Socialist Worker

Politicians are the real looters

Issue No. 2264

The political establishment, or those bits that have returned from holiday, has lined up to condemn the riots.

Some right-wingers, like Tory Toby Young, grabbed the chance to demand the government deploy troops against people on Britain’s streets. BBC newsreaders asked why the army couldn’t be brought in.

Tory home secretary Theresa May denounced the actions as “sheer criminality”.

Very few talked about the reality of ordinary people’s lives and the deep bitterness that lay behind the riots.

Labour leader Ed Miliband called for “firm action from the police”. Some may have hoped that black Labour politicians, such as Diane Abbott and David Lammy, might have defended their young, black constituents.

Curfew

Instead Lammy, MP in Tottenham, said the riots were a “disgrace”. And Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North, said the government should consider imposing a London-wide curfew.

Labour MP Ken Livingstone did talk about the damage that government cuts have done to young people. But then he called for more police—and even the use of water cannon on the streets. They have never been used in mainland Britain.

Politicians have no right to moralise to anyone about how to live their lives. They are up to their necks in corruption and are stealing millions from ordinary people with their savage cuts and attacks on pensions.

John McDonnell MP pointed to the real problems in society. He said, “MPs and their expenses, bankers and their bonuses, tax evading corporations” had created a “society of looters”.

The politicians—and their rich, banker friends—are the real looters.


Media takes sides with the police and rich

The mainstream press and TV have used the riots as an excuse to wheel out every racist idea they’ve ever had about poor people living in cities.

The Sun decried a “Descent into Hell”, while the Mirror called it “Yob Rule”. The Daily Telegraph claimed that “gangs run riot from east to west”.

The press is keen to downplay the political and social responsibility the government and the ruling class have.

The Daily Mail claimed that “to blame the cuts is immoral and cynical. This is criminality pure and simple.” The Sun said that the people on the streets are “a rabble without a cause”. They have used the riots as more fuel to demonise young people.

The mainstream media is joining in with the dangerous chorus for a harsh police crackdown to lock down areas and to jail the “looters”.

As the phone hacking scandal showed, the media can be a great friend to the Tories and the police.


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