Monday, August 08, 2011

Some brief and random thoughts on #londonriots

I'm currently listening to Iain Dale's LBC radio show after an hour of watching the violence unfold across London. It's scary & heartbreaking even watching from a comfy sofa 500 miles away. I feel for anybody living in the areas affected, terrified that the next building set alight might be theirs. That their lives might be at risk, the things they've worked for mindlessly and callously trashed. And all the families of police & other emergency services personnel must be out of their minds with worry.

It scares me a bit to hear Simon Hughes of all people call for water cannon to be used. I guess that they might put the fires out, though. It makes me feel very heavy hearted nonetheless. He's also suggesting a curfew in particular areas - unless people have a good reason, such as work to be out.

I can't imagine why on earth anybody would want to be out on the streets to watch the events unfold, but restricting the legitimate movements of innocent people is very drastic. Decisive action of some sort to maintain safety & order seems necessary, though.

You have to wonder though, that if these young folk had jobs to go to, they wouldn't have the time to be out and about. Young people have taken the brunt of the economic downturn. That's not to suggest for a second that there's an excuse for this sort of violence & vandalism, but it has to be a factor. I hope somebody does some sort of a study on what qualifications anyone found guilty of this violence have, too.

The shooting of Mark Duggan last week was the trigger for the initial violence. It's hard to feel confident in the Met when it's clear senior managers within it have made so many errors regarding News International and you can understand why there's doubt over what happened. But taking to the streets, setting things on fire & helping yourself to the contents of shops won't get answers on that.

I read on Twitter that apparently the police beat up a teenage girl at the initially peaceful protest. Well, if rioters are using Blackberries to organise themselves, you would think one of them would have filmed or photographed such an incident. Without evidence or testimony you have to assume that's a cynical ploy to wind people up.

I have a horrible fear that we're going to see serious injury or worse. If people are upset about cuts, police brutality or anything else, taking your anger out on your neighbours is never going to help.

We just have to hope that this is resolved with the proportionate action of the authorities. This is where I am grateful that there are Liberal Democrats in the Cabinet to act as a moderating influence & to ensure there's no more restriction on liberty than necessary.

I'm not convinced that locking perpetrators up in already full prisons for a long time is the answer. Do they not need a heavy community service order, being made to clean up the mess they made?

Let's just hope for a swift end to this with no loss of life. My thoughts are with everyone caught up in this tonight.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Safely on my couch, thankfully

1 comment:

Andrew Hickey said...

Mat Bowles has linked the video footage of the girl being beaten by the police. To be honest, though, even if he hadn't my instinct would be to believe the worst of the Met after the huge number of appaling events we've seen over the last few years.


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