London’s Burning… but why?

6 08 2011

Watching the news reporting on the Tottenham “riots”.

We know how angry the community are over the police killing Mark Duggan and it appears the unrest is the extension of a protest at the Police station earlier in the evening.

Only one person so far has mentioned the shooting and resulting community anger as a reason and the rest of the commentators are discussing people joining in for the fun of it. There is little discussion of the reasons why people feel the need to resort to these tactics. Realistically, fun is likely to be quite low down on the list of reasons.

Why has no one mentioned the poverty? the disenfranchised communities? the institutional racism? the disaffected youth? the unemployment? the massive community cuts Tottenham are facing? the fact no one is listening?

It’s all very well for the middle classes to be sitting in their 3bed semi’s drinking their saturday night chardonnay waiting  for their weekly shag once casualty has finished…moaning about those nasty poor people destroying shops… but surely we owe it to these people to inform them of the reality of the unrest.

The public are angry and given the historical nature of poor treatment by authorities in the area, they have every right to be. This isn’t a one-of incident, it’s just the straw that broke the camels back.

And everyone is so angry about the poor buildings being hurt and livelihoods destroyed. The outrage at the destruction of property on the news or on twitter, is nothing compared to the destruction of life or the destruction of an entire community. A shop is worthless when there is no one left to use it.

Has capitalism really become so engrained in life that we worry more about destroying high street shops and making money before we worry about people being hurt or the reasons why this is happening?

And then when an ex-policeman has his say, he may as well have been reading straight from the pages of the Daily Mail.

Apparently  the original ‘peaceful protest’ outside the local police station demanded that someone from the police come out and talk to them about the shooting, prompted the following response from a former Met Police Commander on BBCNews 24,

“you can’t talk to people like that…they’re hellbent on revenge”

And people wonder where Police brutality comes from?

I’m not one for badmouthing the Police, my experiences have always been positive, but when the attitude of the Police starts off expecting trouble, (using phrases like “people like that” and “hellbent on revenge”) then the general public, no matter how peaceful they are, will never get a fair representation.

It’s the mindset that’s all wrong.

The real issues need addressed. We can’t just say “Oh its the same old problems caused by the Tories” then move onto the next issue to be outraged by, we really need to look at the causes and the cures or this won’t be the last “riot” we hear of.

——–

Just a mini rant… I’m sure I’ll be discredited by someone for saying something different to the BBC. I should also add, I have been speaking with a couple of residents of the area before writing this and these are the issues they suggested I brought up!

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