Guest Blogger – Les Floyd

This month’s guest blogger is Les Floyd, a writer from Carlisle, England whom I first mentioned on my blog last month with my story “Taxi to India.” Les inspired the tale. Why? Because I’m inspired by people who have a unique voice, and there’s definitely something unique about Les.

He describes himself in the following way:  After decades of sleepwalking through life, I’ve finally woken up and realised the greatest dreams are achieved with open eyes and a conscious mind…

Les is a writer of unwavering eloquence, and his words have touched people all over the world, including me.

“Lesism,” the name of his blog, contains writing that is incredibly personal, honest, and devoid of judgement.  After reading a post he wrote last month called The Norway Atrocities, Amy Winehouse, Judgement & Compassion,” I came up with August’s theme of “Passion and Compassion” and invited Les to be my guest blogger.

There are very few people who can elicit the full spectrum of emotions from me merely with words—Les can.

I’m honoured to host Les on my blog, and the timing could not be more fitting given the topic of his post—the riots going on right now in England.

You’ll no doubt feel the compassion and the power behind his words.

*  *  *  *

London’s Burning

“It is sad to think that these people are thinking of only the next moment, and the moment they have created is a nightmare.”

—Catherine Holmes, Hackney, London

There is a heaving, psychic tsunami of negativity churning through the streets of England and further across the United Kingdom… in the metropolises and smaller cities, as well as in the towns, villages and hamlets of these lands.

Far away from the flashpoints of rioting, there’s anger, hate and seething outrage directed towards the perpetrators of these crimes… to the point of calls for martial law and the summary execution of rioters and looters.

Representatives from the 2012 Olympics have been bemoaning the damage being done to the image of London, just a year before the games begin.

Undoubtedly, there will be people from other countries who are cancelling their flights and holidays to the UK, this year, in fear they’ll get caught up in the chaos.

But let’s put this into perspective..?

London is a colossal metropolis of 7,825,000 souls, sprawling over 607 square miles (1,572 sq km) of South East England, yet from news reports – both nationally and internationally – you’d think the whole city was burning and that everyone who lives there was either rioting and looting or in deep peril.

There are just a few thousand people, amongst a current population of 61,838,154 in the UK, who are actively involved in these disturbances.

As dramatic as the footage may be, the proportion of buildings that have been burned down or damaged is very, very, very small in the grand scheme of things. As a gauge, there are 2018 schools in London – at the heart of communities with thousands of other buildings in their areas.

Although, of course and absolutely, I have huge, heart-felt sympathy for those people directly affected – particularly business owners who, most likely, have been struggling just to stay afloat in the aftermath of the recession, and have seen all their hard work reduced to ashes – this is most definitely a media storm in a teacup.

And this has become entertainment for the masses. People are watching television tonight, hoping that the rioting continues, so they can continue to mete out their judgement and share their sense of outrage and moral superiority with friends and on social networks.

I heard on the bus today, from a young woman and mother: “Shoot the fuckers. Fuck ‘em. Seriously. Disrespectful little bastards. Shoot them.” As she was saying these words to her friend on the seat behind, her little boy was sitting beside her, and he didn’t bat an eyelid to her language. He was obviously quite used to it.

My brother said basically the same thing, though his preferred method of dispersal was baton round, or rubber bullets, which were used extensively in ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland; dark times that we don’t want to see a return to.

And a few messages I saw on Twitter:

“Get the army out, do the country a favour and just shoot them.”

“If you break the law, you should automatically forfeit your human rights.”

“Greenwich Council will seek eviction of any tenant proven criminally guilty of involvement in #LondonRiots”

This is the collective ego at work, on two fronts, both in the ‘pack mentality’ we see in the groups of rioters, and in the wider general public – the vast majority of whom are not affected by these events at all… but they have chosen to take this drama onboard as their own.

What purpose could indignation, anger and judgement serve for someone living in, say, my home city of Carlisle, which is just about as far from London as you could possibly get in England?

Is there anything these people can do to change the events that have happened, or are perhaps happening right now?

No.

Millions of people across the UK have adopted this problem and have amplified the negative energy of the riots a thousand-fold.

You can’t fight fire with fire.

You can’t fight negativity with negativity.

A very wise friend wrote to me on Twitter, earlier:

“The youngsters are depraved. And there is adult thuggery there too. How do we fix that?”

This is a statement of fact, rather than judgement. And a question that is difficult to answer.

How can we fix this right now? To be honest, I don’t think we can… right now.

This is an open wound that will close, in time, and in the aftermath of this chaos, we simply have to – as a nation – look at why it happened at all, then enact positive and productive measures that offer opportunities that bring about real change to the fortunes of the sort of people who are out on the streets, causing so much damage and disruption.

Locking them all away for a few years is not going to help, in the long term. It doesn’t help that we are in a global financial crisis, but these events aren’t part of any true class war. Even when the UK was going through its boom period, there were still sections of society that were marginalised.

If, twenty years ago, the nation had invested in these communities – in training and education and jobs – the events of the past few days simply wouldn’t have happened.

You have to remember these people are human beings. It’s perhaps true that a  leopard can’t change its spots, but we are not leopards. We’re an adaptable, brilliant species and inside all of us is the ability to achieve great things, on a grand and humble scale and everywhere in between.

Help people realise their potential and you’ll change their families for generations.

The Small Business Consultancy, in London – founded by Amar Lodhia – works with young people from ‘hard to reach’ backgrounds to help them set up in business – people just like those you see rioting in London.

TSBC has had huge success inspiring, encouraging and supporting them to work towards achieving their dreams; towards a better future for themselves, their families and their communities, which in turn benefits their local economy and the nation as a whole.

Give the right backing to one of these ‘feral scum’ (as I read them termed today) and a few years later, they’ll be a shining light in their community, leading others, through example, to set about bringing their own dreams to reality.

I hope the ethos of TSBC stretches all across this country and then on to other nations, because it will drive a cascade effect of immense positivity right around the globe, and that would go such a long way towards solving both the social and economic problems of our world.

In the meantime, practice compassion. Let go of your judgement of these people and remember that the flame of the human spirit in you is also burning in them. There are no greater or lesser souls in this world and there is no true evil… just the fog of circumstance, environment and upbringing, and the corruption of the dysfunctional mind.

I was in prison in my very early 20s – a story to be written up in my blog very soon – and perhaps if you’d known me then, some of you would have classed me as feral scum, too… but now? Well, I hope I can count myself as an example that there is always a chance for a person to make great changes to their lives, despite earlier failures.

Guaranteed, there will be faces in the crowds of those rioters who will go on to do great things with their own lives, too.

So, please… find it in your true selves to look beyond their actions and see the heart and soul of these people, who are just like you…

… they are far from beyond redemption.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – The Dalai Lama 

Connect with Les

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Email: LesFloyd [at] Gmail [dot] com



Thank you Les for an incredible piece of writing. To my readers, I’d highly recommend you follow Les in his journey. He is currently hard at work finishing his book, and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it.  

Please leave Les a comment in appreciation of his post here.

53 Comments

Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

53 responses to “Guest Blogger – Les Floyd

  1. Amen! This hit the nail right on the head. People need to realize that, at least I think, these rioters are frustrated, lost people who feel they have no other way to communicate than violence. Does that condone their actions? No, but it is true so far as I know.

    Like you said Les, people are passing judgment on the rioters because it takes their minds off their troubles. It makes them feel better about themselves, because even though they’re going through hard times THEY aren’t the ones in the streets burning things. I think what they forget though is that the capacity do do such violence is in them, just like the capacity to do great good is inside the rioters.

    • Thank you, Andrew! Your closing sentence is perfect and makes me wish I had a time machine, so I could go back and add it to the article.

      It certainly doesn’t condone their actions, but when the reaction to those actions are calls for Marshall law on the streets of England… there is something seriously wrong…

  2. Outstanding article, Les. I admire your insight and critical thinking.

    This is the best piece I’ve seen yet on the riots.

    Write on.

  3. Nice Lez but more than just hind sight is required, or for that matter a good orgy which can break up a riot faster than any speeding rubber bullet. Some people need to remember you build a community one good deed at a time, not the other way round.

  4. I just read the blog.. I am so impressed..Thank you Les..another wonderful and heartfeld blog.. I praise your big heart thx Laura Novak

  5. A voice of reason! I went through the riots in Bangkok and most of the city was untouched or changed. People seeking a voice when no one would listen– and not just the young.

    Great post, Les. The UK is in for troubled times as is the US and changes must be made but not at the expense of one group or another. When the smoke clears England will still be a bright star and with thinkers like you there is always hope!

  6. Nikki Magennis

    So glad to read this. Thanks.

  7. We don’t all sit watching the terrible events on television to build up hatred and vengeance. I am sure there are a lot like me that feel incredibly sad that young people get their kicks this way, and that some young people think that what they steal is owed to them anyway. I am looking for glimmers of hope. Poverty existed when I was young and there were no handouts like there are today BUT it was a different world. All that glittered was not gold but respect, honesty and hard work were attributes to be valued and which could get you places. It seems to me that many of today’s young do not believe they have a future to invest in. And yes, I see glimmers of hope in those young people who avoid mob rule mentality and dare to think for themselves.

    • I know you wouldn’t do that, Gladys, but an awful lot of people do. It’s the same reason the first few nights of ‘Air War’ in any new conflict rivals East Enders on the viewing figures. It’s the macabre fascination of bad things happening to others but not to them, and I guess the same is why the tabloids ran so many stories about Amy Winehouse.

      I wrote a paragraph about my sympathy to the victims, and I may not have have expressed that as well as I should have. I had in mind the guy talking about his 140-year-old family business burnt down to the ground in less than an hour, but I do have huge sympathy for everyone who has directly suffered from these events.

      There has to be a background of dysfunction in the families of these people, likely going back generations, for them to be so callous and cold in their actions – the incident with the guy who’d been beaten, then the gang pulled him to his feet and while doing so, other members rifled through his backpack.

      But behind any family dysfunction, there’s a wider social dysfunction – people are still marginalised, stereotyped and categorised in society, and that judgement has caused pressure points of isolated communities where the norms or the rest of ‘society’ are distorted by their own coping mechanisms in a tough environment.

      I don’t think the riots were anything to do with poverty. There was the flashpoint of the shooting, and I can totally understand the people’s right to protest – one of their community had just been shot dead, and whatever the circumstances of it, that’s going to really stoke up passion. But when they’re looting and burning and destroying… that’s greed and hate, and they lose any poverty defence.

      We do need to bring back honesty and respect, yes, and I hope the events of the past few days help to highlight how close we are to being able to achieve that… in the aftermath of the riots, the community was stronger and more resolved; working together where for years they likely just walked past each other… it was a wonderful thing. Now, if that community can reach out further, forgive, and bring in that small community who they deem to have harmed them… imagine the good that could come of that? :-)

      If you give people hope and show them the way to a better life than the one they’re living, they’re more likely to change their course.

      Condemn them and they become further isolated. Nothing is solved.

      I hope something good comes of this. :-)

  8. A Heart of Compassion:
    Determine to be tender with the young, compassionate with the elderly, sympathetic to those who struggle, and tolerant with the weak and the wrong…because at some point in your life, you will have been all of these.
    ~Unknown~

  9. Thank you Les, for having the courage to speak reason.

    If the people taking part in the looting had felt any real sense of responsibility toward their community, they could not have done what they did. The responsibility for this issue lies with us ALL. It is not “their” problem, but ours, and this isn’t something that can be fixed by legislation. We will only see a change when each of us begins to take direct and personal responsibility for our community.

    How many of us know the names of our neighbours children? Do we welcome people when they move into our area or do we ignore them? When we see someone from another culture do we assume they are not like us? We live under the comfortable illusion that we do not need each other, and it is only when something terrible like this happens that we realize the cost of our selfishness and ignorance.

    • That’s absolutely true. Even my own community, a small village on the outskirts of a small city… people don’t talk to each other like they did in my youth. Everyone knew each other, to the point that I knew that every pair of eyes I saw when I was a kid, they were like spyholes for my mother if I did anything wrong. She’d find out.

      Now, there’s more an atmosphere of a city, even though it’s just a small, rural community. It’s a uncomfortable shift.

      If a person’s body is a community in microcosm, you have to look after all of your limbs and functions and make sure they all keep working together, in order for the body to work to its full potential.

  10. That was a great piece, Les. I thought this line said so much: “If, twenty years ago, the nation had invested in these communities – in training and education and jobs – the events of the past few days simply wouldn’t have happened.”

    In the U.S., the masses are kept numb with junk food and their intelligence is dulled with reality TV, video games, viral YouTube videos and free internet porn. They’re fed a constant stream of misinformation and opinion posing as news. But it may only be a short time before they realize how much is being taken from them and how much those in power (and I mean big business as well as government) are taking. Someone’s going to be pushed too far very soon, and the rioting will start here.

    Innocent people will be caught up when it happens, just like in London. I told my husband that if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time we may very well be seen as “haves” rather than “have nots” — even though I’m out of work and he’s vastly underpaid, overworked and hasn’t gotten a real raise in years.

    • I’m concerned that things will get much, much worse, and all across the world. If the global economy collapses into a double-dip recession or even a depression, or collapses completely, there will be rioting in every major city in the world. That’s inevitable, not a psychic prediction of any sort.

      Short of a mass awakening, this is just the beginning, but I know that people are already awakening en mass, so perhaps this is a chance for real change, rather than a looming terror.

      The positive spirit of the campaign to clear up after the riots and support those hit by the violence and vandalism – that’s the sort of thing we need to bring back to our communities, in the good times as well as the bad times.

  11. This is an incredible entry. Kudos to you to see past the mayhem and really adapt a non-judgmental stance. Compassion is heart mixed with understanding for another’s pain. As I always say, Joseph from the Bible said it best..”Forgiveness is greater than vengeance; compassion more powerful than anger.”

  12. Les, though the riots in Britain have gone so much further, we here in Vancouver had our own riots this last month – and, in both cases (at least from what I see on BBC World News), the participants are mostly young men. If this were a scifi novel, there would be something in the water that affected only that age and that gender and we’d have a reason for it. But because it’s not, it seems almost impossible to understand why.

    I’m wondering if it is a sense of being dispossessed, of having little or no future, or, for some of them, of the impossibility of competing – in today’s world – with their parents. In either case, mobs (whether the positive vibe given off by flashmobs dancing on the streets) gather momentum. And this one definitely has…

    Kate

    P.S. I carry my Keep Calm and Carry On notebook in my bag…

    • I’d say that our teenage years are our most unbalanced, and I say that from experience, rather than some condescending judgement on the high proportion of people rampaging on the streets. And it will most likely your own experience, too, as well as with just about everyone except maybe the Dalai Lama and Keira Knightley.

      If you mix that to being entrenched in a dysfunctional, socially depressed community, there are going to be problems.

      Like… if say your son had only one friend, who was the complete opposite of him in many ways… your son was an optimist and this guy was a pessimist, your son didn’t do drugs and this guy did, your son listened to classical and this guy listened to death metal, your son was a pacifist and this guy would square up to anyone… and so on… your son would, before long, be influenced by this guy. And then, if your son was invited into his circle of friends, and was surrounded by the same sort of attitude, eventually, your son is probably going to become just like ‘them’.

      Some people are born into these ways. They don’t have a choice except to grow up in that environment, and in doing so, they learn to think like the people already there, and if nothing changes to stop that cycle, it will always be repeated.

      We need to give them things to do with their time, that they enjoy and can thrive from. More sports, martial arts, music, dancing, whatevering… give them goals to strive towards.

      Perhaps embracing teenagers all over the world (though not physically, as the local law enforcement may totally misunderstand your intentions) would be one of the most socially profitable endeavour we could undertake; across all social divides, a teenager is a teenager and seen as something of an underclass, when you look at the big graph of appreciation of life.

      Empower every child and teenager’s aspirations and give them much closer attention and support, and we could change the fortunes of the world in a generation.

  13. Lorraine

    Excellent and very true…. If white England treated blacks in the 40s and 50s ‘windrush’ with equality, love and respect we wouldn’t be where we are today..! Best jobs, most senior positions, TV, Adverts, front pages, media, CEOs/MDs vast majority white. HR, Recruitment Consultants, Executive Search companies ’95% white’…. If blacks were treated as equals back then, there’d be no such thing as ghettos! Thank you for being so brave and honest.

    • Totally, they were treated like an underclass from the beginning, almost as if they were servants to the country, rather than part of it. If we embraced all members of our communities – if we actually had true equality – we’d very rarely have any problems like this.

      The mad thing is, we could have true equality today if people just flicked that switch and let themselves let go of their past pains and past judgement.

  14. I couldn’t have said it better. Do, do, send it in for publication. I’m sure The London Times would love it. (((hugs)))

  15. It’s a very perceptive and analytical post, and I commend on your optimism and compassion. I think you’ve successfully lifted yourself above what is happening and see the bigger picture. I also agree that the media is blowing it up out of proportion, which is what they usually do and very good at. They do mislead people, and if we are not careful, we all get sucked in and overreact.

    However, I don’t agree with your comment that there is no true evil and these looters, arsonists, thieves and robbers are just like you or me – you and I are not there committing crimes and killing fellow human beings. Never! Three people were run over last night in Birmingham, and I don’t know how I’ll feel if the dead people are someone I know, but I am very angered by people who committed such acts – yes, they may have hearts and souls like everyone else, but what’s in their heart and soul?

    There are too many issues and there is no simple solution. I just hope that people will look back at what has happened and working towards resolving some of the fundamental problems which are affecting our communities and society at large. People need to reflect and learn, and yes, redemption too. Nobody is beyond that and I agree with Hannah Thomas that they need to take responsibility for their actions first. We all need to take responsibility for our community.

    I can go on forever but I need to stop now.

    • Junying, thank you so kindly for your comment, and I’ll respond, as I’m sure Les will a bit later.

      I believe no one comes out of the womb as an “evil” person, and there is redemption for all, though the sad thing is, not everyone will get it in this lifetime.

      I agree that you and I will never be the ones out there looting and setting fires. It horrifies us to see it, let alone be part of the act…however, I was brought up to know the difference between right and wrong, to be responsible, and to put it bluntly – I don’t shit in my own backyard.

      I’ve been poor, but never destitute. I had parents. I had some pride for where I lived. I had hope for a future when I was growing up. I had role models.

      It doesn’t excuse the behaviour of the people who are committing the crimes, nor am I saying they shouldn’t be punished.

      Their behaviour is symptomatic of something much deeper than just hooliganism, as the initial incident which sparked these riots have, for the most part, been forgotten.

      It does anger me to see innocent people lose their livelihoods, get hurt, or worst yet, be killed. It’s deplorable behaviour and makes me wonder where the humanity is? How can these people behave like such animals?

      And then I stop…let go of the anger for a moment, and realize that the people who need my compassion the most are those who’ve probably never had it before in their lives.

      To me, Les’ message speaks to how easy it is to afford compassion to victims. It’s the right thing to do. It takes so much more to have compassion for those we don’t think deserve it.

      Hopefully, it’s with this sentiment of compassion that longterm solutions can be built, and not upon a foundation of anger and dismissiveness.

      xoxoxo
      eden

      • Eden,

        Many thanks for your reply to my earlier ‘rant’ – I am totally with you in many of the points you raised and share your views. Yes, it is far easier to feel compassionate towards the victims than the perpetrators, as it is not always easy to put ourselves in the shoes of those who go about hurting people and committing heinous crimes.

        Yes, you’e right that nobody is born evil, and many people will argue that we are not born equal either. Many are disadvantaged and deprived, but what we do with our lives is ultimately up to us – as you said, there is a difference between right and wrong, and even if we are not brought up with good role models, at some point or other we should be able to tell good from bad, and our actions should reflect that.

        It’s great that Les’ post has got people debating about certain issues. Well done to you both!

        • Thanks Junying, and you can rant here whenever you like! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

          I’ve always felt open dialogue is important to bring about change – large or small.

          eden

          • Joseph V. Sultana

            Can I just say this article is both lucid and eloquent and brings a soberness to an angry situation. However I do believe that same said ‘pack mentality’ is at work as there are so many trouble makers and trouble spots.

            I have not been in prison but that is only because I chose not to break the law, unlike some of my very close friends and relations.

            instead I looked at the destitution I was brought up in and promised I would get out and never return. It was hard work clearing family debt and working many hours through the weeks and months.

            Again I did this without breaking the law, without blaming anyone else outside the people and now I am blessed with everything I could wish for.

            Surely stealing TV’s, game consoles, clothes etc are not that important in our lives that we have to commit crime in order to live a fruitful life?

            Yes I am sorry we have a generation of babies who have had babies. Yes I hate to see homeless people on our streets, of course I do not like the fact that we have families hungry for just a meal.

            But all around the world there are people who are in prison for speaking out, women being stoned to death for being raped. I don’t want to go on as I hope its clear.

            I believe in Human Rights but not when some arse goes on the rampage to get a TV or shirt because he hasn’t got the money to get it.

            I do not want to get carried away but here’s how I see it.

            This started out as a peaceful demonstration and these thugs disrespected a dead mans family by tacking on to it.

            What about their human rights I ask?

            Finally if you read everything to what we are all saying we all agree with each other I think.

    • But what good will your anger do?

      Unless you actively get out there as a vigilante or a broom-wielder, stand for local office, join a march or arrange a coffee morning for peace… your anger is just some thing inside you that you can’t control. It is a negative energy swirling within.

      People look for peace in their communities when they haven’t reconciled their peace, within.

      If we all let go of the anger, something good would flow into that space.

  16. Les, as always another brilliant post! Love and compassion are two of the most natural qualities we human’s have – we were born with both but as we grow and develop and experience the ups and downs of life, they are the two qualities that are hidden away under a veil – or quite often trapped behind a plate of armour.
    We see negativity, hate and violence and want to retaliate with the same -as this is what we now know – but I ask everyone to dig deep under the veil, to break through the armour and give love and compassion to all – especially the rioters. If just one person can release this then imagine the ripple effect throughout the world – a world of love and peace! …and Les, you have just started the ripple effect. Thank you!

    • A veil, armour plating or Marleyesque rattling chains, it’s all very true, yes. We take on so much, holding it around us and cowering, hoping that it will shield us in times of emotional misfortune, but it becomes such a burden to our attention that we forget to look at the great things in our lives.

      All we need to do is shake it all off and look at the world again, with fresh eyes and with fresh hearts. It’s at the core of every man and woman to do that, but I guess the question is how to make it happen in everyone at once. Perhaps a globally movement to give every man, woman and child on this great Earth a Tickle-Me Elmo? That would work.

  17. Jacqueline

    This is a great post, and a real eyeopener as well.
    I remember living in LA, Ca when they had the riot there. I lived in a very nice community up on the mountains, so we were told we are safe, and we were. I couldn’t help to feel sorry for all the people who lost their business, and honestly 10 years later most was not rebuild. I do not know how many was restored now, but what I heard very few.
    I agree with you on, there is nothing can be changed now, the only thing is necessary to stop the madness. .I hope the leaders of England will learn from this event , and they will pay more attention to these deprived people’s needs, as well as helping all the people who lost their livelihood.

    • Yes, there has to be a commitment to a no nonsense process of getting these innocent people’s lives back together as soon as possible, with fast insurance payouts and whatever other help they need. Get those businesses up and running, houses restored, jobs returned and you relight a spark in the community.

      But the whole picture needs looked at, yes.

  18. Mae

    Les,

    Interesting perspective! It certainly gave me more to think about! It’s interesting how we just become de-sensitized from what is truly happening out there?! How many of us read or watch the news, give ourselves a head shake and then just get on about our own business!
    One can argue the riots are systemic of socio-economic conditions and maybe there are factors, but whatever happen to people being responsible for their own actions? Are we all not taught what is right and wrong when we were young? When was it ever okay for people to destroy and cause damage or harm to others? I am not sure I buy into the idea that people can give an excuse that they got caught up in the moment!

    Thanks for the article!

    • Hi Mae, thanks for your comment.

      You are right that it’s never OK to destroy and harm others, nor do I condone “getting caught up in the moment” as an excuse to loot and set fires.

      I agree the riots are a product of much deeper problems and not something that can get fixed overnight. Great care needs to be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again, but in order to do that, the people with the power to make change must do it from a place of compassion. They have to care about the reasons for “why” this happened, and not just provide bandaid solutions.

      Solving the problem for the longterm is what’s needed, and that is not a painless task. It’s an investment in the impoverished areas and the youth of the country. The organization Les speaks of, The Small Business Consultancy, appears to have the right idea. If this model can be expanded, I think it will go a long way to healing some of the ill will that’s been building up for far too long between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

      eden

    • I don’t think we are all taught what is right and wrong when young. I’d say the rioting is evidence that it’s true, because there were a heck of a lot of people there who apparently can’t tell the difference – at least not to our standards.

      If your upbringing was in a dog-eat-dog, harsh environment, your perception of right and wrong would perhaps be very different, as would mine.

      Thanks, Mae! :-)

  19. I was struck by a news report that showed a high street where every store had been looted except one: the bookseller. Says it all, especially in light of this sentence from your post:

    “If, twenty years ago, the nation had invested in these communities – in training and education and jobs – the events of the past few days simply wouldn’t have happened.”

    Great post, Les.

    • What an insightful observation and tie-in to Les’ post. Thanks Alex for your comment.
      eden

    • Haha – I think it was Waterstones, in one of the areas, and whilst other stores were closing, they announced they were staying open. One of their reps said something like: “Well, let’s face it, if they steal anything from us, they might learn something.” Loved that.

      Thanks for reading! :-)

  20. Derrick

    Les,
    great piece of work. thank you for bringing balance, truth and compassion to this difficult situation that is occurring in you homeland. Your insight and compassion is needed more now than ever in a number of similar events occurring worldwide.
    Keep spreading the balanced truth!
    Derrick Lawlor(Canada)

  21. Pingback: Guest Blogger – Les Floyd (via ) | demlaura33

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  23. Could the rioters have been British secret forces

    were well organised and the police was kept at bay

  24. Jen

    I hate to admit it, but I wanted to cheer the rioters on…. I was as angry as they (the rioters) were about the initial events that kicked this off, and understood exactly how the thin line that keeps those that can afford nothing, from grabbing all those things that they are constantly marketed to want… could disappear in an instant…. Agree too that removing funding and support for people at the bottom of the pile/inner city initiatives and support, had a lot to do with the riots…. I know people who were involved..I don;t condone their behaviour., but I understood it…

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