the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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What he said

There are no classical liberals in UK politics, but someone who comes pretty close, in some respects at least, is Tory MEP Daniel Hannan. He says plenty that I disagree with, but his is about the only UK political blog I bother to read regularly. Apart from not just parroting one or two hues of the typical trichromatic BS that passes for UK political discourse, he also quotes lots of Shakespeare and is enjoyably articulate.

His take on the riots:

The idea that the disturbances were nothing more than spur-of-the-moment criminality seems inadequate. We demand deeper causes. If we are on the Left, we blame poverty, racism or police brutality. If we are on the Right, we blame failures in welfare and education that have produced a generation with no sense of responsibility.

All these theories are beside the point. They might be true, but they did not abruptly become true last weekend. While potentially interesting, they don't help us to understand the suddenness or the scale of the unrest. No, to explain what happened we need a more immediate cause; and that cause is staring us in the face.

In any society, a surprising number of people will break the law if they can be reasonably certain of getting away with it. Criminals are not a separate species, wearing stripy suits and carrying swag bags. Most crime is opportunistic, and most people have, at one time or another, committed an offence.

He goes on to say, more or less, that it was a failure of policing. People started looting, and nothing happened, so more people did it. He makes the point that for a lot of people, crime does pay. He even throws in the term 'cost-benefit.' Indeed.

{2011.08.14 - 09:13}

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