Behind England’s riots, a violent and entitled generation of British young people

The riots in England seem to be one of the most significant events there in some time, and I’m sure I’m not alone in having been awaiting Dalrymple’s take on it. He argues in today’s New York Daily News that they validate his warnings about British society:
The riots in London and elsewhere in England have confirmed what I long knew and have long preached to my disbelieving but totally unobservant countrymen: that young British people are among the most unpleasant and potentially violent young people in the world. It took determination on the part of my countrymen not to notice it.
These riots certainly did not emerge from a cultural vacuum. Many visitors to Britain, including Americans, are surprised and disturbed by how quickly many people in Britain appear to get murderously angry over trifles and direct real and frightening hatred at a person who has offended them in some very slight way. Tempers flare over nothing.
So the sheer viciousness and destructiveness of the riots certainly do not surprise me. No one who has seen an English football crowd, and the brutal faces it contains, could be under any illusion as to its potential for violence. At the last match I attended, the police kept the supporters of the two teams apart by almost military maneuvers, and after the match thousands of them frogmarched one set of supporters into their awaiting buses. If they had not done so there is no doubt that widespread fighting, looting and destruction would have occurred. And football tickets are now so expensive that it is no longer the game of the poor. Thus poverty does not explain the quick resort to violence, or the obvious taste for vandalism, of the modern British….This is now the British way of life.
Knowing how many of our readers are English, we’d enjoy reading your comments on these events. And of course, we hope everyone stays safe from the barbarians.
UPDATE: The Daily Mail has actually published a story on Dalrymple’s New York Daily News piece:

37 thoughts on “Behind England’s riots, a violent and entitled generation of British young people

  1. Gavin

    Thanks for posting this. I had of course been looking forward to it. I think TD will write more too.

    Sadly I can endorse every single word he says from personal experience. It is shocking to see Mr Cameron only just “waking up” to the deplorable nature of street level British society now – something the rest of us have to endure every day.

    In my opinion our cities, where anonymity reigns, are in a state of cultural emergency. A sense of conservatism, of what is right and wrong, has never been more needed. We are supposed to have a Conservative government, or at least half a one. Let’s see if they begin to act like one, but let’s not hold our breath.

  2. Angelina

    I know loads of American ex pats who came over here as students and have remained and they love it here. I also live in near a US air base and they are equally enchanted by the UK. So enchanted in fact that a few of them can’t bear to leave without leaving a part of themselves behind.

    Does Dalrymple think riots never occur in other countries?

  3. Clinton

    “Does Dalrymple think riots never occur in other countries?”

    What do you think? Do you think Dalrymple actually believes that there have never been and never will be any riots in any other country? Does the fact that he has written about riots in Paris impact your opinion on this point?

  4. Gavin

    Your post has nothing to do with what is going on in British cities. It appears you personally have no experience of what is going on either.

    Yes, I think having been to approximately 100 different countries, Dalrymple has some idea that riots occur there. If you read his article you might learn why they are occurring in the UK.

  5. Andrew S

    A lot of people in Britain are utterly shocked by what has happened. I don’t like to contradict TD but the fact is this is a problem mainly concentrated in inner-city areas, precisely the sort of district in Birmingham where he was a prison doctor. Smaller towns haven’t really been affected at all.

  6. Chris

    I’m afraid Dr Daniels is right. This violence is not in support of any Cause; still less is it racially motivated (though no doubt scores are being settled under cover of the mayhem). It has arisen simply from a sense of frustrated entitlement from a slavishly dependent underclass which has been created by the state in order to keep itself in power. I live in West Sussex – a relatively prosperous county. We have had no riots – yet. But downtown Worthing has long been a no-go area after sunset, being infested with young binge drinkers. (Where do they get the money from?)

  7. Damo

    What I like to know, where were the parents of these youths?

    I hope they weren’t rioting and looting as well.

  8. Gavin

    Granted, but I think TD would argue this is the tip of a deep iceberg, that most towns across the country have now been infiltrated by antisocial behaviour. I certainly saw it, for example, in Woodstock near Blenheim Palace not long ago, and TD has written at length about his time in Yeovil.

  9. Ex army

    Is this guy for real?
    He’s like A Twenty first century lord haw haw.

    Is patriotism something he missed out on in school?

  10. Seymour Clufley

    > Smaller towns haven’t really been affected at all.

    Don’t you think that is for the following reasons:

    1. safety in numbers, and there aren’t the numbers of underclass in these small towns
    2. a riot in a provincial town would be an isolated event and thus easily tackled by the police (we hope)
    3. people in small towns talk, and within 24 hours everyone would know who did what.

    In other words the underclass exist all over Britain (I just passed a few on my walk to Tesco, hoodies over sullen faces as usual) but any mass transgression would be dealt with by the law-abiding far more easily than in a city.

    I also think there is simply more community in these small towns. The locals would team up and beat the living daylights out of any rioters, either at the time or the next day.

  11. Lewis

    ‘constructive criticism is patriotic.’

    Then why not direct some life-enhancing constructive criticism at your own great nation because, God knows, it needs it.

    Because whatever is happening on our streets right now your glass house is way bigger than ours.

    To coin an Americanism, ‘Try cleaning out your own back yard.’


  12. Gavin

    Lewis, I am only replying to you because the guys here saw fit to post your message, when I certainly would not have done.

    I will simply say that you should be grateful that you have their interest and concern when you plainly do not deserve it.

  13. Clinton

    Oui, je comprends bien.

    I understand that it must be annoying to read criticisms of England on a website run by two Americans. I would also be annoyed to read similar criticisms of my country on a site run by non-Americans.

    But please understand that I am not the one doing the criticizing; Dalrymple is. And he is English. I, an admirer of his writing, am simply presenting HIS views to the world. I agree with much of what he says – obviously. But I do not have sufficient personal experience of England to validate or deny his criticisms of his country. Although I find him very credible, and I think he is probably right.

    You are correct that America has plenty of its own problems (although I would suggest not as many as England at the moment).

    To start with, we have massive debts that are going to cause us serious pain over the next 10-20 years. We aren’t responding with spending cuts as well as Britain is.

    Americans have become too accustomed to getting something for nothing, to living beyond our means.

    As the holders of the global reserve currency, we have become complacent about our wealth and power.

    We have developed too much of a sense of entitlement. We have assumed that prosperity would always remain our permanent condition, rather than something we must work greatly to maintain.

    The younger generation has grown soft as the result of (for the most part) never having experienced great difficulty.

    We have chosen our leaders poorly, such that 46% of poll respondents recently said they think EVERYONE in Congress is corrupt. As we are a republican democracy, this is our (the voters’) fault.

    Our popular culture is largely shallow and vulgar.

    Our intellectual elites have lost faith in the ideals that made us great.

    Our education system is pathetic.

    I could go on and on. I can see how reading such criticisms on a site run by foreigners would be annoying, but please understand that we are only presenting Dalrymple’s criticisms, and that this does not mean that we think America is perfect. Far from it.

  14. Andrea

    As an American who has lived in England for four years now, let me say that whilst I know full well that my country has many problems and is not perfect, yours is not perfect either. No country is. That being said, however, we should not sit back and say, “oh, it’s bad, oh well…”

    True allies will always give constructive criticism where it’s due in order to make their allies get stronger and better. I have seen no end of brutal realities since moving over here. Just because I am American, does that mean I am not permitted to voice my concerns, legitimate concerns, about the state of a most beloved country as the United Kingdom is to me? Am I expected to pretend everything is lovely here when it is not? Multiculturalism is a failed experiment and it should have been stopped years ago.

    Remember, we’ve had to clean both our backyard and help you clean yours before, so please show a little more respect amongst those who mean and do well.

  15. Seymour Clufley

    I think of Britain and America as siblings. I don’t think we should have any qualms about criticising each other; the mutual affection underlying (and outliving) such criticism is clear enough. Where would we be without each other?

  16. Jaxon

    Well, I live in England and I think that’s very well put and I appreciate this blog.

    Sadly the rot goes very deep, and very wide. Dalrymple almost saved my sanity; I was often left thinking, am I the only one who sees what’s going on?

  17. Englishman

    Well, this chap who in his time has lived in the slums of Brixton, Clapham and Shepherd’s Bush finds an awful lot to agree with in Dalrymple’s analysis. The sad truth is (and it is very sad) that in both Britain and the USA, this kind of behaviour is a consequence of people living on welfare for prolonged periods. The US has so far escaped it because the bulk of its population feels that welfare is demeaning. That used to be the case in the UK, but for some time now it hasn’t been.

  18. S. D.

    That’s too easy. Much of what William Joyce said was of course true. After 1945, the British Empire crumbled and much of Europe was dominated by the Soviet Union. That was precisely the outcome that Joyce and his mentor Goebbels had been predicting all along.

  19. Paul

    That’s a very fair riposte. However (or despite) your list almost exactly mirrors ours in England. You need to take heed, which I’m sure many of you are.

  20. Chris

    Damo, the parents of these youths are precisely those who became enslaved by a state-created dependency a generation ago. This slavery is being passed down from parent to child. “Britons never never never shall be slaves” runs our second national anthem. This meant “slaves to our own rulers.” Sadly, what was most feared has come to pass.

  21. Chromehorse

    I am English and worked in the public sector social care field for 35 years. I think much of what Dalyrmple says is true. Some changes have been good – many aspects of liberalism are great and a ot of things are much more open and democratic. I spent most of my career sincerely believing that we were building a better society. However I now feel that much of what my generation did was wrong and dangerous. It cultivated many very bad things – irresponsibility; greed; a serious break in the link between hard work and reward; sensationalism; a shallow culture; cynicism; lack of respect; and the undermining of what is best about family life. People are reluctant to pass judgement or lay blame, or generalise. Politicians and press need to set a much better moral standard in their personal lives and financial dealings if they are to seize the moral high ground. Far too many people prattle on about poverty and social causes of bad behaviour. Too many criminals excuse their behaviour by saying their ‘rights’ have been violated or they have been failed in other ways. In my view people make their own choices and we should be far more judgemental in ensuring they face the consequences. I can’t speak for America but have no problem with Americans discussing their take on what has been happening here.

  22. Shishir

    I think you miss the point of why non Brits admire Dr. Dalrymple and his writings.It is certainly not to indulge in schadenfraude in the predicament of British society.Au contraire, most of those who subscribe to his views are Anglophiles and view the descent of a great culture and society as a cautionary tale which they(Americans,Belgians,Dutch among others) would should pay heed to.

    In my view ,there are few greater British patriots than Dalrymple as “constructive critism is patriotic” and no one dishes it out better than the good doctor.I will grant you that the dosage may be quite acrid and hard to swallow.But then you can sugarcoat the truth only so much!My main beef with him is that he is a bit defeatist-I dont know why mabe its an agnostic English thing ,witness the writings of former Englishmen John Derbyshire and Mark Steyn which are also of the “all is lost” variety.

    I am not Western or white(I am from India though I lived in U.S and visited London and had a whale of atime in both) ,I would say the only reason such pathologies are contained in the 3rd world are due to traditional ways of life and religion and family as an anchor.
    The Left has done with all three and what they have sown ,people of all ideological stripes have to reap.

  23. Jaxon

    Gavin, for what it’s worth, the forum is very interesting… and sobering.

    It’s good to read it at a ‘remove’, as it were, without the temptation to contribute, carelessly, I actually read what’s being discussed… I doubt there’s much, of value, that I can add.

    Keep up the good work.

  24. Jaxon

    You’re welcome. I think I need some time out, as blithe as I must surely come across, this weekend I’ve been feeling quite distressed about it all – over load.

    How on Earth Theodore Dalrymple copes I don’t know…
    Well, thanks to his writing I’ve got some idea.
    Speaking of which, and I’ll try to keep this breif as you must be very busy and this is off topic.

    My appreciation of Shakespeare is due largely to Dalrymple… maybe if through the forum people dedicated some space to, say, Dalrymple on Shakespeare… who knows? He might be moved to do more… a year or two from now perhaps there could be enough to justify a book.

    Just a thought, maybe not a very good one.

  25. Gavin

    I think your distress is completely understandable. It has been distressing for me, not only because I was actually in London at the time, but also it is distressing simply to be confronted with the fact that there is such a large underclass of people who are prepared to do such things.

    I agree with you Dalrymple is admirable for being able to write of it so often – and it is important to write of it while liberals stick their heads in the sand (and even worse, tell us to be quiet!). None of us likes these things, none of us enjoys pointing out these problems, but they present themselves to us, and if we are silent we are almost complicit. This, I’m sure, is what motivates Dalrymple.

    I think that’s great that Dalrymple inspired you to read Shakespeare. A thread could always be started in the forum on that topic. 🙂

  26. Jaxon

    So much for time out, I need rehab, yes, yes, yes 😉

    “None of us likes these things, none of us enjoys pointing out these problems, but they present themselves to us, and if we are silent we are almost complicit. This, I’m sure, is what motivates Dalrymple.”

    Yes quite… I suppose like ‘destroying things being enjoyable’ moments of near perverse pleasure can creep in, but as with this weekend, it bites back… affairs of the conscience.

    Let us rather
    Hold fast the mortal sword
    and like good men
    Bestride our down-fall’n… kingdom?


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