Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Summary: Mad Mobs and Englishmen? Myths and Realities of the 2011 Riots


Summary: Mad Mobs and Englishmen? Myths and Realities of the 2011 Riots.

Title of the book: Mad Mobs and Englishmen? Myths and realities of the 2011 riots.
Title of chapter: Chapters 1 and 4, 'A Story Full of Sound and Fury' and 'Four Days in August'.
Pages: 24 - 87/208-317  (iBook version)
Author: Steve Reicher and Cliff Scott. 
Date published: 18 Nov 2011.
Publisher: Robinson.

Themes: Riots, journalism,reporting.




Key Quotes:


"There was a story about Tottenham man Mark Duggan ('a well-known gangster according to the Daily Telegraph)... but it was minor news... so when the riots came... as a total surprise..."

'mindless, mindless people' who 'were not from Tottenham but from far beyond.' - David Lamney, Labour MP.

'largely the work of organized criminal gangs who mobilized via Twitter' - Toby Young, Sunday Telegraph commentator.

"Others joined in. The Sunday Mirror quoted a 'local resident' who asked: 'What does this achieve? They can't get away with this can they?... it's a joke.'[6]... everybody endorsed the idea that the riot was a senseless eruption into everyday life of the community."

"By Monday... The emphasis therefore shifted from the prehistory of the riots - Mark Duggan's death, protests by family and friends, the first police intervention [8] - to the destruction wrought by rioters... press, riots, looting and lightning fires had become almost synonymous."  

"...Daily Telegraph... headline 'Carry on Looting'... accompanied by pictures of hooded youths... Daily Mail... picture of a burning building..."

"...Daily Mirror that concerned a father and his small boy... the building  'which... was burnt to hell'... had a deep impact on the boy... the "Then, clutching his crayons, the lad turned to his father and said: “Daddy, why did no one help us in the fire?”  [1]

"The power of the Blitz analogy... involved an evil Nazi enemy attacking 'our' communities...follow that the riots, too,  were about enemies attacking 'us'."

"Media coverage increasingly painted a picture of indiscriminate violence, particularly against individuals... gunshot wounds,  a motorcyclist being dragged from his bike..."

"Like the broadly left-wing Mirror, the broadly right-wing Daily Telegraph characterized them as 'hordes of balaclava-clad yobs'..."an 'utter disregard for human life'..."

A Tempoary Loss of Sanity?
 "On Friday morning... the front pages of the newspapers were thick with analyses of the parliamentary debate.... Independent  Cameron was to 'rewrite the riot act'... The Guardian... 'Too few, too slow, too timed - Tories attack police over riots'...."

Conclusion:
"Within a week of the riots there was a clear consensus that the riots were all about criminality... because our society and our police had become too soft on indiscipline...Within a month that consensus had become crystalised into policy. Why waste time asking more about the riots? We need to get on with the reforming..." 
Chapter 4: Four Days in August:

The Tottenham Riot, A Background of Antagonism:

"There was a shared sense of being treated unfairly and without due respect."

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