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Britain Burns as Rioting by Underprivileged Youths Spreads

Updated on August 22, 2011

Mobs burn shops in London

Rioting has spread to the north from London.

Unless you live in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, or on some forgotten Pacific atoll, you will have seen the British rioting on TV, or in the newspapers. You will have been suitable shocked, tut-tut-tutting over the behaviour of hundreds of people - kids, really, who have been damaging property, initiating conflagrations, looting and generally making a bloody nuisance of themselves.

You will have seen jowelled politicos and police chiefs condemning their actions and threatening to come down with the full force of the law during or after the events, having captured many on security cameras.

Approaching 20,000 police officers patrolled the streets in London last (Tuesday) night, after the fires and practically uncontrolled rioting of Monday night. The perps sensibly stayed away while their mates in Manchester, Salford, Birmingham and other midland areas took up the cudgels and rioted themselves in what police described as copycat crimes.

Some 1000 youngsters have been arrested to date and capture continues. We have heard repeatedly from police, the prime minister (rudely recalled from Tuscany), the mayor, likewise, outraged citizens, shop owners and even the poor old octogenarian who owned the furniture store burned to the ground in Croydon on the first night. "Cobra" (“Cabinet Office Briefing Room A”) meetings are taking place daily to hatch plans in case the rioting continues tonight and henceforth.

The only segment of the population practically unheard from is the rioters themselves (most are probably hiding anyway) or those who might offer an explanation in defence.

Britain has seen many riots over the last several hundred years. They have never really succeeded. This is because their central theme: “we are tired of being downtrodden without opportunities,” flies in the face of those who have traditionally denied them betterment, because, as having been born of privilege, the cream of all that is worth having in the nation belongs to them by birth and education. The two public preparatory schools, Eton and Harrow, and the powerhouse Unis., Oxford and Cambridge, are the molds which foster and finesse this attitude of superiority and entitlement. Graduates are bonded for life in the manner of Freemasons - but more so - they will never admit it, but the buddy system guarantees assistance and employment for life at some level or other, even for the most hopeless of those who attended. It is quite amazing to look at the British government, Conservative AND Labour! You find they are nearly all Oxbridge graduates today!

Even a brief study of British social history will reveal the swinish way the "master-class" has treated the "common people." I can't obviously list all this disturbing behaviour here without making the hub into a book, but I suggest Bill Bryson's "At Home, A Short History of Private Life." (Discusses the US and the UK). Well, Bill might have intended a short history at the outset, but he finished with a mini-tome of nearly 700 pages plus indices! Another eminently readable and magisterial accomplishment from this unique writer.

If you hubbers are anything like me, you will be grinding your teeth at the arrogance and bestiality of the British aristocracy and various ruling classes and wishing you could jump aboard the Tardis (Dr Who), go back in time and horsewhip some of them.

One of the problems of privilege is you can never admit you have it, even to yourself. To do that would mean you might have to do something about it to assuage the inequality and give your brother a hand-up in life. Another problem has been the pitiful servitude, acquiescence and cowardice of the downtrodden to the extent they were brain-washed and inured by habit into thinking they deserved their miserable lot, as their "betters" deserved all the rewards.

You might think this article is addressing a social state which only existed in the Dark Ages. Not so, these superior souls are with us in 2011, conferring titles on one another, "Lord and Lady Muck-Muck," "Baron Buttswipe," "Duke and Duchess Dumbstruck." make up some yourself. Even the real titles are hilarious, we have a peer, "Lord Adonis!" for example. And he takes himself very seriously. We have a whole collection of ageing relics all with titles like this. It's called the House of Lords. They collect there at the tax payers expense and do absolutely nothing except "haw-haw" at each other in plumy, Oxbridge accents. It's sickening.

All this is amusing when found in a Lewis Carroll novel. But in real life these human appendages aren't just doddling, they are dangerous in a Britain that has run out of resources and time.

All the hangover of Empire is unaffordable these days. The Monarchy itself, Foreign adventure that end in full-out wars; Bailing out debtor EU nations; Sending vast sums in relief where it is pocketed by despots. And all the goodies accorded to rank and privilege at the expense of those who have just about nothing: no education, no decent job prospects, many with no real homes or parents; what little community infrastructure they were allowed, shrinking in the budget cuts, (but not banker's bonuses!).

Isn't it just disgusting and so short-sighted of Cameron and his advisors to be closing youth centres, swimming pools, libraries, school sports fields (to sell the land), tripling education costs, and more when this is just about all these kids from deprived areas have to look forward to?

And this is why they are on the streets, Mr. Cameron, not because they primarily want to loot a lot of rubbish they don't need.

These underprivileged youngsters don't have Oxbridge educations. Many don't even attend secondary school. They couldn't lucidly discuss their woes even if they wanted to (many do want to, as it happens). The State has to take these broken winged birds in hand and nurture them back into the society they feel has abandoned them. Before it's far too late and we are confronted with real mayhem on the streets of this torn nation.

Added on August 19.

Now the prison governers and others, where they have been stuffing these young offenders, have said on the news today that they fear rioting in the prisons, which are full to the brim. Another riot on the streets of any size will strain Britain's institutions beyond their capacity to function. We are truly on the brink of a catastrophe here.


Please read hubber, CJStone's brilliant hub, "The Empire of Things: On the Social Psychology of Looting" on the riots and the conditions in Britain which has fostered the riots by Cameron perpertrating the same social unrest we found under Thatcher. This article is a MUST READ, believe me! Bob 


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    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks Cacro, Hezekiah, Jennie and Tenny for your kind visit and comments. It's only the beginning here I am afraid. Its been a long time coming through the years of excess and false prosperity under Labour. We have no choice now in the UK: both political parties have the same philosophy...greed...Bob

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 6 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      its upsetting to think that the US may be heading down this scary road as well... where does all this anger and hatred come from

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 6 years ago from Japan

      From growing up in the UK, I could see this kind of thing comming, deprived youth want the chance to take what they can get, however it's no excuse.

      Here in Japan after the Earthquake and Tsunami, was there any looting? No. And there are more deprived youth there than you think.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      I think everyone is saddened by the riots in the UK, but you certainly feel for those downtrodden by ages of backward thinking. really great hub, we have some serious issue in the world and likely always will. Hopefully things will get better one day for those who need it most. Thanks for sharing.

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK


    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I bet it says it better...I'll have a look, Chris Bob

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Hello Bob, I knew I could trust you to have a rational view of these matters. Maybe you'd like to take a look at my hub, which says pretty much the same thing, but in a different way.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Christopher and Nell. Just checked emails before bed but wanted to thank you for visit and comments Bob

    • Little Nell profile image

      Little Nell 6 years ago from Somerset, UK

      Diogenes - that was the best comment on the riots I have read. I guess that you are writing from across the pond because nobody, but nobody is taking the line you have outlined. This is partly because there were so many victims, ordinary decent people who lost their businesses or their homes and in a few cases their lives.

      The youth of today are angry. At the moment this anger is diffused and it broke out in a random and pointless way doing their cause such harm and allowing a back-lash that will only fuel further resentment. But wait, when this anger is focused on the real villains, then we will see the "perfect storm" in the UK and yes, you will see it in the US too.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I dont always agree with WillStarr, but in this instance I must. The politics of envy, which this article oozes, is a hiding to nowhere, in my opinion.

      Most of the leisure/youth centres that are being closed in this country, are closing in Labour controlled areas, where the local councils are either closing them deliberately in order to embarass the government, or they overspent so much during the previous administration, that they have no reserves to fall back on now that the fountain of money from central government is restricted.

      As for the rioters, apart from the fact that a lot of them were NOT poor and unemployed, if they had the brains to remember the nineteen thirties, they would know that people were a lot poorer then, but they did not go out rioting and looting.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I'll have a look, Markcey...Bob

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Will:

      There's just no space in these hub articles to say anything about a subject like this. Please read Bryson's "At Home" to read about Britain's disgusting upper classes over the last few hundred years...Bob

    • markcey profile image

      markcey 6 years ago from Gibraltar

      What People are doing is a disgrace, ive only joined hub pages a few days ago and i felt the must to write a little somthing about this topic can you please check it out and feel free to comment on how i could improve on it ....

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      There's no free lunch, and promises cannot be met, so now that the UK has to face economic reality, those who thought they had a free ride are learning that it is impossible, and they are angry.

      I have no sympathy for those who think they should get something for nothing. Socialism always fails.

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      Well reasoned comment...thanks.

      But a brief foray into British history will show just how the ruling classes have treated the under-classes for hundreds of years. Of course, the top dawgs never pay, even now. But this sick society is the reason for the current riots.

      I agree with much you say...Bob

    • AngelTrader profile image

      AngelTrader 6 years ago from New Zealand

      I think the rioters stole stuff simply because they could. They didn't care about the consequences for society at large, they only cared about themselves and perhaps their circle of family and friends.

      Unfortunately, this attitude of screw society, screw the community, screw the country because it's all about 'me', 'my' and 'mine' has pretty much been encouraged in this country for the last 30 years or so from the top down.

      It manifests itself in very different ways in our diverse country.

      In the banking system we see managers of failed nationalised banks paying themselves huge unmerited bonuses at the expense of the tax payer simply because they can.

      In our parliament we saw our politicians inventing a set of rules designed to allow them to abuse the expenses system to claim for plasma TV's and tens of thousands of pounds for 'renting' the spare room of family members, and using these monies for speculating on the property market and then dodging the tax on the profits. MPs certainly wouldn't steal a plasma screen TV in a riot, not when they could just simply walk into John Lewis, order it to be delivered to their home, and stick in an expense claim for it.

      In the police force we hear claims of police selling confidential details about the royal family to gutter press hacks simply because they could and thought that they could get away with it.

      As for the media we hear claims of editors ordering that private investigators hack private citizens phones, simply because they can and think they can get away with it.

      We hear of celebrities and the super rich dodging the taxes the rest of us have to pay at a time when services for the very poorest are being cut, simply because they can.

      And in the underclass what do we see. Wide spread stealing and looting, again simply because don't care about society and because they can.

      Something has gone very wrong with this country. But to think this corruption is confined to one section of society is wrong. And I think we all need to look within.

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      Hi 'Writer...Yes, the actions of these kids were criminal and helped not their cause...or did it? Just marching up and down with pretty flags would have got them no press at all. At leaat they have the nation's attention...and how! It's always cobblestones and machettes that make for successful demonstrations - revolutions. As you say, it's a shame good honest burghers have to suffer as the eggs are broken for the omlette...Bob

      PS The activists on their behalf are now making an appearance.

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      "..."Lord Adonis!" for example. And he takes himself very seriously."

      Probably on a frequent basis too, I'd be keeping the cameras on him when the House is in session; one hand below the eyeline, short but rapid arm movements, would be the clue..

      More seriously though, Bob, to make any detailed observations about your hub, would only be to repeat it, because I agree with all you say.

      My only concern though, and it's a big one, is that from news reortsI've seen, the people who've been physically and emotionally terrorised, lost their businesses, and for many, livelihoods and jobs as a direct result of these riots aren't the bad guys.

      I wouldn't want to foment further unrest, by suggesting better targeting, but it's unfortunate that this indiscriminate wanton destruction can be so easily used to undermine the cause. Any silver tongued politician (of which you have plenty,they were invented in England, after all...)will have no trouble deflecting the focus away from the root problem, and playing to the fear and outrage rightly (imo) held by people who've likely had to work hard to achieve what they've got, and what's just been torn away from people just like themselves. Property is bad enough, but peace of mind can't be restored as easily.

      Just seems a shame there's no-one (that I've seen...) actually enunciating the problem, beyond mobs of hysterical youths yelling about "It's abaht yoof, man, we got rights, innit".

      I don't mean some patronising do-gooder pollie. I mean an actual activist, raising hell and rallying a movement with words, not relatively meaningless acts of violence.

      Otherwise, as you and I know Bob, "Up the Workers", will continue to be the misunderstood rallying cry it's always been. In the House of Lords and Gentleman's Clubs, said with a genteel one, it takes on a whole new meaning.. "Up the workers? Indeed, why not? They're there to be taken advantage of, wha wha.."

      Anyway, from out in the colonies, sorry this is all going down in Blighty. All the best. :)

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      Thanks for all the great comments guys. It's a depressing outlook for the US as well I see, with the rating, etc. Yes, the world is one big market and perhaps its a mistake!

      We'll all be called China soon! Bob

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Absolutely great, Bob. That Cameron is the worse Britain ever had and a hypocrite. Praising the police, army in AFGANISTAN and behind their back cutting their throats. Now after three nights he isues watercanon??????? After the last time, however did they get in again. I personally think they fiddled. That old Mag distroye everthing Britain was proud of and worlwide know for.

    • McLuhanandMochas profile image

      McLuhanandMochas 6 years ago from New York

      "One of the problems of privilege is you can never admit you have it, even to yourself. To do that would mean you might have to do something about it to assuage the inequality and give your brother a hand-up in life."

      That is truer than true and a reality that many U.S. Americans need to understand as well.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 6 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      I look at England and wonder, could it happen here in the US?

      But perhaps a better question is, when will it happen. . .

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      Sigh, when an outlet ends, it builds up frustration; frustration, which is usually taken advantage of by criminal minded people who adds a single spark to the oil and much like a black hole sucks every one in.

      It is sad but it is a reality I am much aware of and live amidst.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Diogenes, thank you for some reasoning on this issue, I've caught a few news videos on the only source I have, the internet. You have voiced a view that I fear is upon the USA soon. I find it has nothing to do with conservatives or liberal parties, much to do with the population toting the large portion of taxation just getting tired of unemployment reports and the government in it's entirety pissing down the necks of the working class people. It doesn't seem the actors need what they take, they just want a voice and this is a way for those arrested to go further and tell what they can, as here in the states, as you said there, they are short the ability to express it on an understandable level. great hub voted up, 50

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      To an American like me these themes seems oddly farmiliar, like Britain, America is a shrinking Empire. Like the conservatives in both countries the meager amenities for the poor (underpriviledged) must be cut to preserve the tax cuts and amenities for the wealthy (conservatives). So social unrest is the result of unfair and draconian cuts for the lower classes to preserve the comfort of the upper classes. I think this happened before about 235 years ago when England had a problem with an upstart bunch of colonys. The circle of life. Thanks for the view Diogenes, Peter

    • DonDWest profile image

      DonDWest 6 years ago from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Great post, voted up, don't have the time now, but will discuss this later in greater detail.