Nice middle class rioters and looters: wa’s up?

Here’s a stab at an explanation for these nice, middle class rioters and looters. It’s clear that they are not immoral or wicked, or even all that badly brought up.

Isn’t it that in their very niceness and that of their parents and teachers, they were not taught that they are fallible, impressionable, overly-trusting young persons? They were not inculcated with the sheer fearfulness, the taboos, the prejudices which have made most previous generations fear authority, aim to keep their heads down and steer clear of trouble.

Paradoxically, these naive young people think they are street-wise because they’ve been sick in the back of taxis once or twice. Nobody had told them to fear mobs – they had not been taught that crowds are dangerous.

It’s also likely that one should blame media. Not the media, as in horrid films and video  games. Isn’t it more that they simply don’t have much sense of the boundaries between reality and fiction? A boy lobs a fire extinguisher off a medium-sized skyscraper; a sociology graduate with her own Polo and 27″ TV steals a flat screen. They were “caught up in the moment”: but it was a multi-media moment more than a real place and time.

They lived in cloud-cuckoo land. When they get out gaol, we need to be kind to them, but hope that they become ambassadors for reality.


james banville
Richard North is a **** [RDN's tactful edit] of monumental proportions. End of story.

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Publication date

12 August 2011