Tuesday 9 August 2011

The London Riots

The London riots have now gone on for three days. What started out as a reaction to one man getting shot has escalated into full blown violent protest against the Tory government and the economic situation in the United Kingdom.

I'm not saying that they don't have a right to be angry, or that they don't have a right to peaceful protest. But there is something disturbingly ironic about a group of people protesting over unemployment by burning down businesses. Some of these businesses were barely hanging on in the current economic climate, and many will not be able to reopen. This causes yet more unemployment, exacerbating the initial problem.

I'm angry. I'm angry that the leaders of my country made stupid decisions, and that the European Union requires Ireland to repay bondholders at a high level of interest rather than let them take the hit of their bad investment. I'm angry that because of stupid decisions Ireland is losing her frontline services. We have a smaller police force and less doctors. Our teacher to pupil ratio is climbing to among the highest in Europe. Services for rape victims have been scaled back. Special Needs Assistants for children with learning difficulties have been dispensed with in all but the most extreme cases. Rising oil prices are affecting the prices of food, heat and transport while welfare to the unemployed and elderly is being cut back. Most of the people who graduated with me are unemployed or have emigrated. I'm very angry. But how is going to my local shopping centre and setting fire to small businesses the answer?

I don't know what the answer is, but the scenes that we're seeing across London is certainly not it.


  1. how terrible! why does violence tend to be the reaction? they've turned their helpless feelings into rage and destruction and that solves nothing!
    excellent article, budding journalist. what paper do you write for?

  2. It's crazy, isn't it--how people just attack instead of putting some thought into who is actually hurt. I hope things improve, but have a horrible feeling this is going to be a WORLD thing before its done. The US actually desperately NEEDS a revolution, but my hopes that such a thing would be led by people who can thoughtfully do it with positive outcome are very slim.

  3. I find it interesting that these people put violence as their top answer. They are only adding to the problem. When they get caught, they'll end up in prisons, sucking out the remainder of government money that could be used for better things. This does provoke some interesting writing ideas, but just only. It needs to be resolved.

  4. It is a shame that the few have given all the others a bad name with their unruly behaviour. While a small number may have had a legitimate grievance, those who took it upon themselves to act in such a way were not doing anyone any favours, least of all themselves, which is sad.

  5. I agree that rioting and burning businesses are not the answer. Our government here is making some bad choices too. It is just insane. I live in Michigan with one of the highest unemployment rates in the USA. I do hope that they stop rioting soon. I hope you are at least in a safe place.


  6. It's pretty upsetting, and I'm sorry it's happening. I've never understood that mentality of burning and looting as part of what usually starts out as a peaceful protest. It's even more mind-boggling when it comes out of a celebration (e.g. the looting in Los Angeles after basketball championships - what the heck).

    I understand the frustration, anger, and discontent, but the destruction only feeds into a vicious cycle - like you said.

  7. @Tara: Thank you! I write for a number of websites rather than a newspaper.
    @Hart: I agree with you. I try to remain optimistic, but it's hard when the past four years seem to have brought wave after wave of bad news.
    @Krista: You're so right, it just wastes resources.
    @Madeleine: Exactly.
    @Heather: I hear you on the high unemployment levels. It's really difficult to get a job in Ireland right now.
    @Krispy: Looting is just so wrong. It hurts small businesses.