And it seems that the new economy in Britain has left a lot of people without a lot of future — and they're really pissed. The Washington Post article, "Looting, arson spread widely in London, as civil unrest escalates" is a representative report.
In the worst bout of urban violence to hit Britain in more than two decades, parts of London morphed into lawless no man’s lands. Most of a block in the Croydon neighborhood erupted Monday night into an inferno that incinerated the 140-year-old Reeves furniture store, a south London landmark. After midnight Tuesday, an even larger fire tore through a Sony distribution center on the other side of the city, in Enfield.
Gangs of youths roamed one south London neighborhood while carrying molotov cocktails, the BBC reported. And widespread looting was reported in the west London borough of Ealing after a shopping mall caught fire.
In a way, it's the legacy from Maggie, the Iron Bitch, and the de-industrialization of Britain. When things get that frustrating, a lot of people don't need a reason to go on the razzle. This is not a new observation, it was pithily expressed by Earl Vince and the Valiants over 20 years ago: Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight.
Interestingly, it seems that the razzlers are using Blackberries to organize their creative mayhem. According to The Telegraph in a column, "London riots: how BlackBerry Messenger has been used to plan two nights of looting":
During the Arab revolutions earlier this year, attention focused on Facebook and Twitter, but for the looters and rioters of Tottenham, Enfield and Brixton, the communications tool of choice has apparently been BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). It appears to have acted as their private, encrypted social network over the past two nights’ violence.
RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones are very popular among inner city youths on both sides of the Atlantic. The devices themselves are typically cheaper than Android models and the iPhone, particularly on pay-as-you-go packages. But it is software that central to BlackBerrys’ success in this market.
BBM is an instant messaging application, allowing users to communicate in a similar way to text messaging, but effectively for free, as traffic is exchanged via the internet. According to analysts it is replacing text messaging among young people.