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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

We will bounce back

It's a few hours after riots hit the UK's troublespots and some of its more affluent neighbourhoods (Ealing, Clapham). Twitter is astir again but this time with defiant people using social media to organise #riotcleanup. There is even a new website, riotcleanup.com

Watching the violence spread from London to places like Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol was terrifying. There were amazing acts of bravery - Asian youths banding together to repel the vandals in East London - and heart breaking stories of people losing their businesses and homes. I wept to hear about the Reeves business in Croydon with @marcreeves tweeting that it had been established by his great great grandfather in 1867.

Today the only Govt minister who seems to be around, Theresa May, was bleating on about "we need to" do this and that, and we "have to sit down with the police."  Fortunately the massed ranks of the Hurlingham club, Boris n Dave, are flying home from holidays today to try to sort it all out, so I'm looking forward to seeing Boris cycle down to Croydon or Dave catching the omnibus over to Hackney to have a bit of a chat with the youngsters.

Among the anguished tweets last night I saw this from Hannah Nicklin who says she understands what is driving the rioters.

Today there will be endless debate about the role of social media and BlackBerry messenging in all this, but remember there have been spates of violence like this throughout history and all they could do then was light beacons.

It's too late to start talking about "we need to get parents to keep their children in" or blaming it all on single parents and not enough fathers.  Governments have to address the matter of what to do with virtually illiterate young people for whom there are no jobs. Cutting their benefits, as the current government is trying to do, isn't an answer when nobody is creating work. I used to believe that education was the answer: that anyone, from any background, could work their way up with hard work. But now, looking at the number of graduates unable to find a job, it doesn't ring true.

All I do know is that London and our other cities will bounce back. We outnumber the anarchists and we're proud of our green and pleasant land. It's just a terrible pity that we've shown the world a glimpse of London through a broken window when most of us were bursting with pride about what we've achieved the for the Olympics.

4 comments:

fojoy said...

This made me so sad to see.
We (Canada) had a major riot last month over a hockey game (how stereotypical), so I know how heartbreaking it can be to see the mindless destruction.
Its good to see that there are people banding together to clean up the mess made by the thoughtless violence.

400 Wakeups said...

The thing is...I can't help but think this is all our fault. We let our president run amuck for 8 years, we didn't insist on any oversight over any financial institutions and now our failing economy is so linked to everyone else's, that we are bringing everyone down with us. It's sobering and tragic. I follow another British blogger who had heard that Croydon was burning. She felt so helpless and so grief-stricken over the businesses and homes being lost. And I completely understand that. Rioting rarely solves anything...but it is an outlet for anger. And I certainly understand that anger.

Caroline said...

Agree that we will bounce back. Unfortunately, however, after decades of lax immigration policy and an over-generous and easily manipulated benefit system, we have bred a generation whose sense of entitlement is only matched by their lack of work ethic. I don't know what the solution is, but I think that bringing back National Service (for men AND women) would be a good start.

Sharon J said...

I don't really have anything to add right now but wanted to say that I agree with everything you've said.

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