There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored

Police in riot gear in Enfield, north London, on Sunday night (Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

Nina Power, senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University, writes in The Guardian:

Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.

As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as “social problems” (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

Continue reading “There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored”

Does Nick Clegg bear responsibility for the London riots?

Who would have known that Nick Clegg was such a prophet? Long before he joined the Tories in a governing coalition he had predicted that ill-conceived austerity measures could lead people to riot. But if he was so certain, woudln’t that suggest that he triggered the riots by furnishing the circumstances under which he predicted they would happen?

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