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.