I’m a Londoner.
Grew up poor. Went to a sink school with outside toilets.
Education – free, right through to university with a full grant – helped me to escape.
In the playground and the street I was bullied by louder, bigger, angrier kids.
I’ve spent my adult life working with exactly those kids – they are still here after fifty years.
I wish I could believe that in these riots there is a wish expressed for a better life, a dream realised, or a voice that has something to say. There are plenty of us, working, teaching, writing, listening; waiting to hear what that something is.
My take on it is that, thanks to media of all kinds, we live in a world where you are snorkelling through reality, gazing down into the ocean depths, and because you are a spectator, you don’t have to have any moral or emotional attachment to what you see, nor do you believe that the people you see are real – hurting, burning or suffering. You’re not part of it. You’re not responsible. And if you are lucky, you’ll only take off that snorkel to become, briefly, a celebrity – and there is no moral dimension attached to that either.
Capitalism must be rubbing its hands and chuckling with fat glee that the looted objects are those most promoted, made desirable and publicized by itself. Capitalism – who said it was ‘the festive consumer consumed at the feast’ ?