Cameron: What societal problems have the London riots exposed?

By: /
14 August, 2011
By: Maxwell Cameron
Professor, Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, University of British Columbia

For all the sound and fury, the mayhem was remarkably inarticulate.  I’m not sure that it can even be explained by unemployment and deprivation so much as boredom and a desire to get a piece of the action.  To call it a Jacquerie would be to suggest political overtones that seem utterly missing.  As a display of the human capacity to act without regard for consequences, for oneself or others, it was more like the recent Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver.  Perhaps the most disturbing revelation was how quick the authorities were to express their fear of the social media that were so recently celebrated in the Arab Spring.

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