The day after all hell broke loose and London’s feral underclass went berko, it seems that normal, law-abiding Londoners did three things:
- Went to work, contributing to the public purse through income tax and, in effect, paying for the repairs required after the mayhem;
- Demanded that the government and the police force figured out a way to stop things going mental again on Tuesday night; and
- Started cleaning up. Check out this fantastic photo, taken in Clapham:
It sounds as though things were contained in London on Tuesday night, largely because of the 16,000 police officers on the streets. But trouble broke out in some other British towns and cities, and you’ve got to wonder what’s going to happen when the policing levels are reduced again. People are calling for everything from military rule to tear gas, but it would be a huge step for the British state to go to those extremes in their own country. I would be worried that the looting idiots will just bide their time. It’s a worrying situation. I think that this poster sums up most people’s attitude:
Some of the less liberal and relaxed countries of the world are – there’s no other word for it – gloating at the UK’s misfortune. I guess that some governments have been biding their time and just waiting for an opportunity to offer the kind of ‘sort yourselves out’ advice that the Western world usually sends their way.
Zimbabwe’s lunatic of a leader, Robert Mugabe, said:
“Britain I understand is on fire, London especially and we hope they can extinguish their fire, pay attention to their internal problems and to that fire which is now blazing all over, and leave us alone. We do not have any fire here and we do not want them to continue to create unnecessary problems in our country. We want peace, and the people of Zimbabwe want peace.”
The people of Zimbabwe also want food slightly more often, I expect – the UN is appealing for additional aid for the country this year, taking the total value of humanitarian support up to US$488 million. Mugabe might want to spend a little less time worrying about what’s happening in London (where the rioters seemed to be reasonably healthy and well-fed), and a little more time thinking about his own problems.
The Iranian government really went for it:
“The British government must provide the opportunity for a group of Iran’s human rights observers to visit and meet with political prisoners in the UK, to get their voices heard and prepare a report to be sent to the international community.”
Iran’s human rights observers are probably the best in the world, given the ample opportunities they have to observe gross violations of human rights in their own country.
A conservative Iranian newspaper commented:
“The violence and continued chaos in the UK are the result of factors like human rights violations in the country, prejudice against immigrants and coloured people, incidents like the Murdoch scandals and the country’s critical economic conditions.”
If we can agree that ‘pikeys stealing widescreen TVs they can’t otherwise afford’ is the same thing as ‘critical economic conditions’, I think we can concede that one point. The same newspaper also offered a theory that the rioters were carried out by university drop-outs who can no longer afford to study because of the tuition fees. The person wrote that obviously didn’t see any coverage of the rioters, most of whom looked like they’d be flummoxed by a Dr Suess book. And eyewitness reports suggest that the rioters tended to target electronics shops, and leave bookshops alone…
Iran also urged police to stop their violence against the demonstrators and, instead, enter into a peaceful dialogue and listen to their complaints. Given that the police have, so far, shown no violent reaction (and certainly not as much of a violent reaction as many Brits would prefer), and given that the protesters’ complaints see to amount to ‘I want more stuff and I don’t want to pay for it’, I’m not sure what the Iranians are on about. And I’ve got to say that it sticks in my craw to call these halfwits ‘protesters’ as it gives them a level of credibility that they don’t deserve.
Iran’s criticisms are probably my favourite, given that they’ve blamed everything under the sun for the riots, but I’ve also liked the reaction from China, that bastion of peace, equality and proportionate responses. State-run media (is there any other kind, in China?) has wondered aloud about the feasibility of holding the 2012 Olympics in such a war-torn state:
“After the riots, the image of London has been severely damaged, leaving the people sceptical and worried about the public security situation during the London Olympics.”
China was very proud of its 2008 Olympics, which followed widespread human rights abuses that were even worse than the normal behaviour from the state (which is never all that flash, let’s be honest). And nobody actually knows how many workers died while building the stadia for the event.
China’s state-run press has also suggested that this kind of shenanigans is the inevitable result of giving people uncensored internet access. Those mad, irresponsible Brits, respecting the right to free speech!