Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A German journalist gives his views on the English/UK rioting

Thomas Kielinger has been a London correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt for over twenty years, has been made an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen and has been interviewed by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

I think his views are worth listening to because they are from an interested and probably pretty knowledgable 'outsider' who has never seemed to me, whenever I have read his writings or seen him on various television programmes in the past (mainly on the BBC News channel, where he often in the panel on the programme Dateline London, but occasionally in other situations, too) to have any particular axe to grind. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says in the interview, because it is clear that whilst many (perhaps most) of the persons involved in carrying out the recent rioting and looting have been 'black' mainly Afro-Caribbeans (hardly any 'Asians' were involved at all, so far as I understand, although a number were certainly victims), there have also been a significant number of 'white' youths and children of both sexes who have been actively involved. Nevertheless I think Kielinger's views do merit careful consideration; let's hope he is correct in his comments about Germany.

I don't have any useful comments to make about the underlying causes of what has happened in various large urban settings across England; there are people much more competent than me who can perhaps comment sensibly. All that I will say is that I am thankful that this contagion has not spread to major Scottish cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee or Aberdeen and it is pleasing to have seen that some police personnel have been sent to assist their English colleagues in various parts of the country with restoring and maintaining law and order - last night seems to have been considerably more peaceful with no major incidents reported.

Now I am watching the emergency debate in the House of Commons. I have so far heard the Prime Minister, David Cameron, make a statement, followed by the response of the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Milliband. Both have spoken well and I think broadly constructively, although there are perhaps too many 'platitudes' from the Labour leader and the PM is not entirely guilt-free in this regard either - now I am listening to Daviod Cameron making his follow-on comments. That's really all I've got to say for the present. Perhaps there will be more later.

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