Posts Tagged ‘us and them’

Which side are you on: us, or them?

16/08/2011, 09:11:52 AM

by Dan Hodges

And now we get the fight-back. The backlash against the backlash. The reaction to the reactionaries.

As ever, the left is in the vanguard. We need to pause. Avoid a knee-jerk response. Keep things in perspective.

When the riots first exploded across our communities the political class was united in its response. Shock. Horror. A desire for the perpetrators to be caught and punished.

But now that brief, intuitive, consensus is vanishing. The political battle lines are reforming.

The response of the right is emotional and authoritarian. Use Wembley stadium to incarcerate the rioters. Block social networking sites. Throw the miscreants onto the streets.

The response of the left is logical, and measured. We must not exacerbate the social problems that underpin the disturbances. We must avoid tactical ripostes like the military and water cannon that many experts say would only inflame the situation. We must ensure that our cherished civil liberties do not vanish amid the flames of Tottenham.

Both reactions have been instinctive. Both have broadly gone with the grain of prevailing sentiment within their respective political movements. And I suspect that both have proved instructive to the broader public.


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