Wednesday, 10 August 2011

England's week of shame

I've been debating whether to blog on the riots but given it is occupying more of my headspace than I'd like it to I clearly should.

I've not been in anyway as yet directly affected by it.  There was small scale disturbances near to us Monday night with some cars and bins burnt but our local police pinned the blame on a group who had travelled into our towns deliberately and had arrested what they reported to be the majority of them.

So how do I feel about the riots?  Angry?  Yes. Sad? Yes. Confused?  Most definitely.

My vision of it is that this is not about the shooting in Tottenham but what has happened is that the police's inability to deal with that and the looting and mayhem that ensued there has led others to realise that this is a great way to commit crime with I believe they think little chance of being caught.  The police should have dealt better with it earlier - I don't underestimate the difficulty of that but it spread since they were seen as ineffectual.  I hear some say this is about race?  I don't see that at all - it could well be about inequality, a society where the glamorous and mega-rich are paraded in front of people daily in the press, the magazines the "reality TV shows", etc.   Many kids see high unemployment, services that hit them being cut and no interest from the politicians.  The local council cut a scheme for 10/11 year old kids near us, my daughter now 15 had been on that and was incensed.  She wrote a well written critical email and sent it to our ward councillor who also is our MP.  Guess what?  He never even acknowledged it's receipt or replied - she hasn't the vote for the next 3 years and statistically is unlikely to vote once 18 anyway so presumably she isn't worthy of his time.  Then politicians stand up on TV and say, we need to understand why these kids are disaffected...   LISTEN TO THEM!!! TALK TO THEM!!!

Sadly the last few days will have changed England for a long time to come, possibly for ever.  People are calling for more robust policing - good idea perhaps, but remember the G20 and the criticism of their actions then and the "kettling" of student protesters.  When we have protests on the streets again on a matter of great national debate will we be calling for robust policing them?  But how can the police quickly decide between the two?  I'm glad I'm not a policeman today I can tell you that.

There is no simple sound bite answer to all of this but I do feel that the avaricious, wealth, celebrity focused society we have now is one of the major faults.  We need kids to believe again - now cutting out of school activities since the politicians, who remember were not so long ago widely exposed to be feathering their own nests with the expenses scandal, tell them the country needs to save money when the debts are so mind bogglingly big makes no sense to them. We need to stop teach kids to GCSE grade targets and teach them about life, living, caring, love, community etc.

I am very impressed by the broom wielding people who have got out and helped clear up - shame that isn't the front page rather than the looted shops and burnt out cars. 


  1. Nothing more than angry, unhappy people doing angry things, in my eyes. We are all angry. Just some people deal with it better than others. As you say, there is plenty of love being shown. All is not lost.

  2. My heart went thunk down into my boots, too, as I watched it unfold on the news. I don't many answers as to the complexity of why this kicked off in such a depressing frenzy of violence. I do know I care enough to always keep track of exactly where my four teenager's are at, it's called parenting, something I doubt most of these looters have ever been given.

    I am so grateful we no longer live in London.