Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

August 9, 2011

A vote of thanks to the UK rioters. #not #ukriot #eqnz #chch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 7:59 pm
Tags: , ,

Dear UK rioters.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, I thank you, I thank you.

If ever I question my faith in rebuilding our beautiful southern city, I will think of you and this last day and remember why Christchurch matters and why we bother doing what we’re doing.

I spent the day today at our city’s earthquake damaged stadium. Here we are agonising over how to fix the damage nature has done. You’ve spent the same day incinerating shops and homes, looting, trying hard to find new ways to burn down the place real English citizens call home.

We have fallen victim simply to gravity and we will rebuild stronger and better here. You who are striking down your cities are nasty little neanderthalic two bit muppets with too much time on your hands and pathetic hate in your hearts, the waste products of drugs, laziness and chronic dependency. You don’t have it in you to build. You only have it in you to destroy.

I have to say, dear UK rioters, our earthquakes came as a shock to me but your self-destruction surprises me not at all.

When I visited your country a couple of years ago I came home horrified at what I’d seen. I was appalled at your hands-out culture, the level of your public subsidies for housing and transport and education for people eligible for it simply by spawning little urchins and refusing to create themselves a constructive future. I was disgusted by the hatred I saw for the immigrants who have populated your country as part of your EU membership. I was baffled at how you were going to afford to pay for those immigrants and your own welfare dependent lifestyles. Clearly, so are you.

Here we are trying to rebuild our city, doing it hard, doing it together. You are trying to tear your country down, a country for which you clearly feel nothing but contempt. You don’t even know why you’re doing it. It’s just another excuse to steal. That’s all you know how to do. To lie and cheat and steal from your neighbours. You are an embarrassment to your nation. I have the right to say this because you are part of my heritage and you disgrace me.

In the beginning of your outrage was one emblematic man who died at the hands of the police. His family and friends have made it clear he was not a martyr to your cause. You have stolen the reason for his death, you bunch of parasitic hooligans. You’re having a party on a dead man’s grave. You are beneath contempt.

How drab and sad your little lives must be that this is your big excitement. How proud are your parents – what hope they must hold for their grandchildren.

You have a nasty little lesson coming your way which I believe is going to take a lifetime to learn. It’s that money doesn’t grow on trees, that you get what you work for, and that the community which sustains you in times of trouble isn’t built by burning it down.

Dear UK rioters – I thank you for renewing my faith in rebuilding this beautiful city so far away from you and your horrible Jeremy Kyle culture of greed and expectation.

Dear UK Citizens – for you I mourn, I grieve, I send my love and compassion. Your rioters are a vile minority, but you have bred them and fostered them and unless you change the way you nurture them they will be with you for generations to come.

Here we have the experience of a community being brought together by being brought to its knees. You have the experience of having a bunch of muppets rip your community apart. Give me an earthquake any day. I’d much rather submit to the vagaries of the earth than regret having raised a generation of vipers.

Ka Kite.



  1. Hmmm – See now Sue I understand that from the outside looking in it’s easy to blame “everyone” but it is a few reckless few in Government who have made poor decisions and fostered this nanny, hand out state – but it is the minority that live like that – most of us are just like you – honest, hard working, patriotic individuals.

    You said “Dear UK Citizens – for you I mourn, I grieve, I send my love and compassion. Your rioters are a vile minority, but you have bred them and fostered them and unless you change the way you nurture them they will be with you for generations to come.”

    I am a UK citizen and I have not fostered nor nurtured these people – In fact I spent a lot of last night fighting the tide of negativity, battling rumours and trying my damned hardest to get at least my community to take ownership and pride in where they live why periodically trying to stay in touch with friends in London who were petrified in their homes!

    I run a community website and affiliated facebook page and last night it worked – we battled rumour and WON – so please don’t use such a broad sweeping brush stroke to paint us all in the same light – the majority of people abhor and detest what is being done to the country – We understand the effect if has on public and community relations and some of us are even trying our hardest to do something about it – in fact if you monitor twitter today with this tag #riotcleanup there are whole hosts of communities out there turning their hand to the clean up.

    I think a measure of comparison needs also to be done, the entire population of New Zealand doesn’t even cover the area of Greater London in the UK – so while you see hundreds of disaffected disenfranchised youths running amok on our streets, that is not one tenth on one percent of our population where it would be a significant figure in your community, so please use caution when using these idiots as evidence that Britain is broken and don’t presume that we will sit back and allow this to happen – despite what the minority make us appear like the majority take pride in where we live!

    Comment by Steph Jennings — August 9, 2011 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

    • Steph, as much as I respect and love you my comments don’t just relate to the youths I saw in Greater London. I observed the same horrible social construct in Newcastle.
      To change the climate of take-take-take is going to take a massive social change.
      In my opinion, it is going to mean stopping your massively subsidised housing which is handed out to teenage girls when they manage to breed.
      It is going to mean looking at all the treasured benefits of taxation benefits, transport, education which are beloved by the girls who just love their fake tan and their Primani.
      I saw a country going “If we have to give all this stuff to people from eastern europe, then dammit, we’ll scam as much for ourselves as we possibly can.”

      I meant what I said about preferring to deal with an earthquake than with the people who are causing this mayhem. They have been fostered by the entire state and they now firmly believe that they are entitled to take whatever they want, because … well, you tell me.

      Kia kaha. xxx

      Comment by Sue Wells — August 9, 2011 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you for saying so succinctly what needed to be said.
    You have had a very hard day among so many hard days.
    Be kind to you.
    All the work you do is appreciated by so many.
    You give others the strength to keep on keeping on.

    Comment by Fey Hag — August 9, 2011 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  3. Terribly easy to be oh-so-superior at 12,000 miles distant.

    As an expatriate Brit this situation has me deeply worried, both as regards its roots and as regards its potential for developing into massive violent insurrection (with manifestations in many cities that will far outstrip the worst excesses seen on the streets of Belfast at the height of the “Troubles”), which it will be impossible to put down except by even more forceful and violent countermeasures, its potential for exploitation by political extremists (especially, but not exclusively, those of the jihadist variety), and its potential for creating political conditions favouring the imposition of martial law, government by emergency decree, suspension of
    civil rights, and worse. I wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of a military coup — such idea have been floated in Britain in much less extreme situations — in fact, that might be regarded by many
    as among the tidier and more preferable alternatives to some of the other possibilities.

    What do I mean by its roots?

    I would go back to 1979 and the onset of Thatcherism (remember her dictum “There’s no such thing as society”?), which began the transformation of Britain into a country governed declaredly and blatantly(as distinct from tacitly and semi-covertly) by and for the rich, the selfish and the self-seeking. The “New Labour” Blair regime did nothing to significantly change that. That era fostered an ethos of blinkered profit-driven selfishness that considered it OK to close enterprises down and deprive whole communities of their livelihoods because that was what suited the asset-strippers.

    Over all those years, successive UK governments have fostered the development of an increasingly numerous underclass (and I’m not just referring here to the easy targets you not unfairly pick on but also to millions of basically decent working- and middle-class people whose interests have been neglected for literally decades by the political decisionmakers), with a diminishing stake in the country and with a growing core of smouldering resentment.

    On top of that: most recently, the process characterized as “privatization of gain and socialization of loss” (not only in Britain but in Europe and the US) that has been such a key feature of governments’ response to the ongoing financial crisis, has fuelled increasingly widespread and increasingly strong anger, making the situation (not just in the UK — look at Greece recently) even more potentially explosive.

    It only took a spark for all hell to break loose. Given all that’s happened in the past, I’m surprised it’s taken so long – maybe it’s because Brits are more stolid than Greeks. At present, those on the rampage are a nasty scungy rabble and the violence is relatively mindless and disorganized. Wait till it starts to be manipulated and directed by factions with agendas that are politically insurrectionary or driven by jihadist zealotry.

    What I’m wondering right now is how long will it be before police resources reach the end of their tether and the armed forces are called upon to wage what in effect will be a war on the home front (I’ve just been chatting via Facebook to a friend in the English Midlands, an ex-policewoman, who wishes she know the answer to that one and wonders “where it will all end”). I’m wondering what could be the consequences of that further development. (I remember mass-riot scenarios like this being mooted back in the 1970s as hypothetical preludes to a military coup. Indeed, the story goes that one group of plotters during the post-1974 Wilson regime, including a retired Air Marshal, went to the then Queen Mother seeking her support. Apparently she told them “go away and don’t be so silly” – or words to that effect…) I’m wondering what it would be like to be a squaddie recalled from Afghanistan receiving orders to open fire with a heavy-calibre machine gun on a streetful of rioters who have disregarded warnings that that will happen if they don’t disperse. I am desperately hoping things won’t come to anything like that.

    Comment by Peter Tuffley — August 9, 2011 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

    • Peter, if you feel oh-so-superior at 12,000 miles distant, that’s your prerogative. I do not. I feel terribly sad for Britain’s human-made nightmare, just as like all of us in Christchurch I live our natural tragedy every day and I choose to work towards making it better.
      What I saw in the UK, the people I met, the hopelessness of the future-less teenagers I witnessed being inculcated into a culture of spoon-fed expectation had to have a natural climax. This looks to me to be the start of it. The muppets I saw there who are paid to breed have nothing to hope for, nothing to do, no work ethic, it’s take-take-take. The venom of some of the Brits towards migrants from the eastern European states in particular signalled to me an untenable situation. When I look at the perpetrators of the violence I see nothing that would make me believe your musings of army intervention are anything other than entirely plausible. Poor Britain.

      Comment by Sue Wells — August 9, 2011 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

    • Nonsense.

      Thatcher never gave a penny to the work-shy (whether or not it was their fault or whether or not they were victims of their circumstance). The benefit dependent culture is squarely at Labour’s door – they fought and won the 1997 election grandstanding against Tory standards, such as single parenthood.

      This is what we know as fact: the police shot a known gangster that we know was carrying a firearm and the gangs in the area started rioting. The police didn’t stop them and the rioting spread to other cities. There has been no political cause behind this (e.g. anti-‘cuts’). It is theft, pure and simple and nothing to do with the EU bailouts, etc.

      You say that we need to look at the underlying causes and say that as rich nation we have neglected them. I say ‘tosh’. We have not neglected them, we have allowed them to act with abandoment in ways any decent human would know is wrong and encouraged it through special protection and excuses. The left is clearly to blame.

      I repeat we have not neglected them. We have provided everyone of them:

      > Education up to the age of 16 (and to 18 if they are bright enough), provided for by taxpayers who work for a living and contribute to society;
      > Housing for life, so that none are ever homeless, again provided for by taxpayers who work for a living and contribute to society;
      > Food for life, so that none are ever starving, again provided for by taxpayers who work for a living and contribute to society.

      None of which costs them a penny.

      No, this is an underclass in Britain, grown, fostered and encouraged by the socialist dogma of Labour that is now rearing it’s head. These rioters are Labour’s children and the consequences of Labour’s actions. Nicely put by the blog’s author as the ‘Jeremy Kyle

      People like you are part of the ideology that created this ferel class. I hope you don’t contribute to the ruin of your new land.

      NB1: For the record I am not a Tory. I hate football team politics.

      P.S. You could take a great step forward by opening your mind a little. I know that is closed becuase of your ‘Thatcher’ quote that is so often banded about by the left, who have never sought to understand it. Ironic, really, as she the full quote explains that we ALL must contribute to society for it to work, and that without it, ‘society’ cannot simply exist, which is a central plank of socialism.

      Comment by foundavoice — August 11, 2011 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  4. Contextual comment

    There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored
    Those condemning the events in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture

    Since the coalition came to power just over a year ago, the country has seen multiple student protests, occupations of dozens of universities, several strikes, a half-a-million-strong trade union march and now unrest on the streets of the capital (preceded by clashes with Bristol police in Stokes Croft earlier in the year). Each of these events was sparked by a different cause, yet all take place against a backdrop of brutal cuts and enforced austerity measures. The government knows very well that it is taking a gamble, and that its policies run the risk of sparking mass unrest on a scale we haven’t seen since the early 1980s. With people taking to the streets of Tottenham, Edmonton, Brixton and elsewhere over the past few nights, we could be about to see the government enter a sustained and serious losing streak.

    The policies of the past year may have clarified the division between the entitled and the dispossessed in extreme terms, but the context for social unrest cuts much deeper. The fatal shooting of Mark Duggan last Thursday, where it appears, contrary to initial accounts, that only police bullets were fired, is another tragic event in a longer history of the Metropolitan police’s treatment of ordinary Londoners, especially those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and the singling out of specific areas and individuals for monitoring, stop and search and daily harassment.

    One journalist wrote that he was surprised how many people in Tottenham knew of and were critical of the IPCC, but there should be nothing surprising about this. When you look at the figures for deaths in police custody (at least 333 since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them), then the IPCC and the courts are seen by many, quite reasonably, to be protecting the police rather than the people.

    Combine understandable suspicion of and resentment towards the police based on experience and memory with high poverty and large unemployment and the reasons why people are taking to the streets become clear. (Haringey, the borough that includes Tottenham, has the fourth highest level of child poverty in London and an unemployment rate of 8.8%, double the national average, with one vacancy for every 54 seeking work in the borough.)

    Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.

    As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as “social problems” (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

    Images of burning buildings, cars aflame and stripped-out shops may provide spectacular fodder for a restless media, ever hungry for new stories and fresh groups to demonise, but we will understand nothing of these events if we ignore the history and the context in which they occur.

    Comment by Peter Tuffley — August 9, 2011 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

    • Cuts? Do you mean the £350bn increase in public spending over the next four years? By “brutal”, do you mean the fact that this will represent – assuming growth projections are met, which is hardly a given – a reduction in public spending as a share of GDP of a staggering 0.9%?

      Government spending after these “cuts” will still be massively bigger than it was in the 1980s. Hell, it’ll be bigger than it was when this government came to power. The trimming here and there of departmental budgets in order to service the debt run up since 2001 is not “brutal” or “austere”; it’s tinkering round the edges of a welfare state that has grown beyond control.

      I see in your previous comment you chose to misquote Mrs. Thatcher. Here’s the whole thing: “… there is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves, and then also to look after our neighbour.” (my emphasis). The operative word is “thing”; society is all of us, not some external agent with an independent will.

      The saddest part of the repeated taking of this statement out of context is that she was talking of the phenomenon that has led to the recent violence: the abrogation to the state of personal responsibility, morality, and the defence of property and calling that “Society”, and, by the resulting separation of the idea of society from its constituent parts – men, women, families, businesses, culture, the economy – deprecating the true society of freely-associating individuals which fosters a sense of belonging and ownership of a community . That is the ultimate cause of these riots, if they have one: a whole generation – or more – that has a greater connection to this false Society than to the real one it lives among. These kids never think of the people who suffer and will have work to to repair the damage to their businesses and homes, because they’ve never had to repair the damage they do to their own lives. That’s Society’s job, innit?

      Sue, great post, and absolutely on the money.

      Comment by Sam Duncan — August 11, 2011 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  5. 50 different kinds of awesome in this post, Sue. Many thanks for it.

    Comment by Eric Crampton (@EricCrampton) — August 11, 2011 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  6. Sue,

    There’s a lot of truth in your article but a few major points that need addressing:

    1. The democractic process is broken in the UK. It has been impossible to stop the career politicians acting out their policies that continue to undermine the decent people of the UK. The blame lays with the Govt., not the people (and we are pushing back as best we can now). I’m hoping that people will now wake up properly and realise that the Govt(s) will not do anything to make it better unless we radically change things DESPITE them.

    2. Comparing a community responding to a natural disaster with a community responding to riots is a false comparison. A natural disater will make the good in the community come out to fix the problem, thereby showing only the good community members. A riot will start with those who we can safely say are not good community members and the good community members can only get their (safe) chance afterwards. And we have a seen plenty of evidence of the latter, not just in the widespread grass roots condemnation of the riots but also in direct action, such as here:

    3. Canterbury is easily the most ‘English’ of the New Zealand towns. But don’t be fooled. NZ has its own feral underclass, especially in the North Island. The difference is that (I don’t think that) you’ve had a Govt. for over a decade encouraging them to grow more powerful.

    4. Again, comparing Canterbury (NZ) and the people therein to Tottenham, Wandsworth, Toxteth (etc) is also a false comparision. If you compared it to say, Canterbury (UK) you would find that you have the same values.

    Comment by foundavoice — August 11, 2011 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

    • Great comments.
      1. – UK democratic process so different to ours, even with our tenets of Westminster democracy). I agree that the government is going to need a strong signal from the people to change.
      2. I agree. The point I was fundamentally trying to make was having been through all the destruction nature has caused here, it makes me shake my head in disbelief and despair to contemplate that humans could wreak similar damage on their own communities.
      3. Superficially, in physical form, perhaps – but I don’t think we’re English at all anymore. We’ve developed a flavour all of our own. As far as feral underclasses go, every town and city has them. My observations when last in the UK were that they were being stroked and spoon fed.
      4. Only time I’ve been in Canterbury UK is when I got lost on British Rail. From memory I was heading to Brighton and things just didn’t go as planned. Some things never change. 🙂

      Comment by Sue Wells — August 11, 2011 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

      • Thanks for the reply.

        2. Ah, that is a very valid distinction.

        3. You’re more English than you know! 🙂 I’ve had the priviledge of working across the world (‘have just emigrated to Hong Kong, this time) and NZ is still very English (actually British), with Canterbury one of the most so. Fear not, Kiwi’s have their own very distinctive brand of Britishness, just as Scousers, Geordies, Cockneys, etc., do within the physcial bounds of the UK. Culturally, very distinctive, but the core values are the same.

        4. LOL! Hope you had the time to enjoy that beautiful city – and the same for the madness of Brighton!

        Comment by foundavoice — August 11, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  7. […] Canterbury-based blogger Eric Crampton has posted some fine comments from a Christchurch councillor Sue Wells. […]

    Pingback by The Fairfacts Media Show » Blog Archive » From a damaged city to one destroying itself — August 12, 2011 @ 10:21 am | Reply

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