One week on from the riots and vandalism which turned London on its head, and figures from across the political spectrum are scrambling to offer their explanations for the disruptions. Miliband & Cameron are busy drawing battle lines in the political tussle for public favour post-riots; meanwhile the Police are continuing to plough resources into the effort to bring those who looted to justice. It can’t be easy: Cameron’s untimely and ill-conceived criticism of the police – who have suffered the recent loss of not one but two commissioners and who are operating in the shadow of bad press from previous protest responses as well as impending cuts – has distracted the upper echelons from the task at hand.
It is all too predictable, as is the response across the media and from the public. The nation is full of opinions: was it the fault of the bankers, the welfare state, the parents, racial tension? It’s none of those according to David Starkey whose outrageous appearance on Newsnight left a very clear impression of his opinion: it is that most contagious of afflictions, blackness, which is to blame! Read about the interview here or here.
As a long time lover of hiphop music and urban culture I stand as one among hundreds of thousands of arguments against Starkey’s rant. Not that it matters – the concept is so fundamentally perverse that his opinions can safely be dismissed long before we reach for counter-examples. To fail to engage is dangerous however – the fact of the matter is that David Starkey is not alone in his stance and his poisonous words, whilst offensive to the enlightened majority, will resonate with a significant minority across the UK. So, props to Owen Jones for putting up a fight…
I can’t even begin to fathom how such an ill informed idiot ends up being given a platform for such a tirade on national television. I just hope the BBC were blissfully unaware of his unhinged bigotry when they set the cameras rolling.