London rioter: "We're just showing the rich people that we can do what we want"

Two clips to usher in night four of Droogfest 2011. The common thread is that in both cases you’re watching rampaging cretins behave in a quasi-civilized manner. In the first, two giggly girls chat calmly with the BBC about the “mad fun” they’re having; in the second, rioters handle a wounded boy gingerly … before proceeding to rob him. Maybe we can let the lot of them off easy with a modified version of the Ludovico technique.

If you missed it in Headlines this morning, read Brendan O’Neill’s essay on the riots as a byproduct of welfare-state decay. At the Corner, Iain Murray elaborates:

Another left-wing friend of mine in the UK has another interesting theory — that the particular targeting of electronics and clothes shops represents an explosion of consumerism. Stay with me, because I think he has a point and I’d like to explain why. Much of the British underclass has had easy access to credit over the past decade or so — and why not, when they are on a secure income stream of state benefits — and they have spent this for the most part on TVs, video games, and “chav” fashion. That easy credit — which I should emphasize was encouraged by the loose monetary policy of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair — has now dried up, so they are looking to take for free what they previously got for nominal sums. There is more evidence for that conclusion in this BBC recording of two girls saying that the riots were about taking what they wanted, for free…

I think what we are seeing in Britain is a conflation of two liberal dreams — that of the 1960s, in which parenting and tradition went out the window, and that of the 2000s, in which self-help was replaced by easy credit, benefits, and an all-mighty “health and safety” bureaucracy — together with the unfinished nature of the Thatcher revolution. Mrs. T enabled economic Thatcherism but was unable to finish the project of what I termed social Thatcherism, whereby a free society recognized the importance of what once were called manners.

The result is a feral underclass without any understanding of tradition from right or left.

O’Neill ends by laying into British cops for their paralysis, a ubiquitous critique in stories about the riots after three days of window-smashing. There are a lot of reasons for that. The police have in fact held back, only now considering water cannons and plastic bullets after millions in damage. The prime minister and the mayor of London were both on vacation when the riots began and Scotland Yard’s leadership recently resigned over the phone-hacking scandal, so for several days there’s been no one in charge. The Home Secretary, who was also on vacation, is prone to saying moronic things like, “The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon, the way we police in Britain is through consent of communities,” even as young degenerates ransack local communities without their consent. And of course it’s comforting in a moment of chaos to focus on the failings of the police, who are, unlike the rioters (oops, I mean “protesters”), accountable to the public. Build a better force and in theory you ensure this can’t happen again. In theory:

Business owners accused police of adopting a softly-softly approach which left their shops and businesses vulnerable to attack by baying mobs.

While police were criticised in some quarters for being far too slow to get to riot scenes, officers were accused by shopkeepers in Hackney of standing just yards away from looters as windows were smashed and armfuls of goods were scooped up…

Firearms units trained to use the rubber bullets are braced in case they are needed. It would be the first time ever the baton rounds have been used in British disturbances.

Mr Kavanagh said Scotland Yard was ‘not going to throw 180 years of policing with the community away’ as the prospect of using the ammunition for the first time at a British disturbance was raised.

Imagine how bad things could get if they did that. There might be riots.

There are many ways to measure the awfulness of what’s happening but chew on these two while you watch. According to residents in Birmingham, looters are literally stealing the clothes off of people’s backs, stopping them and forcing them to strip. The Daily Mail has a too-bad-to-check photo via Twitter. Beyond that, in the Middle East and elsewhere, there’s gloating going on both by authoritarian governments, who are mocking the Brits for not liquidating all of their troublemakers on the spot, and by the victims of those authoritarian governments, who are mocking the rioters for turning their “protests” into a pretext to steal DVD players. All of which is to say, this is a complete fiasco by any yardstick.

Onto the videos. I’ve included a third (audio) clip below as a little bonus; yes, that is indeed Hulk Hogan’s voice you’re hearing. Click the image to watch.

Hulk Hugan on UK Riots (mp3)