Decent people everywhere will share a sense of revulsion at the news that a teenage asylum seeker of Kurdish Iranian origin has been seriously injured in an apparently racially-motivated gang-attack in Croydon, South London on Friday night. But Simon Jones, the BBC correspondent reporting the story, paints a somewhat flattering picture of the area in which the attack took place.
Jones notes in his report that ‘many were keen to tell me what happened was not typical of the area, describing it as a place where people do get along’; that, according to Croydon Central MP, Gavin Barwell, ‘Croydon is one of the most diverse bits of London and people of different backgrounds get along very well … Croydon is culturally diverse and we need to continue to celebrate that’; and that one resident has responded by spraying graffiti near the site of the attack on Shrublands Avenue that reads “Refugees Welcome”.
However, those who recently voted Croydon the fifth most dangerous place to live in London (https://www.thetoptens.com/most-dangerous-places-london/croydon-833227.asp) seem not to share the view that diverse multicultural Croydon is a cause for celebration. Here is a representative sample of their impressions:
‘I grew up in Croydon. I was lucky enough to get out of that wasteland about four years ago now. Never looked back. Lots of gang activity and race crime. There was a time me and my friends were in the town centre at night and a gang threatened us with concrete blocks – just for being white!’
‘My friend was stabbed to death and then 2 hours later another gang saw him on the floor wounded with knife marks they didn’t help him they just stabbed him for the fun of it also he was only 9 and not in a GANG’
‘Croydon is an antisocial muggers’ paradise’
‘I’m not a massive fan of Croydon but West Croydon is the ass hole of it all.Having lived just down the road from Lidl in a tiny flat that was falling apart I’ve seen someone get shot from our living room window across the road and witnessed a stabbing right below our bedroom window. Considering all of my flat mates either took or dealt drugs I had to stay silent.’
‘By far the roughest place I’ve ever been’
‘I lived in Croydon for 34 years so I know how it is just be your self don’t be a target for yourself to get mugged and just don’t stare at people’
‘Chavs everywhere, someone is mugged at least once every, people under age always having sex (Youngest I heard of was a 13-year-old)’
‘The Home Office being there is a magnet for third-worlders, no surprise that it is the way it is’
‘For me Croydon should be up with Peckham and Hackney someone dies there every day due to gang violence and it not a nice place to live’
‘Croydon is the craziest town about in London. Especially an area called Shrublands. In 2012, I went to Shrublands to go to a party. Me and 4 of my mates got robbed gun point. The police need to sort out the crime in Croydon. Very dangerous area.’
‘I got stabbed with a doner knife when I was 16 in Shrublands. Awful area!’
I thoroughly recommend following that link and reading the article, go through the 10 pages of reports on violence and crime in London boroughs and many other places outside London. I was very familiar with many of the areas mentioned; Wembley, Stonebridge, Harlesden, Willesden, Neasden, and many others. When I was growing up these were quite respectable, working class/middle class areas, not pretty but not bad either.
Considering that the “Conservative Party” has been in power for most of the post WW2 years it is a fair question: What exactly has been conserved?
Compare England of 1950 with England of 2017: What grade would the English political elite give itself for it’s governing performance over those 67 years? It may be argued that some great policies were enacted; well, name them. Personally I would say that such an approach would be akin to a doctor reassuring a patient that aside from the terminal cancer he is in great shape!
Of course we know what has been conserved; privilege and the wealth and power of the elite has been conserved, in fact greatly strengthened.
However the record is assessed, it belongs to the conservative elite, running Britain is your gig, you cannot pass the blame onto working class scum like me. For a primer into how the English elite reacts when a working class man decides to get involved in English politics, read “Enemy of the State” by the great Tommy Robinson. Legal frame ups, constant harassment, attempts to have him killed by radical islamic inmates while supposedly under the care and protection of HMG! And more.
So did you discuss any of this while you reactionary elite got together at the Athenaeum? Did you ponder the depth of the rot? Or did you just pass the champagne and shrug it off?
Hello Roger ~ I think part of the problem is that the contemporary Conservative Party has little, if anything, to do with social conservatism. It’s now a purely liberal party, with liberal understood in Adam Smith (classical liberal) or Friedrich Von Hayek (neo-liberal) terms. When you have liberal capitalism on the one hand and socialist/social democrat thinking on the other it’s hard to see how you’d end up with anything much different to Croydon as it is today, and almost certainly with far, far worse to come.