Wednesday, August 10, 2011

UK Riots - Here Comes Everybody

I've lived in the UK all my life, and in London for nearly 20 years.  I've gone through so many emotions over the last few days, as anarchy and riots have broken out across the country.

It seems that now, in London at least, things are getting back to normal.  Broken windows are being repaired with glass, rather than left boarded up, and there are lots more police on the streets.  I hope things are getting better, but they could just as easily start again (& I'm sure there'll be more violence outside London tonight).  Pretty much everyone I've spoken to has some shocking story or another.  When the police presence in the capital is scaled back, who knows how long it will be before trouble starts again?  The problems that caused the riots are still here.

It's been great to see people fighting back though, through things like the #RiotCleanUp and the #OperationCupOfTea movements.  However I like to think I'm not naive enough to think that these nice feelings would be any match for a group of people with bricks and bats after dark.

Yesterday I was reminded of Clay Shirky's book Here Comes Everybody.  People came together and tried to help out.  But it's much too soon to know if this will create any long-term change or even medium term change.  It could be worse than ever tonight, tomorrow, or in a month's time.

Anyway, Graham Brown has produced this excellent presentation on some of the youth and media aspects of the disturbances.  Take a look:

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