London Riots Perspectives

I have to be honest and say I got very little work done yesterday. I spent much of the day trying to catch up with the north London riots that morphed in to the “all over London” riots and then news that the violence had spread to other cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham and Liverpool.

It seems surreal, like I’m watching a movie or something, especially as I am thousands of miles away and so not in any way able to experience what’s happening first hand, thank God.

There’s so much to read and absorb, so many different angles. I was reading on a food blog someone’s account of their meal at the two Michelin star restaurant in Notting Hill, The Ledbury. Looters stormed in during the meal, smashing things up and demanding valuables from customers. The unlucky diner had to hand over her wedding ring before the heroic kitchen staff came out with rolling pins to chase away the scumbags. I’d like to see them try and pull that kind of shit a few miles further east in Chinatown!

If reading’s too much effort, you can always listen to this brief interview with a few young rioters which provides a fascinating insight in to their grievances and the reasons for the riots (it’s the rich people’s fault because they have businesses). If those girls are reading this (unlikely as I doubt they can read), stolen wine is not free wine.

I quite liked one of Tony Parsons’ tweets on the topic:

Enjoy that pillaged pair of trainers, #LondonRiots – you will be wearing them when you are forty. Because why would anyone give YOU a job?

And of course, there’s the China perspective. The Chinese have, now that Beijing 2008 is safely behind us, predictably raised concerns over safety during next summer’s London Olympic Games and also taken a few smug pot shots at the British:

The West have been talking about supporting internet freedom, and oppose other countries’ government to control this kind of websites, now we can say they are tasting the bitter fruit [of their complacency] and they can’t complain about it,” wrote one commentator in official Communist Party mouthpiece, People’s Daily.

It would have been perfectly fine to just say your thoughts are with the innocent victims of the riots and that you hope the matter is resolved swiftly. Maybe his time would be better spent criticising the safety of China’s railways!

I spoke to my mum as well yesterday. She lives in Ealing which has seen some violence and looting. She saw on TV a Chinese takeaway on Ealing High street, just opposite my old school that was owned by one of our friends and had been looted. But she is fine apart from being a bit spooked by some noises from outside the house late last night. She called the police and after a long wait, they told her to stay indoors and lock the doors and hope for the best!

That’s pretty much all from me today. I just had to add that as I was walking home from work last night, I appreciated more than usual how safe I felt, knowing that one of the worst things that could happen to me would be to be hit by someone on one of those deadly silent electric scooters. I certainly didn’t need to be on the lookout for teens in hooded tops. And I’m thankful for that.

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22 Responses to London Riots Perspectives

  1. wisemanofasia says:

    It is ridiculous that the police are not allowed to do more and that people are actually sympathetic to their cause! They don’t have anything to be THAT aggrieved about! I can’t wait to get back to Asia where it is safe and none of these idiots exist!

  2. Rich says:

    I arrived back in Ealing an hour ago. Streets usually packed with parked cars are virtually empty. The was some activity on the roads and some people going about their lives as they normally would, jogging, etc. There was also a reassuring police presence. I passed 4 officers loitering in an alley. They seemed in good spirits and I took the opportunity to praise them for their efforts. Hopefully the night will pass without incident, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

  3. d says:

    was in dalston last night at around midnight all the turkish shop owners were out on the street, defending their shops, chased a few roits away

  4. Rich says:

    That’s what I like to see. Some good old common sense none of the typical fear of state sanctioned retribution for defending yourself and your property.

  5. Stimpy says:

    “They seemed in good spirits and I took the opportunity to praise them for their efforts”

    Wow, you and your brother have a very similar style of writing!

    It is curious, but clearly it is an opportunity for those who have less respect for society to let rip. It would happen any where- it happened in France a few years ago.

  6. Stimpy says:

    I also find it very funny that, according to a news report I read, one of the only shops to be spared the looters in Clapham was the bookstore, Waterstones.

    That would be first on my list. But I would spend so long browsing, I am sure I would be arrested.

  7. WoAi says:

    @Wiseman – We have riots here. In Thailand you have the silly red shirts vs yellow shirts that flares up from time to time (like each time one of them loses an election) and in China you get the disenfranchised rural people. But here they crack down on it and stamp it out before it gets out of control.

    @Rich – Well actually one guy was beaten badly on Springbridge road. Some youths had set fire to a bin, he tried to put it out and the kicked the crap out of him.

    @D – Yes, that seems to be something that is happening now. Ordinary people are starting to stand up for themselves. It is very effective. The only reason the rioters were so free before is they were largely unchallenged. We should be inspired by that.

    @Stimpy – Well done up win the prize for most amusing contribution. I am picturing in my mind a gang of rowdy teens unleashing havoc on Clapham high street. Then they reach Waterstones and there’s a deadly silence as they all look at one another, not knowing what to do. Then after a few seconds, they start jeering again and move on to the Currys next door. And of course we have similar writing styles. I taught him how to read and write!

  8. T. says:

    @WiseManofAsia – Really? Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Korea, India, Burma, Thailand have all suffered giant riots within the last decade. I’m sure I’m missing some.

  9. WoAi says:

    @T – And Myanmar. You missed Myanmar! And Japan after the tsunami, all that rioting. Oh wait, no.

  10. Stimpy says:

    Actually, sorry to be the pedant, but he did include Myanmar (Burma).

  11. WoAi says:

    @Stimpy – Sorry, bad joke. It’s like the time I wrote about Facebook copying Xiaonei:

    http://blog.friday-nite.com/?p=314

    T gets my humour.

  12. wisemanofasia says:

    Erm hello I never said their weren’t riots! I was implying that there weren’t mindless morons destroying and looting for no reason. If these people had a genuine reason for protest and were going about it in a reasonable way then that would be a different story!

  13. Rich says:

    @stimpy – an employee at Waterstones (could have been Manchester) was quoted as saying something to the effect “we’ll stay open. If we get looted, perhaps they (the rioters) will learn something”. I guess the rioters missed out on the opportunity.

  14. T. says:

    There were mindless morons destroying and looting for no reason.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1998_riots_of_Indonesia

  15. WoAi says:

    @T – No, the reason was that they’re mindless morons.

  16. Stimpy says:

    I think I’ve said it before- it will happen in any country. A breakdown in law and order will encourage people to take something that is not theirs. See: France, USA, Any country in the world (apart from Japan, natch).

  17. CP says:

    @Stimpy: Really? It will never happen in China. At least, this article seems to think so: http://bit.ly/oNl6qa

  18. T. says:

    Yes, there will never be mindless mass destruction in China.

    Wait, what’s that you say?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution

  19. Bittermelon says:

    Don’t forget Vancouver, a genteel partying kind of place.

  20. Swiss James says:

    It was just a bit of high spirits, everyone’s calmed down now.

    BTW would anyone like to buy a hi-fi?

  21. Rich says:

    @swiss – back in the old days you’d have simply stuck it in Loot.

  22. WoAi says:

    @James – I may be interested. I just have a few questions first. Is it boxed or did you grab the display model?

    @Rich – You still can, but it’s called Loot.com. And there do seem to be quite a lot of TVs for sale. What an apt name for the publication too.

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