Speed Blogging through London Riots
I love pie, and I love biscuits. Who doesn’t appreciate a custard cream with a cup of tea at that oh so particular time of the day? Put it all together and you get piendbiscuits, a blog with a quirky, entertaining eye-view of London which helps keep me in touch with a side of London life I miss so much since leaving, while returning as often as possible from the US.
The riots taking place on the streets of London and elsewhere in the UK were, and continue to be, ugly. Here in the US, with my best friend the internet, I flick through UK newspapers on the web but nowhere do I remember seeing a report of the shooting in Tottenham earlier during the week of Mark Duggan, by the police,which lead to a quiet family protest, which lead to the original outbreak on the week-end of the civil unrest in Tottenham. Which of course lead the newswires to hit the fan and the protesters to hit the streets where they saw fit.
Glued to live coverage from the BBC along with the inter-active fingers and thumbs of Twitter I quite forgot I was sitting so many hours away, across an ocean some insist on calling a pond. My head might have been here, but my heart was over there in South London and the messy streets of Clapham, Wandsworth and the Arndale Centre, Earlsfield and Garratt Lane, the back blocks of Wimbledon Park where once Plough Lane, home of the Wimbledon Football Club, sat proudly in the hairy armpit which led up to the more gentile finger tips of Wimbledon Village.
Back to Pie, who posted an impassioned letter to the looters who succeeded in using and abusing the death of Mark Duggan for their own vile means. In the unsettled, steamy and stifled air here in NY I read Pie’s post, connected and commented. Tonight I found his reply:
“You were beyond disbelief? Imagine our anger and frustration at our leader’s inability (or unwillingness) to return and give us some direction, or at least comfort. Our city was burning for three daysbefore they deigned to grace us.”
The world, as big as it seems to be, is the sum of so many tiny parts. The molecular structure is nowhere near as fixed as we often imagine it to be. And yes, I am sitting here in the US in disbelief but I want everyone to know my anger and frustration, not just at this particular leader’s inability to return and give direction and comfort, but leaders who in the past indulged in sheer, naked ambition of what the office of power could do for them.
I so want to believe in the best, to not be tarred with the ugly brush of cynicism. To think that someone blessed with the belief that he or she can govern and lead with integrity might not need that exotic holiday in Tuscany or the Bahamas because, as we all know, the job is never going to last forever. Consequences of that job, however, last forever. Tony Blair, armed with his dossier on the Weapons of Mass Destruction, sent the UK to War in the Middle East. Where they remain to this day. Yet on the streets of Britain today, chaos and carnage.
If one of the toughest calls of political office is that of sending troops off to war, how much easier might it be if elected leaders were to put their own children in uniform?
Yes, I am here in the US. For now. I have one son in Clapham, another son has passed his physical for possible entry into the Royal Marines pending interview before the board in September . . .
. . . to be continued.
I owe a big debt of ingratitude for Pie for stirring me out of my fug on this issue and I hope you enjoy his blog as much as I do.
Pie’s letter expressed the outrage so well. The thugs that carry on these crimes don’t care about justice for the man shot. They don’t care that the people they are robbing are their neighbors who work long hours just to get by. The response (or lack of) from the British government reminds of post Katrina New Orleans.
Let’s hope it does not become worse before it becomes better . . .
It had been alluded to in some quarters here in London that it was a Katrina moment. Certainly it was the first thought that came to my mind when our London mayor in particular refused to cut short his holiday when Tottenham blew up. Whatever people say about Ken Livingston, you know he would’ve cut short his holiday and come straight back, or at least would’ve held a press conference from wherever he was to try and reassure the populace, as he did in 2005 when we were attacked by terrorists on 7/7. And why would he do that? Because he loves London.
Your heart really is in both places, and both are sorrowing for diverse reasons.
Good luck to your sons, and let’s hope that a spine will grow in British leaders.
t2t, thank you so much for your best wishes. The recent troubles in England have been fermenting for so long now and I have no political party agenda to push, due to my bewilderment of the whole process. Here’s to the welfare of all our children!
Well, Patti, I would expect nothing less from you than a blistering attack on the situation in London and the response from our so-called betters. It saddens me that my cynicism has now overtaken my optimism as far as the political classes are concerned, because quite frankly, they don’t deserve it. However, I do take heart in the efforts made by the people from the ground up to bring positivity to this horrible situation. I’ll write about this in my next post.
Thanks for mentioning me here on your blog. It was most unexpected and humbling. That was very generous of you to do so.