SENSELESS DESTRUCTION: But why did the riots happen?
THEY TRIED to make me condemn the violence and I said, “No, no, no..."
Whenever a black man throws a brick, they'll look around for some community ‘spokesperson' and demand that they condemn the violence. That was the position I found myself in on the night of the Tottenham riots.
You see, you're damned if you do and you're so much more damned if you don't. You're damned if you do, because at the moment they shove the mic under your nose you don't know what the hell the riot is about. Like so many community spokespeople I am shocked, repelled and demoralised by the gratuitous destruction of my home neighbourhood. So the question “Do you condemn the violence?” is a reductio ad absurdum as Julius Caesar would say.
Rome didn't burn in a day without reason. Yet these same media interrogators never ask us, "Do you condemn the violence and the CAUSE of the violence?" If they asked that, my answer would be a resolute, “Yes, yes, yes!!!"
Even prime ministers are allowed to condemn the crime AND the cause of the crime. Since the Notting Hill riots of 1958 prime ministers have reneged on their promises to tackle the causes and, no doubt, this time it will be no different.
How can you trust people who sacrifice the lives of British soldiers in an illegal war, to really tackle the war on the streets of Britain?
SOUND INVESTMENT?: Glass merchants will be enjoying rooting business
Like other ‘spokespeople' I'm middle class and middle aged now and I didn't have a clue what was going on with the burning and a-looting of Tottenham High Road.
I do know that it was triggered off by what many people consider to be an execution-style killing of a young man two days before. That was the catalyst that sparked the peaceful demonstration that descended into anarchy.
For many black Britons, Mark Duggan’s shooting was the latest in a long line of black men who have died in police custody, for which not a single officer has been brought to book.
In each case the police have been quick to point out the likely guilt of the deceased, or in the very least their culpability in their own deaths, and in so doing have skewered the perception of the victim even before an investigation.
Mark Duggan was not there to defend himself when the police told the media he was a known gangster carrying a gun and that he shot a police officer.
And yet when the family marched to Tottenham police station to get answers as to why their son was apparently shot in the face, the police claimed they didn't want to prejudice the investigation. Surely they had already done that even before Mark Duggan was cold in the mortuary.
But it's no longer about the shooting of a young black man. The police, for the moment, will be relieved about that. They'll have some time to get their stories straight. For the white looters and rioters it's about a young man being shot execution style and what they can get out of it.
Only a fool would think that young people have the strategy to outfox the police on the streets several days running. We'll no doubt have the anti-establishment ‘olders’ who manipulated the kids on social networks and mobile phones paraded in front of us.
The Mister Big will be a disgruntled 'anarchist' and Britain will breathe a sigh of relief that it's all over.
London Mayor Boris Johnson will pay the price for taking so long to cut short his Vancouver holiday and come back and deal with the mess.
CRITICISED: David Cameron had to cut short his holiday
He's a lame duck Mayor now. David Cameron will get away with it because by the time an election comes around again the ‘uprisings' will be a distant memory.
QUESTION COPS MUST ANSWER NOW:
How did they get themselves in this mess again?
It was a question that I put to the commander in charge of operations in Tottenham on the night it all kicked off. I asked him the question twice and he avoided answering it twice.
When the local MP, David Lammy, had appealed for calm two days earlier why did they not consider that as an indication that there was tension and anger in the air?
QUESTION THE PRIME MINISTER MUST ANSWER:
Why did you continue your holiday in Tuscany while Britain was burning?
EVERY CLOUD HAS A GLASS LINING
Forget the price of gold, if you're looking for a real ‘sound' investment, glass is the way to go.
The sound of crashing glass is the silver lining that belies the dark clouds of the riots.
It must have been like music to the ears of glass merchants such as Pilkingtons.
Because for every smashed shop window in the riots of London, there was work for the replacement glass merchants who were on stand by - right behind the police lines and in some instances were replacing the shop windows even before the Sky News reporters got to the scene to film it.
The price of gold on the other hand should have taken a tumble at the sight of jewellers and pawn shops being ransacked.
I wouldn’t walk around with gold if you paid me whilst there are hoodlums around prepared to mine your teeth to get at your stash of the shiny yellow stuff.