Tuesday, August 09, 2011

This Is London

London calling, to the imitation soul
Forget it brother, you can go it alone

Not a happy scene:

00.20 Twitter reports: A Wetherspoons in Lee has been targetted in a “mass mugging.” Police were rung but did not pick up.

And this:

00.01 Police have called in air support from Sussex and Surrey. Shops are burning in Clapham and Notting Hill. Cars have been torched in Fulham Broadway. The Ledbury Michelin-star restaurant in Notting Hill was raided and the diners mugged. There are reports on Twitter of people carrying machetes in Notting Hill and Balham.
And this:

A baby clothes shop owner whose store was looted and then set on fire tearfully spoke of her anger and sadness at the “mindless” riots.

Liz Pilgrim, who runs Baby e, a boutique shop in Ealing, West London, near the famous studios, said she raced to the store when she was told it had been attacked by youths.

She found it on fire, with her stock strewn across the streets, railings and even hanging on nearby trees on the green opposite.

Ms Pilgrim, who opened the shop seven years ago, said it was just “mindless violence” and had left her heartbroken. “I am just absolutely devastated,” she said.
These events are taking place in areas like Ealing and Notting Hill. The looters are not necessarily poor. There's a picture at the second link of a guy wearing an expensive Adidas track suit with matching shoes. It's not what you expect to see in West London.




W.B. Picklesworth said...

It's not what you expect and yet I'm really not at all surprised. England has changed. I've been there periodically over my lifetime and the difference (at least in my Granny's neighborhood in NW London) is clear. It used to feel English. Now it feels more like "English." There's no longer any sense of power and grace; which is to say that the Victorians are dead and their influence withered.

I grew up wanting to live one day in England (if only for a few years.) Now I'm not interested. What is good and right has changed or is changing. It still gets sold to tourists of course, but there's no marrow in the bones.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder what's going on in the world and whether there is any connection to the incidents in London, and the various incidents of youth uprisings in the US in places like Milwaukee and Philly. No matter what the connection, I have to ask how good everyone feels about the prospects of these kids bucking it up and paying the massive debt we are handing them without protest and/or incident?

Night Writer said...

There was an interesting book a couple of decades back by Bill Buford entitled, "Among the Thugs." In it he spent (IIRC) a year in the British soccer hoodlum culture. One of the surprising findings in the book was that most of the thugs were middle-class and had jobs. The appeal to them wasn't rebellion but the powerful psychological thrill when a a crowd reached an emotional critical mass and "went off"; kind of like nihilistic adrenaline. They also learned that with enough of them they could crash any event and take over any downtown as the law and the rest of society were unable to resist.

I will also say that on our trip to England in 2006 it was impossible to find a public phone in working order. Every phone that was out where it could be seen was vandalized. The only ones that weren't were hidden out of view by the businesses. When you'd ask someone why this was you'd get the same response that I grew used to hearing everywhere in the country: a shrug and a "That's just the way it is, innit?"

Night Writer said...

Anon, my sense is that the rioters around the world aren't protesting about what they owe, but because of what they think they are owed. They have no concept of "paying" for anything, they just know what they've been receiving may go away. Perhaps we could call it "entitlement withdrawal" and not be surprised when addicts act out.

Gino said...

right about now many brits are wishing that they had a second ammendment.

Bike Bubba said...

Technically, the English do have a 2nd Amendment in the 1688 Bill of Rights, but unfortunately, nothing is firm or fixed in the British legal world. New precedent overrides old in a perversion of stare decisis (let the decision stand) that allows even the provisions of the Magna Carta to be overruled at will.

That noted, this is bizaare. I can understand protests of an arrested man. No problem with that. But burning down the whole city and destroying your own prospects instead of addressing one's anger at the (perhaps) guilty party?

London is earning the fruit of the lack of logic and moral training, I think.

Gino said...

before my blogging days, i was part of a message board community that included a few foreigners, one was from England.

he had stated that london contained so few english that when 3 young women in the office loudly conversed about the english in disparaging terms they were shocked to learn of his presence in the room. they didnt think there were any english in the building, let alone in the same room.

he had stated that England itself, due to national immigration policy, would soon cease to be, just as London had already ceased its existence as an English city.

he was looking to migrate himself, to Canada, as he would soon be without a country of his own anyway.

reading the reports, and WB's comment, i was reminded of what this guy had said just a few years ago. i guess maybe is all relevant?

Anonymous said...

And another piece of red left my atlas today.

Mr. D said...


I had always heard "there will always be an England." Guess I heard wrong.

NW, I think your second comment is spot-on in re the reasons for the riots.


What you're saying tracks with what Mark Steyn has written over the years.


That's a clutch Boomtown Rats reference.