I tried to buy the Daily Mail this morning, because a friend had written something about the classes he runs in Peckham to encourage black kids to aim higher at school. I could not find one in the three newsagents I visited. A first sign of the backlash against liberalism? Perhaps we need such a backlash. Or if not a backlash against liberalism, certainly against the benign neglect of the pathologies of inner-city culture.
The nihilistic grievance culture of the black inner city, fanned by parts of the hip-hop/rap scene and copied by many white people, has created a hardcore sub-culture of post-political disaffection. The disaffection is mainly unjustified. It’s as if the routine brutalities and racist humiliations of 30 to 40 years ago have been lovingly preserved to provide a motor of real anger for what is really just a kind of adolescent pose. But this disaffection is lionised in popular culture and feared and admired—and mainly simply ignored—by white Britain. It’s time the rest of the country took more notice.
The shooting of Mark Duggan does give the original rioting a link to the more political disturbances of the 1980s. There clearly was a problem with the handling of the Duggan case, and there is still a problem between young black people and the police with stop and search. But by all accounts relations with police are vastly improved on the 1980s, and Operation Trident, the police operation to combat the hugely disproportionate gun crime in the black community, was requested by the black community itself and is generally regarded as a success.
So, what’s the problem? Notwithstanding cuts to youth services and poor employment prospects, this is not a matter of “society is to blame.” A rapper called JaJa, interviewed by Sky TV, said if he was younger he would have been out with the kids. He then admitted that most of them were doing it for fun, to feel powerful, “for 15 minutes of fame.” The actual rioters I saw interviewed on television did complain about the Duggan case, but the real complaint seemed to be the police’s power to stop them committing crime. It’s as if they think it’s unfair that they are not as powerful as the police! This certainly represents a…