Last night the London riots came to Ealing which is my usual weekday overnight location. I was parked up at Ealing Common and began to hear sirens from about 8pm and they continued until 4am. Twice during the evening people tried to gain entry to the motorhome. The second time I was in bed and whilst I was getting dressed I could clearly hear the voices outside. As a police helicopter circled overhead a female voice was acting as lookout whilst some young men smashed into cars, presumably to steal car stereos. Once dressed I opened the window blinds, started the engine and raced away. To be brutally honest had any of these thugs tried to block my path I had no intention of pressing the brake pedal or swerving to avoid them.
In Ealing Broadway itself there were youths openly laughing whilst police formed a line to block the road but did nothing to act. The level of destruction in the centre of Ealing was worse than when the IRA bomb hit almost exactly 10 years previously. For the next few hours I sat parked up somewhere quiet with LBC radio on as listeners called in to relay their horrific experiences of the London riots. Police vans sped past throughout the night, initially regular vans but by 3am these were the amoured vans like the ones you used to see in Northern Ireland.
London Riots – The Morning After
As night turned to day I returned to Ealing Common and went to look at the damage. Many shop windows were smashed, especially those of estate agents and jewellers. As I progressed along Ealing Broadway the damage was even worse. A traffic cone was still lodged in the window of The Arcadia Shopping Centre. The damage caused by these London riots became even more graphic as I reached the area close to Ealing Film Studios. Shop fronts were burnt out as were cars, I counted at least 5!
As I turned another corner I saw a bus that was being towed away. The front had clearly been damaged and according to one local man the bus driver had deliberately driven the bus into parked cars belonging to the looters. As I left to head for work a group were beginning to gather to help with the clean up. It’s a shame that something like this has to happen before you see evidence of ‘community’ in cities these days.
London Riots – What Now?
So what do you think will happen once the London riots end? Personally I’d like to take a positive outlook on this. The British public are slow to anger generally. Sure we like to grumble in the post office queue but how often do we actually act on injustice? You only really see the true British spirit when the country is at war. I would argue that following these London riots we are at war now. Normal working people are sickened by the actions of those at the top of society, like bankers and News International but they are also equally sickened by those who bleed the benefits system dry. Initial reactions by politicians make me think they they have not really guaged the level of anger among the majority of the general public. This majority, usually the silent majority now wants to be listened to and they are finally prepared to act to protect their homes, businesses and their way of life. Maybe, just maybe some good will come from these London riots.