Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Mindless journalism

With The Boy doing his photo-opportunity tour, and recalling parliament to let a load of ignorant windbags prattle, we see the very worst of mindless journalism from the Evening Standard - exactly that sort of shallow, brain-dead EVM that got us into trouble in the first place.

"Plans for deep cuts in the [Met-Plod] force's funding - and in that of the criminal justice system - will have to be reconsidered", says the paper, adding the brain-rotting cliché, "The safety of the capital's citizens must be paramount". It then goes on to say that: "... whatever the devastation today, Londoners and their police force will beat this thuggery and come back stronger".

There is no doubt that the state can put enough of its own thugs on the streets to suppress violent disorder, but that is a long way from being able to "beat this thuggery". To do that, you have to understand what is going on, and the root causes of the disturbances. I see no evidence of this being done.

Earlier, I walked in on a TV news interview with the specialist in the study of riot psychology, from Liverpool. I missed his name but the fragment I caught made sense. Crucially, he said, you cannot divorce the behaviour during riots from what went before. Longer term, he added, prevention of disorder required "building police legitimacy within communities". And, of course, if the police are regarded with contempt throughout the wider community, that isn't going to happen.

The police, therefore, need not only to build bridges with the affected communities, but with the rest of the people they supposedly serve. And I do not see them doing that. In the first instance, they barely if at all realise they have a problem and, where they do, they do not have the first ideas of how to go about securing improvements.

But there is a bigger problem in that police are not only seen for what they are, but as the representative of The Man ... the parasite class. And as long as those are seen as contemptible (and deservedly so), the police are going to struggle to build their own legitimacy.

Thus, the problem is not just down to the police to solve. Their crisis of legitimacy is a crisis for the political (aka parasite) classes as a whole, who are also going to have to change their ways. And the parasites are not even off first base – they haven't started to understand that they too are a major part of the problem.

That then leaves us in the clutches of "mindless journalism". Tough talk, and even tougher action, will simply drive the problem underground for a while – out of sight. But it will not be solved, and will not go away. In time – and sooner that the prattling fools realise - it will be back. London, and the nation, will be weaker for it, not stronger.