Riots Opened Door For Authoritarian Hyperbole…(Door Open Here In Amerika, Too!!)
The door has been left open for authoritarian hyperbole
Following the riots the gap between professed civil libertarians and the right has narrowed. But police do need support
Sunday 14 August 2011
After 50 years of carrot it’s time for some stick, remonstrated the Mail on Sunday. Have the riots hardened the public mood towards law and order, or is this the easy bombast of the headline writer and the politician scuttling home from Tuscany?
When people are being killed, homes destroyed and shops looted, it is no surprise that politicians mock concern over civil liberties. At best they are a distraction, at worst they are at the root of our “sick” and “feral” society. Or to adapt the old line: if a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality, the 2011 variant is a small shopkeeper who has seen their livelihood destroyed by rampaging thugs. Anybody who cares about liberties and rights must acknowledge the anger and bewilderment at the sight of law enforcement seemingly powerless to intervene.
Emergencies such as these follow a familiar pattern. Immediately after the 7/7 London bombings, Tony Blair declared the “rules of the game have changed”. He was responding to the shock and the fear of worse to come. Many of the measures he pledged were purely playing to the gallery. Many have not been implemented. But the political mood encouraged him to talk tough.
For that same reason, David Cameron instantly denounced “phoney concerns about human rights” the moment he returned to “take charge”. He followed this up with a call for “zero tolerance” and the appointment of Bill Bratton, a US police chief-cum-gangbuster, as his unpaid adviser.