Good Question: Why Is England Rioting?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In England, thousands took to the streets for the worst rioting in a generation. But the economic situation in London is no worse than anywhere else in Europe, or America for that matter. So why are so many in England rioting?

“The answer may be, there’s not an easy answer,” said University of Minnesota Associate Professor of Political Science Ben Ansell. Ansell grew up in England and went to the University of Manchester.

“It seems to me like there’s a set of crimes of opportunity,” said Ansell, starting with the police shooting a 29-year-old man to death on Saturday night.

“Once something sparked this tinderbox, youths were able to commit crimes without immediate police response,” he said.

The cell phone hacking scandal that enveloped British Tabloid King Rupert Murdoch also forced out several key leaders of the British police.

Plus, “The mayor ofLondonwas on holiday, the Prime Minister was on holiday, the leader of the opposition party was on holiday. No one was around to pick up the pieces,” he said.

So what is the rioting about? According to Ansell, perhaps a small group of people are truly outraged about the political and economic situation inEngland. But he believes most of the people are simply taking advantage of the opportunity to break rules and be violent.

“They have no demands. They want flat screen TVs and cell phones,” he said.

“It’s just hooliganism,” said Chris Cope, a Bloomington native who now lives in London. Cope said that most of the country is still calm and going about their lives, and he is still planning a trip to London this weekend to visit friends.

As for the rioters: “They don’t have a respect for anything. They have no respect for property, themselves, their neighbors, their community. So it seems like a good idea to burn stuff,” said Cope.

Unlike the hooliganism that surrounded soccer in the 1980s, these riots have been more organized thanks to messages sent through the Blackberry BBM message system.

“People on the left have argued it’s the austerity cuts. But that’s true all across Europe, true in America. Others on the right have said – this is multiculturalism. Yet these aren’t race riots. These seem to be very multicultural riots,” said Ansell.

“This is a study in law and order, rather than in politics,” he added.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Rico Suave

    Good question???? You’ve got to be kidding me. They’re rioting because they’re young liberals of the entitlement class who’ve lost a few bucks in freebies and they’re ticked off. YOU WILL NOT FIND ONE CONSERVATIVE AMONG THEM. Young liberals are the worst. Larval stage liberals, if fed early and often will turn on their keepers and get violent the first moment the milk stops flowing, or God forbid, the teat dries up. They’re like Gremlins. DO FEED THEM or they’ll go from cute and cuddly to vicious and lethal. Think the liberals in this country have the ability to see and learn from Europe? Probably not. When the media runs stories like this one, trying to impart their great insights on the matter, you know they either don’t want to see the truth that’s as plain as the nose on their faces, or they’re lost in their liberalism and just beyond learning. Unless they have an epiphany or something akin to a religious awakening, they’ll remain clueless. It’s kind of like watching them scratch their heads in amazement over why the stimulus hasn’t worked. Too funny.

    • meow

      Rico… as much as I don’t fully agree with you on your views, I think you are hilarious and I’d like to thank you for making me laugh this morning. Your statement, as funny as it is, is rather over generalized and a bit exaggerated… but damn funny! I believe HATE feeds on more HATE. I can think of another group of people who feed on hate… TeaBaggers.

    • Rico Suave

      That was the long answer. But the short answer is simply that the young liberals can riot, therefore they do. Remember the cops are unarmed in the UK. So who’s going to step them?

      • the sphinx

        I’d hardly call them young liberals. They’re street hooligans who wouldn’t know what a political stance was if it smacked them in the face. They’re vandals and they’re doing it for kicks – it has nothing to do with the economic climate.

    • Mike

      They are rioting because of unemployment and the loss of ending educational subsidies and opportunity while bailing out fraud perpetrated by banksters. What does that have to do with liberalism?

    • Richard Head

      Kick butt Rico Suave!

    • Lola Getz

      You’re a fool who clearly knows nothing about life in the United Kingdom. Most of the rioters are politically apathetic thugs who wouldn’t know a liberal from a conservative, and don’t even know which party is in power (I saw that first hand on British TV just last night and, unlike you, I live in the UK).

      Here’s something else for you to chew on, sparky: even the conservatives in Britain are more liberal than most so-called “liberals” in America. But, then, you wouldn’t know that because you don’t know squat about Great Britain and your ignorant posts prove it.

  • bethechangeyouwanttoseeintheworld

    Those who label others are no better than those they label.

    • Rico Suave

      Are you saying that I’m no better than these larval stage liberals who are looting, rioting and burning their own neighborhoods down? Because I’m quite sure that I am. You may not be. But I definitely am.

      • MIke

        Rico, you are no better than any other narcissist sociopath filled with bitterness and hate for others who are not like you. You perpetrate contempt, that is not a good character trait.

  • Wastenot

    It is easy to stop these riots, give the police weapons. All the productive people are at work, the police will only be shooting the free loaders.

  • the sphinx

    This has very little to do with the economy and everything to do with a guy getting shot by police in an area where there are a large number of housing-commission, low-income kids who like to stir up police and ruin things just because they can. Looting is merely a benefit of such fun. Chris Cope hit the nail on the head.

  • Sean

    Maybe we should lower their debt rating.

  • Bill

    Because they see what Capitalism has done to America and it makes them go berserk!

  • Just my idea

    Not one mention about the 29 year old man who was killed by London Police which set off a group of people which set off a whole other social bomb.
    Pile the austerity measures, raising of tuition etc… yeah tinderbox indeed.

    • Rico Suave

      Typical liberal. They ran out of other peoples money you dumb-arse! The teat has dried up. And you’re obviously liberal since you understand the minds of people who would literally burn down their own city because of a killing by the police. You can’t “set off a whole group” of conservatives. It’s only liberals who turn into violent mobs (anti-war protesters, angry Wisconsin libs shouting and doing millions in damage, race riots (no conservatives in that crowd) the French Revolution. Whatever different reasons (excuses) you imagine for these destructive, violent, lawless mobs, they all share one thing in common: NOT A CONSERVATIVE IN THE Bunch. Are you connecting the dots here, or is it still a little fuzzy?

      Every single issue these people are mad about is a typical liberal issue. Whether it’s police brutality, cuts in programs, free goodies like college tuition, housing subsidies, racial inequality (perceived). All these things are the big liberal campaign issues. Liberals stir up these mobs and promise to right these wrongs (perceived). Are we learning yet? Well, not me, I can see it. But you liberals, are you seeing my point here yet, or are you still in the fog?

      • meow

        Rico … nice try with vilifying ‘Liberals’ but lets be honest here. There are EXTREMISTS on BOTH SIDES of the liberals and the conservatives.

        I think any human who has enough hate and anger can be brought to a level of violence and vandalism if fully provoked and when in a “group”. You have to understand how ‘Mob Behaviors” work with humans and the psychology that sparks such events. It can be found from both Liberal and Conservative alike.

        • Rico Suave

          The only problem is with your belief is of course that you can give ZERO examples of violent, rioting, property destroying angry conservative mobs.

          And the Tea Party crowds are a perfect example. (or Tea Baggers as you put it, which is a disgusting sexual practice of liberal gays) Ask the D.C. Park police. Tea Partiers Bring their own garbage bags and clean up, offer the the Park police water and food, and have never left a wake of destruction as have the angry liberal mobs. I DEFY YOU TO FIND ME ONE EXAMPLE of an angry conservative mob that ever indiscriminately rioted, looted, burned, and attacked the police in say, the last 50 years. I know, you’ll get back to me right?

          • Smile

            Once again Rico, you are complicating the issue by over thinking. This is simply a case of the”Kids” being POd because the Queen Mother won’t subsidize a national dental plan.

  • Hunky Dorey

    They are rioting because corruption always leads to oppression. The whole Rupert Murdach thing is one facet, but it was the wikileaks info that pulled the curtain back and showed how their government has been bribing dictators and arming enemies and starting wars. Also, wikileaks unveiled the bank cartels and the secret shadow governments. More police state solutions and cameras will make it worse.

  • tina

    One word: moolies.

    • jan

      what are moolies? I see this word so often here but haven’t a clue what it means

      • tina

        Moolies (n) are a class of subhumans with no ability to provide for themselves nor their 19 children. The only thing they know how to do is reproduce,collect welfare, commit crimes, and talk real loud. They hail from Africa, but are now unfortunately found all over the world. (see also, “black people”).

        • Mike

          What are the ‘MUNG’ community called then? Did you know they treat their women like nothing more than BABY MAKING MACHINES ? So now we’ve got all these foreigners who’ve been allowed in the country, and yes, thanks to BUSH who are feeding off he system and BREEDING LIKE RABBITS.

        • Ravenclawshermione

          This is quite possibly one of the biggest bits of tosh I’ve ever heard. Yes, there are persons with large families and the lack of desire to care for them other than by government funding, but these are hardly strictly one race or another. I know many white families who are like this, and I know many Black or Hispanic families who are not. Your ignorance is truly shocking. Beyond that, the rioters are by and large the over-privilaged children, not those who cannot afford to rock the boat. Please do try to do some level of investigation before you open your mouth or type a public message, as you are the best example thus far of that famous Lincoln quote, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

  • Nancy Aleshire

    To answer Gangsta’s ridiculous comment–the world would be in a much worse way without Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, etc.and my boyfriend happens to be African American with a brilliant mind. These riots remind me of the race riots of the sixties and those on college campuses protesting the Viet Nam war. I happened to be in high school and college then also

  • tina

    No, Nancy, without Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama, black people would still be slaves and they would be picking cotton in the fields, instead of collecting welfare and committing crimes.

    • meow

      tina, tell me you are kidding with that statement. I believe is was Abraham Lincoln who did the freeing of the slaves back in the 1860’s.


  • Olga

    If life is so terrible in England, why don’t they just go back to Africa?

  • Jennifer

    I am appalled by the ignorance of some of the comments made on here by my fellow Americans. I live in the UK now and I can tell you that people from all races and all walks of life have been arrested here, in connection with these riots. Some of these people have good jobs, some are university students. Some are immigrants and some are British born. Making generalizations about this situation (including political affiliation) is only showing yourself to be ignorant on the reality that we are actually experiencing here in the UK.

    • Rico Suave

      But they’re all liberals. It’s the one thing these people from all walks of life as you put it, share in common: THEY ARE LIBERAL! No conservatives in these mobs. It’s just not our thing.

      • Jennifer

        the American version of what a liberal is is very different from what the Brits call a “liberal”. If David Cameron were running for office in America he would be classed as moderate, if not liberal. Also most people in the UK do not classify themselves by political affiliation so this is actually a very moot point. These riots are NOT IN ANY WAY a political statement.

        • meow

          Jennifer…… Great post! You have to understand that Rico is bent on vilifying the Liberals any way he can. He’s grossly bias and it’s pretty obvious since the GOP and TeaBaggers have LooneyTunes Bachmann trying to sadly grasp for the Presidency … one lie after another and in this age of internet and information and fact checking, people simply can’t be lied to back when Bush was running for Pres.

          • the sphinx

            I agree with both of you; this is not about American politics, and that’s all he wants. It has *nothing* to do with politics, and a lot of people want to impress their own political views onto it anyway.

  • Olga

    I warned Clara to check the stove before she went to bingo.

  • scott

    As filmed by a BBC news station: Reporter asking a couple of twenty something young women, “Why do you think they are doing this?” Responce from one who stepped angerly forward “It’s because these blokes are to lazy to get a job and are just stealing what they want”. Aired yesterday @ 530pm.

  • liz

    So sick of hearing all the ignorant remarks spewing out of some people here. I am an American who happens to live in London. The riots did not start because the man was shot. Initially they started as a protest because a sixteen year old girl who was protesting asked the police why he had been shot and they hit her with batons. Then it turned into greed, and in some places very violent. The rioters are of all ages, and nationalities . I live in an affluent area of London and we had rioting less than four miles from where I am. The riots have been horrible and so many homes and peoples lives have been destroyed by the greed and ignorance. Did you know of that some of the people arrested include a youth pastor, a graduate student, and a graphics designer. So before you want to spew your racial hate stop because we all bleed red and it just shows your ignorance plain and simple. We need to be focusing on those who lost their jobs and their homes due to stupid acts of selfish greed.

    • Ravenclawshermione


  • Olga

    Marlene and I were going to take a walk but because of the rain, we just went to K-Mart.

  • being real

    Well This sure does put a damper on the idea that only African Americans riot!

    • just sayin

      Well, of course.

      However, on different levels.

      Places of greater population tend to have this problem.

      But it seems blacks riot when discriminated when mostly it is truth.
      Blacks also riot purposely to attack whites now… (milwaukee fair, pennsylvania)

      Whites riot to fulfill their greed (london), or when upset over a sport (london, canada)

  • Diane

    I riot when my husband doesn’t rock my poon every night.

    • Weed Can Save Us

      Nice! Very intelligent\nt post .. Congrats!

  • Janice

    Well, it is also true that within a very few short years (if not already) the British will be a minority in THEIR own country. As we know here- the more you give the more they want & will riot & destroy whatever is in their way. In a few decades America will be mostly hispanic, so the whites here will be a minority also.

  • Airroll

    They are are bunch of spoiled rich conseratives who are looking to rob something else, they have taken all the 401ks and our retirement funds every bit of value from our stocks and are trying to steal our taxes just like bush did on his last day of the presidency and Perry is another bush he will bleed this country dryby stealing all the money in our government and if a republican gets in the white house this country will be another Mexico.

    • Ravenclawshermione

      Deary, I think you missed the nit where this is a post about a -London- riot. London, as you may have heard, is in England, a country seperate from our own for the past 200+ years.

      Also, if it were Mexico, the economy would have to be even worse. The country would have to be ruled largely by drug lords, and medicine avalible to the public would be minimal. It would be so dire that people would be willing to risk their lives to become fourth class non-citizens of a country where they are never safe in order to try and fight for their children to maybe become third class citizens.

  • ibiza accomodation

    Wonderful work! This is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared around the web. Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this post upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thank you =)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live