Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Musings on the #Londonriots

I have resisted until now but I can't not comment on the atrocious thuggish criminal behaviour that has taken place in London (and other places) over the last three nights.  

I had the opportunity to move to London a year and a half ago, away from the serene surroundings of Bath due to my office being closed down and merged with one in London.  At the time I was genuinely tempted, a healthy pay rise had been offered, however I was worried about the cost of living and generally not feeling as safe as I do in Bath.  That wasn't to say I thought it was overly dangerous, just more that I was a little warier walking the streets as I've never felt more comfortable in a place than in Bath.  In the end I got an offer of a better job (for less money) near Bath allowing me to make the easy decision of staying and watching the riots unfold selfishly made me feel very glad that I had.  

There are many reasons why the riots could have started, each feasible and likely to be a combination of the lot of them.  Like Mark Pack said @Richard_Morris_ on Twitter today,

To me though, it would appear that whatever started it is almost irrelevant.  In my mind it has spread through blatant opportunism.  The only motivation I think people had was that they appeared to have an opportunity to steal and get away with it.  That is why apparently the only shops broken into in Camden were: 02, Game, 3 and Orange (I saw that on Twitter, don't have a reputable source).  I was also watching one scene where electronics shops were being looted yet the Waterstones next door was left untouched.  Personal greed allowing them to just take the things they wanted without working for them.  

Watching the pictures I was amazed just how many people were young people, as if they possibly hadn't even left school.  It is a shame that they felt the need (or the greed) to take to the streets and be part of the rioting (looting) but there can be no excuse for this.  I wonder how much of a part the media narrative (over the cuts, the government, the police and the riots) has helped fuel the violence.  If there had been less publicity, had there not been rolling news repeating images every chance they got would the scenes from Tottenham have spread?    I heard for instance that out of all of the arrests made in one area only one in four people arrested were locals.  That might go some way to explaining my point below.  It would have been nice if the good natured clean up effort had received as much publicity.

The rioting doesn't make sense, rule number one, you don't shit where you eat.  You don't damage the things on your own doorstep as you have to live in it.  If there are lack of opportunities in an area, then behaving like that and ruining businesses (and therefore employers) in the area isn't going to attract more jobs to the area.

My sympathies go out to all of the people who have lost something due to these idiots.  I hope everyone in London and elsewhere stays safe tonight, and best of luck to the good men and women of the force who will I'm sure do their best to keep people safe tonight.

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