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Capitalist Consumerism meets Existentialism: what happens this evening?

We are all hoping London will be quiet tonight, but shops in Hackney, Mare Street have been closing early and battening down the hatches just in case. I am sure there will be many more elsewhere.

My particular interest is that my daughters are staying in Hackney with relatives, last night elsewhere near Leyton. My maternal alarm bells have been ringing for 24 hours now, but common sense says if they stay in the house they will be fine. Perhaps it will be no more noisy than a usual summer’s evening in Hackney…

I was noting how many times the word ‘unacceptable’ is being used by the authorities in relation to the London riots; I have now lost count. Their whole tone is too obvious, insulting to the rest of us who can work out the criminality and chaos on our own. We don’t want words, we want to see some action. Balls to the rewarding the criminals line you’ve been peddling Mr Mayor’s Office – your job is to be seen on the streets you are in charge of, with something more creative to say than lofty rhetoric.

There is a line in a book I have been reading by John Macquarrie – it is discussing the human need to have a basic minimum of things for an existence and then from that foundation a human might begin to realise the uniquely human challenge of self-determination, or indeed simply the self. Without the bare minimum humans are put in a constant state of need. Inversely with too much a human being no longer just has things, rather the things have them.

Too much, too little, they both can amount to the same stunting of humanity, most particularly when one is juxtaposed closely with the other. This is not an excuse for what has gone on on the streets of London, but it is a potent ingredient to throw into the bubbling pot of disenfranchised youth who hitherto no-one much cared about as long as they stuck to maiming and killing each other.

Tradescant House, Hackney - I used to live on the 8th floor, far left

Update @ 18.30

Watching the unrest in Hackney on the television now it strikes me that the groups at the north and south end of Mare Street are in different gang territories: the Pembury and the London Fields. A young man I know told me this morning that his old ‘crew’ from Enfield had been touch yesterday telling to come to the hood and do some shopping. The other areas in London that have been affected will have similar gang problems. No-one is mentioning the gang word yet – too loaded and scary for a nice Tory government to address in the middle of the summer holidays. They need to wake up and admit to what is going on: the heart of London communities are being torn out by gangs and gangs step in to fill voids in society. I started the day with my head in hands, I’m going to end it that way.

Tottenham, Enfield, Brixton. Policing and Public (dis)order. (via Insp Winter)

Recommended reading from behind the riot shields.

I was referred to this by the Guardian’s excellent live blog :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/08/london-riots-tottenham-duggan-blog?CMP=twt_gu#block-13

"Look out it's the TSG", this screamed by a youth clad head to toe in black, while wearing his face mask. So I quickly check behind me, having been on the wrong end of a TSG baton charge before while deployed in plain clothes as a spotter I have no desire to feel the pain again. But there is nobody there but a couple more of my officers, oh it's us, this young lad thinks we're the TSG! Working on a specialist unit means people do not normally mis … Read More

via Insp Winter

Last night in Enfield, Edmonton, Brixton and Walthamstow (via The West Londoner)

I had a particular interest in these live updates last night and it was a lot more coherent than reading Twitter.

Additionally, it is worth noting the mass media were not reporting the disturbances in real-time, if at all. The Met released a press release in the middle of the night saying there wasn’t a media blackout, but you really have to wonder what’s going on between the press and the police and social networks.

The West Londoner has done a fantastic job sifting through the wild rumours and facts and keeping people up-to-date. The Guardian live news blog also earns a special mention.

This morning? *head in hands*

BREAKING: New riots in Enfield, Edmonton, Brixton and Walthamstow 0435: And there we are, the bottom of the hour. I'm glad I was able to keep so many people informed – what started as a proof of concept test on a news site that hasn't even launched yet ended up outdoing the mainstream media! My heartfelt thanks to all those who tweeted updates and pictures – special mention to @seanjcameron and @rickycompton for sorting through Twitter feeds and for the graphics respectively. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon cov … Read More

via The West Londoner