Just back from Brixton where half a dozen shops have one or all of their windows boarded up. One of those being Morleys and it looks as if most of those windows are boarded for safety rather than anything else. Everything else carrying on as normal, though people seemed chattier than normal, groups of ladies on Coldharbour Lane doorsteps talking to each other, shopkeepers smiling, blokes passing the street saying hi (I don’t think I suddenly turned into a barbie doll, so that was unusual). Yes it feels like something has happened, not nothing, not at all, but it also feels like people so very much want to get on.
On the policing thing, I truly don’t understand how Foot Locker in Brixton was looted and then burned (doesn’t look fully burned out, but certainly smoke and fire damage), when police are 300 yds away max at Brixton Police Station, they are closer than round the corner. Seems pretty odd that 1000s of schoolkids were kettled just a few months ago on education cuts protests, but the same can’t be done to stop looters.
Then went on to market & Brixton Village to buy things from all the small local businesses still open, still serving, all fine. spoke to a couple of shopkeepers and they all said they were far more worried about the effect on business of hyped reporting than of rioters who didn’t come near their end of Brixton (which was all shut at night anyway). Keep calm and carry on, talk to neighbours, support small local businesses, and don’t let this be a cause for more us & them alienation, I’d say.
And now for some better news/hopeful links :
all the #riotwomble and #riotcleanup people out there, here’s a great pic
love the image on the riot cleanup site
and a disappointingly small BBC report about it (esp given how much attention is being given to the bad side of the coin).
You can help people who have lost homes/housing by donating bedding/clothes to Apex House, 820 Seven Sisters Road, London N15 5PQ.
Useful hashtags : #riotcleanup #riotwombles (LOVING the riotwombles)
Plus some good thinking on what’s going on :
the ever thoughtful, and lovely, Salena Godden
the engaged and on-the-ground Camila Batmanghelidjh of Kids Company
What do I want for tonight? No army, no water cannon, no just-back-from-Italy Cameron telling us those cleaning up are the Big Society, no hard swing to the right ‘justified’ by these horrible riots, just quiet please. Just quiet.
It’s a lovely sunny summer afternoon in South London, long may it stay that way.
and this : so lovely
Don’t you just want to tell Cameron: “We’re not doing it for YOU!”
Used to be a Sarf London girl, close to Brixton. Remember the 80s riots. Hope it stays quiet.
Kettling relies on using urban settings to help control a crowd within a fixed area with lots of preparation. It’s relatively easy to do compared to this and relies on ‘consent’ of a crowd being in a certain place at a certain time.
Trouble is we have a gutless government, with Clarke calling for prison sentences to be halved and Teresa May saying no water cannon or plastic rounds, on the grounds it was DIFFERENT in Northern Ireland! What planet is she on? Tough words from Cameron, but just a slap on the wrist for the yobs in reality. Wish I could turn the clock back and have a young Margaret Thatcher as PM.
young Thatcher? shudder. that’s the last thing we need. meeting violence with violence is far from the middle way.
Just found your blog, and wanted to say we’ve been watching the news reports here in Indiana. Praying for you all for a quick recovery.
I suppose we’re taking the reports with a grain of salt, the tv do like their drama and play everything up to the hilt.
When my boyfriend’s son phoned to say “Dad, you’d better cancel your trip to England, they’re rioting!” we actually laughed. Of course you’re not all rioting, you’re home fixing a nice meal or something just as we are here. I’m convinced that despite tyhe pockets of craziness most of the world is perfectly sensible.
My honeylamb’s business trip will go forward as planned, he’ll arrive in London on the 20th and be in your lovely country for ten days. Not his first trip, he’s delighted to be coming back to you, and I for one will not be at all worried about his safety.
You’re so right. Isolated, depressing, sad pockets of anger and frustration, and most definitely no reason to cancel a trip. We tend to have lovely weather in late Aug, early Sept too, so I hope the trip is a great success.