ICM poll on the riots

The Guardian have an online ICM poll on the riots, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. As in the YouGov poll at the start of the week, both David Cameron and Boris Johnson have negative ratings on how they handled the riots – 30% think Cameron did a good job dealing with them, 44% a bad job; 28% think Boris did a good job, 38% a bad job. In contrast Tim Godwin, the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan police is seen as having done a good job by 45% to 27%.

The majority of the public (61%) are confident that the police are enforcing the laws fairly and without prejudice (36% are not), however only 41% are confident they have the resources available to control riots (56% do not).

Finally ICM asked people what they thought were the cases of the riots – as with the YouGov polling earlier this week people were most likely to blame it upon criminal individuals and cultural/societal problems, rather than economic, political, racial or policing problems. 45% said the main reason was criminal individuals, 28% a lack of respect within families and communities, 8% unemployment, 5% the shooting of Mark Duggan (2% said policing more generally), 4% the government and 2% the economic situation.


189 Responses to “ICM poll on the riots”

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  1. @ Henry
    “Incidently, which Coalition cuts does Labour support?
    August”

    As I’m sure you know, the Opposition doesn’t need to play that game in advance of an Election. For example: What was the Tory policy on support for the banks in Aug 07 and Oct 08? Damned if I know.

  2. A totally unsurprising poll.

    As per previous thread: a PM who presides over the nastiest and most widespread cacophony of rioting and disorder in a century (unfortunately whilst supping espresso in Tuscany) loses- almost by osmosis- not insignificant amounts of their authority.

    The flog em all/ get the stocks and gallows out knee jerk going on will make most (though not all) of us feel better: oh for about a month.

    Then actual answers (based on an actual comprehension of the multiple causes) will have to be- inevitably be- researched and considered. We’ll be dusting of the policies of the Blair epochs as well as the post-Wire yank police and community leaders (great similarities between the two)- before you can shout “hug a hoodie” or “remove all CCTV cameras”.

    One key issue will (surely?) be to undermine and outlaw notions of vigilante action.

    In every case I have seen/ read about the weaponisation of our neighbourhoods and streets is IMHO utterly unacceptable and the quickest road to a dystopian fragmented utterly broken and sick society we could take.

    Whether the weapons used are ceremonial swords, knives, metal baseball bats, wooden table legs, metal table legs, nunchaku, ninja stars, beer bottles or street masonry etc etc- all of which were utilised by those for whom some on here clearly have a fascination. David Starkey spoke in similar almost erotic terms about them on newsnight.

    Even the group from which the two Muslim brothers were mown down and killed had been tearing up and down the road- wearing hoods and masks and brandishing knives- threatening anyone they even remotely suspected on bring on the rob.

    So this poll is unsurprising.

    I also agree with Roger Mexico that a backlash to Camerons knee jerk (and EdMs refusal as yet to countenance supra-criminal explanations) is already underway.

  3. @Rob Sheffield – I’m just waiting for someone to remind DC that in a previous age he made much of ‘giving people a second chance’.

  4. I’m think the backlash against the more demented ‘hang-all-chavs’ rhetoric is already happening. Certainly you’re already starting to see a lot of mockery starting to emerge at the hysteria and the way that certain columnists have immediately started blaming their usual hobbyhorses. Though trying to watch Mad Mel blame it on Muslims will be funny.

    There’s also disquiet at people getting six months for the sort of offence you would normally get a caution for. With most people convinced that the real villains won’t get caught, you can imagine how disproportionate punishment of the unlucky, clueless or a bit simple will be treated if people think the serious criminals are getting away with it. And if sentencing is seen to be on who you are rather than what you did, discontent will be even greater. If as well the hurried judicial processes lead to innocent bystanders getting convicted, you can see this leading to strong local resentment in some areas. You might end up with just a lot more genuine causes for rioting than you started with.

    There already seems a lot of queries raised by Wandsworth Council starting eviction proceedings against a family because the son has been charged (not even convicted) of some offence. Equally Manchester Council are saying they will evict the family of a 12-year-old boy convicted of stealing a £7.49 bottle of wine (the boy’s father is currently in prison presumably for something less serious as it doesn’t seem to have worried Manchester Council).

    The councils are relying on vague behaviour clauses in the tenants contracts. But such things are meant to cover tenants behaviour as tenants. And presumably if you can evict a family for such a small offence, equity means you’ll be obliged to chuck people on the street for a parking ticket. If this ever gets to Courts, these Councils are will be told to stop wasting everyone’s time. Of course the usual suspects will use this to denounce the Human Rights Act for er giving rights to humans. Funny how gesture politics works nowadays.

    In addition lots of parents will be thinking of times when their children were uncontrollable or even able to do anti-social things just to annoy their parents. Well they certainly can now. Empathy will make this sort of thing unpopular.

    Of course parents could throw their unruly children out on the street to keep their tenancies. That’s sure to help the situation a lot.

    The biggest reaction though is against the ‘powers that be’ preaching punishment but ignoring their own faults. Today’s Oborne piece already mentioned has over 3,500 comments, mostly approving, and it is clear that many people think that ‘business as usual’ can’t go on. Despite this success, it has not only disappeared from the front page of the website, but from the comment page (despite older pieces still being there), and even from the contributors page though every other contributor has their most recent article showing. Apparently it isn’t one of the the comments most viewed either (no 1 has a whole 81 comments – obviously the Telegraph believes in the silent majority).

    Do you think it was something he said?

    [Modified and extended version of piece in previous thread]

  5. @ Tinged Fringe

    “Perhaps he’ll push for a ‘Lord Paddick’ to take over?”

    I would hope that would happen. I really like him. He is the hottest Lib Dem pol afterall.

  6. “As in the YouGov poll at the start of the week, both David Cameron and Boris Johnson have negative ratings on how they handled the riots – 30% think Cameron did a good job dealing with them, 44% a bad job; 28% think Boris did a good job, 38% a bad job. In contrast Tim Godwin, the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan police is seen as having done a good job by 45% to 27%.

    The majority of the public (61%) are confident that the police are enforcing the laws fairly and without prejudice (36% are not), however only 41% are confident they have the resources available to control riots (56% do not).”

    You know, I admit that I’m surprised a little by these numbers. I mean, from my perspective there’s nothing he’s done wrong and Cameron has handled the situation pretty well. Maybe I’m not following closely enough.

  7. Ooo….I’m watching Question TIme on BBC and Brian Paddick is on. He’s doing well. I wonder why he couldn’t get elected Mayor of London. :(

  8. SoCal

    He certainly thinks he’s done well and has been stating that he came back and sorted it all out ;-)

    More seriously though: in the UK the publics perception of a PM is impacted by any huge negative event which is not deemed outside their direct control- occurrences such as a terrorist attack or a series of massive floods tend to be forgiven.

    But- as said in the previous thread and above in this one- presiding over the worst most widespread civil disorder and destruction in a century does not rest well on the shoulders of a PM. Especially when they stayed on holiday for the first 3 of the 4 days/ nights of trouble.

    So you should not be surprised atcall by the poor numbers.

  9. SoCal

    “I’m a little surprised bybthes numbers”

    He certainly thinks he’s done well and has been stating that he came back and sorted it all out ;-)

    More seriously though: in the UK the publics perception of a PM is impacted by any huge negative event which is not deemed outside their direct control- occurrences such as a terrorist attack or a series of massive floods tend to be forgiven.

    But- as said in the previous thread and above in this one- presiding over the worst most widespread civil disorder and destruction in a century does not rest well on the shoulders of a PM. Especially when they stayed on holiday for the first 3 of the 4 days/ nights of trouble.

    So you should not be surprised atcall by the poor numbers.

  10. I have to admit I raised my eyebrows when Cameron said that the initial police response had been poor. However, I note that he specifically said that the police themselves had told him that they had deployed too few officers and used the wrong tactics. It would appear he has something at least in his back pocket to justify this approach, and he was very pointedly hinting at it in his remarks.

    Ultimately I think this poll is just one of those “politicians are rubbish” polls that can be produced on pretty much any subject under the sun.

    I also think the government are being accused of rabble rousing when in fact they’ve been fairly resistant to it. I’d even go as far as to say that one of the reasons Cameron, Johnson and May have scored fairly poorly in this poll is that they have all been fairly circumspect in their reaction to the events. If they had announced that Typhoon bombers would be strafing the rioters in the streets their numbers would probably have had a boost.

    I don’t see a major party political angle to the riots or the aftermath, to be honest. It has happened a bit too early in the Coalition’s tenure for them to get the lion’s share of any blame. It may create some temporary additional tensions within the coalition between the hangers and floggers on the one hand and the liberals (democrat or otherwise) on the other, but I don’t think it will be too damaging. In the end, pretty much everything that could reasonably be done was done, and there is no real need for a significant change of policy or any new legislation.

    Personally I hope that one legacy of the riots will be a moderate rethink of the plans for policing, but I don’t see much sign of it so far. The upswell of public support for police officers may see the Federation take a harder line in negotiations on pensions and pay structures, but the cackhandedness of the Federation’s top officials will probably make a hash of this in the long run.

    @SoCalLiberal,

    Brian Paddick didn’t win the mayoral election primarily because he was the Liberal Democrat candidate. He also has one or two skeletons in the cupboard which he would no doubt ascribe to the smear-mongering of homophobes, but these things have a way of getting traction when you make it to the political big time. He’s not very popular amongst the police, either (although I have no issue with him).

  11. This Question Time program reminds me of like the Jerry Springer Show mixed with Prime Minister’s Questions and Crossfire. It’s kind of a trainwreck.

    I have to say, I like Brian Paddick the best, he’s doing a good job. David Davis also comes off really well, extremely sensible and articulate.

    (Maybe Anthony switched me to a donkey too soon)

  12. @ Neil A

    “Brian Paddick didn’t win the mayoral election primarily because he was the Liberal Democrat candidate. He also has one or two skeletons in the cupboard which he would no doubt ascribe to the smear-mongering of homophobes, but these things have a way of getting traction when you make it to the political big time. He’s not very popular amongst the police, either (although I have no issue with him).”

    Thanks for that. I hope he has a political future.

    I’m not sure your police response was that bad. You had rioting popping up for seemingly no reason all over London. And the rioting was not just in the hood but in well to do suburbs like Harrow and Enfield. Then you had reinforcements being shipped down to London and new rioting starting in other cities where police were down to begin with.

    Everyone wants to blame their favorite pet issue for why this rioting happenned. But no one will know until a full investigative report is done on the causes and there’s documentation of the police responses (not just anecdotes).

    @ Rob Sheffield

    “He certainly thinks he’s done well and has been stating that he came back and sorted it all out

    More seriously though: in the UK the publics perception of a PM is impacted by any huge negative event which is not deemed outside their direct control- occurrences such as a terrorist attack or a series of massive floods tend to be forgiven.

    But- as said in the previous thread and above in this one- presiding over the worst most widespread civil disorder and destruction in a century does not rest well on the shoulders of a PM. Especially when they stayed on holiday for the first 3 of the 4 days/ nights of trouble.

    So you should not be surprised atcall by the poor numbers.”

    Good point. I didn’t realize he was away for that long. I thought he came back right away when things started to get out of control.

    In 1965, during the Watts Riots, Pat Brown was out of California and vacationing in Greece on an island where he was completely unreachable by any modern modes of communication. The LAPD wanted to bring in the National Guard early on but had to wait 11 days or so before being able to bring them in.

  13. A link to the much discussed Oborne piece:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100100708/the-moral-decay-of-our-society-is-as-bad-at-the-top-as-the-bottom/

    has reappeared on the Telegraph’s Home page (though not oddly elsewhere).

    However for some reason it now entitled ‘New Labour’s toxic legacy” Obviously they’re not all in it together. :)

  14. Cameron on the possibility of Council evictions:

    “Obviously that will mean they will have to be housed somewhere else and they will have to find housing in the private sector and that will be tougher for them. But they should have thought about that before they started burgling,” he said. “In some cases it may help break up the criminal networks in some housing estates if some of these people are thrown out of their houses and I think quite right too.”

    In “some” cases it “may” break criminal networks…… I thought in Parliament on Thursday DC said he’d look carefully at previous experiences but it appears he’s already an expert on how gangs operate?

    “that will be tougher for them. But they should have thought about that before they started burgling,” – Or, they start/continue to burgle to pay for an increased cost of living and make it tougher for the Police and the rest of society.

    Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sunday’s polls found a majority in favour of turfing them out onto the street.

  15. Bill Bratton, from LA and NYC and Cameron’s new advisor on dealing with gang criminality (and even his choice to be next Met Commissioner?)

    “Arrest is certainly appropriate for the most violent, the incorrigible, but so much of it can be addressed in other ways and it’s not just a police issue, it is in fact a societal issue.”

    “It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it can be done and in many respects you have to argue that it must be done because you just can’t continue the way you’ve been going.”

    “Our success in Los Angeles in reducing gang violence significantly was a co-ordination of very assertive tough police tactics but also a lot of community outreach, a lot of creative, innovative programmes such as a significant use of gang interventionists.”

    A bit of a different line from the evictionists…..

  16. As always with short-term knee jerking (someone on twitter described it like this – Britain knee-jerks so hard, it kicks itself in the face) is that it always comes back to haunt with the long-term problems it causes.

    Saying, ‘Well they should have thought about that..’ doesn’t reverse time and fix the problem we’ll have, with possibly thousands more made homeless.
    And it’s all well and good saying that they’ll ‘have to find places in the private sector’, but on low levels of benefits or low pay, where will they go?
    They’ll end up in sub-standard housing, which will be worse than the often sub-standard council housing and will just shift the gang and crime problems to another neighbourhood with a greater sense of societal detatchment.

    Just like the ‘Well, just lock ’em up’ doesn’t fix the problem of what you do with offenders when they come out.

    I expect it’ll be good for the government’s opinion ratings in the short-term but the long-term problems it will inevitably cause will probably hurt approval more in the longer-term.
    This is exactly the sort of short-term promises that can never materialise which ultimately hurt the public perception of all politicians.
    See also – End of boom and bust, cuts will not hurt frontline services and we will vote against tuition fees.

    I think it’s also interesting the narrative shift to blaming the very bottom and very top of society (which is in itself, a dangerous narrative to spin) is exactly what Ed Miliband was describing with ‘the squeezed middle’.
    If he can tie that idea in to the narrative, he could win substantial support.

  17. Neil A

    “I don’t see a major party political angle to the riots or the aftermath, to be honest. It has happened a bit too early in the Coalition’s tenure for them to get the lion’s share of any blame. It may create some temporary additional tensions within the coalition between the hangers and floggers on the one hand and the liberals (democrat or otherwise) on the other, but I don’t think it will be too damaging. In the end, pretty much everything that could reasonably be done was done, and there is no real need for a significant change of policy or any new legislation.”

    Somebody earlier on this thread or the last accused me of wishful thinking…I’m afraid that just about sums up your denial that there is no link between the (widely predicted) riots and current Government policy.

    You may be right that there won’t BE much change in policy. But if you think the flooding of city streets by policemen in riot gear solves much but the immediate problem, I disagree.

    And the cuts in Poice funding will make such a solution harder to apply in a few years time.

  18. Good Morning all.

    Ed Miliband may well be coming to an ethical socialism approach to politics, with his views on the ME culture. It may well have traction, and links in well with BLUE LABOUR, whose ‘guru’ is on Any Questions next week.

    Frank Field’s work pre 1997 was largely ignored by Blar, who is quite rude about him in his ‘A Jouney’

    Harriet Harman was effective last night on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions. She condemned the riots unequivocally, criticised the impact on the front line of the police cuts, and pointed to the wider impact of the loss of EMA provision and employment possibilities.

  19. Tinged Fringe

    First, it’s the logical fallacy of the appeal to hypocrisy.

    And we were getting on so well. However point taken, so long as it is recognised that to condemn every cut made by the govt is in itself hyprocritical unless those criticising the govt suggest better decisions or say that no cuts are needed.

    You are right Labour does not need to tell me and other voters where they would place their cuts. However, I am not sure the cuts are in the right place but no one has offered me alternatives, so IMO it is logical to assume they are probably right.

  20. Tinged Fringe

    ‘we will vote against tuition fees’.

    Hit a raw nerve there. An impossible promise made to win a few votes in certain seats, backfired as soon as LDs went into Coalition, which should have been an historical event. It has damaged LDs in the polls since, and I could suggest no sensible answer to questions on the doorstep. On this Labour and Tories got it right and LDs made a big mistake.

  21. We have an answer to the public’s view of the effect of the potential police cuts now. ComRes have a poll out on the ‘London Riots’:

    http://www.comres.co.uk/poll/508/the-independent-london-riots-poll.htm

    Public

    Q: Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

    The Government’s austerity policies are more to blame than police tactics for the recent rioting
    Agree: 35%
    Disagree: 35%
    Don’t know: 29%

    David Cameron has failed to provide the necessary leadership to take control of the rioting in London early enough
    Agree: 54%
    Disagree: 29%
    Don’t know: 16%

    Cuts to police numbers nationally must now be reversed by the Government in the light of this week’s rioting
    Agree: 71%
    Disagree:13%
    Don’t know: 16%

    I have less confidence in London’s ability to safely hold the Olympics next year in the light of this week’s rioting
    Agree: 50%
    Disagree: 34%
    Don’t know: 16%

    Anyone found guilty of taking part in the riots or looting should face an automatic jail sentence no matter how small their involvement
    Agree: 78%
    Disagree: 14%
    Don’t know: 8%

    I have confidence in David Cameron’s leadership of this country in general
    Agree: 36%
    Disagree: 46%
    Don’t know: 17%

    Online poll and exactly the same dates and sample size (2008) as the ICM poll. Hmm

  22. NICK POOLE

    “Why should a Government borrow anything? It has a printing press and the power to decide what it uses the paper for.”

    Great solution Nick :-)

  23. SOCAL LIBERAL

    ‘I’m not sure your police response was that bad. You had rioting popping up for seemingly no reason all over London. And the rioting was not just in the hood but in well to do suburbs like Harrow and Enfield. Then you had reinforcements being shipped down to London and new rioting starting in other cities where police were down to begin with’.

    The police were hammered by victims and by the media in the first couple of days, because they were slow to react. Even I who rarely goes beyond UK Polling and PB as far as bloggs are concerned, sniffed there was trouble in the air, following Duggan’s shooting. 3,000 police was inadequate.

    Overall the police on the ground have been much lauded, and the police as a whole have been praised for the work after the first 2 days. But as I have already said I think certain police chiefs are trying to rewrite history. I would rather they learn lessons, as well as taking credit, in particular bringing so many criminals to justice.

    I think if any politician attacks the police on the ground facing very dangerous and difficult circumstances, then the police chiefs have not only a right but an obligation to hit back and defend their men and women.

    However if it is suggested that there are areas of strategy that Chiefs got wrong or can be improve then it is up to the chiefs to consider, liaise with the politicians and basically improve.

    My view and I hope I will always stick to it whatever colour of govt is that police chiefs should not enter the political arena (unless of course we move to elected police chiefs who are directly accountable to the public).

  24. @ Roger Mexico – “… the possible reasons for the furious (to the point of insanity) reactions of a pretty big portion of the British public. Yet many of the same people would happily make ‘adjustments’ to their expenses, omit things from their tax return, ‘enhance’ an insurance claim or cheer the destruction of a speed camera.”

    Possibly they have been reared too well. If the very first manifestation of infantile rebellion was effectively crushed, a large part of any justifable anger will have been deeply buried. Meage substitute gratifications like of pulling off a spider’s legs or kicking little sister when Mum and Dad are not looking is no real compensation for the first impulse to triumphantly smash and trample upon one’s toys.

    Contradictory emotions cause the most distress, and the sight of a recently looted flatscreen lying smashed in the gutter reminded people of the ulimate end to all the tawdy dreams which enslave them (and of what they might like to do to their neighbour’s TV).

  25. Nick Poole

    You may be right that there won’t BE much change in policy. But if you think the flooding of city streets by policemen in riot gear solves much but the immediate problem, I disagree.

    Perhaps not but along with the identifying, naming and shaming and punishing many of the criminals I think riots in the near future are less likely

    There are definitley deprived kids, who have suffered poor parenting, peer influence and education, involved but it is interesting that some were also from ordinary or even privileged backgrounds, and these people may have blighted their lives as well as those of their victims. The serial criminals identified probably think they made a big mistake getting involved in looting rather than their usual criminal activities.

    I think IDS has something with his broken society; what he needs is money which I do not think GO would willingly give and support from LDs and in particular Labour. To help the most deprived will not take just one Parliament but two or three and I would like to see heavy consistent commitment whoever is in power, and perhaps an all party group set up now could achieve this.

    Those who chose to terrorise the public, with rioting and looting, and yet have decent parents and supportive backgrounds deserve everything they get (IMO).

  26. About austerity, cuts, and entitlements….I thought this was an excellent smack down (one of the best I’ve ever seen).

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-11-2011/lactate-intolerance

    @ Roger Mexico

    Those numbers look pretty bad for the government. I think that they may have to reverse some police cuts now just due to public pressure.

  27. The Magistrates seem to be making much of absent parents to support their children in Court.

    IPPR has just published an analysis showing that among the factors linking the 18 worst hit areas is a high rate of single parent families & broken homes.

    An interview in THe Times today with Shaun Bailey , MD of the charity My Generation makes you want to weep for some of these children .

    ” We have taught these children to consume-watch MTV CRibs then tell me I’m wrong”
    “the hip-hop artist 50 cent has an album entitled “Get Rich or Die Tryin” ”
    ” We spent 20 years convincing our youth that their opinions matter more than anyone elses, that they are untouchable . We constantly talk to them about their rights & not their responsibilities”
    ” They behave the way they do because we have told them they can”

    Of the 14,000 children mentored by Kids Company only two were known to have taken part in the riots.
    KIds Company currently gets £12.7 million from Government over three years. Their website says this helps to mentor the 400 worst cases. On that basis the cost pa per capita is £10k.pa

    Aaranovitch in THe Times claims that there are 90,000 children needing this sort of intervension.-at £10k per annum pe child that’s £900m pa -for as long as it takes to turn them round.

    THere is a massive opportunity here for DC to follow through on “broken society”. Money is obviously short-but when you read that The Immigration Advisory Service collapsed after mis-spending £5 m of legal aid in one single year-you know there is waste too.
    ( Incidentally the former head of IAS has just been appointed by the Environment Select Committee as chairwoman of The Gangmasters LIcencing Authority!)

    Following the accolades from the left here for Peter Oborne’s article, it is interesting to see the tag line for Oborne’s piece in DT today :-

    “New Labour’s toxic legacy-
    Tony Blair created a generation without hope or aspiration – and we must pay the price”

  28. @ Roger Mexico – “… the possible reasons for the furious (to the point of insanity) reactions of a pretty big portion of the British public. Yet many of the same people would happily make ‘adjustments’ to their expenses, omit things from their tax return, ‘enhance’ an insurance claim or cheer the destruction of a speed camera.

    I think the obvious answer is that most people feel threatened when they are driven from the streets, see their businesses which they have built up over years burnt down overnight or fear that their local store or temple is threatened. The damage to a speed camera just doesn’t have the same impact.

    Crime is crime however, and most people get very angry that car insurance fraud has driven up insurance costs so much. I am not sure whether their has been a poll about whether the culprits should suffer corporal punishment, and in serial cases capital punishment but if there was, the answers would be interesting.

  29. @ Woodsman

    “Bill Bratton, from LA and NYC and Cameron’s new advisor on dealing with gang criminality (and even his choice to be next Met Commissioner?)”

    I know and like Bill Bratton. I was a little skeptical when he was first appointed LAPD Chief. But ultimately he did a very good job. He mixed tough law enforcement (which the LAPD was long known for before the reign of terror under Willie Williams) with community outreach and proper PR. We had crime reductions in spite of a negative economy. Unlike the 14 year Tom Bradley v. Daryl Gates struggle for power that ended with the riots, Bratton actually made efforts to work with and get along with Antonio Villaraiogsa (the current mayor). And when he left, I was sorry to see him leave.

    He was also the one responsible for the drop in crime in New York City that Rudy Giuliani took credit for.

  30. Colin

    ‘THere is a massive opportunity here for DC to follow through on “broken society”. Money is obviously short-but ..’

    Interesting and informative post, and naturally I agree…

  31. @ Colin

    “Following the accolades from the left here for Peter Oborne’s article, it is interesting to see the tag line for Oborne’s piece in DT today :-

    “New Labour’s toxic legacy-
    Tony Blair created a generation without hope or aspiration – and we must pay the price””

    Is it just me or do so many Brits seem to be fixated onblaming pop culture and Tony Blair (if they’re right wing) or blaming capitalism and human nature (if they’re left wing) for the riots? Has anyone considered that maybe a full investigative report should be done including an actual survey of those convicted for the riots to determine the causes before there’s a rush to attack the latest boogeyman?

  32. Its interesting to see that DC has asked IDS to get involved in the anti-gang initiatives.

    That is a good move -this needs joined up policy-not disparate silos of policy.

    The gangs are the result of social breakdown , fractured families & generational welfare reliance.

  33. @ Nick Poole

    Germany 1923

  34. @ Henry

    “The police were hammered by victims and by the media in the first couple of days, because they were slow to react. Even I who rarely goes beyond UK Polling and PB as far as bloggs are concerned, sniffed there was trouble in the air, following Duggan’s shooting. 3,000 police was inadequate.

    Overall the police on the ground have been much lauded, and the police as a whole have been praised for the work after the first 2 days. But as I have already said I think certain police chiefs are trying to rewrite history. I would rather they learn lessons, as well as taking credit, in particular bringing so many criminals to justice.

    I think if any politician attacks the police on the ground facing very dangerous and difficult circumstances, then the police chiefs have not only a right but an obligation to hit back and defend their men and women.

    However if it is suggested that there are areas of strategy that Chiefs got wrong or can be improve then it is up to the chiefs to consider, liaise with the politicians and basically improve.

    My view and I hope I will always stick to it whatever colour of govt is that police chiefs should not enter the political arena (unless of course we move to elected police chiefs who are directly accountable to the public).”

    I guess I’m not used to thinking of presidents as responsible for riots (and I transmute that to Prime Ministers). If LA has riots again, I wouldn’t expect the President to ask Congress to come back into session and cut short a foreign trip. But the jobs are different. I wouldn’t expect a Prime Minister to be micromanaging police departments either.

    As for attacking the police response, I think that may have been a bad choice of Cameron’s. It makes him look like he’s ducking responsibility and attempting to shift blame. And I can imagine that there are a lot of understaffed, underfunded police departments facing cuts where officers (who I would imagine are Tory leaning) are pretty upset that they’re being hamstrung to fight riots and then criticized by those who they feel are hamstringing them. And their families and friends would have a negative reaction as well.

    As for your last line, I completely 100% agree. That is the only thing Bratton did that ever really bothered me. That was entirely inappropriate of him to do and completely out of line. That kind of position is one that is supposed to be politically neutral. Appointed public servants should never be out on the campaign trail. To Bratton’s credit though, after Hahn lost reelection handily, he got along well with his successor. However, his campaigning, put that relationship into doubt.

  35. SOCAL

    “Is it just me or do so many Brits seem to be fixated onblaming pop culture and Tony Blair (if they’re right wing) or blaming capitalism and human nature (if they’re left wing) for the riots? Has anyone considered that maybe a full investigative report should be done including an actual survey of those convicted for the riots to determine the causes before there’s a rush to attack the latest boogeyman?”

    Actually it’s the Left Wing who blame Blair in this country:-)

    One of our Parliamentary Select Committees is going to look at the causes of the riots. Its chaired by a Labour MP who did ( IMO) a fantastic job recently on phone hacking & The Met.

    No doubt an analysis of those convicted will be called as evidence.

    Personally I think the last thing we need is a GRand Jury of academics & self-appointed experts pontificating on it all at vast expense.

    Criminal activity is being dealt with by the Police & the Courts.

    The social problems which may be a factor are well known-but mostly to those third sector experts-who really are expert because they are down there on those estates , listening, understanding & turning lives around.

    Lets get them mobilised-and stop LAs cutting their funding.

  36. @Colin – I agree with much of your post, but ““New Labour’s toxic legacy-
    Tony Blair created a generation without hope or aspiration – and we must pay the price””?

    I read Oborne’s piece and it’s a breathtaking bit of nonsense trying to lay the blame for the riots on Blair’s shoulders only. You are the first to complain when left posters blame Thatcher for everything, and Oborne’s article should be treated in the same manner.

    My reading of the article is that he blames New Labour on four key counts.
    Firstly, creating a benefits dependency trap. Well pardon me, but everyone was talking about the dependency trap in the Tory years – it’s still there for sure, but the marginal tax rates on the poorest are lower under Labour than under the previous governments, and tax credits and minimum wage went some way to alleviating the problem, but certainly not far enough.

    Point two was education, where Oborne says “[New Labour] created the illusion of change. Year after year exam results would show a marked improvement”.

    Again, the new exam system was created under the Tories and exam grades have been continually improving for something like 25 years – predating Labour, with the Tories equally culpable.

    His third point involved attempting to pin the blame for the breakdown on family values on Brown’s axing of the married couples allowance. Hmmm – didn’t we have much bigger and more violent riots in the 1980’s when those nice Tories paid couples to stay together?.

    Fourthly, he says “New Labour promoted a divisive and unequal society”. Actually, according to the ONS, New Labours polcies helped restrict the widening gap and had the oppositions policies been adopted the gap would have been far wider, as is projected to occur under the coalition.

    I’m not seeking to defend New Labour – they have offended me in many ways. I would also agree with Oborne in the sense that Blair didn’t tackle such issues with sufficient courage and vigour. But in this, he was only following the established orthodoxy, one that had essentially been established by the political settlement of the 1980s and followed slavishly by the Tories throughout their previous term in government and the years of opposition.

    I like Oborne and he is usually better than this. To attempt to suggest the reasons for the riots date solely from 1997 is the kind of nonsense that needs to be placed in the bin marked ‘Knee Jerk Reactionary Rubbish’.

  37. @Henry

    “riots in the future are less likely”

    A few ‘IMHO’ by in your posts containing frequent unsupported assertions would not be out of place.

    IMO there is no empirical evidence whatsoever  to suggest at all that “future are now less likely” – history has shown that in certain moments and for differing reasons they occurred no matter what policing reforms are introduced. 

    For example under Thatcher we had major civil unrest in 1980 1981 1985 1986 and 1990 …..

    @Colin

    Good to see you quoting from sources that lay the blame for the type events we have just suffered at the door of our hyper consumerist capitalist society :D

    I am not a fan of Oborne: for me the best commentator by a country mile has been Owen Jones. His piece showing how the flog ’em pro vigilante mob are trying to take advantage of this situation is a must read.

    He places the blame- rightfully IMO- right back to the Thatcher governments destruction of our manufacturing base and the social breakdown and division that occurred during that terrible decade (in the inner cities, on our peripheral urban estates, in market and seaside towns and in villages linked to a single manufacturing employer-  and from which we have yet to recover.

    Though  labour made a noble attempt in the noughties- heaven knows how *worse* things would actually be now without all the money ploughed into social inclusion, education and law and order by the Labour government of 1997-2010.

  38. Alec

    THanks

    I haven’t read the Oborne article-I was just amused that he received such warm praise from the left recently.

    WE just need to get on & attack the problem now-there should be no party differences on it ( apart from money of course ! ) should there?

  39. @Colin

    Music has continually been blamed for the end of society as we know it. I can personally remember this being attributed to: Punk, Heavy Metal, Rap and (oddly) the New Romantics.

    I’m sure the older posters on here will have heard other genres blamed: Rock’n’roll, glam rock…

    If we go back in time we would see the same throughout history… Yet oddly it never quite works out that way. So can we conclude:
    a) this time the music that people are listening to really is going to cause the end of society? Or
    b) it’s another excuse for an easy soundbite?

  40. Rob Sheffield

    Thanks

    ” Thatcher ”

    Not going to go there-its more pointless than Oborne-who I don’t like.

    THis should be beyond party.

  41. SoCal

    Indeed research and analysis is required because these disturbances were on a scale and degree not witnessed in post world war two times.

    They are so widespread that the notion of relying on individuals and self appointed individuals in localities is farcical. That might work were they to have taken place in one or two areas. But the riots, arson and looting were replete across the country.

    Whether the Tory government (and their supporters) like it or not there is going to be a raft of work undertaken.

    My prediction is that the government and flog em pro vigilante types are not going to like the conclusions.

  42. “And we were getting on so well. However point taken, so long as it is recognised that to condemn every cut made by the govt is in itself hyprocritical unless those criticising the govt suggest better decisions or say that no cuts are needed.”
    It is hypocritical to attack the cuts without giving any sort of plan on the cuts. But it is wrong to defend yourself by pointing to hypocrisy – that is the point of the fallacy.
    ‘Smoking’s bad for you’, ‘But you smoke!’
    That doesn’t mean that smoking is any less bad for you.

    I’m not saying that Labour is in the right – I’m just pointing out the flaw in your argument.

    “Hit a raw nerve there. An impossible promise made to win a few votes in certain seats, backfired as soon as LDs went into Coalition, which should have been an historical event.”
    That was exactly my point!
    Making promises you cannot keep, for short-term gain, hurts you more in the long-run when you cannot keep those promises.

    So when Labour promised they ended boom and bust, when inevitably in capitalist economies there are busts, was short-sighted and ultimately cost Labour more support than they gained.
    Just as promising that cuts to police funding (or the NHS, or education, or etc) will not mean frontline cuts – of course it will. So the dishonesty, which makes gains in the short-term will be outweighed by losses in the long-term.
    And when Obama promised he’d shut-down Gitmo (which itself is a complicated issue – and will take time), has hurt him.

    The same will happen in Afghanistan (troops home by 2015), the economy (rainbows and unicorns by 2015), the deficit (eliminated by 2015), etc

    This isn’t a party political point – all of the parties (including the third parties, UKIP, Greens, etc who have little chance of being in government) do exactly the same.

  43. Colin

    It was not about party it was about thecfactvthat these problems go all the way back to the 1979-1982 socioeconomic shakeout we endured.

    There is PLENTY of scientific evidence that clearly explains that so anyone quoting Obornes facile and [email protected] piece is themselves just that.

    In any case-as said- these events were on a scale and extent never seen since WW2 and are going to get the analysis and research they deserve. After that they will hopefully get the money they need in order at least to START being tackled. One of the first things Pickles slashed was the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal.

    Though as I have said these kinds of deep seated”wicked problems” take generations to address as well as lots of money and strategic central state-local state- third sector integrated policy.

  44. @Colin – “WE just need to get on & attack the problem now-there should be no party differences on it ( apart from money of course ! ) should there?”

    Wholeheartedly agree. The difficulty with the party political system is that there is the immediate temptation to try to blame the other lot for all societies ills. Labour have tried to do that with Thatcher, Tories with New Labour.

    I think this kind of behaviour signifies a kind of arrogance within the political class – they assume that they have the power to make sweeping changes, when in reality they are more or less bobbing around on the sea like the rest of us, being driven by the winds and tides of change.

    Their role is to help us ride these storms and navigate the restless seas as safely and fairly as we can, but first they need to put away the notion that only they can make a difference and open their eyes to the fact that some of the best solutions come from outside their own very limited orbit.

  45. @Rob Sheffield – “Indeed research and analysis is required because these disturbances were on a scale and degree not witnessed in post world war two times.”

    Really? I was in London in 1981 and the riots then were far more severe, widespread and violent than these rather limited affairs. I suspect you might be falling victim to the effect of 24 hour news coverage affecting our perceptions.

  46. “The Government’s austerity policies are more to blame than police tactics for the recent rioting
    Agree: 35%
    Disagree: 35%
    Don’t know: 29%”
    I find this question because it just goes to show how picking and choosing the options as answers, for questions, can distort the polling.

    Throw in ‘Criminality’ as an explanation for crime (poverty is the cause of poor people, divorce is the cause of married couples breaking up), and people will choose the tautological answer because it’s the simplest.

    Removing that would give a different set of answers – but giving a choice between police action vs austerity is ultimately giving a false choice.
    Whether that makes the question completely pointless, I don’t know, but it doesn’t really tell us that much.

  47. Most people wouldn’t do (in a month of Sundays) what ordinary policeman have been asked to do this week. Some of them hardly slept for 3 nights and if they did it was in cramped and uncomfortable conditions.

    These same police are the ones facing pay freezes, job reallocations, having to work longer and in some cases enforced redundancy. Our society is proud of the fact that we have an unarmed police force who are generally perceived as being on ‘our’ side and the unspoken contract underpinning this relationship is threatened if the govenment attacks the conditions of service of the police in the way that seems to be happening.

    I would support extending the cuts in the armed services and reallocating funds saved that way to the police service as a way of stopping the cuts to that service.

  48. “I find this question because..” question interesting because..

  49. Colin

    You ought to read the Oborne piece, if only because it’s a bitchier version of what you and so many of us have been saying about the double standards of our rulers. The re-titling of the piece was clearly done by the Telegraph late yesterday and I think they have also removed some of the attacks on Conservative MPs. The original piece seemed longer and more even-handed – unfortunately I didn’t keep a copy (though someone will have – nothing gets forgotten on the internet).

    You’d think normally that a paper would be delighted for one of its articles to receive such attention, but the Telegraph is doing its best to bury it. Obviously the word has gone out from Brecqhou.

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