August 9, 2011

Thirty years ago almost to the month.

With reports coming in hourly of the disturbances throughout London and other parts of the UK, I was reminded of the eerie similarities between this set of disturbances and another set that took place between July 2-15 in 1981.

1981 was a year for disturbances in general in England, with the predominately black London neighborhood of Brixton erupting in April. That one had racial overtones. The set in July started seemingly off that way, but quickly turned into multi-racial socio-economic violence with the majority of rioters being young (14-20 years old), unemployed and marginalized. Initially glossed over as the work of "hooligans", the violence quickly spread, stretching the police force thin (at the time they were unarmed) and resulting in massive amounts of damage and destruction. Same as it is now.

In 1981 it was the Thatcher government, and much of the mainstream media blamed the escalation in violence on "left-wing agitators" and "professional criminals". This time it's the Cameron government and a scandal-ridden Police force fueled by the recent News International bribery and phone-hacking allegations. Both were largely due to a massive disconnect between the government and constituents and the terrible economic conditions that were prevalent during both times.

This post is made up of excerpts and clips from the period of July 6-14, as it was presented by U.S. News via The CBS World News Roundup, The World Tonight and Hourly News.

It's a reminder of how history repeats and repeats and repeats.

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