I’ve been trying to get my head around the riots these past few days, as I think of family and friends back in the UK, particularly in London. Overall I’m just very sad but not that surprised by what’s unfolding. Unable to write anything really coherent, I came across this by Dorian Lynskey in The Guardian Music Blog:
What’s happening now isn’t a protest or, as Darcus Howe put it, an “insurrection” – it’s a nervous breakdown. The motor isn’t a political cause but a mood. Politics is in the background, in the pervasive frustration and anxiety of an alienated underclass: record levels of youth unemployment, widening inequality, social services (especially youth services) slashed to the bone, the Education Maintenance Allowance scrapped, a damaged relationship between the police and the community, and collapsing faith in a seemingly indifferent political class. But the immediate outcome makes the lives of residents – many of whom are every bit as deprived as the rioters – even worse than they were last week and opens the door to an authoritarian response. A riot is a weapon of last resort; a cry for help; a public form of self-harming. It pays for short-term catharsis with long-term pain.