'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

When the tears have dried and the looters are locked up, we'll still have to answer the questions 'why?' and 'why now?'

I've resisted the temptation to write about the riots until now, mainly because perched in a holiday cottage in Matlock I thought the only thing I could be sure about was that I hadn't a clue what was actually happening.

This doesn't seem to have stopped the rest of the world. So far I have seen the riots blamed on (in no particular order) the disaffection of the looters in general, their parents, the police, greed, the cuts at large, politicians, the absence of politicians, abolition of the EMA, tuition fees (no, really, someone was claiming that in Bristol), and the lack of available credit on widescreen TV's. In other words, no one has a clue.

Or as Mark Pack rather brilliantly tweeted me this morning:

Everyone saying that events of last few days shows what they always thought was right all along

But the one thing I have disagreed with so far is the complaints about the riots being politicised when (and I paraphrase) 'this is just about mindless thugs doing mindless looting and damaging no one but the innocent'.

While I don't disagree with the characterisation of the looters and arsonists as mindless thugs, we also have to accept that what has happened now has happened for a reason. And there is a reason why it's happened now for the first time really since the early 1980's. And no one (despite some smug 'told you so comments' from individuals on left and right'') saw it coming.

And make no mistake - while it is for the Police (and not the army - well said @davidallengreen) to quell the riots, it will be politicians to find out why it happened, and how to stop it happening again.

Which is why I like the fact some on the left and on the right are now at least asking the questions.

Let's just agree that it's going to take us a while to find the answers. And the answers will be political.


  1. I am neither left nor right but I saw it coming over a year ago when I commented on this blogpost here...


    I didn't need a crystal ball. If you recreate the same social and economic conditions (including the ethos of materialism and greed) that existed in the 1980s then it is easy to expect people to behave in the same way.

    However, lets not lose sight of the fact that this was sparked off by poor discipline among the police in Tottenham and our thoughts should be with the victims (on all sides) and their families.

  2. I wonder if Nick Clegg will be allowed to speak on behalf of the Liberal Democrats when Parliament is recalled?

  3. Thanks both; Yes, will they let Nick speak? I see No 10. has already said his visit to Tottenham was a mistake - which I don't agree with at all...