Just got back from visiting Tottenham where Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, was visiting the devastated high road, meeting traders, families made homeless, community leaders and local police.
However much you see on the rolling 24 hour news – there is nothing as raw as seeing for yourself and meeting those whose lives have been so directly affected by the dreadful events in Tottenham and Wood Green.
After walking down the High Road talking to traders and local people, Nick Clegg, myself, David Lammy (local MP) met with community leaders including the police, Claire Kober (Leader of the Council), Nims Obunge (Haringey Peace Alliance and local pastor), Richard Wilson (Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Haringey), local safer neighbourhood officers from the area, Tottenham Traders, Tottenham carnival and many others. The Deputy Prime Minister wanted to hear what everyone had to say – and all the contributors raised issues of great importance from communications, to underlying factors to the role of the IPCC and the police.
The meeting was private – but it was quite clear that there is a great determination by all to rebuild Tottenham – which is a great place with a great community – and which has come a very long way since the days of Broadwater Farm. Everyone in Haringey, all the politicians (cross party), the community leaders, the local police and people – put a tremendous effort into all of this. And to see this terrible trashing of twenty years hard work is tragic. But it was clear in the room – that there is still a solid partnership base in Haringey that will overcome this terrible set back.
Having met the community leaders in Tottenham – I went on to Wood Green – which also came under attack on Saturday night – or more accurately the small hours of Sunday morning. There is much less media attention in Wood Green and although the wanton criminality that took place there may have been less shocking than what took place in Tottenham – there are still many businesses that lost everything.
I met a group of traders in Wood Green Shopping City in that position – who had lost everything. Whilst I was there – shops began to close. It transpired that there were rumours running around that a gang was going to head down from Palmers Green to the Mall – and shopkeepers started shutting up shop. They are so frightened of a repeat of Saturday night. Even though the management of the Mall put out loud speaker announcements to say there was no threat, no danger – the shops just started closing.
The Big Green Bookshop has written an excellent account of what happened in Wood Green here.
As I write – Sky is covering the events in Lewisham Town Centre – as this mindless, wanton, criminality ricochets around our capital.
Seems like every shop in the neighbourhood is shut for business tonight
This blog has clearly not been written by Lynne Featherstone, as I can’t see the bit where she blames Haringey Council or the previous government. C’mon, what have you done with Lynne?
Tell Theresa May and Nick Clegg to stop ‘condemning’ this and ‘feeling outrage’ at that, saying the ‘police are in control’ and banging out the tired ‘all the perpetrators will be caught’. It’s just yabba, yabba, yabba.
This is the age of 24 hour news and they are hopelessly out of touch. We can see what is going on, and can see the police are NOT in control and are not catching the thugs. We are watching London tear itself apart and they are talking like it is some isolated football ruck. It is of a different order, totally different.
We need water cannon and tear gas. It’s horrible, but it’s true, otherwise more shops will be looted, more cars will be set alight and more people will lose their homes. People are being openly attacked in the streets in broad daylight with no police around and she has no handle on it. the police on TV now outside Scotland yard talking about people going in front of the court. Great, catch them first – that’s not happening. Once prosecuted what prison will they be put in – they’re all full?
Meanwhile Cameron stays on holiday. Bojo is only coming back because the frenzy of public opinion demanded it, not because he has the decency or sense of what is happening that he made his own mind up to.
This is a product of a society that catches it’s own politicians with their hands in the till (with a notable exception of yourself) and wanton criminality in the media. Rotten to the core – rotten from the core.
Let’s hope this starts a serious debate about Britain, not some wishy washy political claptrap and ZERO useful action, which is all we are getting from the few senior politicians who have bothered to get involved due to ‘being on holiday’. it’s an absolute disgrace.
Thank you Lynne for your comments.
Why has the press not released your comments.
Please come out and plead with those who are on the street to please calm down and go indoors. Staying outside is adding to the disturbance.
Plead with people on the streets to respect the properties of businesses which are trying to breathe life into their areas.
Please ask Tim and Nick to say something tonight to give the Lib Dems with these terrible events. Labour MPs are being given airtime. Please Lynne appeal for fair airtime this is not the time for showing Labour only. Simon Hughes has been on TV it is just not enough. All LibDems must come out. Kindly ask Brian Paddick, Dwayne Brooks to comment also.
My work colleagues say children are ochestrating on line of meeting places to cause mayhem. I have emailed our local police to contact me for local information but noone has phoned me.
Thank you Lynne for your comments.
Why has the press not released your comments.
Lynne, thanks for your personal reply to my earlier post. I appreciate your sentiments are honest, but at the end of the day your response focusing on themes of sadness, shock, anger at what has happened tells me nothing about any plan to stop it. Meanwhile, for the last 4+ hours I have been watching this escalate across the whole of London, effectively with mob rule going unchecked.
Being saddened, shocked and angry or any variation thereof is simply a soundbite. It isn’t going to solve anything, so I ask again, what is the government going to do? Finally Cameron has put his backside on a plane and is coming back – media pressure brought him here, not his judgement. What is he going to do? Stand in front of some cameras and say how outraged he is, how the police have been doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances, blah, blah blah. Utterly useless. this is spreading because there is no effective plan to stop it.
It is time for our elected representatives to tell us WHAT they are going to do, because what they have been doing up to now clearly has no effect. Reading about the millionaire Prime Minister’s photo op back at the restaurant so he could tip a waitress hows just how totally out of touch he is with the UK. After 2 nights of rioting is that what he and his advisers thought might make an appropriate news story? Are we supposed to be pleased and think, ‘ah, what a good chap?
I am 41, and fairly hefty, yet I would not go out tonight – it is not safe to walk the streets, ride the buses or drink in the pubs. I want to know what the Government can do to stop this and I fear the answer is nothing. Out of my window I hear endless sirens, yet know that this is reaction, not prevention. The blue line is too thin, the courts are too lenient and the prisons too full. These yobs are doing this because they can, they know they can and they know, despite Theresa May’s pathetic bleating, they will not be caught. Even if they were they know virtually nothing would happen to them.
Let’s talk about why it happened and what needs to be done in the long term later, what we want now is it to stop. You say ‘we must stand firm and stop this mindless violence’ Yes. But how? The police have been out in force for 3 nights and cannot contain it, in many areas there is no police presence and vandalism goes unchecked. How many more police does Theresa May think we have to deploy, because the numbers we have now are not containing it?
Tomorrow morning many people won’t be able to get to work and many will have no job to go to because many of our high streets have been utterly ransacked. We are being held ransom by children and seemingly none of our politicians has any plan to stop this. The government is there to protect the public, the police are there to prevent and detect crime. Neither is happening, nor is there any sign of it starting to happen.
Maximum respect to the cops on the streets, minimum respect to the government who have been like a sleeping giant. Anger, sadness, sympathy, outrage – we don’t need to be told about this. Our plan is “……” – we’re waiting and all we hear is glass breaking.
Sorry to rant, but you and the government need to move up a couple of gears. Nick Clegg is flat wrong – yes, we do need to recall parliament, it needs to pass some laws to give the police the extra powers they need and also force a stop to these ridiculous cuts to youth services and the police.