New York Times slam Cameron, Liberal Democrats over riots reaction

The New York Times, America's newspaper of record has attacked David Cameron for his reaction to the riots.

The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record has attacked David Cameron for his reaction to the riots, accusing the Prime Minister of various misdeeds including hypocrisy:

“Mr. Cameron, a product of Britain’s upper classes and schools, has blamed the looting and burning on a compound of national moral decline, bad parenting and perverse inner-city subcultures.

“Would he find similar blame — this time in the culture of the well housed and well off — for Britain’s recent tabloid phone hacking scandals or the egregious abuse of expense accounts by members of Parliament?”


“Crimes are crimes whoever commits them. And the duty of government is to protect the law-abiding, not to engage in simplistic and divisive moralizing that fails to distinguish between criminals, victims and helpless relatives and bystanders.”

Collective punishment:

“The thousands who were arrested last week for looting and for more violent crimes should face the penalties that are prescribed by law. But Mr. Cameron is not content to stop there. He talks about cutting off government benefits even to minor offenders and evicting them — and, in a repellent form of collective punishment, perhaps their families, too — from the publicly supported housing in which one of every six Britons lives.”


“Making poor people poorer will not make them less likely to steal. Making them, or their families, homeless will not promote respect for the law. Trying to shut down the Internet in neighborhoods would be an appalling violation of civil liberties and a threat to public safety, denying vital real-time information to frightened residents.”

The newspaper then goes on to ask the Prime Minister to change direction in policy and overall philsophy:

“What Britain’s sputtering economy really needs is short-term stimulus, not more budget cutting. Unfortunately, there is no sign that Mr. Cameron has figured that out. But, at a minimum, burdens need to be more fairly shared between rich and poor — not as a reward to anyone, but because it is right.”

It also expresses disappointment in the junior coalition partner for going along with the Conservatives:

“Such draconian proposals often win public applause in the traumatized aftermath of riots. But Mr. Cameron, and his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, should know better. They risk long-term damage to Britain’s already fraying social compact.”

If the Prime Minister hoped that the actions of the last week would help rebuild Britain’s reputation in the world, they certainly have not in New York. The newspaper, whose website receives 30 million unique visitors per month, laments:

“Fair play is one traditional British value we have always admired. And one we fear is increasingly at risk.”

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16 Responses to “New York Times slam Cameron, Liberal Democrats over riots reaction”

  1. Ed's Talking Balls

    I couldn’t care less what The New York Times thinks about this government.

    Besides, Wikipedia has the following to say regarding the paper’s political persuasion: ‘According to a 2007 survey by Rasmussen Reports of public perceptions of major media outlets, 40% believe The New York Times has a liberal slant and 11% believe it has a conservative slant. In December 2004 a University of California, Los Angeles study gave The New York Times a score of 73.7 on a 100 point scale, with 0 being most conservative and 100 being most liberal.’

    That might go some way towards explaining the twaddle it has published in this instance.

    Strange that it chose to make the comparison between the expenses scandal and the riots, as if excuses were being made for the former. I seem to recall a few brave, albeit totally misguided, people saying that the expenses abuses only occurred because MPs weren’t paid enough. Quite rightly, this suggestion was swiftly torn apart. The Guardianistas are considerably keener to excuse criminality and greed on this occasion, however.

    As for ‘divisive moralizing’… What an odd thing to say. If ‘moralizing’ entails baldly setting out the importance of personal responsibility and condemning wrongdoing in the strongest possible terms, then great, it’s about time we stopped with this relativist nonsense.

    Regarding the section entitled ‘authoritarianism’, true, making people poorer might not make them less likely to steal. Then again, creating a culture of dependency and increasing spending on benefits didn’t work very well either. Making people homeless might not lead to respect for the law, but equally handing out soft punishments, or none at all, allows criminals to continue laughing at the law.

    And as for the economic advice the paper so helpfully gives, let’s just say that Obama’s stimulus hasn’t exactly been an unqualified success.

    Imprisoning people for crimes isn’t draconian, and neither is considering reform on the rules regarding giving benefits to criminals. Public applause will be forthcoming if the government takes into account the views of the law-abiding public; boos and jeers will result if it continues to haughtily dismiss voters’ concerns, as the likes of The New York Times would have it do.

  2. Lucinda Wells

    RT @leftfootfwd: New York Times slam Cameron, Liberal Democrats over riots reaction

  3. Clare Fernyhough

    Anon E mous, you say:

    ‘People in this country have a right to live free from fear’, and I agree with you: we all have the right to live free from fear.

    Ed’s Talking Balls, you say:

    ‘…creating a culture of dependency and increasing spending on benefits didn’t work very well either.’ Again, I agree to a certain extent. Also in regard to punishment, it cannot be seen as ‘Draconian’ if the punishment fits the crime. The seriousness of each crime should be dealt with appropriately, and where people have risked other peoples’ lives, they should receive lenghtly sentences. Other countries are seeing the punishments as draconian however because of the disproportionate punishment, like imprisoning someone for 6 months for stealing a bottle of water.

    With regard to what both of you have said, I agree of course that there should not be a culture of welfare dependency in this country. Before we can deal with that nevertheless, we must address the politics of all paries that have led to the economic state we now have. There are one million young people who are unemployed. In ‘boom’ times there are only ever around 600,000 jobs available in our economy; at the moment, that figure is 400,000. Therefore, it is time that all political parties stopped pretending that there is enough work out there for everyone: there just isn’t.

    In order to break welfare dependency, we have to ensure that there is firstly enough jobs to go around, and those jobs are paid at an appropriate level that enables people to afford to live. Unfortunately, you cannot ignore the fact that there just aren’t enough jobs in the economy for young people, let alone the other 1.49 million who are also currently unemployed. Moreover, due to inflationary pressures, minimum wage is no longer a ‘living wage’.

    You say that welfare didn’t work; it may well not have worked for some families as we have generations of people who have never been employed. That is indeed unacceptable. But, there are many families, disabed people, pensioners, and newly unemployed, who have worked hard in the past, and now find themselves victims of a finacial system that failed, and for which they had no part in. Further impoverishing these people via welfare reform, which year on year will reduce benefits paid due to up rating rules, at a point when inflation has risen to such an extent that they are already struggling to pay utilitiy and food bills, will lead to homelessness and desperation for millions of people.

    I have said this before: poor and vulnerable people will not just disappear from society; they can’t just wave a wand and change their circumstances. Welfare reform will turn out to have been a serious lack of judgement for the coalition, and will result in disasterous consequences for our society once the mass evictions of millions of social tenants happen in a few years time.

    Get the economy sorted and provide the jobs first, then we can address welfare dependency for good.

  4. Anon E Mouse

    Clare – I’ve got a quick solution to creating all the jobs you crave.

    Just go with Gordon Brown’s words and just give “British jobs to British workers”. Sorted.

    Onto your central point. Irrespective of how tough things are for people (and having just seen an article on the BBC where little children are starving to death in Africa I would dispute just how hard things actually are – the comparison so devalues the lives of Africans I would be ashamed to use it. To have shelter, food, heating and a Blackberry provided by the state is NOT a hardship) they should simply not be behaving in a lawless manner – you wouldn’t and me neither.

    All I have heard this week is excuses this and excuses that and as for welfare I would just point out that it was Labour’s own Frank Field commissioned by both Labour and the coalition that came up with this lot.

    Labour left this country in a benefits culture, importing foreigners to do the work the indigenous population refuse to do. To me that is racist to expect a Pakistani or Indian to clean toilets whilst doing nothing to help themselves.

    All this nonsense about Brits working in Europe only benefits the middle classes who work there. Stop immigration and force the Brits to get educated and provide Labour for the jobs now freed up – over 120,000 Poles moved here in the first year it was open to them and good for them but if they weren’t here those jobs could be filled by locals.

    The NHS employs 500,000 foreigners that should be in their home countries helping the starving babies I mentioned earlier so there’s another half million jobs I just found.

    All foreign prisoners on release should be immediately deported – there’s another 15k drain on our services sorted in just the time it took to type this.

    There is no excuse no matter what to smash the windows of a restaurant and steal peoples property or worse burn their whole lives to the ground, run them over and kill them or to steal the latest Plasma TV and the sooner people start obeying the law and not excusing terrible criminality the better.

    We are supposed to live in a decent country and the behaviour of these thugs has been anything but. Finally it is not the same as Gordon Brown stealing our money I’m afraid…

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