Inner City Riots Expose The Intellectual Bankruptcy Of The Progressive Left

by Xavier Connolly

The recent spate of rioting and looting which started in north London and has spread around the country, repugnant as such behaviour is to civilised people, reveals something very important and unpleasant about the political situation in Britain in 2011 because of what it says about the “progressive” Left.

Now nobody would suggest the left wing of the Labour party had a hand in encouraging the riots, nor, I hope, would anyone seriously suggest that the leftie chatterati, wusses to a person, were in any way involved in the violence and looting. Their attempts to excuse the rioters and blame the coalition, a year into it's term after thirteen years of Labour's politically correct mismanagement, for all the nations ills show that to be accepted in left wing politics these days one has to be able to handle a high level of cognitive dissonance.

We are talking about the kind of people who repeatedly say “the government must insist on transparency” when only two years ago the same people were trying to exempt MPs’ expenses from the Freedom of Information Act. We are talking about the kind of class warriors who send their children to posh and highly selective schools miles from home, paying the fees from inherited wealth and yet will fight tooth and nail for the abolition of the last few state funded selective schools and all private education. The kind of person who attacks internships and the power of connections, but uses political contacts to wangle internships for their own offspring. As fictional TV presenter and comedy icon Alan Partridge pointed out: you can’t mess about when it comes to your own kids.

But even bearing all those hypocritical double standards and examples of 'doublethink' in mind it is was surprising to hear or read of these people trying to blames this outbreak of violence and lawlessness or the “free shopping” craze on the government's cuts to public spending and on the increase in university tuition fees. No, really.

In Orwell’s novel 1984, “Doublethink” is:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them.

I was reminded of it watching Labour deputy leader and uber-leftie Harriet Harman (or perhaps we should say Harperson). trying to score political points, while denying trying to score political points. Saying there could be no excuses for the looting, while excusing it by blaming institutional racism, lack of opportunity, frustration with rising fuel and food prices and cuts to government spending..

Here’s a snippet of what she said:

"there is a sense that young people feel they are not being listened to. That is not to justify violence. But when you’ve got the trebling of tuition fees, they should think again about that. When you’ve got the EMA being taken away, when you’ve got jobs being cut and youth unemployment rising and they are shutting the job centre in Camberwell – well you should think again about that.

Absolute rubbish of course. This is not the well informed middle-class crowd that turned up to the student demos earlier in the year. Unemployment certainly can cause social unrest (jobless economy) but given the average age of these rioters and the Twitter message that went viral, "We don't care what gang you are, come and join in. Have fun and get free stuff," it seems fear of unemployment had little to do with this outbreak of rioting.

So why do people on the “progressive” Left feel it necessary to offer these wildly implausible excuses for the riots? Is it simply a case of chanting that Orwellian mantra (paraphrased for modern society) "Pale skin bad, dark skin good." Unlikely even though the left have a track record for proclaiming the superiority of a culture of vagina mutilating mud hut dwellers over the mores and traditions that nurtured their own society.

A more likely reason for this outbreak of lefty looniness is because some of the underlying causes of the riots are things which the hard left have decreed must never be questioned on the soft Left. To understand the stratum of society from which the rioters come one must first examine the breakdown of social norms at the bottom of society and one of the things you would surely want to look at is family breakdown. Data from the Millennium Cohort Study shows that children from broken homes are twice as likely to develop serious behavioural problems.

But such questions are simply out of bounds for Harman and the progressive left. Little Hattie Harperson was herself one of the authors of the a 1990 report entitled “The Family Way”, described by Feminist Review as:An attempt to combat stultifying, traditionalist concepts of ‘the family’
(note the quotes as if family is an evil scheme dreamed up by conservatives rather than the basic building block of tribes, communities and nations. The sector of the political spectrum Harman inhabits has been at war with 'the family' for many years.)

Ms Harperson has argued in the past there is “no ideal” family structure, and thinks that public policy should have nothing to say about it. This in in spite of numerous sociological studies in Europe, North America and Australia showing that children in stable family environments of one female and one male parent do experience less difficulty in adjusting to the adult world. I would be the first to suggest that we do not place too much faith in sociological studies but this conclusion ties in with empirical observations and so is worthy of attention. Not so for the lefties however, any suggestion that children prosper in households with mixed sex couples as parents is 'homophobic and sexist.' So one whole avenue of exploration is closed off.

We should also look at culture. In Analysis of the grievance culture for the (truly) liberal Prospect magazine, David Goodhart makes many excellent points about the rioters’ internal justifications (in so far as they have any).

The nihilistic grievance culture of the black inner city, fanned by the rants of musicians in the hip-hop/rap scene and copied by many white youths, has created a hardcore sub-culture of post-political disaffection. The disaffection is mainly unjustified. It’s as if the routine brutalities and racist humiliations of 30 to 40 years ago have been lovingly preserved to provide a motor of real anger for what is really just a kind of adolescent pose.

He notes that “Shaun Bailey, a black Tory, complained on Newsnight that too many black kids have been raised hearing a lot about their rights but not much about duties and responsibilities.”

But it would be career suicide for the author and champion of of the Equality Act 2010, an act which would have enshrined in law the notion that should a dank skinned person feel anything said to them by a lighter skinned (European) person was racist then the lighter skinned person would automatically be deemed guilty, to start questioning the culture of “rights”, “entitlement” and and “grievances”, and the way it has undermined authority and social cohesion. Harriet Harman cannot see anything wrong in this because her definition of progressive is always wanting to go further in the same direction.

Clearly some parts of the Left are capable of grappling with these big questions. But for the part that Harman represents, they are too much of a challenge. Her left are all about certainties, dogmas, slogans and faith.

It is time to look objectively at the root causes of widespread criminality in youth. Since the 1980s the message from most centres of authority in Britain (the government, churches, courts and so on) has been that young people in troubled inner city areas with large ethnic minority populations, high unemployment and problems with crime, drugs and prostitution are right to feel a sense of justified grievance, and have reason to fear and mistrust the police. In the cases where rioters moral education has not been totally absent, these “legitimate righting” ideas have probably tipped more people into taking part in looting and arson.

A big factor in the breakdown of inner city communities is the gang culture which sprang from a synthetic sense of difference, of alienation. Allegations made by highly politicised black community leaders that racism is endemic in Britain have incited ill feeling on both sides of the racial divide. These political agitators are serving their own interests of course, how many have first put themselves in the public eye by inciting riots and then taken well paid sinecures with job titles like 'Chair of the ethnic diversity advisory panel' in social engineering quangos (For overseas readers that's a Quasi Autonomous National Government Organisation).

With ill feeling fuelled by people who are determined all community tensions are skin colour related and that anyone whose attitude to a black or brown person is rude and abrupt or offhand is a racist and might not possibly simply be a rude and abrupt or offhand person, it is easy to see how tensions escalate into tribalism. And tribalism gave birth to the gang culture that plagues British cities. This gang culture however is increasingly corrosive.

Watching a television documentary on inner city problems I was struck by an interview with two young mixed race girls. One was sixteen and had a child in a buggy and another on the way. The other was fifteen and quite pretty if she could have dumped the angry, resentful scowl. The female interviewer was asking why they were part of the gang culture if it meant making themselves available to gang members, and why they did not find the self esteem to say 'no' and go their own way. The girl with the child said "You could not understand, if we were not gang girls they would be nobody looking' after us, we would be fair game."

The one with the scowl said "Yeah, we their bitches, they just pass us round. But if we weren't with them we'd have no life." No wonder the kid wore a permanent scowl.

An African born Anglican bishop (can't remember which one) recently observed that in spite of all the allegations of deep seated racism, it is not white Britain that is the enemy of young blacks but other back people. Those gang girls were not being abused by white boys but by black and Asian youths who were part of their 'gang'. The pregnant seventeen year old girl shot dead in a drive by shooting that went wrong last year was murdered not by white racists but by back members of a rival gang. And though the media goes into a frenzy if a young black person is killed by a white in truth those killings are more often linked to gang rivalries than race.

When considering the roots of these problems and especially their racial element we have to look across the pond to the nation where the whole race relations industry began. Martin Luther King is a hero but apart from making even more banal and cliche ridden speeches than his spiritual descendant Barack Obama what did he do. While a back woman named Rosa Parkes was putting her life on the line by making the brave and noble gesture that brought the social injustice of segregation in the USA's southern states to the forefront of public consciousness, MLK was running around preaching family values and having adulterous sex with anyone who stood still long enough.

Luther King was also a liar on a par with Barack Obama, claiming credit for organising other protest which started spontaneously and, displaying a typically American contempt for historical fact he claimed to be the originator of 'passive resistance', It was in fact Mohandas K. Gandhi who first recommended protestors in India to use passive resistance techniques when protesting. The accepted historical version of the slave trade also bears all the hallmarks of a Luther King hatefest, chiefly in its attaching of responsibility to the British government. Slavery had not been legal in Europe since the tenth century and while British traders were heavily involved in the slave trade it was never sponsored by the British government. Also they way history is taught in state schools run by the Politically Correct Thought Police gives the impression that black Africans were treated especially badly in the eighteenth century. While is is true again that those sold into slavery by their tribal leaders were very badly treated, we should not forget that 250 years ago every poor person was treated badly. People could be hanged for relatively minor crimes, flogged or transported to overseas penal colonies for trivial offences and while nominally free were controlled by their masters through a law that enabled the employer to terminate an employee's job without notice and without giving reason, the employee could not resign without the master's consent. (The Other Slaves)

Of the slaves who survived the middle passage, many went to to find themselves better treated than the free whites in Britain and the colonies. A slave represented an investment, property.

with a value. White labourers were disposable and there were always plenty of replacements available.

Later as the civil rights movement in the USA gathered momentum, while thousands of ordinary black people and their white supporters were doing the \dirty work Luther King was carving out his place in history by spending his time in Washington and New York, sucking up to the Kennedys and other wealthy liberals. Martin Luther King's real gift to prosperity was one of the most racially divisive ideas ever, black consciousness. This is the notion that all people of all the dark skinned races are untied by a common consciousness founded in victimhood. Not only is it bordering on Naziism politically, it is historically nonsensical. While most white Europeans are quite accepting of sub Saharan Africans, the Arabs of north Africa and the Indian sub continent call them 'filthy Kaffir pigs' and to the Chinese they are beneath contempt.

Even in African itself Luther King's 'black consciousness' is made to look ludicrous by the age old tribal conflicts of this vast, ethnically fragmented continent and the genocidal wars that have spanned generations. Not much chance of racial reconciliation as long as Martin Luther King is presented as a hero then.

Where do we go from here? One looter claimed to a reporter: “we are just getting our taxes back." Though it seems unlikely that a person with a day job could have spent all night looting his response, but it prompts a thought. Perhaps it is time for the employed, the working and middle classes to take to the streets. When are we going to get something back for our taxes when we do not wish to subscribe to foreign wars, shovel endless amounts of money into the bottomless pit that is Africa, pay through the nose for the privilege of being governed by decree from the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels or fund an obscenely expensive exercise in self congratulation by the International Olympic Committee. Six million people not working, a fifth of school leavers illiterate and innumerate and many, therefore, headed straight for the dole petrol costing £7 a gallon with 70% of that being tax and yet the roads are in disrepair, public transport is chaotic and the motorways are permanently gridlocked.

The progressive state which takes from every pound we earn and spends on our behalf 52 pence, has been a very poor parent to the rioters. After usurpring the parental role it has performed even more abysmally that the absentee fathers of the inner city kids who are rioting. Perhaps we can learn one thing from Harriet Harman. In future, we need to be an lot less tolerant of views we, the majority, do not agree with.