Thursday, August 18, 2011

Riotous Double Standards

Some riots we like, some not so much - by Oliver Heinrich
I've been swamped with work - and working on a longer post on science geek stuff that I hope to post by Monday. In the meantime, my old friend Oliver sent along the above cartoon, hopefully the first of many.

Like a lot of people, I've been disgusted by the shameless double standards involved in the prosecution, and persecution, of accused rioters. People who took a bottle of water are getting six months in jail - two kids who did nothing more than put up a post on their facebook wall got five years of juvenile custody. Compare that to the treatment of the scum from Murdoch's tottering empire - all close friends of Tory ministers, including David Cameron.

They received a polite call requesting that they show up for arrest and were then released immediately on bail. The bankers, of course, who have given us years of economic and financial turmoil, have received nothing - except big fat bonuses.

So, it's no wonder that on top of these hypocrisies, they pile the fact that they encouraged revolts in the Middle East and the use of social media to organize battles with the local cops - and now they are talking about shutting down access to the internet during protests and upheaval. In San Francisco, the local transit authority actually did shut down internet access to stop a protest taking place.

In the end, the only thing consistent about the Tory's response is that it is driven by hatred and fear of the poor. It only differs from the out of touch, condescending response of the dictators of the middle east in that the riots didn't turn into a movement to bring down the government. Hopefully that won't be a permanent difference. As an article in the UK Guardian newspaper points out, it is the poor who have suffered and rioted and who are being punished with unprecedented sentences.

One of the most striking features to emerge is the proportion of those who have appeared in court so far who come from deprived neighbourhoods.
He found that the majority of people who have appeared in court live in poor neighbourhoods, with 41% of suspects living in one of the top 10% of most deprived places in the country. The data also shows that 66% of neighbourhoods where the accused live got poorer between 2007 and 2010.
This was a revolt by the poor fed up with austerity.

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