets copied elsewhere, but largely, they don’t. To me, that really teases apart the nature of cause and effect. If you break a window in the real world, the window is broken. If you post an aggressive message online, someone can take it down. Things happen and go away much more quickly. You don’t have to live with the consequences of your actions on there – because (unless you hack the CIA) actions online don’t have consequences. This means you are way more likely to risk stuff, try it out, take on a persona, do something random. That can be great and very liberating online, but if the same attitude is transferred to the real world it leads to both amusing flash-mobs and the kind of all-hell-to-the-future, I’m doing this now attitude that has fuelled the riots where kids risk prison and other people’s lives for a pair of shoes. There is no understanding or fear of consequences. I’d say that that the internet leads you connect things together differently, it’s not a linear process where an action has a consequence. It’s more random. To me, that’s been a feature of these riots.


The Middle Classes:

I have written many thousands of words, not least pointing out that the rot started with the middle classes, which are traditionally the bedrock of community support. But, with so many of us openly contemptuous of the “establishment”, that attitude communicates downwards and reflects in what we see now. The middle class has vacated the field, and left the streets to the mob.


Black Racism:

In the South London council block where I used to live, the black single mothers who were part of that underclass hated no one more than ‘the Polish’. When Southwark council flyered our flats with letters about racist abuse and attacks in the area, those same women assumed it was white on black racism. They can’t countenance any other sort. The one concrete ideal they came away from school with is that most of the problems in their lives can be blamed on racism. In fact the assualts were groups of black youths attacking East Europeans, or those they deemed to be so. Amongst the other most trenchant and bitter racism I have witnessed in the classroom is black African versus black Caribbean. Not kids, but grown women, on an adult access to nursing programme. – Rosamicula


The Olympic Spirit:

The Olympics torch relay is already well underway, starting in Tottenham, and taking in Enfield, Ealing, Croydon, Brixton, Woolwich and Hackney. Even youth in Toxteth and Birmingham have embraced the spirit of a cheaper, freer, Olympic Games, going for gold – literally! – at the jewellers and pawn brokers.


The same depressing picture – a mixture of alienation, anger at the police, boredom and mischief – was reiterated by locals across the Pembury estate. “They just want to be heard,” said a young black woman. “This is the only way some people have to communicate.”

Feral polar bears – Max Hastings:

They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong. They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others. Their behaviour on the streets resembled that of the polar bear which attacked a Norwegian tourist camp last week. They were doing what came naturally and, unlike the bear, no one even shot them for it.

Wayne Rooney:

How do you inculcate values in a child whose only role model is footballer Wayne Rooney — a man who is bereft of the most meagre human graces?” – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Video Games:

“These are bad people who did this. Kids out of control. When I was young it was all Pacman and board games. Now they’re playing Grand Theft Auto and want to live it for themselves” – Policeman (unnamed) in  the Evening Standard


“You only had to see the burning streets of London last week to see the manifestation of a fatherless society” – Miranda Devine, Telegraph (Aus)

Tony Blair:

“Where did all this start? Try asking Tony Blair. A year before he became Prime Minister he delivered a speech on law and order that came close to condoning shop theft. Blair said that “hard-pressed” single mothers or pensioners pocketing “treats” were not a serious concern. He told a meeting of retailers that the real threat came from organised gangs” – David Hughes in the Daily Telegraph

The News of The World:

“While London was ablaze and looters raged through the streets with impunity, Sir Paul Stephenson – the police officer best equipped to deal with this carnage – was sitting at home, his vast experience going unforgivably to waste. Caught in the grip of the political class’s lust for media blood, former Commissioner Sir Paul – acknowledged by all in the police service as a ‘good copper’ with an iron will – was driven from office over a link to the phone-hacking scandal” – James Slack, Daily Mail

Health And Safety:

Cameron said there had been a “twisting and misrepresenting of human rights that has undermined personal responsibility” as well as an “obsession with health and safety that has eroded people’s willingness to act according to common sense.”


“Bankers who took millions while destroying people’s savings; MPs who fiddled their expenses; and people who hacked phones to get stories to make money for themselves.” All were “greedy, selfish and immoral” – Ed Miliband

The Polish:

Helping Out Granny:

For Art (everyone’s a critic):

The DVD release of Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys in Europe has been postponed – after the London warehouse storing the discs was burned down in the recent riots.

Youth Culture:

What motivated the troublemakers was not genuine poverty but rather a raw acquisitiveness that is fuelled by so much in this black-led youth culture, from the imagery in rap videos to the lyrics of hip-hop music. The twin central themes of this world are sex and material possessions….” – Tony Sewell

The Sun (the actual sun):

Everyone is pointing fingers — at blundering politicians, hooded thugs, disaffected youths, bumbling police and greedy bankers — but could the cause for all the madness really be the star at the center of our solar system? There isn’t a lot of evidence pointing to little green men involving themselves in Earthly affairs, but the sun has been throwing bursts of highly charged particles into space in a phenomenon known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.

Three large CMEs prompted U.S. government scientists to warn of solar storms that can cause power blackouts and the aurora borealis, or northern lights, caused by disturbances in the Earth’s atmosphere, have been spotted as far south as England and Colorado, NASA said.

“Earth’s magnetic field is still reverberating from a CME strike on August 5th that sparked one of the strongest geomagnetic storms in years”, website SpaceWeather said.

Some academics have claimed that such geomagnetic storms can affect humans, altering moods and leading people into negative behavior through effects on their biochemistry. Some studies have found evidence that hospital admissions for depression rise during geomagnetic storms and that incidents of suicide increase.

A 2003 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that such storms could affect the stock market, as traders were more likely to make pessimistic choices.

“Unusually high levels of geomagnetic activity have a negative, statistically and economically significant effect on the following week’s stock returns for all US stock market indices,” the authors found in their report. It could of course be mere coincidence that this has been a rollercoaster week on the markets, and that Britain was rocked by a wave of ferocious rioting and looting. – Reuters

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

Parents, teachers, police, judges, politicians – decent citizens of every station and calling – formed an unspoken confederacy to uphold standards of behaviour within their own communities. But their shared values and expectations about human conduct were systematically undermined by a post-Sixties political ideology that preached wholesale disrespect for authority, and legitimised anti-social activity in the name of protest…

In fact, the politics of the Sixties were just a late incarnation of an 18th-century philosophy. We have Jean-Jacques Rousseau to thank for the basic principle that men are born good and will only behave badly if they are corrupted by authority and repressive institutions: that we need only liberate them from those false limitations and their natural moral instincts will come to the fore – Janet Daly


Professor of government at the London School of Economics, Rodney Barker says…

He says spending cuts implemented by Britain’s current Conservative government have created a volatile situation…

“It’s a bit like high speed in motor cars,” he said. “You can guarantee that in areas where people drive faster, there will be more accidents because accidents are more likely to occur and to be more dangerous in those circumstances.” – Voice of America

Because trainers and sweets are objects of desire:

“These are shopping riots, characterised by their consumer choices. This is what happens when people don’t have anything, when they have their noses constantly rubbed in stuff they can’t afford, and they have no reason ever to believe that they will be able to afford it.””These are shopping riots, characterised by their consumer choices.This is what happens when people don’t have anything, when they have their noses constantly rubbed in stuff they can’t afford, and they have no reason ever to believe that they will be able to afford it” – Zoe Williams, Guardian


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Posted: 19th, August 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (19) | TrackBack | Permalink