Tuesday 28 January 2014

The "Water cannons would have resolved the August 2011 riots" fallacy

This is a quick follow up article to my article about the Tory agenda to deploy water cannons against political protests in order to:
a. Intimidate people (especially the elderly, the disabled and those with children) from using their legal right to peaceful protest.
b. Turn peaceful protests into riots through the inflammatory effect of deploying water cannon against them.
Here is my original piece on water cannon deployment.

After trying to publicise the issue and ensure that more people actually understand what is going on, a number of right-wing apologists for the militarisation of the police have deposited very similar emotive arguments to suggest that water cannons would have helped control the August 2011 riots. Here is a typical example:
"Judging by the [opposition to water cannon deployment] on this thread I'm guessing nobody that opposes the use of water cannons was a victim of the UK Riots in 2011 when business, homes and institutions were being burned to the ground by rioting thugs?"
The first thing to note about this argument is that the apologist for the militarisation of the state has utterly failed to acquaint himself with the facts of the issue. Had he bothered to read the article at the top of the thread in question, or acquaint himself with the basics of the issue, he would have known that ACPO (the privatised police quango that are demanding the Home Office let them deploy water cannons against politcal protests) openly admitted that water cannons would have been ineffective in halting the "fast, agile disorder" and "dynamic looting" that took place during the August 2011 riots.

Even the organisation that is doing the most to build the case for the deployment of water cannons against peaceful political protests admits that water cannons would not have resolved the August 2011 riots, and had the water cannon enthusiasts bothered to check their facts, they would have known this.

The next thing to note is that aside from being completely ignorant of the facts, the above argument is a transparently emotive one, putting "victims" on one side of the debate and "thugs" on the other. The complete abandonment of traditional debating tools such as reason, facts and evidence, in favour of a blatantly emotive argument is typical right-wing fare. The wielders of empty emotive arguments assume that people in general are so stupid that they will allow their anger at the facile ("victims" vs "thugs") justification narrative to completely override their critical faculties.

The right-wing thrives on the production of anger inducing narratives ("scroungers", immigrants etc) in order to rile people up so that they are too angry to actually consider the actual facts and evidence properly. Unfortunately the public have allowed themselves to be played like this time and again. If this kind of emotive scapegoating tactic hadn't proved successful, then the right-wing (and their supporters amongst the corporate mainstream media) would have dropped it in favour of some other form of propaganda. That they persist with this emotion over evidence strategy is a clear demonstration that it works. 
These emotive argument strategies have become so familiar to those of us capable of reading between the lines, that we've come to expect very little else but empty and ignorant emotive arguments from right-wing types - such as those that approve of Tory plan to militarise the police so strongly that they openly propagandise for it on public forums.

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Note: Don't forget to read the original article on water cannon deployment (if you haven't already)

More articles from
The Tory militarisation of the police

What is ... a Justification Narrative
A rogues gallery of dodgy Tory party donors
David Cameron's austerity to infinity speech
Iain Duncan Smith's retroactive "I'm Above the Law" legislation
The JP Morgan vision for Europe
The "Protection of Corporate Lobbying and Silencing of Legitimate Political Debate" Bill
A fascistic Tory redefinition of rights

More articles in the political myth busting series


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