Terrible scenes in England. What started peacefully seems to have descended into pure opportunism from troublemakers.
Did anybody see it coming? Well check this fascinating article from The Guardian, a week ago:
Farewell youth clubs, hello street life – and gang warfare
With budget cuts leading to the loss of facilities that kept many inner-city youths occupied, experts predict a rise in crime
Others worry that a perfect storm of unemployment, the withdrawal of the Education Maintenance Allowance and a squeeze on programmes to help disadvantaged youths could bring more than just a rise in crime figures and result in a “lost generation”.
“Services are not just being taken away from young people, they are being taken from poor young people,” [Professor John Pitts] said.
“At a simple level that could mean an increase in antisocial behaviour and vandalism.”
Not that the budget cuts necessarily led directly to the riots of course, but I bet it didn’t help. Take away services like that from areas with serious social problems, and you can see how there might be consequences.
And it does leave me wondering how much money was saved in cutting services for disaffected youth, and how much more will be spent by the government bringing London and other cities back under control.
People are responsible for their own actions of course. But whether you consider these types of schemes to be improving community ties, bettering people, or merely a distraction from more destructive activities, they would appear to be a better investment than was apparent to those who cut them.
* * *
- Contrary to reports of rioters organising themselves via Twitter, it appears Blackberries are in fact the preferred method. Twitter, however, has proven central to the cleanup and recovery.
- Pictures from The Age and the Boston Globe Big Picture (Number 23 is particularly sobering)
- One brave Hackney woman confronts the rioters
I did a double-take last night when a Cranbourne train was announced as running “express from Dandenong to Merinda Park”, not just on the automatic announcement, but also on the screen.
There is no station between Dandenong and Merinda Park.
I’d guess it won’t actually open for a couple of years, so it seems a bit premature to put it into the system, especially as it may cause confusion. I’m assuming it was a stuff-up.
Perhaps this is like Platform nine and three-quarters?
By the way, apparently Cinderella uses the Northern Line
When I first visited London in the 90s I was staggered by the scale of it. Not so much physical size, but the mass of people. I remember being at Piccadilly Circus on a Sunday and there were just swarms of people, heading in all directions.
I felt like a small town hick who had visited the city for the first time.
At the time, Melbourne didn’t have the same sense of “busy” that it does now. The CBD was pretty dead outside working hours, and until shopping hours were liberalised in the mid-90s, it virtually shut down at 1pm on Saturday, with no life again until Monday morning.
That’s changed in the last ten years. The growth of the CBD’s residential population, together with the population growth in suburban Melbourne and the CBD’s 7-day-a-week shopping, eating, events and nightlife have brought it to life.
As Melbourne’s built environment was transformed, so was its sense of self. Suburbanites again flocked into town for the football, or a show, or to eat and drink. Licensing laws were deregulated, transport, venues and parking were improved, quirks such as the city’s jumble of laneways were celebrated; precincts such as Lygon Street, the Queen Victoria Markets and St Kilda were tweaked. Students — local and visiting — became a fixture on the city’s streets.
Apparently Melbourne is now the 89th biggest urban area by population, and if the predictions are right and we’ll be growing to 5 million in the next decade or two, it’s going to get busier. Projections show particular growth not just in 9 to 5 commuters, but in visitors — from overseas, interstate and in particular coming in from the suburbs.
Melbourne’s becoming a big city.
Strange dream last night, with a surprising amount of detail.
Marita and I were travelling in Scotland. After visiting a remote village, we had to climb by a kind of rope-ladder thing back up to the railway station (which was on a very high metal bridge).
After getting on the train, it continued towards the Fourth Bridge, which someone remarked was named after Charles the Fourth, but that it only opened 26 years after his death.
Except of course in real life there has been no Charles the Fourth (at least in Britain), it’s actually the Forth Bridge and it’s named after the body of water it crosses: the Firth of Forth.
Later on we were in London with Isaac and Jeremy as well. A policeman was handing out cards of a wanted football (soccer) player, who was apparently expected to flee to the USA, as he had a US passport and citizenship. At this point I knew fully well I was in a dream, but seemed to be happy to go with it.