Oh What A Night…
Dunno why I’m posting this really. It’s not like I can add anything to what anyone else is saying. Bad People trashed parts of their own communities last night while the rest of us watched, gape-mouthed in horror. The woolly liberal in me whispering worriedly that this is the only way these thugs can express their anger at social disenfranchisement is battling with the angry Londoner that sees mindless attack on fire and ambulance crews and the cherry-picking of targets – the realisation that this is now just opportunism. That the only shop in Greenwich looted sold mobile phones (unsurprisingly nobody thought of ram-raiding Waterstones to stock up on books…) is a rather pure example of this.
We didn’t suffer the kind of terror that our neighbours in Deptford and Woolwich endured. For us, it was merely burglary under the cover of public disorder, though what tonight might bring is anyone’s guess. This morning on Breakfast Telly they were saying that much of the looting was older people arriving in cars, ready tooled up. It’s hard to argue political statement when you’re wearing a stripy t-shirt, loup-mask and flat-cap and carrying a sack labelled SWAG.
That said, Seb says:
In the peninsula industrial estate, Maplin, JD Sports and Argos were smashed into, and the metal covers lifted up. Many groups carrying trolleys with phones, etc back down past Sainsburys to the car park and then loaded into cars. Then I saw cars congregating at the rear of Comet, ppl jumping over the fence (not all male), with one declaring ”it’s wide open bruv” as he walked off with a widescreen on his back. I called the police and gave some number plates, but I have little doubt it would be empty by the time they got there. I don’t know if B+Q or Sainsbury’s would be spared
It does seem that both were, given that Sainsburys is open today, but even as I write Theatre of Wine is just one of the shops that’s closing early today – I understand that there is ‘intelligence’ Greenwich is a likely target, though frankly it seems that it’s only as likely as anywhere else tonight. The town centre, East Greenwich and, I understand Blackheath Standard and Village are all closing down and boarding-up.
I can only vaguely imagine what it must have been to live in flats above shops in Woolwich town centre as it was rampaged, though I had a few issues with the BBC Five Live producer who claimed to be local but also suggested that the looters came from North Greenwich through a foot tunnel that’s been closed for over a year. But wherever this mob came from to live above a shop being set on fire must be utterly terrifying.
I guess the problems journalists were having were the same as the police. This was happening so fast no one knew what was going on and rumour multiplies at times like this. Sadly we somehow expect the police to be superhuman iunder these circumstances which, given the whole News International scandal, we know only too well they are not. They appear to have been pretty incompetent in Woolwich, choosing to contain rather than confront, but if there weren’t enough of them, I can sort of get why they didn’t just plough in. Mostly, in the afternoon, at least, I noticed they were carrying the aggressive form of riot shield, rather than the defensive but however strong they looked on daylight footage, by the small hours they were well out of their depth and they are, incredibly, some might think, actually human. And scary is scary, whoever you are.
I’m currently two-thirds through Owen Jones’s Chavs – the Demonisation of the Working Class, which is confusing me further (I suspect sales will hit the roof now) . Someone on R4 has just said “these young people are bored”, but it goes much, much deeper than this. When this is all sorted out some serious questions need to be asked. But for now we need to work out how the hell to stop this.
My thoughts go out to the folks across London, especially in Woolwich and, the other way, the Deptford Dame’s manor. She notes that only the banks, bookies, supermarkets and Greggs seem to have been really trashed (Greggs? What did they expect to get out of that – a BLT and and an iced bun?) but it’s the simple things like the newly-lain tarmac that ‘some knob’ managed to destroy that will linger with the ordinary folk of Deptford.
I was pleased to see that Darryl of 853 and Charlton Champion largely resisted the urge to go out and thus can celebrate being 36 today. Have a good birthday, Darryl and perhaps have a nice celebration tonight at home, eh?