Ok so the Kaiser Chiefs were right but let's just think about this for a moment

I did attempt to write something on the rioting in London this time last week and well, we all know what happened then. I ended up having to completely re-revise my view whilst glued to the insane fiery scenes taking place in Croydon not more than 20 minutes away from my home. 
I couldn’t begin to start explaining what caused the violence and I think it would be incredibly short sighted to claim that there is one overarching reason. One thing that does seem certain is that the riots were not really a political statement. 

Reeves Corner believe it or not was not the center of Croydon’s intelligentsia or political scene, nor was it a symbol of police power.   No, it was just a humble family-owned furniture shop and was unnecessarily gutted by idiots caught up in the thrill of a riot. I might have at least understood the reasoning behind it all if a significant government building had been set on fire (I’m not suggesting people do that either I might add), but this was unfocused opportunism.

The rioters didn’t seem big on political sentiment and I would assume many couldn’t muster a political opinion if they tried. However if one of them can explain to me a clear, well-thought out and non-excuse filled political reason for raiding Footlocker then I would love to hear it (and "claiming back taxes," or “showing the police we can do what we want” do not qualify as an argument).  

The reaction to the rioting however has been more depressing than the rioting itself, as the Con-Dem coalition is still trying to cut police numbers and everyone who speaks on the issue is now speaking for their own agenda and not for the people hurt in the ensuing violence. But hey they make good emotive case-study points, so why not try and get what influence you can from their plight.

Along with them are the ignorant morons trying to turn the issue into a socio-racial argument, with some arguing to lock up everyone resembling the ilk found on Jeremy Kyle. On top of that you also have erudite racists like David Starkey – who have unfortunate access to television airtime - trying to blame the problem on Jafrican culture. 

The international reaction has been quite an odd experience also, as countries like Libya have decided to stick the boot in an ironic twist, claiming the riots were political and that David Cameron should stand down. I can’t say I blame them, they have every right to feel smug in the current climate and after everything the British government has said about them. Still there’s one thing you can say about Cameron over Gaddafi and that is that he wouldn’t appear on TV encouraging women and children to die for him. Cameron tends to be a little more genteel about these things at least. 

Overall, as the dust settles, the rioters have looted more than a few pairs of trainers and some plasma screens. They have stolen our carefree complacency, as well as our patience. More worryingly, they may have in fact led to the loss of many of our civil rights. The politicians are knee-jerking left and right in the aftermath and we in the UK could face draconian police measures being drafted in a similar way to the post 9/11 environment. 

One good example is the manner that the government has attacked social networking, which was a mixed blessing at best during the actual violence. There is no doubt that some recent Twitter campaigns have challenged conventional political authority and I genuinely hope that politicians aren't trying to smear it so they can disrupt this process. True, Twitter and social networks aren't always able to deliver a representative voice for the people but they are a good start.

I’m not complaining that we’re trying to toughen up on crime. I welcome it to a degree as many idiots on the street have got too cocky; swaggering around bleating about human rights rules they couldn’t begin to understand the significance of, yet which can render the authorities powerless. Yes there does need to be less of that, but then what if the balance of power swings too far in the other direction?  

In the worst case scenario would we see a return to the policing of the 1980’s where Bobbies could batter peaceful protesters (although some would argue that already happens)? In that case we only face more of the same disenfranchisement that led to the initial violence in Tottenham etc. I think the biggest challenge we face as a country is how to make people care and respect for each other again as there are some very strained nerves and community relationships out there.

There is some hope. The clean-up campaign organised on Twitter was absolutely inspiring and really showed that the British public are still very good at coming together and picking up the pieces. If the one good thing that comes of all this is a continuation of that unity, then it does provide a very sweet ice-cream chaser to the bitter pill of the riots.  

One thing I will say as a local of the near-Croydon area (and of London in general) is please donate to the business owners and homeowners who have been unfairly put in the middle of this gigantic mess.
To join the fan page for Reeves Corner follow this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-Reeves-Corner-Croydon/184031471664626


Popular posts from this blog

10 dumb things to try in 2018

The Self Declared Republic of Catalonia

2018 News Hierarchy