Monday, 8 August 2011

And just what are these "consequences" of which you speak, Ms May?

As we enter a third successive night of rioting and looting on the streets of London, it seems that the politicians have woken up to the fact that 'Nero fiddling while Rome London burns' is probably not the best stance to take under the circumstances. I've just watched a clip of the Home Secretary declaring that it's all totally "unacceptable" (what an over-used word that has become, incidentally).

I feel a bit sorry for the Police, who are visibly struggling to keep what is essentially a snowballing level of gratuitous disorder and violence under some sort of control. Who did what to whom in respect of the initial arrest of the "armed gangsta"/"community elder" which sparked it all off last week is still under investigation. Rumours abound, and in the absence of hard information, gain currency as 'facts' - if x number of people tweet it, it must be true? The officers on the street have their work cut out being in the right place at the right time.

There are victims in all this. Mercifully, no-one else has yet lost their life in the ensuing violence. But innocent people will lose their cars, their possessions, their livelihoods in the wanton destruction. A couple of hundred arrests have reportedly been made. When the police take time out from simply maintaining some semblance of order to trawl through mounds of witness statements and CCTV footage, there may be more. What will happen? A few of those responsible may be prosecuted. Leaving aside the idiot who apparently photographed himself online proudly displaying all his looted goodies, who else is going to be held accountable for what they've done over the last few nights? And what's going to happen to them... these much-advertised "consequences"? Fines which they won't pay, Community service work which they won't do, and - if the 'Beak' is feeling really vindictive - maybe even a brief spell in jail (a good chunk of which they'll get out of - 'time spent on remand' - and which will probably be overturned on appeal anyway).

Oh- and I see it's now spreading.... to Birmingham. "West Midlands Police said it was aware of some disorder in Birmingham city centre, including some vandalised shops and incidents of theft" That's OK, then: the local 'Five-O' is on the case!

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