This has always been a fairly political blog, insofar as Lou and I are political people. We’re ardent feminists, environmentalists and believers in equality for all in equal measure; we have spent days upon days in Lou’s garden fixing the wrongs of the world, and we always strive to bring awareness to issues that we feel need more attention.
While we’re not ones to avoid an issue simply because it’s political, we’ve been wary of writing a post in response to the riots that swept through London and then many of the major cities across the UK for fear of seeming trite, self-righteous or even salacious. There are many, many people who have written far more eloquently and far more insightfully than I certainly could hope to offer. That said, it would be remiss if we just pretended like it never happened. London is our home, and we both live in areas that were affected and effected by it.
In the past week, it’s been hard to know how to react. I think all of us have felt a maelstrom of conflicting emotions. The looting and rioting was astonishing, horrific and outrageous. The loss for families and small, independent shopkeepers has been devastating.
It’s been suggested that situations like this become a Rorschach test for your political views, in which our gut reaction to the riots unveils how we really look at the world.
(It turns out that my deep, dark political core is still a bleeding-heart liberal who a. can’t understand how water cannons and being ready ‘for when it happens again’ are going to fix the underlying issues that are really at work here and b. gets really annoyed when an understanding that there are underlying issues that created the situation in which rioting occurred becomes conflated with a supposed condoning of the acts of the rioters themselves.)
If this is the case, the deep, dark political core of most Londoners (most Britons) seems fairly obvious. The way ordinary people came together to patch the streets back together has been invigorating and heartwarming. If we learn anything from all of this, it really should be to keep being a little bit nicer to each other, check in with your neighbours, make life a little brighter wherever you happen to live. Basically, don’t be a dick.
If you are in a position to donate things or time the people made homeless need clothes, housewares, cooking equipment and the shelters they will have to temporarily stay in need baby items, nonperishable food, toiletries — donation points have been set up around London and there are lots of ways you can help out. If you wish to donate money, schemes have been set up to Keep Aaron Cutting and to Do Something Nice for Ashraf. Record Label Love has been set up to help rebuild the independents obliterated in the Pias fire.