The August riots in the UK threw into sharp relief the divisions in British society. 11 days ago, Mark Duggan was shot in an attempt to arrest him. this sparked off a peaceful demonstration which later gave way to less peaceful protest. Middle England was shocked by the 24/7 images on satellite television of a chaos of fires, an orgy of looting and a complete lack of police intervention. The “youth of today” have been vilified and David Cameron’s sharp elbowed middle classes are baying for blood. Conservatives are using these events to plough on with plans for a big society where there is “non-military” service for citizens at 16. Boris Johnstone has used the riots as proof that police numbers should not be cut. David Sharkey has used the riots to say that white chavs are becoming black gangstas. Coordinated mayhem supported by social networks like BBM.
And yet, and yet – when we examine just who is to blame for the riots and who is ending up in court some of those arrested to not fit the “teenage gangsta” mould.
Chelsea Ives, an Olympics ambassador, is presumably a high achieving sports girl. Pretty, lots of positive PR in the press previously. So why would this sort of person take part in riots and looting?
Alexis Bailey, a 31 year old primary school mentor – employed to encourage young males to think that learning is important – charged with looting.
Laura Johnstone, a grammar school girl who lives a privileged existence, is held to account for looting.
Father of three Daniel Anderson, 25, was jailed after two stolen guitars, an amplifier, flatscreen TV and hair clippers that were taken from a Croydon shop were found at his flat.
Joshua Donald, 26, Adam King, 23, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared in Birmingham for a preliminary hearing charged with the murder of three men who were mowed down by a car while defending their local area.
Reece Donovan, 21, of Cross Road, Chadwell Heath, Romford, east London, is accused of robbing Asyraf Haziq in Barking on Monday. Mr Haziq, 20, who had been in Britain for one month, had his jaw broken in the initial attack and was robbed as he sat on the ground bleeding. This was particularly shocking when shown on tv because the whole idea of attacking someone when they are injured is so foreign to most people in this country where fair play, queuing and a stiff upper lip are considered British.
So where has it all gone wrong?