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Your Honour, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Welcome to the conference ‘No More Riots’, which aims to draw necessary and constructive lessons from the recent
tragic events in the streets of London and other British cities. I would also like to thank His Honour the Mayor of
London for the initiative of organising the conference. Our hope must be that facing up to reality will help us move
beyond the heartbreak, devastation and looting.

My name is HB. I am currently a student at Cambridge and I feel a strong need to become involved in the issues that
shape the world in which we live. Understanding the causes that fuelled the riots is an indispensable initial step
towards avoiding new eruptions. My reflections will include six main points: policy, unemployment, social inequality,
education, the role of parents and families, and – last - initiatives to be undertaken at various levels.

The event claimed to trigger the riots, the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham on 4 August, and the
subsequent bungled handling of this shooting by the Metropolitan London police, must obviously be subjected to an
independent inquiry. It is beyond serious when any state exercises its monopoly on the use of lethal force in this way,
and civil rights must naturally include the right not to be murdered by law enforcement. However, the ensuing nation-
wide rampage was so disproportionate that it must be considered unrelated, especially outside Tottenham.

There have been similar incidents in the past without destruction on such a scale, so the question at this time must be:
why here and why now?

Prime Minister David Cameron, in his recent address to the House of Commons, stated that “this is not about poverty.
It’s about culture.” It would indeed be comforting if this could explain everything. However, it would seem unwise to
make such pre-emptive and, frankly, simplistic claims before considering a wider range of contributing causes.

The PM needs to recall that the destructive practices he roundly condemns in connection with the London riots are
practices that the West in general - and our PM in particular - have praised as the “Arabian Spring” and backed with
military intervention in Libya and elsewhere over the past seven months. Might one suggest that young people in
London, Birmingham and elsewhere in England’s green and pleasant land might have interpreted the praise lavished
on so-called civilians rebelling against ostensibly oppressive regimes in Egypt and Libya as justification of rioting as a
legitimate way to achieve political and regime change? If riots are commendable on the streets of Cairo, why would
they not be so on the streets of Hackney or Notting Hill? After all, the frauds perpetrated by London’s financial
institutions dwarf anything seen in Egypt. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Mr Cameron.

It would be similarly unwise to ignore the impact that relative poverty has on our culture. Former Conservative Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher was broadly successful in getting a large number of people to aspire to membership of the
middle class. The impact of the financial and economic crisis on poor urban areas in Britain since 2008 has seriously
affected people’s possibilities for owning the things and maintaining the lifestyle that they feel express their middle
class aspirations, to the point of obliterating their hope of ever achieving the status they covet. The riots offered an
opportunity to steal what they cannot afford to buy. The hopelessness of relative poverty has clearly changed our
culture.

Great Britain has always had a chasm separating ‘upstairs’ from ‘downstairs’. Class boundaries are less conspicuous
now than they used to be, but people who live on housing estates around England are reminded in many ways and
every day that they possess neither wealth nor prospects for a desirable future. With unemployment pandemic,
society sends the message that it neither needs nor wants the young people on the housing estates. They are not
required even in the “dark satanic mills” – East Europeans fill the jobs available, as if to highlight this chilling message.
It also affects family relationships in fundamental ways – between spouses and between parents and children - and
relations within local communities. Furthermore, the appearance of these housing estates, marred by litter, filth and
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graffiti, does not inspire any sense of loyalty, except possibly to a gang. Nothing in their social experience or
environment thus inspires young people to adopt the culture of respect that our PM finds so lamentably lacking.

Obviously the PM’s observation has some merit. Ultimately thuggery and looting are indefensible. The PM, however,
fails to consider the numerous ways in which those who do possess respect, discipline and culture have failed to
communicate these values to the natives of the housing estates. Respect in families, discipline at school and generally
responsible attitudes should be the normal state of affairs and not just virtues to be demanded when their absence
cause social breakdown.

Our education system teaches the official religion of evolution, that humans are merely glorified apes. Is it really
surprising that young people would show they have understood the message of this bio-religion allegedly explaining
the origins and meaning of human life by acting like ‘feral rats’ – or ‘Yahoos’, as Jonathan Swift called them in Gulliver’s
Travels? When science teaches people that they are animals, it is surely not rational to expect them to display human
virtues, let alone divine ones like love, patience and self-control. As a student, I am able to observe on a daily basis that
mass schooling is doing a fine job at keeping most young people ignorant of the way things really work. Numbed by
drugs, immorality and disinformation they are unable to act on what little they do know. Eruptions like the riots of
August cannot be entirely prevented, as the PM well knows, but mass education eliminates any real political threat, so
perhaps occasional looting is – tacitly and unofficially – considered by the brahmin an acceptable price for to pay for
the “preservation of favoured races”.

Keeping people safe is, as Mr Cameron states, the first duty of government. However, it should be added that this must
be solely the responsibility of the police, excluding the option of deploying armed military forces. The calls of
frightened citizens for soldiers on the streets, understandable though these calls may be, must be resisted. Where it
would seem that the police are a danger to people rather than protectors, as Mark Duggan’s death apparently
suggested, police leadership must act with speed and determination to remedy its grievous failure to uphold the first
duty of government.

Parents must accept their share of responsibility for the nine to fourteen-year-old looters participating in the revolting
plunder of businesses and homes. Neither children nor parents will be pleased to discover that young offenders are
old enough to face prosecution and punishment for their crimes. But punished they must be. Remedies and leniency
can only be applied where righteousness and justice provide solid ground.

Central and local government must act immediately to create jobs and generate economic growth, as well as improve
the urban environment on the housing estates.

Allow me to sum up: the fundamental problems of justice, re-establishing order, rebuilding property and providing
compensation for victims, jobs and economic growth enabling upward social mobility, must be faced and addressed by
us all - central and local government, young criminals, parents, schools and law enforcement. The problems must be
addressed by clear and determined action, not by facile slogans and evasion of the serious social and political issues
that have been exposed as contributing factors to the eruption of the mayhem and destruction we recently saw
unleashed in the streets of British cities. We may feel shocked at the moment, but the way we deal with the problems
in the next few months will show with utter clarity how much we really care at the end of the day.

In conclusion, to avoid another Hackney, Brixton or Notting Hill in future, we must understand and provide solutions to
all the problems I have mentioned, wherever this endeavour may take us. I call on the Mayor of London, the
organisations here represented, our police and all men and women of good will in our communities to commit their
best efforts to this solemn purpose. We owe it to the victims of violence and vandalism to make real improvement and
thus create real hope. This is my modest proposal.

If there are any questions, I shall be pleased to answer them now. Thank you for your attention.