The Corner

An Epitaph for Britain

I disagree with the editors that “Race … does not seem to be the explanation” for the North London riots. Or rather, while it may not be the explanation, it’s a big part of the explanation; though the protocol over there seems to be that you have to be differently-raced yourself to say this out loud.

Plainly there are white kids among the rioters. Equally plainly, blacks are wildly over-represented. The population of the U.K. is two percent black. Does anyone think the proportion of black people among the rioters is two percent? It looks to me more like 60-70 percent.

Race was also a big factor in the police non-response to the riots. In London especially — but other jurisdictions take the lead from London — the police have been thoroughly race-whipped by the PC establishment. The Macpherson Report of 1999, which charged the Metropolitan force with “institutional racism,” was a turning-point. The mentality of the London police leadership now is pretty precisely that of General George Casey. The Daily Telegraph’s David Green has a good article on this.

The native British underclass is unruly, to be sure (see our own Tony Daniels on this in the current U.K. Daily Mail). They are quite capable of breaking windows without instruction.

The British, however, have lived with their class problem for a millennium and more. To deliberately add a race problem on top of that, as the post-WW2 British did, for no reasons other than sentimentality, crank economics, and post-imperial noblesse oblige, was an act of folly for which history offers few parallels. A few brave souls among Britain’s leaders said so at the time, but they were shouted down and hustled out of public life.

I quoted Lord Melbourne the other day. I should do so more often: he is very quotable. Here he is again:

What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.

You could inscribe that on Britain’s tombstone.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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