London had a rough few days and arrests are being made in my home town. There’s a strong narrative in the air.
Tricky, innit. The desire to be reasonable and civilised while feeling emotional at extremists rampaging through the Capital.
Like half the people I know, I was born in East London but grew up in a town called Barking which is near London. If London and Essex were one of those circular Venn diagrams it would be the intersection of the two circles. It is smack bang in the middle of all the troubles at London Bridge and arrests on Saturday 3rd June 2017 and in the days since.
My social media feed and my conversations with friends and family are filled with two narratives, often simultaneous but sometimes polarized. The conversations flow around “Kill them, hang ’em, bang ’em up, ship ’em back to where they came from” verses “we have to find a way to weed out and deal with the radicals and those who contaminate the conversation”.
My view, I believe the police union representative yesterday during a televised interview who said the conversation around increasing police numbers by 2020 will only bring us back to pre 2010 levels which was just before funding cuts and anyone who says otherwise is lying.
Police are pulling double shifts, hospitals are maxed, much of what is known centres around responding – and they are responding fabulously, hats off – rather than having capacity to get ahead of the problems we are experiencing in society.
When the IRA were bombing London, they had a clear ideology to unite Northern and Southern Ireland and self govern. That was something whether you agreed or not which was tangible and could be a yes or no answer.
The pickle we face nowadays is supposedly to do with imposing an oppressive ideology upon a free nation or punishing those who live in liberty – and that’s never going to fly.
Have you met people from London, whether native or new? Have you met people from Barking where many of the arrests are occurring?
Barking bloomed in the 50’s and 60’s as a new neighbourhood for the cleared East London overcrowding and slums. It was a beautiful town, green, spacious, tremendous infrastructure and industry. It was almost nirvana. Since mass overflow immigration in the past 20 years seeping in to the town from Central London, it is starting to look worn and no longer British. The original locals are not pleased with these negative changes.
The people who populated Barking and Dagenham had just endured the Blitz and survived two back to back world wars. They’re not soft. They’re really hard as nails and haven’t had anything against which to fight for quite some time. They’re funny, humorous, entrepreneurial, hard working, fun loving and family oriented. Unfortunately for those who seek to oppress Londoners, you got the backs up of people who call it home.
So while I can understand the sentiment of the hang ’em high brigade, I’m going to go with supporting our Police officers as they operate within the framework of existing and suitable laws and try and be a voice of “yes, those folks who have separated themselves and wish to cause harm to the population need to be dealt with, but not with such vitriol, not yet” for the next while.
But when the blood is pumping that’s a tricky ask.