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Written on August 9, 2011, and categorized as Flip side.
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There are no banners. Since yesterday the entire event has been about crime and brutality and has nothing to do with the original event, the death of Mark Duggan.

This is how it looks to have started. The protest was a vigil outside a police station, after Duggan was shot dead by police in hotly disputed circumstances. During the vigil the liquor store was robbed, the empty bottles lobbed at the police station. The 50 or so friends and family (who were kept from the body for 36 hours – police have since admitted this was a mistake) were angry, but not rioting. At some point a 16 year old girl was bashed up by five cops in riot gear, that sparked stone throwing, so it went.

Of course there is widespread anger. But many working class people despise their rulers, regardless of colour or background, or even who happens to be in power. People have seen all authority exposed as a sham, and they ask, why the hell should I care?

The shadow side of Britain is criminality which runs from top to bottom. MPs and members of the upper house have been prosecuted and sent to prison for cheating on expenses. Murdoch’s minions have been exposed for paying off police. Cameron attended News International meetings 24 times in one year.

There is little respect for law even among police who have a string of dodgy deaths and clumsy cover-ups in recent years, Tomlinson, Menezes, Smiley Culture.

Our establishment is seen as corrupt, and everyone knows this. Authorities do not command respect from anyone, least of all savvy, hard-nosed, selfish opportunist criminals, a generation born into the kind of valueless, amoral consumer-driven materialism dominant since Thatcher.

Then there is the fact that young people’s futures have just been chucked in the trash, with education now out of reach and costing a fortune, courses cut, and youth centres closed, public sector jobs cut, all to get a "well done" back slap for Britain from the IMF…

Add to this one spark of genuine grievance as a catalyst, and you have your British storm.

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