Riot Wombles

Yesterday, my other half and I spent the day in central London and attended the funeral of John Stott at All Souls, Langham Place at the north end of Regent Street, London.

It was a day of peace, poignancy, thanksgiving, sadness and joy. I don't remember seeing any police all day. After 3 nights of riots and looting in some parts of London I assume they were all engaged elsewhere or catching up on sleep after the night before.

Everything about the recent riots over the last 3 nights in UK cities is deeply worrying. One thing that has shocked me most is how quickly a small minority can create so much damage to property, people's livelhoods and sense of safety in their own community.

Is there any good news coming out of this? It's encouraging to see how many volunteers have come out on the streets to help where they could in cleaning up the damage, acting together to restore faith in community.

Riotscleanup Blog posted this message today.
"We should start with a thank you. It started as an idea, evolved into a noisy rabble and ended up with hundreds of folk around the Uk, helping to clean up the damage and restore faith in the idea of community. You were spirited, funny, intelligent, patient, hardworking and individual. You came from all angles, from all sexes, races and beliefs, in peace and in love. Thank you for your hearts and minds, arms and legs. Thank you to all who spread the word, kept us informed and helped us organise.

We hope that peace and sense prevails tonight, so as we continue to clean, we have less work to do. Questions must be asked and the truth will out, keep faith in each other and the strength that provides us.
Be safe and take care whatever your plans are this evening and keep in touch via twitter, we’ll try our best to keep you informed.
In solidarity, as a community we stand.
Love to all1/80,000 of @riotscleanup "
Somebody (not sure who) has coined the nickname 'riot wombles' for those who like the 'The Wombles of Wimbledon Common' of the children's story books spend time usefully clearing up after other people. That seems a great way to react positively in the aftermath of rioting and looting.

But what pro-actively needs to be done to prevent further escalation of violent lawlesness on our streets? And how can the complex root auses best be tackled?



  1. Cleaning up after the riots is a good way of restoring faith in the community, but it is reactive and the cure, if there is one, will need to be pro-active.
    In a quick unthinking, Pavlovian response to John Richardson over at The Ugley Vicar this morning, I agreed that a curfew might be a good idea and suggested that since it would be virtually impossible to police, perhaps closing pubs and clubs might help.
    What I had meant to say was that by doing so, the parents of the feral youths who to a large extent are causing the present mayhem, would then have to take responsibility for the whereabouts and actions of their offspring.
    This, I believe, has to start at home.

  2. Ray - I would hate to see a curfew imposed as it would deny everyone's freedom to go about their business and leisure in a peaceful and responsible manner and I don't think it could be enforced without the army and some form of martial law. Would you want to live in a country like that? I agree that parents should take responsibility for their children and this needs to start at home, especially (in my view)at the pre-school stage - which means a lot more help needed for parents who are themselves victims of neglectful/abusive parenting. But of course the situation of why some youths behave in 'feral' ways has a myriad causes, not least the hopelessness of those who feel they have no stake in a society where people are valued by their possessions or celebrity status. There is nothing sadder than a teenager who feels worthless with no hope or aspiration for the future.

  3. Point taken Nancy, but we are no nearer a solution if there is one.
    No, of course I would hate martial law, but I also feel for those whose lives, homes and environments are under threat from a small, dissaffected section of society.


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