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What Really Caused The 2011 Riots In England?

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on August 18, 2011

On the 4th of August 2011 the Metropolitan Police shot dead an alleged drug dealer, Mark Duggan, while trying to arrest him on suspicion of a planned revenge attack after the murder of his cousin.  According to Police sources Mr. Duggan had a Gun in the Taxi he was in when the Police tried to arrest him, it was also said one of the Police officers were shot, but this later turned out the be a ricochet from a Police gun. There are conflicting statements and circumstances surrounding the Death of Mark Duggan that are still not clear and may never will be. Not to dilute the seriousness of the incident but whether he was a drug dealer or the Police acted inappropriately is a subject for another blog because there is not enough evidence either way currently.

What we do know is that this death caused a chain reaction around London and then other parts of England. But let’s get this clear, only a few people were actively rioting because of what happened to Mark Duggan, the others just used it as an excuse. So, what I want to talk about is why. Why did so many people think it was right and proper to loot shops, destroy homes, cars, businesses and attack the Police and each other?

If you’ve been watching the TV and reading the News Papers then you would have seen what some people are blaming it on. The main answers I’ve seen being offered are a general breakdown in some parts of society, caused by relaxed parenting, absent parents, relaxed liberal law enforcement, drugs, lack of religion and the ‘Family values’ it advocates and lack of job prospects (National & Community Economic Depression).

It is all of the above, with some things being more responsible than others. One of the most questionable ones is the lack of religion in our community and daily lives being a big factor. I disagree with this as there was more crime in the past when England truly was a religious country than in modern times. Though I don’t dispute religion can be a guiding and grounding force when a person adopts only the good parts (When I say ‘good parts’ I mean what is good, kind and lawful by our cultural standards of today) of that particular ideology. Though many of the non-religious also maintain that people could do the same things without being religious and still have a healthy society. Japan for example, the majority of the population there are Shinto and Buddhists, these ‘religions’ are more about culture and history than religious regulations, yet Japan is nothing like England. When the North East of Japan was devastated by a tsunami in March 2011 no one was seen to be looting or overly angry, and their lives, homes and family had been washed away. Again this is nothing like England.

Staying with Japan as an example, the economy of Japan has been in a perpetual slump since the late 1980s. During the 1990s, which the Japanese call the ‘Lost Decade‘, jobless figures were high and even to this day the industry of Japan has a third of their workforce made up of non-Japanese, which means there’s fewer jobs for native-born Japanese. A situation similar to our own here in England. Despite this the Japanese have not rioted, though they have protested, albeit quietly.

So what causes the Japanese to take things in their stride, maybe a little too much in their stride, and the English to fight, smash and loot? As I said, all the above things I mentioned in paragraph three are all to blame to a degree, but all the above have a thing in common. That thing is ‘Socialisation‘. Basically, Socialisation is what we learn at an early age as we grow up. The ‘social norms’, the way we go about talking to others, eating, working, presenting ourselves, our values, traditions our culture. What we learn as children (Socialisation) will set the scene for how we act when we become adults. It’s important to note there is a common disagreement between social scientists about socialisation and if it is all learned or some aspects of our personality, which affect the way we act, are from genetics. 

Regardless of that debate, the reality is that socialisation is the main way we learn and enforce the ‘norms’ of our society. So what degrades these norms, what stops or changes the established socialisation we have to another? The answer quiet simply is what I cited above. What this means is, that ‘break down in society‘ is a break down in socialisation. And that breakdown is caused by outside factors, such as I mentioned in Paragraph three, to all contribute to the degradation of the established socialisation we have. Of course, not everyone was out looting, fighting and destroying things during the unrest, what does this mean? It means the majority of the rioters came from a different community or family where accepted socialisation isn’t adhered to or respected.

On looking closely you can see these people come from economically depressed poor/working class areas, areas where economic activity and funding is very little and almost absent. When I say this I’m in no way excusing the way those people acted during the riots, I’m just explaining what contributed to it.

Adding to the economic depression is another factor, a Consumer Society . In a consumer society people buy for necessity as much as they do for pleasure and identity. In the past when jobs were more available and a collective identity, such as working class, miners, butcher and such were granted by birth, people had a sense of worth and stronger sense of belonging. These days, people rarely base who they are on their job title, they base who they are on what ‘they’re in to’, such as music, art, how they dress what they own and how rich they are. In a materialistic society where image, what you own and how rich you are means everything to an individual, you’re nothing if you don’t have the right stuff. You’re nothing if you’re a person or part of a family that’s on benefits and you can’t afford anything so you can socially ‘fit in’. This sounds very childish, and you would be right… it is, but this is the kind of hollow society we have whether you like it or not.

This type of society contributed to the riots, just as the economic under investment has. If those people had something to lose, if they already had what they wanted then many of them would not have done what they did. However, faced with the opportunity many people would loot what they could if given the chance, many people do that regardless of whether they’re rich or poor.

You may be thinking now: “If we [The English] did that then why didn’t the Japanese?” The answer to that is some socialisation is so engrained and matters so much, like the honour code in Japan, that people adhere to it strictly. That is why Japan doesn’t have much unrest, but we in the UK and the West do.

Having said all the above I think there comes a time when people take responsibility for their actions and situation and try to make a difference in their own lives instead of blaming it on others. The help exists out there for people to make something of themselves if they com from a disadvantaged area. I am an example of this. However, if the Government wants to stop the riots from happening again getting tough on crime will help a little but ultimately wont do much but lock more people up because the base problem isn’t being addressed. We need to get to the bottom of what causes it and that is our society that fosters hollow materialism, weak law enforcement and  successive Governments that have put profits and the needs of big business before those of the people.


25 Responses to “What Really Caused The 2011 Riots In England?”

  1. Yinka Oyesanya said

    This thread is interesting and has touched on very important reasons for the riots of August 2011. The Members of Parliament in this country have contributed the most to those riots. Black people were very prominent in those riots which shows how much thirteen years of a very poor and bad New Labour Government had disadvantaged them. This is what one would have expected of the Tory Party, UKIP and the BNP.

    The MPs expense Scandal definitely made a significant contribution too. If the law makers have turned into law breakers, this can send out the wrong messages to the nation that they lead. The worse thing that has ever happened to this country was thirteen years of a New Labour Government. Most who played a prominent role in that government, have gone on to be wealthy beyond their dreams.

    Thirteen years of a poor and bad New Labour Government saw the watering down of the Race Relations Act, control of the banks taken away from the Bank of England – a move that has plunged this country into a banking crisis, the fixing of the interest rates by banks, lack of accountability by those in public offices, deception and spin just to name a few of their wrongful doings.

    All religious faiths need to step in to give the whole of society some moral guidance. Unfortunately, MPs do not have the moral fabric to do that.

    • Welcome, Yinka! :O)

      Sorry for the late reply as I’ve been extremely busy and preocupide.

      I think the politicians did contribute to this, however, the people themselves are also to blame. The people voted the politicians in, supported them and didn’t take notice enough to question and hold their elected representatives to account.The unwilligness of the British public to educate themselves and pay attention so they can be aware of the political tricks politicans use to hide the fact they’re achieving nothing or not doing properly what they’re supposed to do, is a huge part of the problem.

      In sum, the people played their part in this along with the politicians.

      As for moral leadership, I’m not a fan of religion and some of the supposed ‘morals’ some religious groups, leaders and people hold I find disgusting and ignorant. So what about the non-religious and those people of other faiths who don’t want to stand behind a certain leadership from another religion and their morals? Not all morals are universal and neither are peple.

      Thannk you for your opinion, Yinka! And again I’m sorry for the very late reply.

      All the best,

      – Phil

  2. jennygoth said

    hope your feeling better phil that colitis an awful thing hows your studying going your burning the light out over your desk and beig missed have a good week xxjen

    • Um, still the same really, because I replapsed I tried new medications which are supposed to be making a difference but not seen anything positive that lasts. And I’m behind on study by a week, so I posted a caption comp blog. If you wanna take part then do your captions and post the HTML code in your comment and I’ll add it to the comment later so it shows, as WordPress doesn’t make comment boxes HTML active for visitors.

      You have a good week too, Jen! :O) x

  3. Androgoth said

    No I am using someone elses graphic, if you take a look at My Dodgy Drawings Page
    you will know why… In other words I am a Crap Artist lol Nice to see you back in the
    world of Bloggeroonies and i hope that you will be adding something soon, as all work
    and no play makes Phil a… Well just get a new blog sorted out PRONTO 😉 🙂 lol


    • I do recall checking your art work out but I can’t remember anything I looked at! I have a mind like swiss cheese recently, I will check them out again soon, Andro. I did just add something now, but it’s short on words and more about pictures. It’ll supply all my readers with a laugh anyway, to keep um happy! Hope you enjoy it! :O)

  4. ulcerative colitis…

    […]What Really Caused The 2011 Riots In England? « I Don't Fear The Chaos![…]…

  5. hrhdaf said

    Hey heeeeeeey Phil!
    Coming to this very late in the day arent I? But for what it’s worth my thoughts…
    Obviously this didn’t happen in Newcastle and I knew from the offset it wouldn’t so I guess the reasons I think it didn’t happen here would be the reverse elsewhere.
    As you know the North East has long been one of the hardest places to find work and had part of the poorest economy in the country. When the credit crunch hit the politicians basically said it wouldnt hit us as hard cos we had less in the first place. So taking that into account how could these riots be based on money? I mean yeah it was simple greed had people helping themselves to things in shops, but what I mean is that isn’t a good enough reason in itself.
    What I do know is Geordies are proud to be Geordies, and we love Newcastle. On the Tuesday night of the riots, Newcastle city centre was filled with families watching an open air viewing of Toy Story. There is exactly the same element of idiots roaming the streets up here, but Newcastle city centre is always full of geordies out on the hoy. Geordies who love Newcastle and wouldnt stand idle while some eejits trashed it, and all the eejits knew it.
    Here we havent had this big influx of people like other major cities. Most people here are born and bred here and go back generations. We have deep roots in the area and we love it. I keep saying that dont I?
    So I think what Im saying is, yeah there is that element of youths wandering the streets and it was really only a matter of time before that flared up into something bigger, but I also think that a lack of love for the place you are is a huge contributing factor. It’s like trashing your own house cos you dont wanna live there anymore.

    Anyway nuff with the serious stuff. Hope youre well and sinking your teeth nicely into your course.
    Moocho love Daf xxx

    • Dat Daf! LOL! Don’t worry, I’m late replying! Sorry for my absense, um instead of explaining again I’ll post what I said to Prenin: My last two essays got a 72/100 and 76/100 respectively, which are a “Good Pass” (Pass 2), my last being only eight points off an “Exellent Pass” (Pass 1). I dropped the ball because I went in to too much detail – which I think you’ll agree I do a lot – when I didn’t need to. Though the one I only finished yesterday after two weeks of a my mind going blank when I started, five restarts and not being able to consentrate because of illness and the new UC tabs, well… I’m expecting a bare pass (Pass 4) or less. Either way I’ll let you know what happens. That’s more or less the last month in a nut-shell!

      I didn’t specificaly say Money was the bottom line of it all, it was part of the problem. It’s why I mentioned the Japanese as an example of money and jobs being at a premium but they still have infinitely less social unrest. In the UK anyway, excluding Geordie land and a few other places, why was it only England that had riots but Wales and Scotland didn’t? I didn’t mention Ireland because they riot on any given day over anything.

      Like Nicola also said below, you and her seem to be talking of other people coming in to the area that sort of changes things? Do you believe the new immigrants to our cities in the last 50 years, whether chinese african or east european, are causing problems? I’m sorry, again, if I’m putting words in your mouth, but are you saying that because of a dilution of community and identity because of recent immigrants, that’ve brought their community and indetities, that it’s lessened the native population’s love for their area? Or are you saying Gerodie’s are hard as fook and wont take shit from anyone, unlike us soft Mancs, Brums and Londoners and that? lol

      Yup, I’ve been trying to sink mah teeth in to it, but as I said above, it can be hard at times. And you, I could’ve really done with your help yesterday when I was writing part 1 of my essay. Was about percnetages and putting them in to words. Sounds simple enough, right? Well it involved a bit of math with the percentages I think, so I had to miss some bits out and do others that were obvious. Anyway, it’s done now and I got one more essay left with this module and then I start the second part of this module in Oct! That’s right, am already signed on for part of the course! I’m very presumptious aren’t I? lol How’s the Daf’s course coming along?

      Talk soon mate and moocho loveski coming back at youski! :O) x

      • hrhdaf said

        Eeeeevening Phil!
        Yooooou going into too much detail? I cant possibly believe it. Your comments and blogs are always so brief ;OP I have many times thought of you as a man of few words. The strong silent type ya know. Or maybe its just that you dont like to express your opinions? Now Im sniggering at my own heavy sarcasm which is reeeeally bad isnt it? Youre probably not supposed to laugh at your own jokes.
        So anyway in answer to your comment. I think it’s the same reason. I was stood next to a Scott at a gig recently and he was bangin on about how great Glasgow was, and any Welsh friends Ive had have been very proud to be Welsh. I think in England alot of people are almost apologetic for being English and well into bashing their own country.
        I would point out that when I talk about people coming in from other areas Im not talking about ethnicity or religion. People have never come to the North East cos there were loads of jobs or money. We’re so undiluted here we have a dialect not an accent. You could be white, black or have purple spots, thats not the point. The point is that if you’ve only lived in an area for a short time and you dont have that long history or love for the place you care far less what happens to it.
        Oh and yeah obviously we are hard as fook and not softies like you Leeds bunch ;O)
        Oh and next time you could really do with my help just flippin say so!! I keep saying its nee botha man!
        Anyway you just replied to my muppet comment so Im gonna go down there and be cheeky!
        Toodles for about five minutes xxx

        • Evening Dafski!

          You were being sarcastic? Nah, not you, not tha Dafferd one. You’re SO not known for that, in fact you were voted less likely to be sarcastic by on-line mag ‘Which Blogger’ AND the Sun, four years in a row! What ya like Daffers?

          I understand what you’re talking about. English self-hate has been brought on by years of white guilt, political correctness and multiculturalism. So you think lack of national pride and loss of identity and thus history caused people to not only riot but not stop the riots because they don’t think it’s worth bothering with? There may be something in that, I’ve blogged on being English before and what it is to be English. I’m going to have to blog on this again in light of the riots.

          Leeds? Have you REALLY forgotten where I live or are you saying that so you wont give away mah position to the weirdos and scumbags? Hmmmmmmmmm

          I would’ve asked you but it was 12am in the morning and I needed help there and then because the essay was due at 12pm. I couldn’t send an e-mail cos you may not answer in time, and even if you did you’d have to see assignment question and the table that came with it. I should have done part 1 (the percentage part) of the assigment first, but I left it till last and spent all my time on part 2. So I just got on with it.

          Gonna check out the other comment! xx

  6. Phil's Lounge said

    Well written post Mr. E.
    I totally agree, boring I know, but I’m not going to provide an argument on something I agree with.
    Take care mate.

    • Phil!!!!!!!!!!!! Mate! Where ya been? I haven’t seen you since I left Wastebook. Did you not got my e-mail about that? How ya been?

      And you agreeing with me, 100% for a change? LOL! Tha world is going to end in 2012! I kow you live down south near London, what was the excuse the people gave for doing what they did? I’m assuming you’re living that close to them. The excuse around where I live, well… a plank I know was on the news saying: “It’s our area, we’ll do what we want!” And this is a man in his late 40s, maybe early 50s. Maybe if I got up to his house and rob it I can use that line on him? I don’t say it litely but a lot of the people where I live are fucking braindead! It’s like zombie appocolypse down here. But instead of thirsting for brains they’re thrist for booze, which explaines why Bargain Booze was robbed the worse in my area!

      Anyway hope you and the family are well, I’ll be around to your blog soon! :O)

  7. Planet Nicola said

    Brilliantly wrote. And like everything else you write, I only know about it because you’ve put it into words so well.. and in such an interesting way that I want to read. And enjoy reading.
    I just think that it happened because we have so many different cultures of people living in one place.
    I don’t mean this to sound racist, but I just think it’s very unnatural for so many different races to live together. It doesn’t really happen in nature. Animals will attack other species. Not that this was the case.. I just don’t think it helps.
    Needless to say, though, Londoners got through it just like they got by when times have been difficult before in history.
    It just seems part of a cycle. The construction and deconstruction – fall and rise.
    I hate to sound negative, but I think it will just get worse before it can all get better.
    2012 olympics won’t be happening at this rate though…that’s fo sure. thank god!

    Take care, Phil

    • Hiya Nicoloa!

      “I just think that it happened because we have so many different cultures of people living in one place.”

      That’s an interesting statment, would you care to elaborate on that? I’d like to hear your opinion on how multi-ethnic communities effected the riots. It’s interesting because Daf said something similar, at least I think that’s what she meant (I appologise Daf if am putting words in your mouth).

      I don’t want to taint your opinion with mine, but all Humans, no matter who or where they are, are the same species. ((EDIT) Sorry, I accidently posted the comment before it was finished!)) 😛 Anyway, as I was saying, Huamns are the same species, we can’t say whites are a different species to say blacks, because we are phsyically the same animal. And multi-ethnic/’racial’ and religious communites have lived in relative harmony for 100s of years. Only yesterday I saw how the Normans (Vikings that settled in Northern France) invaded and conquered Sicily and had Greeks, Italians and North Africans living there for a long time under a Norman Christian leadership, even though they were Muslims, Jews and Christians. What was important was they knew who was both AND knew their place, which is different from today.

      And no, I don’t think you’re a racist, and even if you was you’d be free to leave your opinion here still. However, it would be challenged like every other opinion I get on here.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hope you’re OK too! :O) x

  8. Androgoth said

    …..Total Anarchy Phil…..

    How do you mean is that all? 🙂 lol Well it
    is for this very late pass so hard freakin’ lines 😉


    • Androoooooooooooooo hey!

      Even anarchy has reasoning behind it, no matter how much all the pseudo intellectual Uni student Anarchist types like to say there isn’t.

      No worries about a squick vist, ya always welcome here, Andro. :O) And sorry for the late reply, been busy. Hope all is well.

  9. jennygoth said

    there has been nothing but unrest since cameron n clegg voted themselves in when your already rock bottom then no one cares what happens anymore if the government takes takes and doesnt do something for the younger generation then this will happen again some kids did just join in for the hell of it but there has to be a reason for their unlawfulness and it needs to be addressed but cameron is too loud mouthed and cocky so dont look to him for an answer xxjen hope your well phil xxjen

    • Hey Jen,

      It don’t think it matters that Cam and Clegg are in now, if Labour had won the same things would’ve happened because even though Labour throw people a bone(More benefits), they still fuck the general population over as much as the Cons do. Also, Mark Duggen still would’ve been shot and the riots still would’ve happened. And yes, we have an underclass, and they’re there because they let themselves down and have been let down by the government.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion Jen, I told you over a year ago when you said to me: “sorry phil, this is beyond me lol” that it wasn’t beyond you and now you’re jumpin’ with your opinion! :O) Sorry for the late reply, I’ve had a bad time with illness and study etc.

  10. prenin said

    Quite true Phil.

    I come from a deprived background and a broken home, yet I spent the riot period sat at home watching law and order break down, like the vast majority of people in this country.

    Deprivation and poverty is relative though: Advertisers tell us we’re nobody unless we wear/own their goods and when you have nothing because you are living on benefits – and there are a number of reasons why you would be – it only takes temptation to make the final step into lawlessness…

    Unfortunately people from most economic levels took part, caught up in the moment, so what was their excuse?

    God Bless!


    • Hey Ian,

      They did it because they could, they did it because they have no respect and most importantly, they did it because they come from a family or area where that sort of shit flys, even the ‘posh’ areas.

      Sorry for the late reply, been busy with study and essays. 😛 lol Hope you’re well.

      • prenin said

        No worries – I want to see you earn your degree my friend! 🙂

        God Bless and sleep well!


        • Cheers, mate! :O) I want it too! My last two essays got a 72/100 and 76/100 respectively, which are a “Good Pass” (Pass 2), my last being only eight points off an “Exellent Pass” (Pass 1). I dropped the ball because I went in to too much detail – which I think you’ll agree I do a lot – when I didn’t need to. Though the one I only finished yesterday after two weeks of a my mind going blank when I started, five restarts and not being able to consentrate because of illness and the new UC tabs, well… I’m expecting a bare pass (Pass 4) or less. Either way I’ll let you know what happens. Thanks for the support Ian!

  11. Great post and yes, what happened in England recently was a dark incident.

    • Hello Whatsaysyou,

      Yes, indeed it was. Now the blame game starts with an official report, and would you believe it they’re already blaming a “Feral underclass”. Well, I don’t know about you but that blew my mind! And they get paid for giving this verdict? It’s just what I thought would happen, blame a violent underclass and don’t address the core problem.

      Thank you for your opinion.

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