Melanie Phillips

9 August 2011

The chickens come frighteningly home to roost

Published in: Melanie's blog

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Glad to see others also realising that organised agitation as well as opportunistic anarchy has been fuelling the British riots, which have now spread from London to other cities.

The most frightening aspect of these events is clearly the fact that the Metropolitan Police has been so conspicuously unable to get on top of the criminality and restore order. Indeed, a significant fact behind the rioting, looting, torching of buildings and unprovoked attacks on passers-by has been the perceived weakness of the police and that the thugs thus realise that nothing can stop them smashing up whatever or whomever they choose and stealing whatever they want.

If these disorders continue to escalate, the government will have no option but to call the army onto the streets. That of course would be an appalling indictment of both police and government in allowing the capital city to degenerate into such chaos that the only way to restore order is to abandon the civilian framework and call instead upon forces trained to make war. But the dismaying fact is that the Metropolitan Police has been unable to cope with what has happened, from a failure of intelligence at the beginning to a failure of strategy and tactics on the ground, because it is quite simply a force in disarray.

I wrote in yesterday’s Daily Mail that I was disturbed to read that the Home Office was thwarting the Prime Minister’s wish to hire the iconic American ex-police chief Bill Bratton to run the Met. At Conservative Home, Tim Montgomerie agrees. The collapse of the professional ethic of policing which has brought the Met so low extends throughout the country. So despite the obvious disadvantages, hiring an outsider untainted by this culture would seem to be essential. And Bratton’s record in turning round an ineffectual and demoralised force and transforming a lawless city into a law-abiding one is second to none. If I was sure of this yesterday, I am even more sure of it today—and what's more, that he is needed in the UK right now.

I have written for more than two decades on the various elements that have contributed to this collapse of order: family breakdown and mass fatherlessness; the toleration and even encouragement of grossly inadequate parenting; educational collapse which damages most those at the bottom of the social heap; welfare dependency; political correctness and the vicious injustices and moral inversion of victim culture; the grossly irresponsible toleration of soft drug-taking; the shuddering distaste at the notion of punishment and the consequent collapse of authority in the entire criminal justice system; the implosion of the policing ethic and the police retreat from the streets; the increasing organisation and boldness of anarchist and left-wing subversive activity; and the growth of irrationality, narcissistic self-centredness and mob rule and the near-certainty of a fundamental breakdown of morality and order.

To every one of these arguments that I have made over the years, the left has responded with jeers and smears. Now, as terrified citizens see their homes and businesses torched, looters queue up in order more efficiently to steal from shattered shops and passing motor-cyclists are dragged off their machines and beaten up and robbed --all with near-total impunity -- we can see all these chickens coming so frighteningly home to roost.

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

Read full biography

Books

  • The World Turned Upside Down
  • Londonistan
  • The Ascent of Woman
  • America's Social Revolution

Contact Melanie

Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5TT

Contact Melanie