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Some riotous graffiti in London

Yesterday, as daylight was ending, I encountered this item of graffiti:

In case – what with the rather unhelpful lighting and this blog’s preference for making photos smaller – you can’t read that, it says:

FRENCH RIOTS GET RESULTS! U LOT ARE INSTAGRAM ZZZOMBIES.

The above transcript has the added advantage that if anyone sees this same proclamation and types the words of it into the www, there’s a good chance they’ll get sent here.

This message is (or perhaps now: was) to be seen on the bridge where the top end of Tottenham Court Road goes north over Euston Road and turns itself into Hampstead Road.

I’m not sure what to make of it. He (it probably is a he) has a point, I suppose, if by results you include the riot police getting a pay rise. Riots do sometimes get results, but only in rather particular circumstances, I think. Things like a very weak and unpopular government, and preferably also a dithery and indecisive one; and like: a symbolic issue of great potency, and like: the absence of any other means to express discontent.

But, my prejudice is that the sprayer of the above message is a hell of a lot more interested in rioting, for the sheer hell of it, than he is in what the results of any particular riot might be. “I riot therefore I am” is what this says to me. Or, to adapt that old Marlon Brando line: “What are you rioting against?” “Whaddaya got?”

Personally, I prefer taking photos.

25 comments to Some riotous graffiti in London

  • Flubber

    I have a feeling that sans riots, we’re gonna get screwed on Brexit.

  • lucklucky

    And you posted the photos in Instagram… 🙂

  • Julie near Chicago

    Startpage: Some results including CNN, Reddit, Instagram, but not Samizdata.

    Duckduckgo: NO results.

    Google: One result: Samizdata.net !

  • Itellyounothing

    I am getting cautiously positive about Brexit.

    The sheer pressure on MPs from voters can be inferred or else the whole Remainiac parliament would have already sold us out. They keep playing for time, with a collapsing timeframe. A strategy of weakness and fear. The Federasts haven’t faced a hard fight in 40 years and the polls ain’t moving no matter what project fear 2.0 is putting out. The PM and Parliament both look weak in the face of ordinary people’s displeasure…

  • Itellyounothing

    The threat of riot looks more effective….

  • Mark

    @Itellyounothing

    Absolutely. If they have such contempt for us, May could easily have called a free vote and they could easily have pushed through her grotesque “deal” but they haven’t. Time is not on their side. I’m not sure what they think they are going to pull out of the hat and when. The referendum was their chance and they blew it.

    As for these French riots what are they rioting against? They don’t like Macron for sure but they seem to be rioting for the status quo, economically at least: state, state and more state. We don’t want any more taxes but we don’t want any cuts. I’m sure, being French, its more nuanced than this but this seems to be at least a large element of it.

    It’s far easier to ignore rioters than it is to wilfully overturn a peaceful democratic vote. To do the latter, they need to operate within the democratic framework they clearly hold in such contempt. “People’s vote” anybody?

  • Anonymous

    @Itellyounothing. Likewise. The threat of riots is effective, and if they deny us Brexit, it won’t be a threat anymore.

  • Mr Black

    The graffiti is correct. The British are spineless and will submit to whatever they are told to do. But then we already knew this.

  • Jacob

    “The British are spineless and will submit to whatever they are told to do.”
    While the French, the courageous French, they riot, set up guillotines, destroy property, behead people, and have a lot of fun.

  • Sam Duncan

    What results have the original yellow jacket protesters achieved? A six month moratorium on fuel tax. The Leftists who’ve hijacked them have certainly achieved what they wanted – chaos and inconvenience for the public – but what does that profit anyone?

    And Macron still hasn’t resigned.

    “I am getting cautiously positive about Brexit.”

    As am I. I think the Plan was to present a Draft Agreement they knew nobody could accept (hence the need to keep the Brexiteers of DExEU in the dark), hype it as being the only possible Brexit – the logical, foreseeable, consequence of Article 50, thus placing the “blame” for the “chaos” on those who voted Leave – whip up support for a second referendum from both sides on the basis that “nobody can agree”, then present the question as ”Brexit” (i.e., the DWA) or Remain.

    However, they didn’t count on the Withdrawal Act putting the date in writing (remember there was some pushback against that at the time), or losing the “meaningful vote”. That killed off any support for another referendum from the pro-Brexit side. WTO is the default outcome. Barring any last-minute chicanery by Brussels-Whitehall (which is why I’m only cautiously optimistic), all we have to do is wait it out.

    That said, a disturbingly large portion of the public have swallowed the scam, even with its obvious flaws, hook, line, and sinker. I didn’t think my opinion of the EU could sink any lower, but the cynicism with which it has attempted to manipulate public opinion, knowing that it could – I don’t blame the suckers; I blame the con-men – is beneath contempt.

  • My view is that if the clock is in effect turned back to before the Referendum, the clock keeps rewinding until it reaches 1642. Those seeking to undo the result are, to paraphrase Orwell, people playing with fire who do not even realise fire is hot. Mr. Black is an utter fool to look forward to such a time but he will get his wish for political violence in Britain if the likes of Lord Adonis & Tony Blair get their way.

  • bloke in spain

    “As for these French riots what are they rioting against?” The failure of the social contract? Successive governments get elected on the promise, you pay the taxes & we’ll deliver the services. They certainly extract the taxes but people haven’t felt they’ve lived up to their side of the deal. Hence the flirtation with Marine which resulted in Teacher’s Little Pet taking the prize. Who’s proved another serial liar.

    What do riots achieve? Considerable. The Poll Tax riots put the skids under the Community Charge. The repeated rioting by the melanin-enhanced community has won them Most Favoured status in a whole range of areas. And the Left has always regarded putting people on the streets as a legitimate arm of the political process. It takes a very strong government not to back down & make concessions when bricks are flying. That Samizdatistas clutch their pearls doesn’t make it an ineffective political tool. A few cars burning on the streets of Central London would certainly gee May up in the progress towards Brexit.

  • What do riots achieve? Considerable. The Poll Tax riots put the skids under the Community Charge. The repeated rioting by the melanin-enhanced community has won them Most Favoured status in a whole range of areas. (bloke in spain, December 25, 2018 at 12:10 pm)

    I disagree. The PC arranged all that. The riots were nothing but the solicited background music to their political agenda.

    – The community charge itself was merely the background music to the Tory party Europhiles rebelling against Maggie – over her lack of EUro-enthusiasm, not over the ‘poll tax’, which was discarded as a side effect of her fall.

    – The melanin-enhanced community area a prop for the PC, who allow them no power save in that role. (For example, if I recall the opinion polls correctly, that community was the least enthused about gay marriage of any, but since when was that allowed to inconvenience any PC agenda? Now for the islamic community, it seems to be another matter, but they don’t just riot.)

    Any woke university administrator will eagerly give the PC cringe to woker student rioters, making the latter seem powerful, but you try rioting for Trump and see how far it gets you with them. 🙂

    This does not prove riots are in the elites’ control – recent French events prove otherwise – but notice their thumb on the scales in your examples.

  • bloke in spain

    I’d say you’ve just proved my contention. Rioting is an effective legitimate political tool when used to compliment other tactics. Debate reinforced by the brick. However rioting for the sake of rioting achieves little.
    “but you try rioting for Trump and see how far it gets you with them.”
    Try it & see. The aim is to get your opponent to back down on an issue because you make the cost of not doing so unacceptible.
    Problem is, it’s only the left have the stomach for these sort of tactics. The last people going to use them is a bunch of limp-wristed libertarians.

  • bobby b

    “The last people going to use them is a bunch of limp-wristed libertarians.”

    You say this like it’s a bad thing, but an authoritarian libertarian – which I presume is the antithesis of a limp-wristed one – would be a dreadfully conflicted soul.

    How do you propose to modify “live and let live” with “or else!”? I can understand the application in the personal sense – “live and let ME alone – or else” works fine, but “live and let live as a rule of society – or else!” is a more sweeping and controlling proposition, and is contradictory to the prime libertarian directive.

  • bloke in spain

    Well, I’d always presumed libertarianism is a means rather than an end. A method of achieving a state of life aspired to. As a means, it’s a non-starter. Unless all are libertarians. Which is as much of a likelihood as a unicorn winning the Grand National. Freedom must be fought for and, thus, someone has to be on the losing side. Which means some other person has to put them there. And that’s not going to be a libertarian. Too busy debating how many Ayn Rands can dance on the head of a pin.

  • bobby b

    “Well, I’d always presumed libertarianism is a means rather than an end. A method of achieving a state of life aspired to. As a means, it’s a non-starter. Unless all are libertarians.”

    That’s exactly how I think of it, too. I don’t see “libertarianism” as a destination – it’s a trend, it’s a direction of movement on a specific continuum of political philosophy. One can be more libertarian than another person, but no one can be a libertarian (except insofar as we bastardize the label into the name of a political party.)

    But it’s not a non-starter as a means. That would be true if you looked at it as a destination that can never be reached until everyone is in agreement that we want to be there, but that’s not what it is. It’s a means of convincing as many people as possible that smaller government and less regulation and more “live and let live” would all be better, which helps to move society’s trend in that direction. You can be libertarian when you try to move to a completely free society, or when you simply act as a sea anchor slowing the growth of government.

    So if I can convince someone to alter a state statute in a way that cuts down on the hiring of state personnel devoted to enforcing a requirement that certain people submit onerous state-mandated forms on a regular and costly basis, I certainly cannot claim to have brought us to a “libertarian” society, but I can claim to have exerted a force on society in a more libertarian direction.

    Our societies aren’t going to become “libertarian” by some strong, brave acts on the parts of a few people. They’re going to become more libertarian as the result of many such “limp-wristed” actions on the parts of many people, convincing the masses (for lack of a better term) that we all prosper when we move thusly. Libertarian thought, by definition, cannot be served by force of will – it must be spread through convincing argument that produces agreement and buy-in instead of simple adherence.

  • bloke in spain

    “It’s a means of convincing as many people as possible that smaller government and less regulation and more “live and let live” would all be better,”
    You could try that, I s’pose. Maybe in the States, that’d work. You did, after all, elect The Trumpster. Here, in Europe, far too many have a vested interest in the status quo. We want a smaller state, we’d have to cull it. We will, eventually, have to have some sort of revolution. Put democracy on the back burner, for a while. There’s really only a minority dreaming the dream so the majority’s going to have to do what it’s told.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes I rejoice that the proposed tax increase in France is not going to happen – but that does not alter the fact that a lot of the “Yellow Vests” stuff was nonsense, demands for higher pay (without more work), more government spending (without higher taxes) and so on.

    If the “results” of riots are a desperate effort to make 2+2=5, to appease the rioters, then these results are not good.

  • There’s really only a minority dreaming the dream so the majority’s going to have to do what it’s told. (bloke in spain, December 25, 2018 at 9:54 pm)

    That’s precisely what our enemies believe and how they justify what they do, the dream being so great and all that anything it needs is justified. Their dream, as described to the hoi polloi, is unrealisable, but, as e,g, Stalin demonstrated, the power to enforce the quest for it is very realisable.

    (Ignoring all higher points) I would think it a poor approach to inform the healthy majorities that dislike political correctness that they were to become bystanders while two minorities fought the issue out over their heads. The yellow vests speak to a strong disconnect between the French political class and the French public. That also exists here. Their total list of declared aims (especially as reported) are (of course) incoherent, but their initial demand could have been satisfied. Macron’s an idiot, but he conceded more statist demands while merely delaying their initial one because he’s a statist.

    I’d always presumed libertarianism is a means rather than an end.

    Unlike the commenters who broadly agreed, I suggest some reasonably free, and freedom-maintaining, society is the provisional end. The future of such a society is unpredictable (e.g. who could predict what all will one day be said a free speech society). The statists (think they) know their planned end. We don’t even claim to know any particular end is achievable, merely that the more statist the end (e.g. socialism) the more likely it is not (as described) achievable.

    I appreciate this could be just another way of saying that (a degree of) libertarianism is a means (i.e. a means to any worthwhile end).

  • bloke in spain

    You obviously don’t understand how the game is played, Paul. The results are very good. A government left trying to make 2+2=5 is a government is going to fail in delivering its promises. One isn’t trying to produce better government, at this point. One is trying to produce worse government. To increase public dissatisfaction with government, not reduce it. To curb the growth of government, not enhance it. If it can’t get the tax increases it doesn’t have the money to spend to buy votes. It doesn’t have the money to continue its relentless expansion. If it can’t satisfy the demands for higher pay it makes it harder to impose further demands on the taxpayer.
    Mostly it’s an erosion of government power. Water cannon & riot police & tear gas are bad optics on the evening news. They show a government on the back foot. Weak governments are, at this stage, unpopular governments. Alternatives begin to look more attractive. And that’s the game we’re trying to play, isn’t it? Remember, this isn’t a university intellectual debate. This is a bid for emotions. To change the way people feel.

  • bloke in spain

    Above all, try to understand this isn’t a fucking philosophy class. Your famous thinkers from history are worse than irrelevant here. Government is not a monolith. It’s a churning mass fighting it out on the greasy pole, all sharp elbows & stamping on hands. All naked self interest. Whover’s currently on the top of the heap is the target those below are trying to unseat. The aim is to create dissension within government itself. Play one faction off against another. Render it incapable of concerted action.

  • Mark

    @Paul Marks

    I think the real point here is that we have voted – democratically – to leave the political prison that the EU is for us, but for those in the Eurozone the prison is economic and there is no real way out, democratic or otherwise.

    These yellow vests basically are just smearing shit on the walls of their cell. As are/would be protests in any other eurozone country, no matter what form it may take. Elect whatever party you want, riot, get short term concessions, humiliate some leader. What will any of it achieve?

    Can the eurozone be reformed in any meaningful way that does not involve serious economic pain for one side or the other (i.e. Germany sticking its hand deep into its pocket or Greek style economic calamity imposed on the rest).

    The politics is Brexit is a pantomime. The economics of the eurozone is not and its fallout will be horrendous. Putting as much distance as possible between this and ourselves should be what Brexit is all about.

    The EU is falling apart, if it somehow survives, what will it survive as?

  • bloke in spain

    “Can the eurozone be reformed in any meaningful way that does not involve serious economic pain for one side or the other (i.e. Germany sticking its hand deep into its pocket or Greek style economic calamity imposed on the rest).”
    The reality of this is something I confront here every day. Sorry, but by Northern European standards the Spanish (excluding possibly the Catalans & Gallicians which are other countries) are a lazy bunch of cvnts. Couple of weeks ago we had yet another holiday. F*ck knows why, but yet another day they’ve skived off work & nothing gets done. There’s another next week. That’s on top of New Years Day. October, this town has it’s annual feria (closest word in english is fair) But it’s not just carnival rides set up on the marketplace. It’s the week the whole town parties. Local authority workers knock off at mid-day. Many businesses do similar. When they do work, everything seems to take longer. “Next day” deliveries are the day after. If then. There’s little sense of urgency. Or efficiency. Often it’s the small things. I regularly collect packages from the post office. They seem to have a system that’s both electronic & paper based, simultaneously. First the item needs to be scanned. Then a form completed. Now signed for. Once on an electronic pad. Again on the form. Five minutes for a single item. Doing a simple thing like changing ownership on a car is a major operation can consume a day or more queuing in the relevant offices. It’s not hard to work out why. It’s the resistance of the public service unions to automation & the resultant loss of jobs. The paperwork & costs involved in starting a business here are little less than horrifying.
    Sure, it’s a wonderful relaxed place to live if you can afford it. Great climate. Easy going. But getting pretty well anything done requires twice the effort it might in the North. That’d be OK if the Spanish were content to accept the consequences. If you’re less productive you will create less wealth & be poorer. But the Spanish aren’t. They have an overwhelming sense of entitlement. They expect the same level of prosperity as their northern European partners.
    And much the same applies right across the southern flank. Italy, Greece, to an extent, France. There’s a profound cultural gap. Without wealth transfer from the north subsidising the south, Europe just can’t work. Whilst the UK’s been chipping in it’s 40 billion odd, it’s survived. Sans the UK, I can’t see the remaining northern nations picking up the slack. Their electorates won’t wear it. And you can already see the precursors in people’s personal behaviours. The weakness of the pound has made a profound difference to the spending of ex-pat & visiting Brits, down here. It has, after all, been an effective 25% devaluation. That’s a lot less money feeding into our local economy. The particular sector I’m interested in, I’d say it’s down 50%. That hurts. It’s going to get worse.
    So there’s going to be some very nasty tensions playing out, one way or the other. The south unhappy because it’s getting poorer. Or the north, unhappy because it’s getting poorer ensuring the south doesn’t. It’s not a horse I’d like to be riding.

  • Jack the dog

    Popper himself said that political violence is justified in order to overthrow a tyrannical government, and he defines tyranny as a government that the governed cannot change peacefully.

    Well, we voted peacefully to swap our brussels government for a london one which we can send home periodically.

    If that fails to happen or if we end up with some bollocks like mays dismal wa, then for me Poppers conditions are satisfied and we can start petrol bombing remainers houses with a clear conscience.

    The graffiti is cool but pointless.

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