Doubtless to the chagrin of Guido Fawkes, whose e-petition on the return of the capital punishment has been pushed extensively in the mainstream media, the first to meet the threshold for a possible debate in parliament calls not for the darkly euphemistic “restoration of justice” but for convicted rioters to be stripped of benefits they may be claiming.

Events, dear boy, events …

  1. I’m not sure what surprises me more – the determination to make people homeless or the assumption that all the looters were on benefits. This is not democracy – it is sking an already hysterical government to legislate by hashtags on Twitter.

  2. Hmmm, but is it not justified? These people have not only committed a crime, but they have targeted fellow citizens and completely destroyed their communities. A controversial punishment, but one which will show behaving like a moron will have consequences.

    Let us be liberal, but not stupid.

  3. @unemployedhack Agree with your point. But the petition will obviously state those on benefits should not be allowed them until they complete some sort of community service.

    Also, democracy stays within all realms of debate, be that the Commons chamber or the wider public on Twitter.

    Let us now have sympathy for the woman who jumped two stories from her burning flat. Instead of these jerks.

  4. This is ludicrous in the extreme. The benefit system is a safety net not a reward/punishment system.
    Why is a looter/rioter any different from a common thief? Or for that matter a benefit fraudster? Yet drug barons, benefit frauds, thieves et al are allowed to claim and receive any benefits that they are entitled to.
    If a lone burglar broke into a shop in a “non riot” area on the same night as the riots – would they be able to claim benefits?

  5. @Michael Roberts – I don’t condone the riots or the looting. You cannot punish people by leaving them to starve on the streets. There is already a perfectly capable legal system without knee jerk reactionaries jumping on a hysteria bandwagon.

  6. @Marg

    My friend works for the Department for Works & Pensions…and he agrees with this e-petition. It’s about time it was used as a means for punishment, if you do not appreciate the help the state provides…by destroying your community, then you do not deserve help. It’s a simple argument, that shouldn’t be complicated.

  7. Also, let us not forget…if you are not actively looking for work, they punish you by stopping your job seekers allowance. So it is used as an incentive/punishment system.

  8. Chris Cheetham says:

    This is one step down from allowing the police to shoot looters! It will not solve anything and how do you deal with those in jobs? The legal system will deal with them. It is simply vengance not justice.

  9. @Marg

    I agree, we shouldn’t let anyone starve on the streets. These guys should be well fed in prison. That poor Malaysian guy that had his jaw smashed in, and then items stole from his bag when he was at his most vulnerable. If any of those morons are on benefits, then they obviously have no respect for them.

    Their is another option for them. The route that we all chose. That of morality and respect for others.

  10. If we need new deterrents or sanctions against crime, then it needs to go across the board.

    Can we remove property and citizen rights from people?

    Probably not.

  11. I know I’m probably pursuing right wing ideals, which isn’t the best idea for a left-wing blog. All I can say is, I’m liberal on all areas…except for criminality. I like to put the rights of the victims first. The law breakers do not have the same rights. If their is no punishment for such acts, then where does that leave law abiding citizens?

  12. Chris Fitzpatrick says:

    @Michael Roberts

    I completely agree, what has happened in the last week has been so eye-opening and shocking, peeling away normal social constraints to reveal a layer of society that delights in destruction and using fear as a form of entertainment.

    But surely, if we are to class ourselves as better or more enlightened in being law-abiding and contributing to society, removing the rights of these people to have a roof over their heads and to buy food, makes us stoop to a level that I feel will only lead to more social division and further the disaffection felt by some of the perpetrators of the riots. If people have no money, they will have to steal to survive – let alone have G-Star Raw jeans. These crimes happen all the time, though on a lesser scale. Just because the nation is emotional and shocked, does not justify tougher sentences and punishments. These crimes under normal circumstances would not justify making people homeless and taking away their benefits.

    I am angry and shocked, and feel that the speedy arrest and sentencing of these individuals is enough of a deterrent. Longer sentences and stiffer punishments do not deter; the fear of being caught does (a proven fact from the vast prison population in the US, consisting of many disaffected young men.) The real need is now tacking the rampant celebrity worship and consumer culture we have bred in young people who have far less prospects than the previous generation. We have already been voted as the worst developed country to grow up in, and these riots are now showing us this lost generation starting to come of age. Our efforts must be to stop the rot before it becomes too late.

  13. @Chris Fitzpatrick My rebuttle to “But surely, if we are to class ourselves as better or more enlightened in being law-abiding and contributing to society, removing the rights of these people to have a roof over their heads and to buy food, makes us stoop to a level that I feel will only lead to more social division and further the disaffection felt by some of the perpetrators of the riots. ”

    I understand that point. But they understood what they were doing was wrong. Yet, they still did it.

    What classes us as more enlightened people that the guys looting, etc is that we weren’t looting. We don’t really need to prove that we are “even more enlightened” than them.

  14. @Peter Hatt

    The guy that works in the primary school…he will be sacked. No legal requirement to sack him. But that is the punishment he will no doubt get.

    The graphic designer: no doubt when his place of work finds out of what he was up to this week will result in him getting the sack.

    No sympathy.

  15. “convicted rioters to be stripped of benefits”

    Rioting holds a maximum sentence of 10 years, and you don’t keep recieving benefits if you’re in prison. How many people are convicted of riot and don’t get a custodial sentence?

  16. Chris Fitzpatrick says:

    @ Michael Roberts

    I’m sure they knew what they were doing was wrong, but they have got to the point where they don’t care and feel justified in what they are doing. They said that they were doing in protest against the police, but really police meant ‘the establishment’, it’s just that the police is probably the part they have the most contact with and knowledge about.

    We weren’t looting because we know that lots of these shopkeepers are not rich businessmen and struggle themselves. We know that development and nice places to shop and work have to be worked for and maintained. These kids have no idea that the police are often men and women trying to make society better.

    This is the problem – I didn’t loot because I know these thing and I love Manchester because of the hard work gone in to making it a great place for me to live. I am not stupid enough to believe it is nice for everyone, and that everyone understands the general processes that are required to make it a great place. These kids know nothing but ‘making money’ so they can get out of their hard existence, by any means. I’ve been lucky to have the means to go to university and have a great career.

  17. How about we just let the justice system do its thing? Some of these ‘rioters’ are guilty of nicking cakes from a bakery, or electrical equipment that they gave back when they handed themselves into the police the following morning. That’s not to excuse their behaviour, but nor is it up to us, the public, to decide what punishment they should face; there are people qualified to determine suitable punishments, just as the police are (in the main) capable of policing the streets without taking on board knee-jerk suggestions from the masses.

    Or the Prime Minister.

  18. @Chris Fitzpatrick

    I understand what you are saying, but that still doesn’t make it right. Ignorance isn’t an excuse.

    I’m coming across as my worst Thatcheresque right-wing nightmare…but these “protesters” crossed a line by destroying the lives of hard working guys and gals around the capital. Not to mention those guys that were run down. Although it pains me to say it, I agree with Cameron. Some aspects of society are sick.

    I prefer a protest along the lines of the guys from Capitalism: A True Love Story (M.Moore, 2009) where they protested against foreclosure via demonstration and non-violence.

  19. On the bright side, at least it wasnt Guido’s capital punishment petition, despite all the publicity he managed to get from his right-wing tabloid friends.

  20. @John Ruddy

    Haha, agreed!

    One last point (although my opinion has had more than enough air time for one day!). When the political elite was found ethically wanting with their expenses, how many of them were further punished by the electorate? The vast majority! Rightly so.

    Punishment is a weapon to highlight poor behavior, and should be used whether it is the political establishment, the police, despot dictators, violent thugs or rampant looters.

  21. Epic fail on my part, I thought Libby was referring to Political Scrapbook’s spelling! But yes, they used “loose”….the petition is therefore not legally valid! 😀

  22. These thugs weren’t only looting, they were burning people (including children) out of their homes, it is a miracle that nobody was burnt alive. We can’t just put this down to a week of madness, that level of mindless violence and lack of empathy for others must be addressed with extreme measures. These people need to experience the misery that they have caused to others by putting them in the same circumstances. Nobody is suggesting that they should be homeless and without food but they could be put up in institutions where basic amenities are provided but no cash is given. After all the homeless victims are having to temporarily live in public buildings This will send out a message to others thinking of committing similar crimes in the near future. However, this is a short term punishment and no a long term solution.
    As for allowing our legal system to deal with them, that will be about as effective as tent in a hurricane for providing protection given that many of these people are multiple offenders. We clearly need to try a new approach. Leniency hasn’t worked, the prisons clearly aren’t a deterrent, however drafting multiple offenders into the army would tackle several issues:
    – It would put the offenders into a situation where they would have positive male (and female) role model and would mix with people from all walks off life.
    -The youths who turn to gangs often do so in order to have a sense of belonging (a surrogate family) to compensate for a poor home life. The army would give them a sense of belonging to something of which they are an important part, a gang for good.
    -the army would give them a future, since they would be trained in many skills and once they have served their few years sentence, they could possibly get a career in the army but at worst walk out with their new skills, sense of self-worth and pride for their positive contribution.
    -a tour of duty would also ensure that they changed their mind about violence, many soldiers talk of the mind-sobering effects of being involved in combat, they no longer see war and fighting as glorious.
    – The youth would be removed from the materialistic gang land environments and put into a new environment where uniforms ensure that people are not judged on possessions and appearance but actions.
    – they would keep fit and have structure in their lives for the first time
    – there is obviously a risk of death in combat but there is also a huge risk of death in gang/knive crime and drugs.
    Those youths who are under age should be forced to attend army/air cadets to instill a sense of discipline and belonging.

  23. Dr. Joseph Bimstein says:

    A howling mob carrying torches to set the city alight is mediaeval.

    Wouldn’t casting people on to the streets to starve be a suitable mediaeval punishment?

  24. Stopping benefits will give them an incentive to become professional criminals.

    Rather than locking them up show them a way out.

    Probelme is decades of (deliberate?) dumbing down of our educational system has made many schoolleavers semiliterate and almost unemployable.

  25. I’d like to see parliament debate this petition exactly as it was submitted. I want to see how they are going to ensure that convicted rioters “loose” their benefit.

    There’s a petition in there somewhere to ignore all mis-spelt petitions. That one gets my support.

  26. I’d have liked to see all the MP’s punished for skanking their expenses, but no, this is the sort of thing that riles the worse off people of this country along with bankers being given massive payouts that some of these kids could only dream of,

    lets remember they will never get a job in that sort of position! why??? because ENGLISH kids can not afford education and are the ONLY people in GB that have to PAY for it! they can’t get educated for free, they can’t get jobs because the government and co-horts in the EU allowing mass immigration to take the jobs, they can’t get bankers bonuses, they cant get MP’s allowences, they cant get…..they cant get,,,,,,,,

    what have they to loose??

    CHANGE the system, CHANGE the government so it represents the people of this country!

  27. Hi, Tracey. We have a professional, elite (and shrinking) army. It is not a suitable depository for assorted scum bags. However, if the rules, discipline and routines that you associate with the army were applied to young offenders while they were detained, it would almost certainly do some good.
    I’ve seen brats in prison, doing their various short sentences, and they don’t give a shit. They have nothing to lose – no job and still lived with mum when they went in, back home to mum after a few months running amok in a holiday camp.

  28. @Sylv. Three MPs were jailed over expenses.
    If someone is too lazy to go out and get a job in the first place, then no immigrant can take a job from them. And there is a lot of free education, but many kids still leave school unable to read, write or add up, having wasted the opportunity. As for uni, you only pay when you’re earning; further education is only out of reach for those who can’t be arsed putting in the effort to learn the basics.
    I also can only dream of banker’s bonuses, but don’t use that as an excuse to act like a dick.

  29. There is a new petition going round to “Maintain fairness and justice instead of bowing to public demands for kneejerk responses”, calling for rioters to be dealt with though the legal system as it stands, rather than rushing the justice process for the sake of public appeasement.
    You can view/sign it here:

  30. So you are looking to rid your girl of these unwanted stalkers when you are drawn to Willow Creek’s Black Mirror Castle. The game was released on August 3, and is in stores now, but probably is where it will remain, sad to say. You Divide everyone at the party into two groups, or tribes.

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