Riotous Assembly

Cape Argus CartoonI was browsing the Cape Argus website to read their take on the Dewani extradition order when I came across the cartoon on the left. It’s a stark reminder of how the rest of the world views the recent anarchy in the light of the Olympics.

But more to the point, it’s the first time that I’ve really seen that the silly logo is made up of the number 2012, rather than a silhouette of Lisa Simpson doing something unmentionable.

It is also a reminder of just how silly, pompous and populist our politicians on all sides can be when such terrible events occur. Having been noticeable by their absence, they suddenly appear now the coast is clear demanding ‘tough action’.

Like kicking convicted looters and their families out of their social housing and cutting off their benefits once the courts have finished with them.

Sounds like double-jeopardy to me, but more to the point, it is also a clear admission that the sentencing options open to the courts aren’t severe enough to deter crime in the first place.

It also demonstrates stereotypical assumptions — ie that all the looters lived in council houses on benefits. We know from the cases that have already gone to court that this isn’t necessarily so and that the looters included the employed middle-class among their number, even a millionaire’s daughter by all accounts.

But at least David Cameron seems to have abandoned his daft idea of having a water cannon on standby in case it happens again. Just where did he think this Weapon of Mass Drenching should be stationed? London? Birmingham? Manchester? Bristol? Liverpool?

And what good did he think it would be? Water cannon have a very specific purpose — to be used against very large groups of people moving en masse from point A to point B, assuming you know where point B is.

You can imagine how useful that would be when even the police on foot, motorbikes and in cars couldn’t keep up with the looters. Water cannon are slow, cimbersome and take time to set up. They might as well use a trebuchet.

Ludicrous though this idea was, at least it was better than the suggestion on the radio this morning that we should arm the police with super-soakers loaded with dye. That would do a lot for our international reputation, don’t you think?

The saddest thing for me in this whole affair is the way it has highlighted just how weak and ineffectual our politicians are these days. We were told that Cobra was meeting every day to coordinate the response. Did anyone see any evidence of that?

It seemed to me that the police were paralysed for the wont of political leadership that was clearly lacking.

I need to get off my soapbox now. Someone needs it to throw through JD Sports’ window.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • Jennyta 12th August 2011

    Lack of leadership, lack of anyone at all in the ranks of the politicians who looks even remotely like a future leader! 🙁

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 12th August 2011

    The whole thing has been insane. I agree with you that the politicians are populist and pompous – and yes, silly – but I actually rather like the dye suggestion. It would at least make it easy to pick them up later and identify who was actually involved. I favour the use of the coded dyes, like they use in bank vaults … but if I remember rightly, they are unique and probably therefore expensive.

  • Yorkshire Pudding 13th August 2011

    I think the word “cannon” may be used as a plural. Therefore when Ponsonby-Cameron is talking about deploying water cannon, he isn’t thinking about one cannon stationed near the M1/M6 junction at Rugby but many, many cannon. Trouble is if someone squirted their cannon at me I’d just nip down a side street or up an alley and round the back – but of course I am not a riotous hooded looter engaged in “criminality”.

  • Mr Parrot 13th August 2011

    Jenny: I suppose politicians have always been talkers rather than doers and talking tough is their substitute for action.

    Jay: I know that security vans supposedly have DNA water, but I;m not sure how easy it would be to test people en masse.

    YP: They can have as many water cannon as they like, but if they’re not set-up where they know the looters will be they’re wasting their time. Thought you should know in case you wanted to don your hoodie again tonight.


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