The London Riots

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nuala McGovern, radio presenter at the BBC's World Have Your Say, talks about the latest on the London riots--and the various theories about the root causes of the unrest.

Listeners: Do you have ties to people in the London area? What have you been hearing from your friends and family there? Let us know. Comment here!


Nuala McGovern

Comments [15]


My family and I stayed in London recently (a week and a half ago) near the Tower of London. Any damages there? And how are other tourists in London dealing with this?

Aug. 10 2011 01:19 PM

Rioting in London isn't that far away from what went on and continues in northern Africa and vicinity. The parallels are joblessness, hopelessness and an unwillingness to see all humans deserving a decent life. This can happen anywhere where these conditions exist.

Aug. 10 2011 11:45 AM
Marcio from Clinton Hill

It doesn't surprise me at all that this is mainly the youth. I remember this report from 2006 by the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Who found UK youth to be the worst in Europe.. drugs, violence, promiscuity, alcohol, etc.
you can see more about it in here.

I used to live there and saw it. It doesn't fit the way we see the british but it's the truth

Aug. 10 2011 11:29 AM
Misa Numano from Brooklyn

I just moved back from living in North London for 5 years. I am sad for my friends and family that are in London that they are having to live with such hate and destruction.
It is unfortunate that a peaceful protest has turned into a valuless, violent scene. This has moved so far away from a criticism of authority and any political statement because it is just senseless violence.
My heart goes out to those shops that will not be able to recover from these acts of violence.
The thing that gets my goat is that Cameron and Boris don't seem to get it and are not able to communicate with the core group of rioters. The idea that parents are supposed to be bringing their kids home - this is Cameron's decree. This is the government putting their responsibilities on the shoulders of the public. How many youth centres have been closed leaving youth who don't have strong family support left to their own devices. Government needs to look carefully at their next steps and what it communicates to the public.

Aug. 10 2011 11:26 AM

You know, there's a BBC or Guardian interview w/ one of the protesters/rioters who points the question back to the interviewer and says they were protesting peacefully weeks before, and not a line of it made it to the press.

Aug. 10 2011 11:25 AM
The Truth from Becky

Every generation has protested, these are not adults out there, they are the youth and these frustrations to attack didn't come out of no where! It is a balloon BURST!

Aug. 10 2011 11:24 AM

I'm sure these riots would be happening if there had been no "austerity" cuts, great schools, affordable housing, employment opportunities and of course, no racial profiling.

The government's poor response to to the economic crisis is to blame for this.

Aug. 10 2011 11:23 AM
Habs from Montreal

In June 2010, after the Montreal Canadiens beat the top team Washington Capitals, there were riots in downtown and looting of stores. These were NOT BLACK. they were French & English speaking youths. This June when the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Coupe Finals, there was rioting in DOwnTown Bancouver. Again NOT BLACK. Rioting seems to be bad policing.

Aug. 10 2011 11:21 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

It only goes to show that young people are not the unfailing font of wisdom that the media typically plays up.

Regardless of conditions -- viewed from the perspective of history, better than ever and certainly no worse -- there is no excuse for the rioting. It is just people -- kids -- using the larger events to anonymously act out and act wild. Animal House writ large.

And of course, the destruction only makes matters more difficult for them and everyone affected, economically and socially.

Aug. 10 2011 11:19 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Hey, for all of you unfortunates who missed out on the riots and blackouts of the '60s and '70s here in New York, you can still get the feel of it in London town! Feel the fear! See the burning and looting! Get mugged! You can still get that raggedy feel of old New York in London now if you catch a quick JFK- Heathrow flight. But don't delay.

Aug. 10 2011 11:17 AM
The Truth from Becky

JOHN that type of comment is stereotypical and non productive.

Aug. 10 2011 11:17 AM
Tony from Santa Clara, CA

How is it different/similar from the riots that happened in France a couple years ago?

Could it happen in other places in Europe?

Aug. 10 2011 11:17 AM
John from NYC

So, our choice is a) criminality or b) protest against injustice.

How about one more choice: Jefferson was right. Urban populations on welfare can become MOBS.

Aug. 10 2011 11:15 AM
Priya from Brooklyn, NY

Hey Nuls,

how much credence can we place on the riots being instigated by racial profiling by the police?

I have also found that a number of very liberal friends here in the US are attributing this to socio economic conflict and that the media is focusing on discontent and out of control youth. What is it in actuality?

Aug. 10 2011 11:10 AM
Ro in SoHo from Manhattan

This is an excerpt of an email I just received from my brother & sister-in-law.

"Members of the public who are caught up in the destruction have expressed their frustration (and fear) by attacking apparent failings in policing, but it's more interesting (maybe that should be informative!) to hear reactions from the vast majority of those who are NOT involved - there's very widespread support (over 1million signatures so far on Facebook) for stronger policing tactics to quell wanton destruction and sheer criminality. The use of Water cannon and baton rounds have been sanctioned by the government, although the police themselves are saying they aren't necessary - or advisable - at the moment."

Aug. 10 2011 11:07 AM

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