The Times of Malta asked me for some comments on the London riots. I should have had nothing to say really, since I luckily did not come across any rioting hoodies, but of course that wasn’t about to stop me. So here’s what I said:
As far as I’m concerned, the pictures I’m seeing on the news are happening in a parallel London. I was in Piccadilly Circus last night, just a block up from Malta House and apparently there was rioting near Oxford Circus (just up the road) and on Tottenham Court Road (which is right next to my office). I actually walked through all these points to go back home and saw, heard and felt nothing.
I live in North London, reasonably near Enfield where some of the rioting took place over the weekend and I did think on Saturday that I was hearing sirens on the high street more often than usual but then again sirens on a Saturday night are really nothing remarkable in London.
So it’s sort of passed me by, from a personal point of view, and at least up to now, because it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up soon.
Of course, being a news junkie, I keep reading and watching the news obsessively and reading all the comments on Twitter and there’s some scary footage out there so I cancelled my plans to go to my book club in East London tonight because the Met Police are urging everyone to stay home.
Life in London goes on as normal, we have scares regularly, whether it’s terrorism fears or political protests which turn sour etc, but I’m trying not to let down the beautiful London spirit and will deal with things as they happen. It’s easier said than done though because I’ve had so many calls from concerned family and friends checking up on me that it’s brought the situation home to me more keenly than the news footage.
I don’t understand very well why this is happening and I don’t think anyone does really. I heard a man on the telly in total despair yesterday, saying over and over again he couldn’t undersand why.. He had just watched his beautiful furniture shop in Croydon burn to the ground. It was a 140-year-old building and understandably, he was really upset but mostly confused because he couldn’t understand why he’d be targeted.
And, after I’d had the opportunity to take a little walk near the office at lunchtime, I sent another email.
Here’s a little update for you. I walked down Tottenham Court Road and chatted to the people in the shops who are a bit scared because they’ve heard that the rioters are coming this way tonight. There’s a significant police presence on Tottenham Court Road, maybe two or three uniformed police on every corner. Oh and a couple of the shops had their windows smashed, the shops which sell appliances, hifi and IT only though. Other than that, the sun is shining and it’s very quiet around here.
The full story in The Times is here, of course my comments had to be edited to fit the story but there are some nice quotes from other Maltese people in London although I don’t agree with everything they said.