Islamophobe racist Theodore Dalrymple aired his noxious opinions on the UK riots on Radio National’s PM yesterday afternoon in clipped icy tones – he thinks that the great unwashed unemployed of Britain should starve. Dalrymple’s doctrine could be straight out of Breivik’s manifesto, and indeed, Breivik mentions him therein. He is also feted in the far rightwing Brussels Journal where he claims that ‘the main interest for Islam for these young [black] men is the control over women’. Dalrymple has supernatural powers – he can manufacture intent at a glance on the streets of Britain where stride ‘rather vicious looking people who obviously are angry about something, their anger is misplaced, but nevertheless they’re angry. They look vicious, they look as if they would be ready to stick a knife in you if you crossed them in any way or displeased them in anyway.’
The brutal conditions of incarceration offer up one reason why recidivism is so high in Britain, which serves as a typical example of Western justice systems (with the United States as an extreme which magnifies the problems a thousand-fold). The treatment of children is a particularly poignant example of this. Reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Children’s Commissioner for England found that “the protection of children in custody remains a fundamental concern. There are high incidences of mental health problems, self-harm and bullying with a significant proportion of children feeling unsafe. There are high levels of intimidation, violence and abuse, not only from other prisoners but also from staff.”
Manchester lawyer, Joseph Kotrie-Monson, draws attention to the dangers of further criminalisation consequent on the harsh prison sentences which are being applied to rioters in response to heavy-handed government and public reaction.
“Of course we all want people to be punished for offending. What we don’t want is children to be criminalised and children to end up in situation where they’re in custody with real criminals, learning how to be a proper criminal.
“When an appropriate dealing with a youth offending team worker, effective dealing with them at the sentencing stage, rather than giving them big long sentences or whatever, effective dealing in that way is much more likely to prevent further offending.”
“As any lawyer will tell you with practical experience swift justice is nearly always rushed justice, equals bad justice,” he said.
“As far as dealing with people in rapid fire courts, sometimes without them even visiting the magistrates court, as is happening increasingly in the UK, where people appear for their first appearance by video link from the police station, these types of things don’t result in people getting treated appropriately.
“You’ve got to ask yourself: do I want punishment to be dealt out or … do I want this type of thing not to happen again?
“Well if you identify children and you identify young people who are likely to commit further offences, you can either demonise them and make the problem worse, or you can deal with them.”
Clasford Stirling does not reside in Dalrymple’s rarified climes, but in the Tottenham community, with a grounded view on the impact of Cameron’s proposed 16,000 man cuts to the police force:
CLASFORD STIRLING: He’s not going to do that by making these cuts, which are affecting everybody so bad that we haven’t even got anybody to talk to the young people anymore, because he certainly can’t, you know what I mean? I maybe one of the only ones left in my community that’s maybe still employed. A lot of the people that young people know has either been made redundant or have just lost their jobs. And it’s very difficult, people are looking at well how do we do this and how do we do that; well we’re not going to be able to do it if the people ain’t there to bridge the gap between the young people and the police and the young people and the system.
One of Cameron’s and his fascist troupe’s ruthless, ineffectual solutions is to introduce obscene collective punishment for the families of rioters, and appallingly, evictions have already commenced. What next? a reintroduction of transportation to the colonies?
But several Conservative-led local councils, in London, Nottingham and Salford, an outlying district of Manchester, have already said that they would start eviction proceedings against tenants convicted of rioting. And one, in Wandsworth, said it had started the process of evicting a woman whose teenage son was convicted in the rioting. A petition on a government Web site for a proposal to authorize public housing evictions drew more than 100,000 signatures within 48 hours. That number guaranteed that Parliament would have to debate the proposal.
The other scapegoat the British rightwing upper class is attempting to maul is the internet. While Cameron is keen to get his grubby hands on the internet, all in the name of security (aka protecting the ruling elite), Evgeny Morosov sounds a vital warning:
‘After violent riots in 2009, Chinese officials had no qualms about cutting off the Xinjiang region’s Internet access for 10 months. Still, they would surely welcome a formal excuse for such drastic measures if the West should decide to take similar measures in dealing with disorder.’
And below, a representative of the Turkish Kurdish community in London identifies one of the prime culprits for the riots. ‘The biggest gang roaming on the streets of London are the Metropolitan police.’ The activist ‘condemns British police and media for trying to clash Turkish and Kurdish community with black and other ethnic minorities’, further stating that ‘shop owners only defended their own shops against looters; however the media and police tried to publicise this in a manner that can clash ethnic minorities with each other’.
ANNE BARKER: You know the youngest person I’ve heard of is an 11-year-old girl who admitted to throwing stones and smashing windows and joining a large riot of 30 men and three girls. She’s been given, for example, a nine-month referral order – she lives in a foster home already.
MARK COLVIN: I think the magistrate there said he wasn’t even quite sure what to do with her, 11 is very young?
ANNE BARKER: Very young. I mean a lot of these people are getting, you know, as much as nine months in jail, six months in jail for simple burglary. One man, I think, got several months for stealing several bottles of water. This is an electrical engineering student who faced obviously a good career. A dental nurse with a baby son…
MARK COLVIN: Six months?
ANNE BARKER: He got six months…
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Zulkfar said he had run community projects for 25 years but gave up in 2009, dismayed by the lack of resources. A well-regarded support and advice centre closed in 2004 and now there are few places for people to come together. Others talked enviously of a multimillion-pound community and sports centre in Handsworth, less than two miles away and the scene of riots in the early 80s. “We should have learned from what happened in Handsworth, but we don’t even have a job centre here,” one man said.
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