Socialist Worker

Cameron uses riots as excuse to crack down

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2264

Tory prime minister David Cameron used his statement to parliament today to run through a shopping list of repressive measures.

Cameron, tanned from his holidays, ranted that “nothing is off the table”—launching attacks that will reduce civil liberties for all.

He said he has already authorised police to use baton rounds and “contingency plans for water cannon to be available at 24 hours notice”. He announced new police powers to remove face coverings.

Frighteningly he went as far as saying he would look at clamping down on online communication, “whether any wider power of curfew is necessary” and even “whether there are tasks that the army could undertake”.

And he told people to shop their neighbours if they have “mysteriously acquired a plasma TV”.

Labour leader Ed Miliband did point to the issue of social deprivation, but utterly failed to challenge Cameron’s agenda.

He said, “Whatever our differences, today we stand shoulder to shoulder to show unity against the violence we have seen on our streets.”

Meanwhile Cameron threw cash at firms that have lost money in the riots, saying even uninsured shops will get payouts.

He said any shop affected won’t have to pay business rates, can defer its tax and claim from a £20 million “high street support scheme”.

So while he claims there’s no money for youth centres, or workers’ pensions, or anything else being cut, he can suddenly produce piles of cash for businesses.

In the debate MPs competed with each other to call for the harshest crackdown.

Tory Edward Leigh used the opportunity to call for a tax allowance for marriage. And another Tory, Conor Burns, called on Cameron to “scrap the Human Rights Act”.

Tory father of the house Sir Peter Tapsell even called for Cameron to round up “hoods” and put them in Wembley stadium.

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad used this tactic against protesters in May—in turn borrowed from Chile’s General Pinochet.

There was unanimous condemnation of the riots—but some recoiled from the most extreme measures being proposed. Labour MP Diane Abbott said she was against “further militarisation” of the streets.

Meanwhile it was revealed that MPs will be getting all their flight costs and hotel bills on expenses to compensate them for having to come back from their holidays.

And they’ll also be given money to fly back out again and continue their getaways.

Who are the real looters?

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Thu 11 Aug 2011, 13:32 BST
Issue No. 2264
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