I said this earlier on Twitter so I best justify it quickly:
I’m going to stick my neck out and predict tonight will see a lot less trouble than yesterday. I think this has peaked.
Of course there is a good chance people will read this later tonight and laugh. But that is the whole danger with predictions.
My thinking is this. Whatever ‘alienation’ and ‘dispossession’ these youths feel from society (and why are they mostly men?) – the looting has flared up mostly because there is a widespread perception that the police cannot do much about it, and this is their chance to get some free stuff and have one over the police.
This has become a socially driven event, where the expectation that they can get away with it drives it further. Without that expectation, it should in theory die quickly.
I say ‘in theory’ because the other problem is that a lot is dependent on flash-points. Without the spark, a tense situation can easily dissolve into nothing.
The police talking up their numbers and showing shots of them suiting up in heavy armour should have an impact. So will the raids last night on some of the looters.
If London is much quieter last night – it will show that the flare up of the London riots (following Tottenham on the first night) was driven more by the sense of weakness with the police (or ‘shorting the law’ as Alison Charlton called it) than by deep rage (though I accept there is low-level rage present regardless).
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