At time of writing, London has faced three continuous nights of rioting.
It’s difficult to put any reaction into words, or to measure those which you do use after seeing the images of looting and destruction which have now run for too long across our TV screens.
What is clear is that the rioting has little to do with the death of Mark Duggan. It is neither a reaction against the Mayor, nor the Coalition Government and its policies to tackle the deficit. It certainly doesn’t reflect a genuine groundswell of anger against the Police.
What Londoners (and let us not forget those who live in Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford, Reading and Nottingham) face is the raw mob mentality of thieves and thugs taking their chances. A mob isn’t rational, and it can’t be reasoned with.
LondonSays.org hopes that the Police and Government take whatever action is required to ensure that rioting is prevented from igniting for a fourth night. It is tempting to overreact in situations such as this and it could be argued that calls for the issuing of rubber bullets, water cannons, and use of the military are perfect examples of such. However, action must be taken to restore order on the streets and protect Londoners from a mob which attacks people, property and businesses indiscriminately.
Those responsible for protecting London’s streets are best placed to determine the correct way to react. It is for us to judge their actions. This is the very nature of democracy.
Afterthe night comes the dawn.
Whilst we watched, tweeted, and Facebook-ed our disgust at the actions carried out by the malicious few last night, this morning the world sees a different side of London.
Trending in Twitter currently is the tag #riotscleanup. The account @riotcleanup has found almost 20,000 followers in a few short hours. This tag and account are directing Londoners to help the clean-up efforts in their neighbourhoods and people are turning out in force. In Clapham, Police offers are being spontaneously applauded as they go about their jobs.
This isn’t a time for politics but for politicians to set about doing their jobs. Nor is it a time for blame – what matters now is restoring London and stopping the crime and disorder which is so clearly abhorrent to our wonderful city and the majority of its residents.