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Monday, August 8

London Rioters: "These guys had nice cars, nice mobiles."

"Tottenham riots: a peaceful protest, then suddenly all hell broke loose."
Arson fire in north London, Saturday 8/6

Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA

Not everyone's buying the 'social deprivation' meme to explain the widespread arson and looting. From the Guardian's August 8 report, published 21.37 BST: London riots: MPs to examine 'toxic mix' that led to violence:
Nick de Bois, the Tory MP for Enfield North who witnessed the disturbances in his constituency on Sunday night, said the violence could not be blamed on social deprivation. De Bois said: "When police dispersed groups, they [the rioters] ran up the neighbouring residential streets, did a bit of terrifying of residents. But what angered everyone was they jumped into their nice Golf GTIs and tore off round the corner, parked somewhere else, came back and did some damage, and loaded their cars up with whatever they could loot. It wasn't a question of social justice. These guys had nice cars, nice mobiles."
A Labor MP disagrees:
One veteran Labour MP, who sits on the home affairs select committee, warned that a "toxic mix" of poor policing of black and minority ethnic communities and social deprivation was a key factor in fuelling the violence.
But I think both sides of the debate can agree on this much:
The weekend's riots and looting may have serious repercussions on long-term efforts to regenerate some of London's struggling high streets, business leaders have warned.

As businesses begin to tally the cost of stolen goods and damaged stores the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned many of the shops affected may never reopen, while other firms may rethink their investment plans for areas such as Tottenham and Wood Green.

Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, which was affected by widespread lootingthe one store in the area.

"Tesco were up and running by Monday morning – you can see the damage but they're determined to keep trading," she said. "It's difficult to tell what the longer-term situation is because last night was so unusual. The looting was co-ordinated and organised. This is a type of organised crime we've never seen before. Businesses are angry as their property has been damaged, but people seem calmer today."

Lord Harris of Peckham, owner of the Carpetright chain, an outlet of which was burned down in Saturday's Tottenham riots, told an interviewer: "It has damaged my business but big companies can withstand it. It's the little entrepreneurs, people who have greengrocers and clothes shops I really do feel sorry for. Who is going to shop there now?"

This view was echoed by the BRC, which said rioters had defeated any hoped-for objective. "In the short term this is bad for the locals who work in or rely on the services of the businesses that have been affected," said spokesman Richard Dodd. "Longer term, a proportion of these stores were struggling already. They will have to look at their future in the area – many will reopen but some won't, which will harm the areas' prospects."
The question is what their hoped-for objective was, beyond smash and grab.


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