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NIGEL PIVARO ON SALFORD RIOTS
 

Star date: 12th August 2011

REASONS TO BE ANGRY AND REASONS NOT TO RIOT

Here, Nigel Pivaro argues that no matter what happened or didn't happen in Salford on Tuesday night, the Salford riots were wrong – just ask a Syrian!

Full story here…


Salford Riots
click image to enlarge

REASONS TO BE ANGRY AND REASONS NOT TO RIOT
By Nigel Pivaro


The reasons for riots are many and often contradictory, even within the mob doing the rioting. There will be some taking advantage of disorder to temporarily enrich themselves, there will be others there because of the thrill of a fight, a fire and general chaos.

Some will cite their opposition to immigration, as I heard a young Salford rioter protest on BBC Radio "It's about the government letting in all these Polish so we can't get jobs."

No doubt there would have been kids of Polish and other foreign descent present at the riots in Salford who might seek to justify their participation as antipathy towards a society that singles them out as different, or even against other ethnic immigrant groups who have displaced them in the job market.

They might have stood side by side with our anti Polish rioter blissfully unaware of each other's supposed motives. Others, as reported by the Salford Star, appeared to be there because of the `party atmosphere' that the event provided, with unpaid for `liberated' cans and nibbles courtesy of Lidl.

Whatever the reasons rioters seek to use to justify or explain what happened in and around Salford's already dilapidated precinct, it was WRONG. This was not Peterloo or the Chartists on Kersal Moor or the workers protests around Bexley Square of the 1930s for the right to work.

This was as greedy, self centred and as vacuous as the more corrupt elements of wider society that it held a mirror up to. In terms of constructive protest this riot had no legitimacy and simply allows those in society we should rightly be angry with, and seek to change or replace, with the opportunity to muddy the water and deflect attention away from their own wrong doing and short comings.

In a democracy a riot of this sort puts the cart before the horse. There are so many legitimate reasons for people to be angry in response to events internationally, nationally and not least locally but I have not seen one banner or protest here articulating those causes of anger.

And there are many… housing in Langworthy and Broughton, care for the elderly, Childrens Services, Hazel Blears' expenses, Council waste and mis-spending, the failure as yet to deliver the benefits to locals of massive publicly funded investments in projects like Media City and lots more…

There is a way available to all of us over 18, to protest and change things, it's called the ballot box and democracy. If you are not happy with the Council then don't be part of the 70 per cent that do not vote in local elections. If you are unhappy with Hazel Blears then join the Labour Party to vote to deselect her, or vote elsewhere in national elections.

If you are angry about single issues like Housing or Green Belt development then form action groups as people have done in Langworthy and Irlam. Challenge, Protest, Vote and we will achieve more than any `Liberation of Strong Brew' ever can. In short, Don't Get Mad Get Even, do not allow the politicians, sub systems and policies that we feel have oppressed and failed us, to reclaim the moral high ground.

This prescription I maintain should also apply to us at the Salford Star. Notwithstanding the fact that I was not present at Tuesday's events, I feel the tone of the Salford Star Lidl report struck the wrong chord.

I do not think that what happened in Salford was as nasty as what happened in London and Birmingham, where as we know, innocent bystanders including a 68-year-old man were attacked and killed in the most cowardly way. It appears that in Salford at least there was no gratuitous violence of a similar type towards ordinary citizens and that most disorder was directed against the police and property.

That said the mob did not stop to distinguish between corporate business and those run by families - The Chinese chippy on Fitzwarren Street and the grocery store on the corner of Liverpool Street got it just as bad as the Lidl store and Cash Converters.

However the fact that the riots here happened shortly after those London riots means that in most people's minds the Salford riots will be forever connected to those disgusting events there.

Perhaps we should reflect that no matter how frustrating things can be here, where we constantly come up against the white collar looting within the banking system and financial markets, and council and government departments finding ways to spend our money on things we don't want and often not on what we do want, we can change things by political engagement. The sooner people of all ages understand that and do the basics like remembering to vote the sooner we get progress.

Since March I have been in regular contact with Syrian democracy activists both in the UK and inside Syria struggling for freedom and regime change. To Syrians we have freedoms and benefits they can only dream about, the like of which they are fighting for.

What has impressed me, even puzzled me at times is the Syrian activists' refusal to embark on a path of destruction and violence even in the face of ruthless killings of demonstrators by the Syrian Government forces.

The reason they give me for their resistance to choose violence is that to do so would be stoop to the level of the regime. That by continuing to protest peacefully they will maintain the trust of the people to enter office with a morally clean sheet.

Next time we are upset and frustrated about something here we would do better to reflect on that position before reaching inside a broken window to retrieve a pair of training shoes.

Remember: Crime does not pay…as well as politics.
So choose politics.

Photos by Diane J

See previous articles - click here and here and here and here

 

remember 92 wrote
at 10:27:27 on 17 September 2011
Great article but the other side of the coin is this. operation gulf is in full effect and the TRUTH about the riot is that it was used as an opprtunity to draw the police out. Whilst the oppurtunists were at work the police ran from the people they have spent years harrassing, persecuting, fitting up and brutalising. Earlier this week 175 solid tax paying citizens lost their jobs due to operation gulf. Thats another 175 pised off familes. The fact is the police ran from salford to protect the bigger prize that is manchester commerce. Has for the supprised police chief who was shocked by the level of intent to damage his officers he obviously has no idea what the rank and file are upto.
 
Steve wrote
at 09:57:22 on 20 August 2011
Good article. Particularly the points you make about their indiscriminate nature of these riots. The Salfordians who suffered during these events deserve better. “There are so many legitimate reasons for people to be angry in response to events internationally, nationally and not least locally but I have not seen one banner or protest here articulating those causes of anger.” I agree with this but just wanted to add that maybe the education needed to articulate anger in this way hasn’t happened for one reason or another. Also, on this point, there seems to be massive inconsistencies in the punishments given out to the ‘political’ rioters and rioters.
 
Steve wrote
at 15:22:37 on 18 August 2011
Good article - here's a link to another one which indicates the riots were more or less inevitable. http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/owen-hatherley/look-at-englands-urban-spaces-riots-were-inevitable
 
J D C wrote
at 17:59:02 on 13 August 2011
An excellent article obviously written by someone who understands the dynamics at work; that in my opinion is very Salford. N.P. = M.P.
 
Carol kelly wrote
at 17:57:40 on 13 August 2011
An excellent article written by someone who has a deep regard for his Salford roots. It was heartwarming and indeed life affirming to see and hear the reactions of many decent people in the aftermath of the wanton destruction of our beloved cities. Let's hope that the news agencies give this as much coverage as they devoted to the mindless minority who have added to the reputation of Brits abroad as yobs. Yes, the Syrian people are showing dignity and restraint in the face of murder by their own government. Yes, brave females in Arab countries are facing imprisonment simply for voicing their wish to be allowed to drive. Perspective is severely lacking in the thought process of many of our citizens who feel they are hard done to, and yes things can sometimes be changed by using the vote that was fought for in our recent history. Many feel that whoever they vote for, nothing much will change, but peaceful intelligent process can make a difference much more these days when all politicians are only too aware that their every word is being recorded, and their reactions scrutinised.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 17:57:35 on 13 August 2011
"...change things with the ballot box"? Come off it Nigel, the UK ballot box is nothing more than a very small fig leaf so that the ruling class (and you, for some reason I can't fathom) can say, "if you don't like the way it is you can use the ballot box". If *the people* really did govern this country (i.e. if it was a democracy), things would be a hell of a lot different. The trouble is that MPs have no intention of representing their constituents, and never will. The people pay over £300 BILLION in direct tax to Parliament and Parliament is deaf to them. Rupert Murdoch picks up a phone and MPs are falling over themselves to do his will and he pays virtually no UK tax. Ballot box and democracy my fekkin arse. And I predict future riots will get a lot more political, a lot better organised and a lot nastier until the people start to feel like they're getting their say in how their country is run.
 
paul wrote
at 17:57:11 on 13 August 2011
So Dave Chapel you do not agree with violence but accuse this article of being out of order, can you explain why? unless you really do agree with violence. Also I would be interested to know why you think the salford riots were on the cards? Is it because the salford rioters are so weak minded that they have follow what happened in London and Birmingham? And its your opinion Dave you do not speak for Salford. Surely excersing our hard fought for democratic rights to get change is better than a mindless mob.
 
paul wrote
at 17:51:16 on 13 August 2011
So Dave Chapel you do not agree with violence but accuse this article of being out of order, can you explain why? unless you really do agree with violence. Also I would be interested to know why you think the salford riots were on the cards? Is it because the salford rioters are so weak minded that they have follow what happened in London and Birmingham? And its your opinion Dave you do not speak for Salford. Surely excersing our hard fought for democratic rights to get change is better than a mindless mob.
 
sal wrote
at 17:50:46 on 13 August 2011
An intersting and sober piece in contrast to the Wednesday's almost giddy contraversial riot report. Though in the light of the previous article I cant help read it and think Damage Limitation on behalf of the S Star.
 
ant potter wrote
at 08:16:57 on 13 August 2011
Making sence out of madness. Great writing.
 
Dave Chapel wrote
at 08:16:33 on 13 August 2011
No one really agrees with the voilence, but it was on the cards, keep your eyes and views on Syria, you are out of touch and order, in my Salford opinion.
 
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