It’s not everday that “Ealing”, known in Victorian times as “Queen of the Suburbs” is trending on Twitter but tonight sadly this is the case. Since I started this post things seem to have changed. First was this from Ealing Council leader Julian Bell
Riot Police r now clearing #Ealing Broadway town centre
@juliangbell on Twitter.
with this pic
It is now beginning to kick off in #Ealing Broadway
This saddening destruction and hideous copycat stuff (see this map of confirmed riot spots) reminds me of a hi-tech version of the 1971 Stanley Cohen classic Folk Devils and Moral Panic . Its theory of “deviance amplification” basically dictates that the media coverage gives people ideas. It is noteworthy that in 2010 rather than print media, Twitter and Facebook appear to be the primary tool of spreading the word – warning people, updating or even it seems bragging. This picture from the Daily Mail via Twitter of a looter showing off booty takes the biscuit.
Although Julian seems to be working well after hours, it seems national politicians returning from Summer hols (Cameron et al) are like buses. You wait all this time and now a brace of them at once are at it. I hope the ConDems junk their plans to slash police numbers and their hellbent acceleration towards deep spending cuts right now. Just a few weeks ago this Guardian article took the example of Wood Green in Tottenham to make the point that cuts in youth services would lead to more youth crime. Feels eerily prophetic.
PS The title of this post is a film from 1960 which feature bits of the borough: and its streets. On tomorrow, Channel 4 at 1.20pm. I hope this stuff gets a lid put on it long before that and that Julian is ok.
UPDATE: Ealing flashed up as latest location on BBC News24, confirmed by Sky presenter Lukwesa Burak who described smashed car windows and stuff burning… tweets coming in rapidly. Inevitable You Tube here and here