Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What is really happening in London?

To understand what is really happening in London and why, one must read Le Guardian and Le Monde and see it from a French perspective. What can one say?

Paris is no stranger to rioting youngsters, and burning cars is so much a new year and high holiday tradition, that is passes almost unreported. But the rioting in London and other parts of Britain made the front-page headlines in most of the French newspapers.

The coverage was mostly news reporting of events, but the Monday edition of Le Monde carried the headline: "Riots in London: the British press dramatises and tries to understand."

Most surprising were readers' responses to the upmarket and respected newspaper's report, which varied from echoes of the paper's leftwing, anti-market, anti-capitalist line, to outright Schadenfreude and xenophobic anti-English sentiment.

"Globalisation engenders an excess of individualism and nowhere more so than in Anglo-Saxon countries," wrote Jean-Marc Creau on the site. Joelle Koenig added: "Since the Reagan and Thatcher years, deregulation has grown faster. They reduced taxes for billionaires ... and now they want to work the people of Tottenham and elsewhere to death to pay off the debt."

Jean Baptiste Clamence wrote: "There exists in England an underclass that does not exist anywhere else in Europe. White, little educated, without any means of social evolution, they are a perfect example of the results of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and its dehumanising program. The English perversion is to make this population proud of their misery and their ignorance. The situation is hopeless. I've more hope for the youth of our banlieues."


  1. Interesting stuff, but I'm still wondering what is really happening. I should learn french.

  2. I feel little bit stupid because I don't know what to think about all that.. I definitely need to read more about politics and stuff outside my little Croatia.

  3. Linda, we should all learn French. I really don't think it is so complicated. Youths who don't feel part of society go on an opportunistic rampage.

    Marina, don't trouble your pretty head. You have enough to worry about in your little Croatia. (that sounds patronising. Yes, indeed it does)

  4. I daily thank all the powers that be that my people came over here from Ireland during the famine years and didn't go to England - what a wonderful land this really is - the land and the climate infect us with a laid back attitude (some call it apathy)which in general means that the bulk of us don't wish to hurt anyone unless pushed to hard...our boiling point seems lower - in general...maybe not always a good thing but not so bad really

  5. ..."and now they want to work the people of Tottenham and elsewhere to death to pay off the debt." Hmmm, the original riot started off in one of the worst, no-go council estates in Tottenham where I doubt any one has a job to 'work to death' in.

    Who knew that you could protest by violence, robbery and thuggery? You may think I'm being harsh, but we three are heading over there for a much-anticipated three-day break next week!

  6. MC, maybe it is because we have a bit more space between each of us. They really live cheek by jowl in some parts of Britain.

    Quite so Kath. Those ones just lose social services to pay the debts. I would put money on you not noticing anything different when you visit.