Diane Abbott's article on the Huffington Post is factually inaccurate and politically motivated. I understand that we are in a febrile stage of the political timetable and that a "Tory toff" is a tempting target in the simplistic world of sound bite politics. But the truth of the housing issue in Hackney that spurred her attack is very different from how she and others have portrayed it. For obvious reasons this situation has been personalised to me. It has been suggested that I have been personally going around "evicting" needy tenants from "social" housing in Hackney for my own gain. I haven't.
Don't know about anyone else, but once the mercury hits above 20 - I shed the skin of a (semi) responsible person and get utterly side tracked by the pursuit of pleasure. That dead area at the beginning of the week (I think they call it Sunday-Tuesday) becomes a gin-sodden round of boozy picnics, 'just the one' after work drinks/dins and pub garden pick me ups...
When it comes to whisky, we like to keep things simple. Neat, on the rocks, or mixed with coke - that's how we know and love it. New York Magazine's food blog Grub Street echoed this recently when it described flavoured whisky as 'The Beginning of The End' and filed it under Desecrations. I mean, why try to fix something which isn't broken?
Never has George Osborne's hypocritical catch-line "we are all in this together" sounded more hollow than with the news that 10% of the poorest areas, including my own borough of Hackney, have been hit by cuts that average over 25% of their local authority budget. Meanwhile some of the wealthiest areas have not just avoided the cuts, but have seen their grants rise under this government.
We are in great need of the other story of Britain. The one where millions of us get on with our lives and get on with each other. That everyday local experience provides the building blocks of our national experience. It should no longer remain invisible. The story of new neighbors who have become true friends has never been told, now is the time to start telling it.
When you read of incidents involving dogs attacking humans, adults or children in the newspaper or hear of it on the radio, that attack did not 'just happen'. Things lead to that exact moment in time where that dog took life into its own control. If you look at any of the dogs who have killed or attacked an adult or child and you were able to look at its lifespan, you would find numerous incidents and triggers.
Fuelling the shallow, consumerist aspirational culture (which ironically is what pervades the impoverished rioting kids) by whitewashing a veneer of affluence is not the answer. It will only increase social marginalisation and frustration. East London already has Westfield in Stratford, it does not need another twinkly mecca to consumption to further alienate its poor community.