What on earth have you been up to while I’ve been away? Can’t I leave you alone for just a couple of months without riots, the collapse of a media empire, and further financial crises? And I hear rumours that a Green councillor has reported a Tory to the Standards Committee – tradition has it that it should be Tories referring Greens?
The riots were as predictable as they were tragic, and there will be more. Super-cops from New York are unlikely to understand what is happening in our inner cities, where second and third generations of unemployed, poorly educated, and alienated youths have little at stake in society, nothing to lose and some immediate gains to be made. “It’s our ‘pay day'” as one looter described it.
Much of the rioting was negative destruction and much of the looting was purely criminal. But to dismiss it as only that is wrong. It was also a political statement, with thousands of young and older people expressing their detachment from the norms that govern. How is it that after years of a Labour government, there are large numbers of young people so disillusioned that they are willing to destroy their own communities?
What surprised me was how quickly the rioting began under the Conservative-led coalition. I thought that it would be next year, in the run up to the Olympics, once many of the cuts had begun to bite and the ‘undesirables’ had begun to be moved off the streets, that anger would boil over. I think tthat remains a possibility.
The saddest part of the rioting and the appalling arson attacks, attacks that I condemn without equivocation, is the unlikelihood of investment going into these areas which will become more deprived and greater restrictions placed on the movement of youths around our capital and other cities.
As for riots in Brighton and Hove, I did hear a report on Twitter that there had been a tense standoff and a near riot in Brunswick Square when Waitrose ran out of organic peaches.
As for the Murdoch’s and News International, I did feel ever so sorry for them. Afterall, who hasn’t gone in for a bit of phone hacking? How do you think I get some of my not-so-exciting scoops? But I realise I must apologise for my past excesses, for revealing the Sugar Puffs breakfast habits of Warren Morgan, exposing Lady Everton’s secret identity, exploiting the torments of the Estate Agent, and splashing scoops on the party life of Momma Grizzly. I do apologise to each and every one of you. This is the most humble day of my life.
And who has been picking on poor Dawn Barnett? I thought that her initiative to provide travellers with directions to Green wards was a great political stunt. Of course it will not deal with the challenges posed by travellers in the city, but it is not worthy of a referral to the Standards Committee. I have always opposed the Standards system. It was wrong when Jason Kitcat was referred to it, and it ill-becomes other councillors, particularly a Green councillor (if the rumours are to be believed) for making such a complaint.
So what else has happened while I’ve been away? Not much news reached Tuscany this year. Our neighbours, the Cameron family, packed up and left in a hurry. Dave C (who was seen walking around in t-shirt, sandals and messy facial hair – I initially mistook him for Luke Walter, the best councillor Brighton doesn’t have) was heard muttering something along the lines “I will kill Boris …”.
I hope you have had a good summer. I have had a relaxing time. Now back to business …