It looks like London might be out of the woods. Last night, as I rode through the empty streets of the capital and passed black clad groups of policeman hanging around on street corners, I was struck by a true sense of relief. Though the situation certainly worsened in the rest of England one can only presume that the sheer number of police on the streets along with the number of people arrested put an end to the problems in London.
Now, as a petition to remove benefits from rioters gains momentum and the BNP (whose website keeps crashing because of the number of hits its getting) and EDL are making attempts to racialise the problems, we must stand firm in demanding that the roots of the violence are examined. The time for more thorough reflection will come but we must continue to emphasise the undeniably strong links between this violence and a generation of young people living in poverty. This excellent map puts it simply: the vast majority of rioting and looting was by poor people in poor areas. With 3.5 million children in the UK growing up in poverty, and child poverty set to rise by 11% over the next 3 years, it is indefensible, now more than ever, to ignore the plight of the poorest in our society.