The council has started an independent review of last month’s disorder. Leaflets with details are going through doors as I write.
Neil Kinghan interviewed me yesterday; an interesting experience, not least because it forces you to think a little more objectively about something which has deeply affected the area. And I daresay it had something of a therapeutic affect, I think this is as much a healing as a learning process for many.
And even though we have moved quickly in setting up the review one of the things I have noticed, in myself and others, is a strange dilation of time. The riots seem a long time ago, a different age. I cannot say with certainty why that is. Possibly because they were so unusual, so markedly different from ‘ordinary’ events that they don’t really have a hook in the memory’s timeline. You remember Christmases for years, because they fit into a regular and familiar continuum – autumn, winter, panicked shopping, over-eating and over-drinking and then the cold reality of a new year. Not so a riot that came almost without warning, then just went, leaving surprisingly few lasting visible scars.
I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. By the Tuesday I was already saying to people that we had to move on quickly; while we had to respond we also had to ensure we didn’t paint ourselves as poor victims, thereby further reducing confidence in the area and compounding the harm already done. But then, just moving on and returning to the pre-riot normal also implies losing that fantastic community spirit so apparent in the broom army and at Battersea Buzz. I’m very curious about what the turnout and mood of the public meetings will be…
If you want to take part in the review you can:
Attend a drop-in session where you can speak to Neil Kinghan on a one-to-one basis. These will be held on 12 and 13 September at Battersea Library at 3.30-5.30pm.
Attend one of the public meetings at Battersea Arts Centre (6.30-8.30pm 12 September), Samaj Hall, 26b Tooting High Street (6.30-8.30pm 13 September) or Wandsworth Civic Suite (7.00-9.00pm 19 September).
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by writing to Neil Kinghan, Room 148, Wandsworth Town Hall, London SW18 2PU.
Comments must be received by 19 September.