London Calling
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  • thibaud

    As I said on another thread, it is irresponsible for Mr Mead to aggregate, Drudge-like, random lurid events of popular violence without even trying to apply the simplest form of analysis of the data.

    Is Britain more or less violent today than it was in Thatcher’s era, when IIRC Brixton seemed to go up in flames repeatedly?

    Is France really more violent today than it was 6-7 years ago, when Grand Torch Auto was the preferred summer pastime of suburban ie slum-dwelling unemployed _beurs et noirs_ living in _les cites_ [housing projects]?

    If the number, severity and participation in violent disturbances today is LESS than it was in Britain in 1979-81, or France in 2004-05, then what, if any, correlation is there between such violence and the current Plague o Locusts that Mead perceives?

    Really, we expect a higher level of analytical rigor from this blog. Mr Mead, you can do much better.

  • cja

    from thibaud: “it is irresponsible for Mr Mead to aggregate, Drudge-like, random lurid events of popular violence without even trying to apply the simplest form of analysis of the data.”

    What about reporting riots in London is “lurid?” Do you suggest we ignore it?
    As for analysis of conditions -here or there- I fail to see your application of any “analytical rigor.”

    Violence is violence and needs to be reported and put in context which these reports do. I for one would like to read the professor’s analysis of US tensions; especially the youth population. Summer vacation is nearing the end, and students have to decide whether or not they can afford to return to college. (Stafford loans will change, for example) As for those who do return to campus, will they hold sit-ins or protests?

  • thibaud

    “needs to be reported and put in context which these reports do”

    This is not a news site. It’s a forum for supposedly enlightened opinion and analysis that synthesizes events into grand themes, of which the Mead’s preferred context is the global financial meltdown (see his posts over the last several days).

    In reality, the riots in London like the flash mobs here have nothing to do with economics, or markets, or government austerity programs. Whatever their justification or lack thereof, the London organizers indicated that the riots were in response to the police killing a local resident.

    There is a link between Brixton and US flash mobs, but it has nothing to do with grand, cosmic theories about divine retribution for Mammon-worshipping, sinful man, or less cosmic but no less reductionist notions about economics. The London organizers used BlackBerry Messenger and Facebook to assemble at a given place nad time. Apparently US flash mobs also use social media to organize their meetups.

    Beyond that, there’s no grand significance to this. Mead looks silly here, like Matt Drudge with a PhD.

  • vanderleun

    “In reality, the riots in London like the flash mobs here have nothing to do with economics, or markets, or government austerity programs. ”

    I see we have another commenter in from whatever nation which has not only legalized marijuana but made the smoking of it mandatory.

  • thibaud

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100099866/blaming-these-riots-on-the-cuts-risks-inflaming-an-already-volatile-situation/

    “There’s one small problem about blaming the [budget] cuts [for the riots] – there haven’t been any. Average monthly government expenditure in the 12 months ending on June 30 2011 was £51bn compared to £48.5bn in the same period a year earlier. Even if you adjust for inflation, average monthly expenditure was still marginally higher in the last 12 months than it was in the previous 12 months.

    “…public expenditure has barely fallen in the last 12 months. Total departmental expenditure in 2010/11 is forecast to be slightly lower than it was in 2009/10, but still significantly higher than it was in 2008/09…

    “While it’s true that Tottenham is currently suffering from higher-than-average youth unemployment, the overall level of unemployment in Tottenham is just over half what it was in the 1980s and Jobseeker’s Allowance hasn’t been cut. …those rioters who were injured will have received excellent medical care that was still free at the point of access. The Government has actually increased spending on the NHS in real terms if you compare 2010/11 to 2009/10.

    “Not all Left-wing politicians are seeking to make political capital out of these disturbances. David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, called the looting and robbing on Saturday night a “disgrace” and praised the police for responding “appropriately”. He blamed “outsiders” for the trouble, claiming it was largely the work of organised criminal gangs who mobilised via Twitter. There is mounting evidence for this theory and, if true, it gives the lie to the notion that “the cuts” had anything to do with it….”

  • cja

    Beyond that, there’s no grand significance to this. Mead looks silly here, like Matt Drudge with a PhD.”

    Odd then, that so many think Drudge drives the news of the day and at times requires a response from the White House. You can’t be wrong too many times and still drive the news. As I recall Obama was in office a mere matter of days when he was going after Drudge.

    Sure, the UK is known for its riots, but the point of the article is whether or not the riots will jump the pond. I think they might- Boston has had a spike in violence which has everything to do increased unemployment and decreases in entitlements

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