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?

10 Comments to “Oh What A Night…”

  1. PiratesPatch says:

    Please please please….come over to Greenwich brave scum rioters…touch one finger on my property and business and then we will see how brave you are!

    The left loving BBC are extinct, and sooner they hand back peoples licence fee and say sorry for the rubbish its bias reports or allowing Londons biggest idiot Red Ken to go on TV and not condone the violence and fan the flames for more.

    Time to stand up, their is no cause, it’s just criminal activity.

    This Greenwich pirate is rounding up the crew and handing out the cutlass’s.

  2. methers says:

    Ken Livingstone (Lab): “The issue of water cannon would be very useful given the level of arson we are seeing here.” (Telegraph 08/08/11)

    Teresa May (Con): “The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon… The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.” (Telegraph 09/08/11)

  3. PiratesPatch says:

    Mr Livingstone also said that the rioters “feel no-one at the top of society, in government or City Hall, cares about them or speaks for them.”

    Is the man living on the same planet as the rest of us?

    When they walk around with guns, or try and kill police, burn down property that they have just looted…

    Thats why no onw cares for them, they dont deserve it!

    Red Ken should look at Mr Bliars Education, Education, Education and see if he can spot a link to these violent muppets!

  4. LG says:

    Some sub-communities get up and get on, while others choose to stick where they are and blame society for their complete indolence. All the ills in their lives are someone else’s fault. They are never to blame. So, they subsist, often quite comfortably, either dealing drugs, or assisting in such activities.

    Violience and intimidation are also tools of their behaviour, call it their ‘coping mechanism’ if you will.

    What they don’t have, they can grab, and than hollar like babies when caught in the act and cite discrimination this, intimidation that.

    As, for me … well, I’m very much the lefty liberal. Grew up with the Guardian and all that and can’t stand the Tories, even worse the Blair … but I’m not really not stupid and can see naked opportunitsm for everything that it is.

    It really is time to say to these people: “Either get on or get out. You had all the education and assistance and support that your neighbours had, so how come your still at the bottom of the heap. Stuff your excuses. This lefty has heard them all and seen the thousands of corrective measures that have been taken to make you a better world; and still society’s keeping you down, eh? Rollocks to that.”

  5. Ed says:

    I did a tour of Lewisham this morning to see some of the damage. Posted it here: http://edewing.blogspot.com/2011/08/london-riots-lewisham-damage.html
    Thanks, Ed

  6. Scott says:

    My wife just tried to do the shopping, Greenwich Penisular Sainsburys is shut, Trafalgar rd Coop is looted and the Tesco express is shut.

  7. MR T says:

    Sorry –
    I might be guilible but are you serious Coop has been looted?

  8. Rachel says:

    My husband was just in Greenwich about 40 minutes ago and there were 30 odd youths with faces covered etc heading over Deptford Bridge towards Greenwich town. Everything boarded up and can’t even get a pint of milk…

  9. bilko6 says:

    Ridiculous -The Co Op on Trafalgar Rd has NOT been looted

    They have a broken window – maybe from last night – but thats nothing new ! .
    They just closed up around 12.30 , as did Iceland ,Boots , Tesco etc

    Londis a few doors down is open if anyone needs a pint of milk

  10. Darryl says:

    Thank you, Phantom! (37, alas…)

    Co-Op wasn’t looted, just had a window put through.