There have been riots in many areas of London over the last few days. The first riots started in Tottenham after Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police last week. From there, unrest has spread to other parts of the city, including Peckham. This is very close to the lair and I’ve heard sirens going back and forth all night.
Many people seem shocked by the rioting, but it shouldn’t be a shock. Before the election last May, even Nick Clegg predicted that slashes to public services would lead to unrest.
The huge spending cuts are only part of the relentless pressure felt by many communities. Unequal, abusive and corrupt policing means that many areas of London have been burning with anger for months before the fires started. Very few people outside these communities have listened until now, when the flames are there for everyone to see on their TV screens.
Young people are particularly badly affected. They face massive youth unemployment, a constant negative portrayal in the media, huge cutbacks to services that support them and little hope of things improving.
Is it really a surprise, when we raise children in a culture that values property and possessions over people, that those children with nothing to lose, and who don’t feel valued, grab stuff when they get an opportunity? Some people mistake attempting to understand why the riots are happening or showing empathy with young people, as condoning the destruction of homes and businesses. But that’s just wilfully misunderstanding the situation.
I’m sad all this has happened, but I’m sadder still that I live in a country which is so unequal, where many young people are marginalised, and where people die at the hands of the police without any credible explanation.
Tourettes of course has paid little attention to the sadness of the situation, but has provided constant coverage:
“Polar bears riot in Tottenham.”
“I’m going to loot a pickled sandwich.”
“Send the police to Norfolk, where they can take a cow out for dinner.”