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Friday, August 12, 2011

Proud to be British

Many people this week have said they feel ashamed to be British, which is a perfectly understandable reaction to the shocking scenes witnessed around the country. However, I’m going to say I’m proud to be British. I’m proud of the emergency services (of which family and friends work) who risk their lives to rescue and protect the rest of us. I’m proud of the ordinary people who have taken them tea and coffee. Those who are helping to clean up the streets. Those who set up websites to raise money for Ashraf Haziq, the Malaysian student who was helped up and then mugged by those very monsters and I’m proud of the people who simply put up signs saying, “Let’s have peace now.” And let’s not forget the mother who handed her 15-year-old son over to the police. I’m proud of these people for doing something, for protecting what we have.

Those who chose to riot are not part of the Britain that I know. And let’s not forget, it was a choice. There is no-one to blame except themselves. I refuse to accept that society in any way plays a part in their stupidity and selfishness. As a teacher, I see many children from deprived backgrounds. The majority are well-behaved and hard-working. Millions of people in this country are struggling; most accept that if they can’t afford something, they can’t have it. That’s how I was brought up and is what I teach my children.

I’m from Enfield. I lived there for the first 26 years of my life and my parents are still living in the family home. It saddens me greatly to see it destroyed. I now live about 15 miles away. It’s funny, it feels like 1500 miles. Apart from the postman, I’ve not spoken to anyone here about what’s happened. Life here is as normal. I hope life returns to normal in my hometown and elsewhere very soon.

It’s odd to think we were in Enfield on Saturday, having a peaceful walk at Forty Hall (pictures are to show you that Enfield is actually a beautiful town) and then picking fruit at my mum and dad’s allotment. Little did we know that a few hours later and a few miles away, would be the start of such thuggery and violence. Tottenham is where my grandparents are from. They would be turning in their graves if they knew what was happening.

My parents quickly hired a skip on Monday to pick up the building rubbish from their front garden. The man who delivered it even helped my dad load it all up. He said they'd had many calls from people over the borough doing the same thing. My mum and dad live just off the main road and were worried the rioters would turn off and run down their street, so they didn't want to leave anything around that could be thrown through their window or used as a weapon.

My son has been asking if Nanny and Grandad’s allotment is on fire. My husband sees the smoke still billowing from the Sony building every day when he goes to work. I was meant to be meeting a friend for lunch in the next week or so, but I'm not sure if we'll have anywhere to actually have lunch...

Let’s hope these mindless idiots are brought swiftly to justice. Every so often something will happen in this country that makes me think “right, now things will change.” They don’t. This time, I’m going to be optimistic and say that I really think things might. People have already been charged and the courts are working through the night. Surely that’s hopeful? Personally, there are 6 things I think should happen to those involved in the riots:

  1. Apologise face-to-face to the people whose homes, businesses and lives have been destroyed.
  2. Help to clean up the mess they’ve created.
  3. Pay something towards rebuilding, restocking, refurnishing...
  4. Go to prison.
  5. Lose any benefits when they come out. As an aside, I think benefits should be in the form of food vouchers anyway.
  6. As a civilised (no, that’s not meant to be a joke!) society, we also need to recognise the importance of rehabilitation. I firmly believe in punishment first, but if these people are going to be released into society and if they are to contribute in any way, they need help to sort out their lives and to understand how their actions have affected others.
Just as a final thought, let’s hope that as a society, we can educate parents as to what an important role they have. I often think many have no idea what a vital part they have in their children’s lives. I am always astonished when parents complain their children don’t do as they’re told and then discover that they never say that important word: No. Children have to realise they can’t have everything they want. They need boundaries and loving discipline.

Programmes like Supernanny, The World’s Strictest Parents, Brat Camp and Ladette to Lady, all show that with a bit of tough love, even the most wayward children and teenagers can be turned around. Often, these children say that they were allowed to do as they liked when they were younger, therefore they have no respect for their parents.

OK, I may have gone off-topic a little here, but I am certain that all those rioters were never told ‘no’ as children, were never told they had to work hard to get nice things in life. Let’s change that so that our children will never have to experience such events again.

Lastly, my thoughts are with the families of those people who tragically died this week.


  1. Great post, very thoughtful and well-written, agree wholeheartedly!

  2. Wow, you put my thoughts into words.
    It`s so common now for people to blame everything on someone or something else. It is all about choices, as you say. Well done.



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