Riots A "One-Off Event", Says Fate-Tempting Politician

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 89 months ago
Riots A "One-Off Event", Says Fate-Tempting Politician

Should the riots erupt again, Crispin Blunt has probably earned himself some unwelcome notoriety: the Prisons Minister described the subsequent increase in the prison population as a "one-off event" and stated that the justice system was perfectly well equipped to deal with the short-term influx of new cons currently languishing on remand, despite the fact that the country is dangerously close to reaching prison capacity and the Met has a policy of holding all suspects in custody. One might even say that, at a time when the prison population is supposed to be trimmed, the remark was careless.

Blunt's, er, blunt comments were made at the launch of a new, beefed-up community service regime (which involves the idea of 'community payback', or having unemployed offenders do unpaid work), so his tough bragaddocio was perhaps to be expected. He may regret it should things kick off once again, as fellow MP Tom Watson noted when he tweeted that Blunt now had a "newly-primed timebomb" under his career. Listen to the full interview on the BBC.

Another London figure nonplussed by the riots is Peter Ackroyd. In an interview with the Independent on Monday, the historian dismissed the idea that the capital had been changed in any significant way:

"I don't like those commentators who keep on saying that London will never be the same again. London is always the same again.... There's hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London's texture."

Ackroyd helpfully goes on to imagine how various London luminaries throughout history would have responded.

Such an unruffled approach is unlikely to be taken by politicians, who seem to think that what they've lazily labelled common criminality can be arrested into submission.

Photo of riots in Hackney by bobaliciouslondon

Last Updated 24 August 2011