9 August 2011


London's burning, London's burning.
Fetch the engines, fetch the engines.
Fire fire, Fire Fire!
Pour on water, pour on water.
London's burning, London's burning.

I leave England for a long weekend and look what happens! The images on our television screens have been quite unbelievable. I was fiddling around with my Irish photographs until the early hours and then I switched to the BBC News to watch live streaming of a Sony distribution centre burning down in Enfield. What the hell is going on?

The politicians parrot their usual scripts. It's all about "criminality". And, the "perpetrators" will be brought "to justice" says our esteemed Old Etonian leader. Those same politicians live the high life - directorships, lecture fees, chumminess with foreign politicians, kids in private schools, late night TV chat shows, honorary doctorates and of course the expenses - who could forget their expenses?

Don't get me wrong. I have no sympathy for the arrogant little toerags involved in looting and wanton damage in our capital city. Teachers have to teach these horrible oiks. Spotty youths with baggy jeans, disrespectful attitudes, piercings, baseball caps, estuary English - "nowoah mean man innit?". I would certainly vote for the return of medieval punishments for them. But the boil that has now burst could have been lanced long ago. It's a bit like Libya or Yemen in microcosm - you leave something long enough, the inevitable will happen.

I am not racist and therefore have no compunction about saying that Britain's open door policies of the past - creating in London a crazy melting pot of cultures, races and lifestyles has contributed massively to what has happened these last few days. Broken homes. Weak parenting. Images of dream lifestyles that taunt and enrage penniless nobodies in damp flats where their music of the night is glass being smashed, sirens wailing and babies crying. David Beckham and Cheryl Cole look down from billboards saying "Look at us. We are your new gods but you can never come to our heaven you losers!"

CCTV cameras everywhere. Murdoch lying. Cameron lying. Schoolteachers lying about careers - "If you really want it you can get it". Amy Winehouse dying. The swishing of fingers on Blackberry screens. Fat bankers in feeding frenzies. Professional footballers in Lamborghinis. Policemen fiddling expenses. Exclusive menus in West End restaurants - champagne at £224 a bottle. You stand on the corner munching on a kebab that you couldn't really afford. Swilling it down with cheap cider. "Send her victorious. Happy and glorious." Yeah - right!

Where do we go from here? Now that Pandora's Box has been opened. Curfews? Bring in the Army?Parade them through the courts as they smirk at each other and play with their golden chains. Learning mentors. Bringing back the EMA's that Cameron should have never scrapped. Terrible things have happened. Terrible. The veneer stripped away. So where do we go from here?

I don't know where we go but I imagine those terrible scenes - those demons unleashed as this soundtrack plays:-
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.


  1. YP I think we are all having a comment on this one today!

  2. We've been having a running commentary of events in Manchester via Facebook messages from friends and relatives who work there and have been sent home.

    Duke Dave talks a good fight, but it is obviously meaningless given the inability of the police to intervene forcefully, no doubt because they lack the backing of our weak politicians.

  3. I'm watching from afar in disbelief but I think you may have hit the nail on the head this time YP.
    Keep safe

  4. YP, I believe you are correct on this point: broken homes, misguided youth, and the culture of celebrity envy create more misery every day. I hope your loved ones remain safe and that someone gets a handle on this senseless violence soon!

  5. A broken political system being rorted by the upper class. Unfortunatley we have disfunctional governments all around the western world. Australia is no different except we have not resorted to violence yet, although it could happen. Even though our shores are under siege from illegal refugees we have yet open the door like the UK which probably reduces the social inequality that occurs in Britain . If there is a silver lining to these little thugs rampaging around London, it will bring it to everyones attention around the world that change is needed. Politicions need to start working for the people that have entrusted them to represent them, from either left or right wing politics. As a regular visitor to your wonderful country, I would say, do not be disheartened the British have a great history of rising above challenges and "getting on with it."

  6. From here in Hawaii, the general reaction is ... what the heck? No one hears the news, they just see headlines as they pass a newspaper rack. I have actually read those papers and still can't figure out what's happening, what I perceive is this: the government thinks the people who are rioting don't really have problems? I guess that statement goes wrong by assuming that government thinks.

    We have lots of immigrants in the U.S., too. They're the ones with jobs, though. The unemployed and underemployed are our own kids under 30, with no hope of improvement. Many of them with college degrees. So when protests hit the streets in the U.S., you're going to see even more baffling sights: well dressed young people who can spell all the words on their signs correctly.

  7. JOHN GRAY Has anybody been looting your eggs?
    SHOOTING PARROTS So far no reports of trouble in Sheffield - thank heavens. I am so glad that we live in apeaceful law-abiding neighbourhood.
    HELEN Not exactly tea shops, country walks and old castles is it? Another side of England has been unmasked to the world and it's a very ugly face indeed.
    MS GEORGE I have no idea how anyone can properly "get a handle" on this beast. We may drive it back into its cage but it will continue to growl - till the next time.
    TONY HAPPENINGS Thank you for your kind and thoughtful support. I think it is the knowledge that this is essentially a very wonderful country that makes the anarchy all the more enraging.
    JAN BLAWAT I know that you do not fit the stereotype of Americans who see nothing beyond the star spangled banner. I fear that the flame that these yobs have lit in London may travel internationally.

  8. yp
    we had one hoodie acting suspiciously by the church.... an old lady told him to go home

    that was our riot!

  9. People have predicted this for years. I always thought they were being melodramatic, never in a country so steeped in history and culture should this happen.

    But it has and the only way forward from this is wholesale changes to the way people feel about each other- a cultural change similar to the way Germany prospered following the worst of times.

    That wouldn't be possible under a right wing joke of a government like we have now who have provided the spark to a long and systematic dousing of petrol across the land from both the two previous administrations, beginning in 1979.

    I sit here from afar devastated and very disappointed that so much that everyone knew about the world we live in today, especially in the UK could so easily be avoided if any of us really cared about our society.

    But remember there has been 'no such thing as society for years'- 'only individuals'.

    The only gripe I have with your analysis of the situation is your take on the immigration.

    It is the government's fault for lack of integration since the 60s and not allowing immigrants to be British from our commonwealth that has caused the race issues amongst this very youth and class orientated catastrophe.

    My policy would be to ship out our indigenous youth, who are the real problem. The generations of successive ill treatment and lack of aspiration have allowed things to fester for so long.

    Children from immigrant families, unless they are caught up in a trap of drug and alcohol abuse through poverty are not the root cause of this problem.

    The fathers and grandfathers that had the right to go have a purpose in life took away from them for good following the mass redundancies of the 70s and 80s are more to blame for fathering these ill-educated, unambitious good-for-nothings that we are in fear of now.

    An absolute disaster of a government and Dave and his so called coalition should call an election imminently so that progressive people and the country can move forward and not look back in anger.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits