We are told that “It was ever thus.” To an extent this is true. We have had riots in the UK before and out of control government violence in suppressing them, such as the Peterloo Massacre. We have also had organised serious violence such as the gang wars we experienced in Glasgow in earlier years.
There are however major differences. In 1919 in Glasgow we had tanks on George Square, Lewis guns on top of the North British Hotel and a 4.5 inch howitzer in the City Chambers because the government feared the workers rioting. Soldiers had to be drafted in because the Glaswegian soldiers based in Maryhill barracks weren’t trusted. The big difference is that in this instance the people were making legitimate protests about working conditions and political policies, they weren’t trashing shops for trainers, or burning businesses because they could. In the 50’s and 60’s (and earlier) when we had razor gangs in Glasgow, although “civilians” were injured, the gangs largely fought each other in a macho culture where you had to prove your credentials, they did not turn on their own people and burn down shops and houses and try to destroy whole neighbourhoods.
To try to classify and accept the present disturbances as no different from earlier civil violence is to close one’s eyes to reality.
Ken Livingstone, for whom the term “useful idiot” is a misnomer, he is far from useful even to his own side, tells us, “The economic stagnation and cuts imposed by the Tory government inevitably create social division.” He is echoed by other progressives, the people who ran this country during the period when most of these rioters were growing up and had their characters formed.
It is easy to spot a progressive on the news, they are the people who always begin with “There’s no excuse,” for violence, and then invariably continue with “But…” They usually insist that budget cuts have led to widespread violence. The fact that most of the budget cuts have yet to come into force has escaped their notice.
Their response to the violent disturbance is to demand that we spend money we don’t have on beefing up the same social programmes which have helped to produce the type of person who burns cars and houses and beats men to death when they try to put out a fire. The type of person who cannot bear that a decent old man should dare to say “No” to them.
According to the logic of progressives even the threat that such social policies may be curtailed is enough to cause widespread violence and looting. In the crazy logic of progressives the cuts don’t justify violence, but the threat of violence justifies repealing the cuts. If this were to happen the government would not just be appeasing the thugs but rewarding them and assuring them that violence works.
The looters were not looting to make a political point. As one looter said: “The government aren’t in control – because if they was, we wouldn’t be able to do it, could we?” Looters were looting because they have no concept of individual or social morality and because they can. As police stood by or debated what was a proper response “deprived” youths concerned about “the cuts” contacted each other on their BlackBerrys about which district to trash and loot.
The behaviour we have witnessed is something new in recent history, it is evidence of the moral failure of the progressive ideology which has gripped both main parties, the media and academia for several decades. They may be safe in their pleasant middle class districts as they pontificate about the “underclass” they patronise, meanwhile decent working people have to bear the cost of their ideology.