August 9, 2011
"Harman says people in her Peckham constituency are saying that the young people out rioting and looting are not speaking for them. It is not a political demonstration, she says. “Nothing justifies somebody robbing an looting somebody else’s business and frightening people on their own streets.” She refuses to be drawn on deeper motives or causes for the rioting right now. The first thing to do is sort out the situation. People don’t want to hear “excuses”, she says."

London riots and UK unrest: day four live coverage | UK news |

I’m seeing (and hearing) a lot of sentiments like this from politicians and from friends. I’ve been here almost a year now but I still feel a bit like an outsider, especially in this. I understand people are angry - I’m a bit out of the riot-area but it’s getting closer and closer every night. But I’m still enough outside that it’s not like I don’t understand what’s happening. Canada is far from perfect, but the class system is much more palpable here in the UK. As James Meek points out, though London is really “diverse” it doesn’t mean that people actually interact.

I live in a council flat (rented from the owners, but the building definitely still has council people) down the street from one of the world’s most prestigious law firms. These kinds of contrasts are all over the city. So you not only have all these kids who feel stuck and unsupported, but they are pretty much always in direct contact with all the stuff they don’t have. They may live on the streets where the riots are but they aren’t “theirs.” I’m not saying people are consciously thinking of this as a “political” action but it is still a political event.

I’m not saying that violence or looting or rioting or burning down local businesses or robbing people is something that’s okay; but it’s not incomprehensible to see kids who feel like they have nothing to lose…acting like it.

10:27am  |   URL:
Filed under: london hasty thoughts 
  1. mootpoint posted this