Insurrection Lite

Playing Devil’s Advocate to the English Riots



The August 2011 riots of England and Wales were perpetrated by mindless thugs hell-bent on violent assault, the destruction of property and opportunistic theft.

The terror and anarchy that spread from the capital to other UK cities may have started as a peaceful protest against the fatal shooting of 29-year old drug-dealer Mark Duggan but quickly spiralled into chaos, fuelled by criminal avarice.

The reason and the message of that protest was lost the minute the first missile was thrown. This violence was not triggered by public unrest nor is it our melting-pot boiling over. This is not our Arab Spring nor should parallels be drawn with the civil unrest of the Thatcher era. Continue reading “Insurrection Lite”

Middlesbrough – a City at Heart

Flying the flag for M'bro
Flying the flag for M’bro

Middlesbrough has today launched its bid to be Britain’s newest city.

In 2010, the Government announced that a new city would be created as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year. Many locals feel that there’s a real chance that 2012 will prove to be third time lucky in its bid for official status.

The town currently acts as city-centre for the Teesside area and the wider Tees Valley city region. With a population of 720,000 people, this is the largest conurbation in the country not served by a recognised city.

Continue reading “Middlesbrough – a City at Heart”

Nanny and the State

Nora Saunders was born in 1926. Her daughter quips that in that time she’s buried three servicemen – succeeding where the nazis and North Koreans failed.

My Nan used to be a real hard arse.

She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years ago and soon after was put on the partially sighted list. Her second husband, Jim, died six years ago and because she was unable to look after herself, the house was sold and she moved in with my mother, in the neighbouring town of Gosport. Continue reading “Nanny and the State”

Sir Stuart Bell. End of the Party?

We have been learning much about the right way an elected official should behave. Sir Stuart Bell, Labour MP for Middlesbrough since 1983, seems to be teaching by bad example; the polar opposite of what his constituents expect and deserve.

Not only is Bell’s presence largely absent in the Houses of Parliament – his figures for debates and votes well below other MPs in the area – he hasn’t held a public constituency surgery since 1997, citing an incident where he was physically threatened during one as the reason why. Instead he says he meets with constituents by appointment. Continue reading “Sir Stuart Bell. End of the Party?”

TV Review: Hillsborough Disaster Debate

Inside Out, North West. BBC One, 19.30 Mon, 17 Oct 2011


There are a few news stories that I remember from my early childhood, events so huge that despite barely comprehending them I couldn’t fail to be moved by the public outcry.

There were the strikes and riots synonymous with Thatcher’s Britain, together with atrocities dealt out by murderous swine both foreign and domestic; the effects of these still resonate and define policy today.

I didn’t know a thing about the game itself, but the Hillsborough disaster of 15th April 1989 that resulted in 96 Liverpool F.C. fans being crushed to death and some 766 more being injured created such a furore of attention that it would have been impossible to not get swept away by the anger and frustration at both the failings of the Police, and the deception of the media. Continue reading “TV Review: Hillsborough Disaster Debate”

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