August 23, 2011
In a widely anathematized BBC intervention, historian David Starkey said Enoch Powell had been correct in 1968 to warn of large-scale civil unrest caused by immigration. But Starkey noted that something other racial violence had occurred:
The whites have become black.…A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture has become the fashion…[which is] why so many of us have this sense literally of a foreign country.
Rather than all blacks assimilating upward to the habits of Kingston, Surrey, as multiculturalists pleasantly assumed they would, many working-class whites have instead assimilated downward to the habits of Kingston, Jamaica.
Starkey’s comments elicited frustration from Dreda Say Mitchell:
Are the debates about “race” and criminality that were supposed to have been fought and won decades ago going to have to be rehashed?
Who “supposed” all this? And when were those “debates”?
Both she and her bête blanc Prof. Starkey may be too quick to write off the possibility of interracial conflict. While on the one hand black solidarity extended to a temporary gang truce, anti-black outbreaks were planned by Asians seeking retaliation for the three shopkeepers’ deaths—mercifully averted thanks to the murdered men’s families.
Working-class whites (nastily nicknamed “chavs”) fared badly in all accounts. Those who weren’t accused of being bleached-out gangstas or brainless burglars were accused of white racism after some banded together to patrol Enfield and Eltham. While the actions of Asians defending their property were held up as examples of communal can-do, identical actions by these men were “vigilantism,” and the police broke them up. As Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill observed:
The riots have confirmed, once more, the gaping chasm between Britain’s elites and its white working-class natives. In the eyes of our betters and rulers, these whites are the true aliens.
Diversity is a gift that keeps on giving, and merely because ethnic unpleasantness is avoided on one occasion doesn’t mean it won’t recur on some other equally lively occasion.
So far, almost 2,000 people have been arrested, and magistrates in some areas have been sitting all night to cope. Shaken and stirred, civil society has been cheered by the “tough” sentences handed out, with 70% of those convicted being imprisoned, as opposed to the usual 2%, and sentences on average 25% longer than usual for public-order offenses. As of August 19, the prison population of England and Wales was increasing by nearly 100 every day and had already reached a record level of 86,654. Ironic, under a government that wants to close prisons.
Other crowd-pleasing government proposals seemed likely to run into the sand for lack of money or because they would clash with the Human Rights Act. The government must have been devastated that Tony Blair accused them of “muddled thinking.” No doubt the situation would improve rapidly if only the ex-PM could bring his Iraq-era acuity into play!
There is one thing lots of people do agree on, though, although few could it express it as succinctly as David Starkey:
The riots are the symptom of a profound rupture in our body politic and sense of national identity. If the rupture is not healed and a sense of common purpose recovered, they will recur—bigger, nastier and more frequently.
Iain Duncan Smith also predicted portentously in the Speccie:
This is our warning. That wasn’t the crisis, but the crisis is coming. We can’t let this go on any more….