I’ve always found that the treatment for the effects of repression is… more repression:
In an emergency session of Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron declared that “we will do whatever it takes to restore law and order.” His proposals were unusually concrete: more police on the street, more arrests and more prosecutions. CCTV footage will be used; no “phony human rights concerns” will stand in the way of publishing photographs of supposed offenders. Face-coverings can be removed by police whenever they feel like it, curfews are an option — “Nothing is off the table,” Cameron said. In the run-up to the Olympics next year, the government is “cracking down,” just as it has been against students and other protesters in recent months, going so far as to “pre-arrest” many suspected activists in the run-up to the Royal Wedding in April.
As of Friday morning, around 1,600 people have been arrested, with at least 500 charged, many in makeshift overnight courts. The sentences are incredibly harsh — six months for one student with no previous criminal record for stealing water worth $5.70 (American), four months for an 18-year-old man in Manchester for swearing at the police. The majority of those sentenced so far, according to the Guardian, are “overwhelmingly young, male and unemployed.”
The authoritarian response of the British government to the disturbances is a worrying sign of things to come. The only “context” permitted in the public discourse is the old, regressive idea that families, particularly single mothers, are to blame for “lawlessness.” This misplaced moralism is a deliberate attempt to avoid addressing the real causes of the unrest — inequality, poverty, unemployment and a lack of alternative narratives. The immediate future for Britain looks grim: increasing state repression, increased fear and suspicion of the urban poor, increased social divisions along class and racial lines, more blame and punishment and zero understanding. In other words, the very things that created the unrest in the first place.