Op-Ed: Mindless criminality – the verdict on the London riots

Posted Aug 8, 2011 by Alexander Baron
As rioting spread from Tottenham to Enfield, and to Brixton in South London, those on the frontline of social unrest condemned it as mindless criminality.
Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road  London after youths protested against the killing of a man by...
Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road, London after youths protested against the killing of a man by armed police in an attempted arrest, August 6, 2011 in London, England. Twenty-nine-year-old father-of-four Mark Duggan died August 4 after being shot by police in Tottenham, north London.
By Beacon Radio
BBC TV’s Breakfast news programme this morning covered the London riots in considerable depth, and interviewed two people who are intimately involved in the fight against lawlessness and gun crime. Commander Adrian Hanstock of the Metropolitan Police and Claudia Webbe of the Operation Trident Independent Advisory Group were unanimous in their condemnation of the rioting; Webbe alluded to it as “mindless criminality”. The same programme reported that more than a hundred arrests had now been made.
Commander Hanstock made the point that the grass roots local communities were horrified by the violence and looting, adding that he was too as a Londoner as much as a police officer. Writing in the Guardian earlier, Claudia Webbe took a slightly different approach, but it is clear that whatever spin mainstream black politicians and activists put on the alleged catalyst for this latest unrest, there will be no apologetics as there were in the 1980s: “Those mindless thugs that destroyed people's businesses and livelihoods clearly had no sense of valuing their own surroundings – unless it was just a mob coming from elsewhere to cause destruction. ”
What was noticeable with the footage from one of the copycat riots was more white faces. Or perhaps they were red? Whatever, this is the sort of “inter-racial solidarity” we can all do without.