Prime Minister David Cameron and the London Riots
Following the apparently unnecessary shooting of a man in a region of North London known for its racial tensions, a series of protests occurred across London between August 6th and 10th, protests that were quickly hijacked by rioters with less interest in police heavy-handedness and more of an eye on causing widespread public disorder. Throw in a dash of arson and looting – later attributed to hoodie-wearing gang members in an attempt to sideline the real issues – and the images of London in chaos were soon to be seen around the world.
What is astonishing about the whole event, however, is the lack of a concerted effort by the authorities to deal with problems on the first night; to address the increasingly unruly behavior before the criminal elements saw the riots as an opportunity to loot and pillage.
For instance, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, was on holiday; the Home Secretary (whose remit is law and order) was on holiday; the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, was on holiday; the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was on holiday.
Taking a holiday during the summer is fair enough – but with no power structure to deal with the daily riots and a Metropolitan Police force seemingly without the manpower to deal with the trouble, more and more shops and homes were looted and destroyed as the UK press began focusing less on the earlier cited causes of the riots (the police shooting, a cut back in police outreach programs, general economic gloom and job losses) and more on the ring leaders of the criminal activities. This has led to a widespread ignorance of the issues of social decay, unemployment, racial tension, unaccountable police, and a general dislike of the current government and its economic policies - the very things that sparked the original protests.