The Elites Are Scared…

…and what they’re scared of is the public deciding that, since the police service they pay for isn’t up to the job, they better do it themselves:

… the broom-wielders of Clapham have not been the only manifestation of the big society spawned by this lawlessness. In north London, Turkish Kurds wielding pieces of hosepipe and baseball bats saw off would-be raiders and trashers. In Southall, to the west, it was Sikhs who turned out en masse to defend their threatened businesses. And in Eltham, to the south-east, none other than Millwall fans mounted the community defence, in the name of Eltham and England. Let down by the police, they all said in their different ways, they would not shrink from doing the job themselves.

Well, that’s OK, right, Mary? ‘Big Society’, and all that…?

Which might not be quite as reassuringly Big Society as it seems.

Oh. Now, which of those three groups gave you the most pause, I wonder?

I know which one got the attention of the senior members of the police, after all:

Britain’s most senior police officer yesterday warned that Right-wing extremists could ‘hijack’ vigilante patrols protecting against looters.

Oh noes!

Nothing to worry about if the Turks and the Sikhs tool up, though?

Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin

Oh. Him.

singled out the English Defence League and the British National Party as two organisations who might exploit the situation.

Well, of course he did. What’s a Bramshill-educated man to do, after all?

Funny how they could mobilise in force for this, though, isn’t it?

Hundreds of police officers descended on a London suburb last night to disperse about 60 men who claimed to be protecting shops and businesses there for a second night.

The men, apparently supporters of the extreme-right English Defence League, gathered in a pedestrianised square in Eltham drinking cans of beer and chanting ‘We love you England’.

It’s a wonder they weren’t all nicked for breach of the peace for that alone…

Politicians wasted no time in hurling themselves on this fast-moving bandwagon:

Eltham MP Clive Efford, a shadow home office spokesman said: ‘The English Defence League just want to put a sinister racial twist on this.

‘All these police resources for what? To deal with the English Defence League? That’s appalling. These police officers could be used elsewhere, protecting communities across London, but they have got to be in here to deal with these drunken yobs who have decided to come to Eltham and cause racial tension.

Well, yes, indeed, Clive, they could – and should – have been dealing with the rioters and looters.

So why did they stand by when Croydon burned and turn up en masse when a few drunken ex-football hooligans took to the streets conspicuously not burning or looting anything?

And then we have Zoe Williams on the desirability of ‘vigilantism’ in the wake of the police’s evident powerlessness:

It’s not very enjoyable now, but in the coming weeks it might seem piquant that so soon after unveiling its “big society” the government is discussing whether to blast it with water cannons or fire rubber bullets at it.

Not all of it, Zoe, not by a long chalk…

Different constituencies favour different technologies so that, broadly, I blame BlackBerrys for the riots, Twitter for the facetious remarks about the riots (as well as the sudden tweets that sent a chill down your spine but turned out to be untrue), and Facebook for the rest. The spontaneous outbreaks of social responsibility – the above-named brooms of Clapham Junction, the young couple making tea on a riot shield – that all feels extremely heartening and spirit of the blitz.

You know there’s a ‘but’ coming, don’t you?

On closer inspection, people are furious: one of the women with a broom had made herself a vest that said “looters are scum”; Liz Pilgrim, an Ealing businesswoman, called the rioters “feral rats” on the BBC. It’s not exactly Dad’s Army, but then, the blitz spirit was probably two parts pulling together, one part hating Germans. Pure co-operation is a bit boring; co-operation with an undertow of rage is probably more productive. The very act of co-operating is as much a statement of repudiating violence as it is a statement of wanting to clear up the mess it has left.

People are ‘repudiating violence’, Zoe! Doesn’t that make you happy?

Well, of course not:

But this segues very easily into vigilantism, as the Today programme reported from Enfield and Eltham on Tuesday night, where scores of men – hundreds in Eltham – had gathered to “defend” the town. Some were calling themselves the Enfield Defence League, and it’s hard to think the resonance was accidental.

Make up your mind, love, are they knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, or intellectual wordsmiths?

In Eltham, there seemed to be quite a lot of variance in perspective: the crowd thought they were there to help the police out, and police thought they were there to control the crowd, even – if you look at this video – to kettle them, if only a smidge.

Makes you wonder why they didn’t act to kettle the rioters, doesn’t it?

While the looters themselves ran a broad church, racially, there has been a significant, and racially determined, difference in the way vigilantism is perceived, so that Turkish shop keepers, defending their premises in Kingsland Road (including one who chased looters off with a doner knife) are broadly perceived as doing an honourable thing. The men defending a Sikh temple in Southall are, likewise, admirable: I’m not trying to distance myself with the third person, I admire them. I admire the three men in Birmingham who were killed by a car, defending their homes.

Here comes that other ‘but’…

When it’s a large group of Millwall supporters, in a pub all day, talking about doing the police’s job for them, it creates the impression that they’re spoiling for a fight, opportunistically – using the chaos to bust into a racial confrontation that they normally wouldn’t be permitted, in a metaphorical echo of the looters they’re determined to stop.

Brown vigilantes good, white vigilantes bad.

Only white people have ulterior motives lurking beneath their defensive stance, you see…

The Manchester shopkeepers, interviewed anonymously, also on Today, were more disturbing, talking not of protection but of revenge, assembling evidence for the execution of their own justice. The point here is that everyone from “feral rat” lady to the Enfield Defence League is on the same spectrum: they vary in the impression they give, from seeking order to seeking chaos, but they all doubt the ability of the state to defend their safety – and they are all, therefore, tacitly outside the control of the state.


There’s the money shot. There’s the thing that the likes of Zoe and Mary and Dim Tim fear.

That people might be outside the control of the state

They may use this new community spirit to tidy up their streets, where previously they would have left it to the council, or they may use it to hunt down the people who smashed their windows where previously they would have left it to the police: either way, it would be a very blase politician who was reassured by this sight.

Don’t worry your pretty little head, Zoe. The politicians, like elk scenting the first whiff of a forest fire, are only too aware of what this means.

Big society might look like people on the streets with brooms or doner knives; but that’s not what functional society looks like.

Are you sure? We’ve just seen your ‘functional society’ after all; it means homes and businesses and cars burned, and shops looted, and the police standing back and doing nothing.

So forgive us if we start to think that maybe it’s not all that functional….

25 comments for “The Elites Are Scared…

  1. August 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    We do not want racist vigilantes in Eltham. Given the history of the town there are extreme sensitivities over groups like the EDL roaming the streets.

    • August 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

      The EDL aren’t anything “Right” they are apolitical in that they have a broad core of support in all areas of the political spectrum. Though apolitical themselves they do seek a political solution to extreme Islam and some aspects of uncontrolled immigration, but those aren’t right wing vices either.
      No what Barbara is doing is equating far right or extreme right with racism, something the EDL are not. Their mission statement is here…

      Not exactly Mein Kampf now is it Barbara? Nor oddly enough is Muslim a race. The EDL were out helping the cleanup in several cities too, there was a call on the EDL website along with several statements of regret over the deaths sustained by people due to the riot.
      I realise I’m unlikely to change your view on the EDL Barbara, the very essence of your comment tells me that your mind is trapped by the mainstream view of white = bad, anyone else = good. What happened in Eltham was just ordinary people coming together to defend their community and unlike any other community being reviled by the politicians and the police for doing so.

    • Ian
      August 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      Would that be “we” as in “we self-hating, Labour-voting, polytechnic losers”, Trimblett?

      • August 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

        I think it is we as in “we” who identify with, and gain all of our thrilling vicarious power and authority from the state.

        I don’t buy into the EDL narrative of the Islamification of Britain, but they scare the authorities which is why they are attacked and are by now, no doubt, heavily infiltrated.

        • wiggiatlarge
          August 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

          I’m not that well versed on the EDL to pass a comment as to there true make up or intent,but there “their manifesto” as such goes along with what many people would and do agree with,what is obvious they are the whipping for all the mainstream news outlets and the main political partieswith Camerons “nothing is sicker than the EDL “speech in parliament.
          The so called EDL rioting on their marches videos have all that i’ve seen false and the reporting biased in the extreme,if they really want a group to vilify try the SWP,who hijacked the vigil in Tottenham.
          There was no worse example of a left wing interview of the EDL leadership than by Stewart White on BBC Look East a while ago ,despite civil answers to the questions given Stewart White couldn’t contain his obvious hate for the group using “you people” as much as he could and quite literally sneering during the whole interview,whatever he thought he had absolutely no right as an interviewer to to show such personal bias and indeed hate,needless to say the locals were given a totally different ride.
          Whatever ones views of EDL they represent percieved and actual failings of succesive governments to address a problem thats not going away.

  2. August 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    When exactly did the EDL move from “far-right” to “extreme-right”?

    Or is this just another example of changing the language to justify banning their marches I wonder?

    • August 14, 2011 at 5:20 am

      I was wondering that too…

  3. john in cheshire
    August 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Can someone give me a definition of Right-wing, that I can actually understand? I understand Left-wing, in all its manifestations (communism, socialism, national socialism, progressive, fascist, marxist etc) but I can’t for the life of me find a definition of right-wing that makes sense to me. There is socialism and there is normal. The EDL are normal people trying to bring some semblance of normality to a country that has been hijacked by socialists and muslims. And the state, in the form of the police, the press and the politicians, are conspiring to ensure that normal people are not permitted to make decisions by themselves.

    • August 14, 2011 at 2:24 am

      ‘Right-wing’ is anyone who doesn’t do what the Left wing say and who dares to disagree.

      The more you disagree, the more right-wing you are defined as.

      • August 14, 2011 at 5:20 am


  4. Jiks
    August 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    In the MSM language anyone with any decent moral values is a “right wing extremist”.

    It’s pretty much as straight-forward as that and is part of the drive “denormalise” anything enjoyable or what decent people would regard as “good”.

  5. WitteringWitney
    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    If Barbara T is an example of the electorate, then that electorate has been well and truly brainwashed – either that or they haven’t a brain cell between them!

    And Barbara T and her ilk have a vote? God Bless democracy…….!

  6. banned
    August 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    I expect that there were some perfectly articulate “far right wingers” in Enfield and Eltham but the telly chose to broadcast the snarliest of snarly blokes who, happily, did not use the N word.

    Incidentally, there is a military training camp nearby and the trainees had been warned to expect all leave to be cancelled in the event of the forces being called out. Those Trainees that have already done the riot shield and baton training (standard) could expect to be on the front line, not as the press have told us, providing support in the background in untroubled ares.

  7. August 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Some years ago — perhaps in the late 1990s — Zoe Williams wrote a brief autobiography in one of her columns which explained her peculiar outlook on matters socio-politial. I haven’t read a column of hers since. What she says about her fellow Englishmen here doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  8. August 14, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Why shouldn’t the BNP exploit the situation for political gain? Every other party has.

    As Quiet Man said, the EDL aren’t political at all. Nor are they interested in race or religion or anything else along those lines. Their only interest is in stopping Sharia law taking hold here and in combating Islamic fundamentalism. Not ‘muslims’. Fundamentalists.

    So the EDL are not ‘right wing’. They are wingless.

  9. August 14, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin…

    Given who he’s worried about and that he’s a senior rozzer, is this some new variation of Godwin’s Law that we’ve all got to pussyfoot around?

  10. Mintee
    August 14, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Is it possible that the police (and media) have rightly ‘singled out’ the bigoted football thugs as they were not part of any society protecting anything, but just moronic troublemakers looking for some violence? That is quite different to other groups who may well have ‘turned out en masse’, during the riots, ‘to defend their threatened businesses’.

    Of course the footbore thugs would not be capable of seeing the difference, being they are as thick as pigshit.

    • August 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

      To the first part, no, the media ignored Sikhs with swords and Turks with iron bars, they also seem to have ignored the history of what lead up to the Muslim youths being killed in Birmingham with reports that the car involved was pelted with rocks first before it decided to ram the youths. The media is being highly selective in its reportage of the riots in its efforts to try and play down the racial aspects of certain groups whilst praising others and attacking the majority who defended their homes by calling them thugs for doing the same.

      To the second part, tarring all football fans as thugs is misleading and a vile slur. Not all football fans are violent, not all football fans are thugs, not all football fans are thick as pigshit. If I’d said what you said about Muslims I’d rightly be vilified by the commenters here, but it’s ok so long as the people you attack are white, bit like the government, police, the left and the MSM

      • Mintee
        August 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm

        I saw reports on all sorts of groups of people ‘defending’ their communities. I was rather surprised to see that the Sikhs in particular we shown carrying what appeared to be knives and swords. I don’t know if any of them have been questioned or charged about it though. Could be the police have a bit more on their plate at the moment.

        Secondly you are the one that described them as ‘drunken ex-football hooligans’. I have no idea if they were either drunk or ex-footbore hooligans. They did describe themselves as the ‘EDL’ on Channel 4 News though although there was an individual, presumably aware of what a bunch of loosers they looked, who said they were nothing to do with the EDL.

        You believe whatever you like, I’ll carry on believing, until I see something that suggests otherwise, that the morons that like to imagine they are the ‘EDL’ are nothing more than thick as pigshit as that is what they look like to me.

        • August 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm

          What on earth makes you think the EDL are all thick as pigshit? I’m a moderator on the EDL forum and can assure you they are not. So as I’m “EDL” I cannot imagine what you think I look like.
          Being judgemental is subjective the EDL have a tendency to surprise people who take the time to get to know them rather than make judgement calls via the MSM.

          • Mintee
            August 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

            Where do you imagine I said the ‘EDL are all as thick as pig shit’? I did not write that, nor did I say the vigilantes were representative of the EDL.

  11. The Gray Monk
    August 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I hold no torches for racism, the EDL or any other political view, left or right, but every “riot” that the EDL are supposed to have “incited” is almost invariably begun, as far as I am able to see, by the Socialist Worker Party (A comlpete oxymoron that …) surrogates, the Anti Nazi League whose morons and goons show up at every rally by anyone they don’t like and start a riot …

    We have to face the fact that we now live in a totally suppine state run by so-called “Socialists” who are just not brave enough to admit they are trying to create a Soviet State of Britain. If there are “Fascisits” among us, it is them. Certainly their abuse of the law, organised “flying squad” protests and control of the media and education is typical of the very ideology they purport to abhor. Perhaps time to remind them that Mussolini, the “inventor” of the Fascists, was a communist then a Socialist whose manifesto speaks of “Corporate Socialism.” An interesting term that.

    In answer to the questioner who asked for a definition of “Right Wing” and “Extreme Right,” I would point to the definition of the political spectrum given me by possibly the best lecturer I had on any degree course. According to him, the spectrum, like light, is not linear, but circular. If you go to the extreme in either direction you arrive at the same point, just with a different name …

  12. August 15, 2011 at 5:12 am

    @ Mintee

    No however as the EDL were mixed in at Eltham and other places with the football “thugs” you decided to deride it was a reasonable assumption.

    • Mintee
      August 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

      You carry on jumping to conclusions that are clearly not there. After all your entire political ethos is built on that particular patch of sand.

  13. Mark
    August 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I am surprised that in the wake of the riots none of the media have picked up on the fact that the police have no duty of care to protect people from crime or violence, they only have a general duty to prevent,solve crime etc, so no liability for any individual can be laid at their feet.

    The Government really dont want this situation examined by the media and the public as it would bring out some of the truth about your right to carry a weapon for self defence.

    The Government states that you cannot carry a weapon for defence as they claim to have removed this ancient right, they say that this ban is reasonable and lawful ,bacause it is the responsibility of the police to protect you from violence so you have no need to be armed.

    Since they have now stated the true position in law that we are in fact responsible for our own protection (anybody with common sense knew this was the case all along) how is their opressive disarming of us still lawful.

    The other thing that they will not want examined is the issue of the Sikhs being armed with a kirpan (dagger) as a part of their religious duty, this has been given a dispensation from the offensive weapons law along with the sgian dubh.

    The important difference is that the kirpan is carried for the purpose of defending the weak from criminal violence as this is a requirement of the faith,
    British sikhs will not openly admit this they are well aware of the political hot potato this would be, if you look around you will find the true requirement of the faith described.

    There is no requirement in law that the kirpan is blunt,small,or nonfunctional, it can be a large sharp dagger.

    So the only Uk citizens (subjects) who are lawfuly allowed arms for their defence by the state are the followers of a foreign religion, well good for the sikhs but what about the rest of us.

    “Good people sleep peaceably in their bed at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”

    When those rough men have been disarmed that is when the criminals and thugs can do as they please.

Comments are closed.