David Allen, bassist of influential political punk outfit Gang of Four, has posted a blog entry wherein he reflects on his own experiences in the tumultuous England of the 1970s, and finds parallels in the current conservative anti-union and anti-social service crusades in the UK and the United States. He notes:
The last time Britain saw widespread rioting, in the 1980s, street violence came after a long and failed political struggle against the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, which suppressed trade unions and decimated social services. Americans ought to ponder this aspect of Britain's trauma. After all, London is one of the world's wealthiest cities, but large sections of it are impoverished. New York is not so different.
The American right today is obsessed with cutting government spending. In many ways, Mr. Cameron's austerity program is the Tea Party's dream come true. But Britain is now grappling with the consequences of those cuts, which have led to the neglect and exclusion of many vulnerable, disaffected young people who are acting out violently and irresponsibly -- driven by rage rather than an explicit political agenda.
The last statement is particularly noteworthy since it addresses the general looting and seemingly meaningless violence that has taken place in the UK. From Allen's perspective,