UK Politics

Tottenham Riots: The Shameful Comments of a Labour MP

7 Aug 2011 at 21:11

I’ve never heard of Derby North MP Chris Williamson. But tonight he’s made a dick of himself. Apparently the disturbances in Tottenham are the government’s fault. Yep, all David Cameron’s fault. Those wicked Tories are back, he says on Twitter.

Yep, the Tories are back alright. Why is it the Tories never take responsibility for the consequences of their party’s disastrous policies. #tottenham

This came minutes after he retweeted this comment from someone he follows…

Riots. Protests. Cuts. Unemployment. Disaffected Youth. Strikes. Recession.Police Brutality.

Is that really the best he can do? Does he really think that it is the Conservatives who caused these riots? Because his colleague David Lammy, the local MP, thinks rather differently. Tonight he has made a statement on his website…

“The scenes currently taking place in our community are not representative of the vast majority of people in Tottenham. Those who remember the destructive conflicts of the past will be determined not to go back to them. We already have one grieving family in our community and further violence will not heal that pain. True justice can only follow a thorough investigation of the facts. The Tottenham community and Mark Duggan’s family and friends need to understand what happened on Thursday evening when Mark lost his life. To understand those facts, we must have calm.”

I don’t know the circumstances of the shooting. But what I do know is that politics weren’t involved. It was a police operation in which Mr Duggan was shot and killed. Chris Williamson should take a good look in the mirror tonight. I doubt whether he will like what he sees.

A second aspect of tonight’s events was the insatiable appetite of the media for immediate reaction and comment. Here’s a tweet from Guardian journalist Dave Hill, who blogs about London.

@bbc5live still unsuccessfully seeking comment from Boris & from local MP @DavidLammy. Same here. Beeb also chasing Livingstone #tottenham

YeGods, do these people not think the local MP, the Mayor of London and maybe even poor old Ken might want to gather their thoughts before saying anything? Politicians have a responsibility in these situations to say nothing until facts are known.

People have every right to protest against anything they want to, but they must do it lawfully. This protest turned into an unlawful riot. Full of violence. Full of looting. There can be no excuse for that, and no explanation.

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