The television footage as shown by the BBC (my channel of choice for national celebration and crisis) has sickened and enraged by turn. My heart sank when rioting was reported in my home town of Nottingham.
Unfortunately I can’t keep my mouth shut any longer and have to make some comment from my vantage point in mainland Europe.
Let’s not be under any illusion these riots were sparked by the police incident involving Mark Duggan; that was the excuse not the cause, as Mr Duggan’s family will attest. Let’s not fall for the line it’s the rage and frustration of disadvantaged youth reaching boiling point; many of the looters now in court are employed and have ‘normal’ lives. And please let’s not swallow the line it was because of the current economic climate; everyone’s dealing with that but most don’t feel the need to riot, threaten or intimidate their communities.
Whilst these factors may play a part, the reality is that thugs, bullies and the socially irresponsible found an excuse to throw their weight around, causing mayhem and criminal damage and looting what they wanted while a seemingly impotent police force stood by and watched.
Impotent because any action to crack down on the looters would have been regarded as facist and right wing by the left, despite the desperate pleas of the general public for police protection on the streets. Protection the police were unable to give to the public, business owners and even other emergency services. They were forced to stand by while business and homes burned.
The capital of Britain was brought to a standstill as the world looked on in disbelief. This was not Syria or Egypt or Libyia – this was happening in a western democracy, a country who regards itself as a player on the world stage.
Once again Britain is on the verge of being considered a joke by the international community. Think I’m overreacting? Read some of the international press. I’m not going to quote them here, just google the New York Times, Washington Post, Le Figaro or Die Welt. I’ve already received an email from european friends asking where to send aid and food parcels, and information on aid being sent from Africa. Very funny.
Last night no trains or public transport were operating, businesses closed early, the capital was paralysed. What message is that sending to our global neighbours? Within the past few days Britain has had the glare of international flashbulbs lighting up the reality of social disintegration on so many levels and for so many reasons.
I do not want to apportion blame, or offer a solution for the problem. I’m incredibly sad the sordid, squalid and unsavoury underbelly of Great Britain has been on display for all the world to see; especially now, so close to the Olympics.
Mr. Cameron, you may stand outside number 10 Downing Street and talk about the greatness of Britain, but too many of us know in our hearts, and with a quiet despair, that Britain is living on past glories and the echoes of a once great nation.
I do not envy you the job in hand.
The salvation, the saving grace and what will save the reputation of Britain is not the politics but the people for who vote for the politicians. The British are a tolerant people. Until they are pushed too far.
The law abiding, caring, socially minded and respectful have reached their limit too.
Black, white, Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim have been out on the streets cleaning up, standing guard over homes, businesses and places of worship making their voices heard. For every disaffected youth rioting and looting there are those who are helping clean up the aftermath, or serving their country in Afghanistan. Let’s not forget them.
Listen to the people Mr. Cameron. They want what we all want, to raise families in peace, live without fear and intimidation and have a government in power who will ensure that.
It’s not too much to ask is it?