Last night was the fourth of the current riots which have now spread to the North-West and the Midlands. Hundreds of youths rampaged in Salford and Manchester overnight looting and burning shops which led to over 100 arrests. In Birmingham the police are investigating the death of three youths to see if they are connected with the riots. Over 200 young people rioted and looted in Toxteth, Liverpool all of this outside of London where the shooting of the gangster started. To date there have been over 700 arrests but heaven knows where they’re putting them,, as our prisons are already full to bursting. (Someone suggested some sort of Alcatraz or Boot Camp subjecting these young people to 6 months or so hard discipline-not such a bad idea. Alternatively we could reintroduce compulsory national service which I’m sure would go part way to resolving the problem)
It seems that, for the time being, bringing the Army and has been ruled out, instead there will be something in the order of 16,000 more police involved in London over the next day or two. This begs the question as to whether or not the areas from which these additional police are drawn will be at greater risk. I discussed this with a number of people at the golf club yesterday and most were in favour of bringing in the Army and certainly employing water cannon and, if necessary, tear gas and even rubber bullets. People overseas simply cannot believe this is happening in the UK and will undoubtedly have some effect on our tourist trade which is particularly unfortunate as this time next year we will be in the middle of the Olympic games
As if we do not have enough trouble already with anti-government riots in Syria, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other MiddleÂ East pockets.Â Add to that the precarious situation that the whole world finds itself in economicly, and this becomes a very worrying period to be living in.
Going back to the riots in England when some of these youths have been interviewed their excuses range from ‘there being nothing to do ‘or ‘we are bored’ to the problems of unemployment. Well we all know about that. There are plenty of jobs out there if the young people were prepared to work for the minimum wage, which they are not.
.What on earth are the parents of these young people thinking about when some as young as 9 and 10 are out in the street throwing rocks at the police and looting the shops. Surely as a parent you would want to know where your youngster is and might be slightly suspicious if they came home with brand new 40 inch television and one arm.!
Obviously the first thing is to get these riots under control but then after that what can the government do to prevent such occurrences in the future. Probably very little if these organised criminal gangs are determined to formalise looting. Maybe something drastic like suggested boot camps need to be set up to give these youngsters a good dose of discipline for at least six months. Instead I suspect a large majority of them will be cautioned which will be about as effective as a chocolate teapot.
The other problem for the government is the electorate’s perception of their inability to control such situations. Even Churchill came unstuck on one occasion and riots have been responsible for bringing down governments in the past. No doubt the Labour Party will make much of the Conservatives inability to control these hooligans and for a while Prime Minister Cameron ‘will be on the back foot.’ This cricketing term reminds me that the first test match between England and India started today in Birmingham. If that had been cancelled then we will all have known that matters are really serious! Stiff upper lip and all that. (It’s a bit like the entry on the Club Championship board, at my golf club. The entry for 1940.- 1944 says,” ‘interrupted by hostilities’.)
The match went ahead without any interruption. It was a great day for England who won the toss and put in the into bat. At one stage India were 107 for seven wickets and it looked as though they could be all out for as little as 120 or 130. However, Dravid had other ideas and in scoring 77 with the rest of the tail took the score to 224 for eight. The last two batsmen were out without scoring. England came in with around one and a half hours play left in the day. Strauss and Cook started very tentatively, more intent on staying there than scoring runs but once they have gone past the first half-dozen nervous overs they scored steadily until stumps were drawn at 84 for no loss, putting England in a very strong position and well on the way to that world number one spot.