back to article Will the looters 'loose' their benefits?

The coalition government's e-petitions website is having a bit of a fail again today. Presumably everyone is trying to sign up to the petition calling for all convicted rioters to "loose all benefits", including use of spell-check we assume. We did manage to sneak in earlier and the vote stood at just short of 95,000. Should …

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Civilisation has left for a holiday.

Please come back later when the hoards are asleep and civility may return.

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English

that'll be "hordes"

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Gimp

not...

whores then?

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there just thugs

innit.

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Where just thugs?

(Are just thugs better than unjust thugs?)

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Stop

i don't believe that

not this large a number.

We tend to forget that most of us, if the circumstances are right, would be part of the looting masses, we just think we wont because we have a good life. it's easy to judge from your comfy chair.

And how would taking their benefits help? these are people who mostly have very little already, taking what little they do have, will only fuel the fire.

now obviously i'm a lefty, hippy treehugger, so my point of view is slightly biased.

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93

very simple

The majority of them will surplant lost benefits by getting a job.

And please don't tell me there are no jobs.

Why is it that an Afghan or Iraqi can travel 3,000 to the UK on next to no money and still find employment in this country? Yet our own feckless can't even be bothered to get on a bus and look for work.

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WTF?

unbelievable

in a few minutes no less then 4 thumbs down? you people are delusional!

I mean, come on people, are you really so arrogant as to say that you wouldn't be a part of the looters if the circumstances are right? you are lying to yourself.

at least i have the objectivity to admit that i could be one of them.

I'm not religious, but i feel a need to quote the bible "he who is without sin, cast the first stone"

you people should be ashamed of yourself.

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Meh

easy explanation

Those people coming from abroad are seen as hard working and eager, while your local punks are "a bunch of thugs", who would you rather hire?

they will get a job to get money? how's about they'll commit even more crimes? what do YOU think is more likely?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: unbelievable

@Danny 5

It's not objectivity, you idiot. Your only saving grace is that you're aware you have no respect for other people's property. This is cancelled out by the cowardice that you'll only nick stuff if think you can get away with it.

I don't doubt that you would join the masses of morons but please don't judge us by your (lack of) standards.

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NO.

You can accuse me of being arrogant. But given the circumstances of the last couple of nights I would never take part in the looting.

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Simple

Because us natives usually have a family to look after/neglect, and are not prepared to earn min wage for 50-60 hrs a week work and to rent 1/2 a room to sleep in.

Plus all those heart rending guardian readers would throw a hissy fit if they had to pay extra for 5lbs of organic potatoes at waitrose to cover the extra cost of hiring british labour to dig them up

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blind

so you're saying all the nazis where scum in WWII?

that's just one of many examples of mass hysteria. Are there scumbags in with the looters? of course! are they all scum? i hardly think so. is it possible that i could've been one of them? under the right circumstances, yes. Could you be one of them? indeed you could be, but you fail to see.

i don't judge you, i urge you to judge yourself, many studies have shown that even the most docile, friendly people can turn into torturing monsters given the right circumstances. given this fact, it should be simple deduction that if a person with pacifistic nature could turn into a monster, so could most people. most people including you, me and 99% of people replying here. to deny that is to deny your own human nature and that's sad.

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@Danny 5 NO.

The circumstances of the Nazis in WWII are different. Given that I had been born German, gone thru' the Wiemar republic etc. who knows. Just as other commentators have compared this to the Arab Spring these aren't comparable circumstances.

These looters took an event (the shooting of and armed drug dealer) then used it as an excuse for creating mayhem and theft.

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Danny 5 Wtf

As far as I can see, the circumstances were right and I managed not to pick up a new pair of trainers/TV. I managed not to destroy my area or wreck a business. I even managed not to beat up a Police officer.

Just what circumstances are you making up to justify your assertion looting in Britain is acceptable? and are these circumstances in any way applicable to what happened this week or are you restricting yourself to the script of 28 Days Later.

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re scum

but Danny,

Those scum are living comfortable lives on the dole at the taxpayers expense. There is no need for any of this , they are not protesting anything ie living conditions or some other noble cause.

Its just robeery with the added bonus of millions of pounds worth of collateral damage. Therefore I condier them ALL scum.

Having said that there are certain circumstances I would be with them - mainly if it was THE END OF THE WORLD , (due it metior strike od oil run out ) .that propertys then up for grabs

But siociety would have to be on its way out permanently

As it is , like I said , these are just scumbag theives and vandals.

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@Danny 5

The documented circumstances of behavioural change are significant and bounded; premeditated choice also enters the equation to find yourself in a situation where it could happen.

For rioting and looting: If the country were to grind to a halt, and we were all starving to death (literally), the I strongly suspect that I may be part of a mob in the end (after all, civilization is just a few days full feed from anarchy).

However, with no good reason to riot, and choosing to take luxuries (even kids from the riots have been saying "We're just doing it to prove to the rich and the police that we can"), theyr'e showing they're nothing less than oportunistic scum. There were no great modifiers and circumstance to this; it was premeditated choice.

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WTF?

Slime

If you want to earn more than minimum wage then get an education. Otherwise stop bleating about not being able to get a decent job. Either way don't try to blame the world for your fecklessness.

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djs

Re: unbelievable

If the circumstances were right, I would be a looter. I'd be among them. I freely admit it.

I wouldn't be looting jesus phones, crackberries and plasma televisions, though. I can live quite happily without that crap, and so can they,

Food. I'd loot food, if I were starving (or the world had just ended and I felt a sudden need to stockpile for the future.)

Things would have to be pretty damned hairy for me to take something that I have no right to, though, and I can imagine no situation so dire that I would go out on the rob for a new telly.

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Devil

sigh

i suppose i should be happy about the response i'm getting, as i do love a good discussion, but i personally feel the replies are rather embarrassing. I never said both situations are the same, i merely pointed out an example of mass hysteria, many other explanations could've been made.

it's appalling to see how little people are willing to reflect on the current situation, i always thought left wing and right wing where quite evenly spread on el reg, but i guess this is a right wing party afterall.

so go ahead, call me an idiot and deny all i say, dismiss the factual information i post as bollocks.

I'm proud of having the empathy to understand what goes on in other people's minds and i'm proud of my objectivity, it enables me to view myself in a way most people would rather not and i'm a better person for it. I know it's unsettling to think that you could be such a monster, but it's the truth.

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Who's a looter?

You're right (or should that be "your right"? ;) ), I would loot. I would loot in the total breakdown of civilisation when there is nothing left but that or certain death. Most of us reading this, downvotes aside, would. Especially if we have a family to try to keep alive.

I would loot food, and maybe weapons. I would not give a crap about mobiles, widescreen tellies, jeans, or setting fire to a dress in the window of a Selfridge.

The reason for all your downvotes is simple. We would loot in the aftermath of a devastating war, or maybe zombie apocalypse. What happened this week is simply no comparison whatsoever. Can you not see the difference?

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Big Brother

Title? We don' need no steenkin' title...

Danny 5:

"that's just one of many examples of mass hysteria. Are there scumbags in with the looters? of course! are they all scum? i hardly think so. is it possible that i could've been one of them? under the right circumstances, yes. Could you be one of them? indeed you could be, but you fail to see."

I refer the dissenters to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Wave

All of which suggest that ordinary, decent, honest types (like, say, the average El Reg Commentard) are capable of doing the most astonishing things when placed in the appropriate environment. Given that the Stanford prison and Third Wave experiments were able to produce the results they did in under a week and that Milgram had people quite happily administering apparently fatal electric shocks within about 20 minutes it is left as an excercise for the student to work out what spending a few years in (let alone growing up in) one of our nastier inner city environments might be able to achieve...

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Tough on crime...

Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime... (from the previous bunch of incompetents)

Which by my calculations means we should have gallows up in the city centre filled with rioters/looters (criminals) and politicians, bankers and the odd copper - for their part in creating the criminals.

The politicians made it too easy for the feckless to drop sprogs, claim income support and sponge - we now have a generation where, in some families, nobody has ever worked. Dropping sprogs and "going on the benefit" IS the way of life. We have kids who feel that they're entitled to a living, handed to them by the government.

The bankers for fecking up the economy - high unemployment always leads to crime.

The odd copper for vastly overstepping the margins - from harassment by (repeated) stop and search through to abusing section 43 of the anti-terror act and shooting people who look a bit swarthy (from Brazilian plumbers onwards).

This gives us pretty much the same backdrop to what caused it all to kick of in Brixton in '81 and '85... those who cannot learn from history and all that...

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Anonymous Coward

"please don't tell me there are no jobs"

Why not? Does the truth hurt?

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Anonymous Coward

re: very simple

"The majority of them will surplant lost benefits by getting a job." - I doubt it, more likely they'd just rob more.

I completely agree with your other point - I get served my cup of coffee on the way to work by a Ukrainian, and the cleaners in the building are from a variety of African / Eastern European countries. The fact that these people grew up in a poorer country than ours, and yet can learn a foreign language & travel 1000s of miles looking for work, in less time than the locals can get off the couch to apply for a job.

Perhaps it's time for a one in, one out immigration policy. Much to the BNP/UKIP/etc's disgust I'm sure, but there's a huge swath of English people I'd gladly swap for any variety of foreigners who actually want to provide for themselves and their family.

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Anonymous Coward

"the circumstances were right and I managed not to pick up a new pair of trainers/TV"

Yes but you're not an ill-educated 14 year old boy living on a run down council estate full of other ill-educated children with single teenage mothers. If you were, you probably would be looting.

The looters are certainly not blameless, but to say that their cirmumstances play no part whatsoevwer in their behaviour is monumental bullshit. Of course they are the product of their terrible upbringing. Unless you want to tell me that looting is in their DNA, in which case I would love to hear your solution.

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@Danny 5

You need to quit whilst you are only very far behind.

Of course the looters are all scumbags. They are looting after all. If you are calling out those who have tarred all those on the streets as scumbags then you have a case, but not when you are talking about looters.

Now, as to the point about the rest of us looting "given the right circumstances", I hardly think that the circumstances seen here are "right" for a bit of moral looting. No-one looting is starving, no-one looting is being tortured to death, no-one looting is being forced to work down a Zimbabwean diamond mine until they are either beaten to death or gang raped to within an inch of their life.

Grow the fuck up and get with the programme, sure if there was a complete collapse in society or a nuclear war and the options you were presented with was either take tins of food from the local ASDA or watch your family starve to death then yes we would all go in for a spot of looting. But given that the worst-off person in the UK [able to go on a riot] is better off* than probably 3-4 billion other people in the world means your argument is so big a load of bullshit that it is at risk of becoming a core tenet of Scientology.

*even on the lowest form of benefits you are guaranteed somewhere to sleep, a roof over your head, more food per day than half the world will see in a week, warmth, a longer expected lifespan than most, free healthcare and many other things most people in Africa, Asia, India and the surrounding areas would kill for.

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Angel

finally

someone to back me up! thanks for that.

it's not even that i'm giving the looters a free pass, they should be charged for those crimes, even if they did it under the guise of mass hysteria. i was merely pointing out that there's a lot of yous and mes in between the thugs. That doesn't mean only the real thugs should be punished, they ALL should be punished, i'm just trying to put some things into perspective.

Having said they should be punished, punishment should be effective and fit the crime, taking their benefits will only make things worse. let them keep their benefits, but cut them to pay for the damages sounds like a much better punishment to me.

and in regards to another comment stating you wouldn't loot a plasma tv, would you still not do that if you where standing in front of a broken window, see people running out with tv's by the dozen, no cop for miles around?

i think i wouldn't, but i'm not 100% sure, i don't know how i would act in that situation, because i've never been in that situation.

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Mushroom

"Those scum are living comfortable lives on the dole"

What's the alternative? Are you seriously suggesting that you WANT them to live UNcomfortable lives on the dole? Why? To enact some petty ego trip, so that you can feel big and powerful compared to them? That's so sad.

I want all people to live comfortable lives, whether they have any money or not. Whether they're in prison or not. Why the hell not? It's a lofty goal but at least it's a goal damnit. What are your goals? How many people have to suffer before you will finally feel happy about yourself and your community?

Will you be happy when 1000 people are living uncomfrotable lives?

Will you be happy when 10,000 people are living uncomfrotable lives?

What's the number damnit.

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Trollface

actually

the replies backing me up are so chock full of win that i seem to be moving to the front again. ;)

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Happy

If the circumstances were right...

yes, I would resort to obtaining food and drink without paying for them, not stealing them out of the arms of other people in the same situation as me, but I probably wouldn't have a moral problem with 'stealing' basic provisions from abandoned shops during a crisis (as oposed to nicking crisps, trainers and jewelry because I don't have any cash on me)...

The key here is crisis, a fully functional society with shops and basic services still running isn't a crisis.

I would never think 'omg', the police have their hands full, lets see how many trainers I could put in my closets or how many plasma's would fit on my walls. These people were scum, pure and simple.

claims that this is because of 'cuts' or because their social workers aren't giving them enough handjobs anymore just doesn't cut it. Britain DOES have one of the best social services in the world, I know this because I have had to make use of them. and yes, I have been homeless*, after that (and getting a job) I lived in a flat without carpets on the floor (chipboard flooring that is, not wall to wall oak), I had to cook my food in a kettle using some sort of ingenious tupperware submerged in hot water solution, I have slept in my clothes during winter because I didn't have money to buy gas for the meter, but I never tried looting or commiting crimes as a 'way out'. I got a job, then a better job, 7 years later bought a flat, sorted myself the fuck out.

I have however seen the entitlement in the eyes of some of these scum, the expectancy that the state will provide them with everything, that housing isn't something that you pay for but is provided for you, that new trainers is a human right that shouldn't be denied them, that you should be able to keep pets without having the money to pay for them (hello PDSA), that raising a family doesn't mean having to hold a job.

Britain's social services are an amazing safety net when people fall on hard times (like I did, and that I will always be thankful for), but those that don't see it as a help to get back on their feet and better themselves but in stead see it as a right to have 'richer' people pay taxes so the state can carry their lazy asses on a small gold pedestal are, in my mind, fully deserving of the title 'scum'.

Those that think there is a problem with 'social inclusion' and people 'not feeling part of society' are fucking missing the point. The problem isnt them feeling like they are ignored by society, it's that they expect the state to pick up where their parents stopped, and throw tantrums when someone won't make their jam sandwhiches for them anymore.

I don't know if the thing started off as a protest against the man that was shot or not (or if he was killed unlawfully as they call it), I guess in time we will find out. If it did, people had a right to be angry, to feel targeted, they certainly had a right to protest (peacefully). However, the people that started looting because 'bankers are rich, so are shopkeepers, I'm not, but I still think I deserve a fucking flat screen telly' don't deserve any sympathy.

If they want to feel like part of society then start by making them understand how they owe society, not the other way around.

*Technically homeless, that is not having anywhere to live, thanks to friends that were able to take me in I never had to sleep rough.

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Danny 5 - Would you?

So basically you are saying that if in a situation where you have the choice to commit a crime with the knowledge you would not face consequences, you are unsure of what you would do.

That sounds like the theme behind The Invisible Man, the idea that if you we not have to face the consequences our moral compass will degrade and we will become monsters. An interesting theory to discuss.

Do I believe it? No. Here at my desk at work there are many things I could steal, of high value, and be quite sure I could get away with it.

Ignoring looting in the 'end of the world' scenario I think your argument shows a very real moral weakness, rather than objectiveness.

I would also recommend to your employers that you be trusted with nothing more than a pencil.

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And please don't tell me there are no jobs.

There are not enough to go round. Simple, anyone who really thinks that the majority of the unemployed are layabouts who have no idea of what society is like beyond their blinkered and closed social outlook. Look at any area that has had some major industry closures, entire towns are been devastated by the impact. My area has seen unemployment got from around 5% to about 11% since this crisis started, you seriously suggesting an extra 5-6% of people just decided to go on benefit? For people to just off declare that people don't get a job because they are lazy is very offending and stems from ignorance (I hope rather than the alternatives).

Also, if you think the jobs that are taken by people working illegally in this country are available to people who are legitimately able to work then you are once again misled.

I'm going to get voted down here by every daily mail reader here

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Anonymous Coward

You don't have to do what an experiment says could happen

My parents told me not to steal, and I think this is correct. I believe you should earn money and buy what you need and want. I acknowledge the power of peer pressure and social pressure, but unlike the experiments in US, in real life when not playing along with an experiment, you have the option to not bow to social pressures and stick to your ethical beliefs and abide by the law.

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Anonymous Coward

@Danny 5

"so you're saying all the nazis where scum in WWII?"

I call Godwin's Law.

Incidentally, I bet the Nazis could at least spell. They were grammar Nazis, you see.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly not

"If you want to earn more than minimum wage then get an education".

That turns out not to be the case. It seems you are parroting the politically correct mouthings of the establishment (T. Blair, et al).

In fact you will find that most of the people who worked hard and got themselves deeply in debt to get an education never made much money. Whereas almost all the rich people in Britain today did so without any education - or at any rate without using what education they had. Alan Sugar? Richard Branson? David and Victoria Beckham? J.K. Rowling? The spud-faced nipper, whatever his name is? Not to mention the hordes of singing, dancing, acting, whatever "stars".

What you need to get rich is not education. It is (1) the ability to schmooze successfully and sell ice to Eskimos; (2) a fixed determination to get rich.

No less an authority than Mark Twain told us, over a century ago: "To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence".

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Anonymous Coward

Ivory Towers

How's the view from up there?

Anyway, we need people like the looters and the unemployed scum, because to quote Pacino,

'You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your f***in' fingers, and say "that's the bad guy."'

Because we could never be like 'them'. No, we're the good guys. We're so much better. Not because of environment or anything else like that.

If I was born to a single mother who has never had a job in her life. A mother who thinks drugs are more important than food. If I never knew who my father was. If I don't even know anyone who's even had a job. If all my friends are in gangs. If the only people I know who have money are drug dealers. And then I see bankers getting million pound bonuses for fucking economies up. I see MPs getting grands for duck ponds and moats. Yeah, I would never think about looting something. No, I would just get myself a perfect job and a perfect lifestyle. Because those who don't, its because they're scum. Simple as that.

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Gotta be a world record

Well done Danny - I'm pretty sure that's a record for the most number of downvotes accumulated in the shortest amount of time. Kudos!

Definitely a contenter for "troll/most-out-of-touch-commentator of the year" award at the end-of-year El Reg knees up.

<clap>

PS - does the El Reg track who this sort of thing? Can I suggest this as part of razzy-style award ceremony, where we can all vote for best-in-category type stuff?

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Meh

@Danny 5

Your arguments all fall flat when you consider the people living in the same streets as the rioters who somehow managed to resist peer pressure and NOT go out and rob a TV.

They are the same sort of people who can down vote your comments without somehow being delusional.

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fair enough

the godwin was actually unintentional, it was the first example of mass hysteria that came to mind

as for spelling, i'm not native, so you should cut me at least a little slack.

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Happy

close, but no

what i meant to say was that if i where dirt poor, had a bleak outlook on life and had no job, THEN i don't know if i'd still be such an upstanding member of society, there's a good chance i'd steal one of those plasmas too. I like to tell myself i'm a decent human being too, that i would never resort to these crimes under any circumstance, but i'd be deluding myself, i just don't know. I have a great job, a nice warm place for myself and many friends, my outlook on life is great, i have too much to lose. How i would act if i had nothing to lose? i cannot be 100% sure and nor can you.

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@Danny 5

I am really struggling to understand your point? What have your comments really proved, other than your inability to use paragraphs, punctuation and capitals?

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@Danny5

"now obviously i'm a lefty, hippy treehugger, so my point of view is slightly biased."

now obviously I'm a lefty, hippy treehugger, so my point of view can be discounted as sloppy, irrational, and morally bankrupt.

There, Danny. I fixed it for you.

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@Tom Welsh

To get stinking rich, yes you're right, all that is needed is confidence verging on the arrogance and determination. However that's just a minority of people who will actually do that, even if they know how to, because it's feckin' hard work.

To get well off enough for a decent life, education is required, which is also in most cases hard work.

Most of the rioting scumbags, however, are allergic to work

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English

where just thugs? oh, you mean "they're" just thugs

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Meh

keep level headed

surely it's a politicians job to prevent this happening again which involves working out what went wrong in the first place as well as calming the law abiders by talking tuff on punishments etc. i think it generally accepted that people aren't born 'scum' and can be rehabilitated away from being 'scum' once they've reached that status. But something causes people to become 'scum' and that needs to be put right. This idea of stopping benefits could make things worse and needs to be thought through. i think that's probably what Danny5 was on about.

Civilised society is much more brittle than people realise. I think the saying is something like any civilisation is 3 meals away from anarchy. Which i can believe. Imagine waking up tomorrow with no food or access to it, no money and no fuel. what will you do in 24hrs or 48hrs when you're very very hungry? before you go mental, I'm not saying these yobs are in this position, i'm just trying to demonstrate how brittle society actually is.

The Proles will always outnumber the policing authorities and that is why making the situation worse could be a whole lot scarier than it is now.

looting and destruction is terrible. the perpetrators need to be caught and dealt with in a sane way. knee jerk reactions could quite conceivably make things a lot worse. that's all.......

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@ Danny 5

Broken window, looters, no cops around, would I be tempted?

Strangely enough, no. I see value in things that friends give me, and I see value in things that I save up to buy. I'm not so keen on my job, but when the latest "ooooh shiny" arrives, it reminds me why I go to work in the first place.

Perhaps I have a better set of morals than you that I can answer no with certainty. But, then, I don't see myself being in such a situation as to have that as my options. As far as I'm concerned, the best place to be when the looters and thugs arrive is... somewhere else.

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Angel

not arrogance, nuance

@ Danny 5: the Dutch ex-bishop of Breda, mgr. Muskens, was completely chewed out in the media because he had said, that under certain circumstances it would be OK if a poor person stole a bread.

But these looters are not stealing a bread which they need to live: they've got Blackberries (sp?), they are stealing luxury items, and burning the shops. If they would have non-violently stolen basic foodstuffs from those shops because otherwise they'd be starving from hunger in the streets of London then I, being a left-wing hippy treehugger myself, would maybe have some sympathy (but also for the pissed-off shop personnel).

It's real simple: you *NEED* bread (or unemployment benefits etc.). you don't *NEED* a TV. So don't steal one. There's the nuance.

If Muskens were not senile by now, he'd probably say that the fact those yobo's felt they "needed" those luxury things was a societal disease in and of itself.

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Jobs went 'round

"There are not enough to go round. Simple, anyone who really thinks that the majority of the unemployed are layabouts who have no idea of what society is like beyond their blinkered and closed social outlook. Look at any area that has had some major industry closures, entire towns are been devastated by the impact. My area has seen unemployment got from around 5% to about 11% since this crisis started, you seriously suggesting an extra 5-6% of people just decided to go on benefit? For people to just off declare that people don't get a job because they are lazy is very offending and stems from ignorance (I hope rather than the alternatives)."

Seems there were lots of jobs to go 'round before there were more taxes to fund the welfare programs to cover the people without jobs, thus obliterating more jobs, thus needing more taxes, thus more jobs gone, repeat ad nauseum.

Same thing is happening in the states, the people with money who make the jobs are having it confiscated to pay for a welfare state, and thus the jobs aren't being created... so we need more welfare money, which kills off more jobs, etc...

It's a stupid vicious cycle powered by the greed of weffies and the purchase of elections by one of our political parties. The only way to effectively break the cycle is to stop doing it.

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Windows

"No less an authority than Mark Twain"

"Counted twice"? I wouldn't exactly describe Mark Twain as "An authority".

Thought he just wrote books.

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