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Monday 8 August 2011

Riots in Tottenham, in the London Borough of Haringey: See the photo link:

Tottenham Riots, London 5th August 2011

IMG_9756 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
I'd like to post the actual photo on this page, but I can't because it's copyrighted, but well worth a look.

Such a beautiful Art Deco building with a carpet shop below and flats above wiped off the face of Tottenham High Road. People made homeless, jobs lost, and for what? - What idiots destroy their own community? I don't think this is anything to do with Mark Duggan's shooting - why would you burn your own shopping centre because you're cross? What would it prove?

Am I missing something?

I've lived in Haringey for 50 years, and this makes me feel very sad, because so much effort and money has gone into regeneration of the area since the Broadwater Farm incident 25 years ago, when an unarmed policeman was hacked to death with machetes during a riot. At that time, rioting got out of hand because many of the local youth were angered by the local police policy of "Stop and Search", when the police had a legal right to stop and search anyone they suspected of committing an offence. And the black community in Tottenham felt that they were being unjustly targetted.

After that, a huge effort was made to change policing, to employ more black police, have local community liaison committees and so forth; money was poured in to the bleak concrete jungle which was Broadwater Farm Estate, and much was done to make it more of a supportive community, with a community centre, and planting of trees and other cosmetic effects to make the occupants feel less alienated from society.

For years Haringey has had one of the highest council taxes in Britain, and this was to improve the lives of those living in the poorest part of the Borough. I believed in this Socialist principle, so didn't really resent paying high local taxes (just some of the wastefulness that went with it!).

Schools were improved, the whole Borough of Haringey was "greened up", with tree and garden planting, cleaning up areas where there had been fly-tipping, better street cleaning, better street lighting, improved, cleaner local parks, better sports facilities and good library facilities. There were "inclusive" policies, and positive discrimination in employment. There is a huge ethnic mix in Haringey, with something in excess of 100 languages spoken by children in the local schools. Official Local Government information leaflets are normally distributed in about 10 different languages, to help people feel loved and wanted. Many people did feel that things had improved considerably, but the youth unemployment and crime rate, much of it drug-related, remained high.

So why arson - one of the most dangerous offences in the book? In a crowded city like London, it can wreak havoc - and that's why it is a very serious crime - think "Fire of London".

I, for one, certainly don't think pouring a lot more money into Haringey is going to solve this one, because it doesn't seem to have helped much up to now. It seems to me that the people who did this, probably thoughtless youths who don't think beyond their own noses (and certainly not about actions having consequences), should now start to think about pulling themselves up by their bootlaces, like other second-generation immigrant populations before them, instead of behaving badly and then whining about their rights and lack of opportunities.


  1. Excellent article! I do think that bored teenagers (in the school holidays) may have had
    something to do with this. Perhaps more exciting community projects would entice them away from trouble?

  2. I lived in Harringay from 1978 to 1990 and also remember the troubles of 1985. It was very worrying to see back then the looting that occurred in Wood Green, just a mile up the road from us.

    I had hoped that this would not happen again, but it did, and it's not the result of social unrest, it's purely the growth of gangs of youths who believe that they can do what they want, and having a riot in the streets is fun to them.

    These morons care nothing about people's property or the fact that they are destroying people's businesses. They almost all live off benefits, which are provided by those of us who DO work and pay taxes.

    Thank God I say for the cameras that have allowed so many to be identified and arrested. I only hope that the government has the balls to keep their maximum sentences, and to take away their benefits.

    Something has to change, and people need to learn that it's time everyone worked for a living, even if it's community service, and that benefits don't come for free.

    In addition it's time that youths were taught respect for other people's property and for others.


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