The recent riots – which began in Tottenham on August 6th, but rapidly spread first across London and then across the country – have prompted innumerable instant responses from politicians, journalists, and academics alike. Some have been more considered than others.
Among the politicians, the Prime Minister has promised a ‘social fightback’ against the groups involved in the riots. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has argued that Britain is in the ‘last-chance saloon’ and must learn the lessons of the riots or a full-scale social crisis will follow. For the opposition, Ed Miliband has warned the coalition that it must respond to the riots with ‘lasting solutions’ rather than ‘knee-jerk gimmicks’. Other commentators have pointed to a wide variety of possibly causes, ranging from the government’s austerity measures to rap music.
Here, we collect together the recent Ballots and Bullets posts that have contributed to the ongoing debate about the causes and consequences of the riots.
Deirdre Duffy argues that the way to prevent future riots is to focus on youth clubs rather than policing.
Mat Humphrey asks whether the riots had a political motive, or merely represent the ‘triumph of triviality’.
Matthew Bailey finds evidence to suggest that we might have been here before.
David Bell considers the possibility of using popular education to ‘empower the wastrels’.
And Mat Humphrey offers a reminder that we have long been warned about the tensions inherent in contemporary capitalism.