Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2011

London Icon Run!!

I did a big ole lot of running today: taking in the sights and sounds of the West End on foot before getting on a Boris Bike to do the City and Tower Bridge!

Here's the run: takes in:
Trafalgar Square and the Olympic countdown clock..
Downing Street
Big Ben
Buck House
London Eye
Westminster Bridge
Oxford Street
Park Lane
Hyde Park Corner
Westminster Abbey

A run mapped on 08/24/2011

Find more Runs in London, United Kingdom

Not the Poorest of the Poor.

Thus far I have avoided flouting my criteria to talk about urban violence, but now feels like a good moment.

I have lived for 12 out of the last 13 years in inner city/ outer estate areas (in the other year I lived by Bristol Uni Halls where I lost more sleep through anti social behaviour but that's another story). I have lived (and still own a house) in a community that had riots in the mid 1990's, sparked by inappropriate policing. I have taught in its school- watching young people strive to achieve, and get there. In the same school I have also mourned young men who died joy riding, pinned down a young person who was so angry they could have caused serious damage, and broken up fights with chains (the fighters had chains not me!).

I now live 150 miles North. I live in a poorer community as far as I can tell. Here 46% of children are on free school meals. Less than half of people have any qualifications. House prices are half what they are in my former patch.

And it feel…


You may all remember the "feral rats" lady from Ealing. She articulated what many people might have been thinking. I wonder how many of us realised that she runs a baby store. She provides goods and services for small children.

That implies that she cares (although may be mercenary enough to just see the market.. but I doubt that).

So what has happened in our society that means that people (not just Ealing lady, I'm not picking on her) can both love children and write others off as feral rats.

Well maybe the clue is in the use of the word rat. For years now there has been a media distancing that happens when anyone does anything bad. The tabloids (and others) use animal terms for people whose behaviour is not acceptable. By distancing ourselves we can get the space to reassure ourselves that we are somehow different.

I see a new dimension to this just now: that we almost want there to be two sub species of people, the good and the bad. We can't cope with a scal…

On Mindlessness..

In the last few days I have heard a whole heap of people, from Bishops (of Manchester) to politicians (Keith Vaz), to Joe Public, all calling the recent violence in certain communities, MINDLESS.

I know that we all use words to mean different things, but mindless seems wholly inappropriate for this outbreak of theft.

People made choices, took calculated risks in order to do what they did. It doesn't make sense now (I am guessing that for most people as they sit in court they may have a dawning realisation of the same), but at the time it was not mindless. The opportunity to and advantages of, stealing outweighed the risk of getting caught. Daft in hindsight, but not mindless.

What is also clear is that in places there were minds at work. There was order to the theft. There was system and choice. There were ringleaders and co-ordinators. They are possibly the same ringleaders and co-ordinators that work day in day out making deals out of criminal activity.

Some of those co…

Daring to put pen to paper..

I've been a bit reticent to say anything on a blog in the last few days after getting locked into a few altercations late on Monday night (virtual, discursive as opposed to rioting).

So what do I think: well over the next day or so I think expect to see three or four posts. I want to talk about:

Supply Teacher Syndrome and the failure of leadership.

Uber consumerism.

Avoiding the temptation to paper the cracks

The alarming reality that there is yet another underclass..

So.. watch this space.