While financial markets started to melt-down over the last week or so, so did public order. On Saturday 6th August, riots and looting started in Tottenham, which swiftly spread to other parts of London and key cities across England. I saw Mr Reeves of Reeves Furnishings, Croydon, watch as the fire-wrecked shop building, a family business for five generations , was demolished in front of him after last Monday’s riots, and arson in Croydon and elsewhere.

is still mind-blowing to me. It wasn’t not just gang violence, but full scale pillaging, looting and arson. People have lost homes, businesses, and lives… There is no new war on, no dictators toppling, no sense of solidarity, just boredom, apathy and misguided opportunism. People use broad brush strokes to rationalise these actions blaming mis-spent youth and society’s failings of them. However it wasn’t just young people, a 31 year old primary school teacher was first in the dock for taking part, and he wasn’t the only one… Isn’t it time us grown-ups took responsibility for ourselves?

Whilst horrified by the mindless violence and arson on the streets I have equally been inspired and reassured by the community spirit shown by people affected by the riots. Within hours of rioting and looting, websites such as riotrescue helping small businesses affected and riotcleanup promoting organised clean-ups at specific locations affected. Such websites and associated twitter and facbook campaigns helped galvanise and unite residents of distraught neighbourhoods. The city-wide turnout of people and their brooms in London, Manchester, and Birmingham proves that community, common purpose does exist.

Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that if any future looting or riots occur, the powers that be come to their senses and issue brooms rather than black-outs… #makebroomsnotblackouts

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