11 Aug 2011

London Riots - Some Thoughts Afterwards

Thank you for your amazing response to Tuesday's post about my small experience of the London riots. I cannot stress enough:

  • how incredibly lucky we were
  • how much my thoughts are with the people who lost so much
  • how grateful i am to the emergency services, on the front line who dealt with horrendous situations, not always equipped to do so.
Now that the worst of the London riots is hopefully over, I/we have had a few days to think about everything and perhaps form some opinions or ideas on it all. I didn't want to rush in to making hasty conclusions about rioting, looting, motivation, government and society. The only thing I know for sure is that nothing is an excuse or a reason to condone such violence and wanton destruction.

Firstly, a small update on us - I spoken to husbando on Tuesday and he gave me a bit more detail about what happened when I was sleeping. Firstly, apparently a group of looters actually surrounded the building - about 20 of them - and it was pretty scary. When he called the police they were clearly short staffed but luckily the riot vans were driving past and saw the stuff kicking off outside blockbuster. Also there was an ambulance called so it looked like one of the looters was injured at some point.

In terms of getting back to normal in my small part of South London when I got home yesterday everything was all unboarded, and looked back to normal. The only places still with boarding up were some estate agents and a couple other stores. It's been great tweeting with lots of local people after the last couple of days - and actually it's really cheered me up and redeemed my faith in people. It's been lovely.

In other news, the riot struck areas of London have been cleared up by the riot wombles. And after this unspeakable act of violence (upsetting, be warned), this amazing website has been set up to help him. So far over £4k has been raised and I believe he's also received other gifts. Additionally I think one of his attackers has been identified and arrested - which is good news. All the media has been full of details of looters and rioters being sentenced and magistrates have been working crazy hours to process everyone. CallMeDave has met with parliament and addressed the media several times - but to be honest, I don't really think he's said anything sensible other than ruling out calling the army. Although the army might be used to help in departments where the police are over-stretched. He's also condoned the use of water cannons. I'm not really sure where I stand on this.

Finally, some thoughts about why this has all happened. I highly recommend two articles - firstly this, from Zoe Williams on the psychology of rioting, and then this by Camila Batmanghelidjh about the causes behind such a disassociated and disaffected section of society.

For my opinions - well pretty much what the articles say - the rioting is horrendous and inexplicable. But there are some reasons in society for people behaving and reacting like this. To those who have criticized the emergency services and in particular the police, I would say that it's utterly pointless criticizing frontline staff - they don't make strategic decisions about where they're deployed. If there weren't `enough` police at a particular flashpoint that's not the average policeman's fault - they did the best they could - risking their own lives and getting injured in the process. Additionally, the looters deliberately targeted areas on opposite sides of the city, making it hard for the police to get to areas of need as soon as possible (cf. Clapham Junction - 20 police to 200 looters).

As time goes on there will be more articles and debate about what's happened -and no doubt predictions about when and if it'll happen again. If I see any articles of interest, I'll update this post.

Thanks for listening and supporting London and England.

Thank you and goodnight,

Stupidgirl has left the building


  1. I f'ing hate when I type out a comment and lose it...grrr! Ah, well. Try again. Glad you are OK, lots of articles about this now and probably for years to come. Glad it's bringing out the good in the community. If I lived there, I'd be out helping, Since I'm not, I can only support, donate and Tweet. So I'll tweet your post and the link to help Haziq. I have a link on my blog as well for Aaron Biber, the 89yr old barber who's shop was ruined. Excess donations will go to others in Tottenham for recovery. (Hope you don't mind me plugging it here!) Glad you are safe and came through OK. Keep on blogging!

  2. Thanks for your comments - I totally agree that it's bringing out the best in people as well. I hope that the community feeling stays for awhile and people don't just forget about it all.

    SG x