It remains difficult to write about anything but the riots, which may be the result of my being away while they were taking place — but at least it saves you from my holiday stories.
One of the more curious elements of the aftermath — after continuing dismay about what took place in my Croydon birthplace — is discovering some of my liberal friends have gone, overnight, more than a bit Daily Mail. As Mary Ann Sieghart wrote in Monday’s i: “if a conservative is a liberal who’s just been mugged, then almost all English city-dwellers will feel more right-wing now”.
Each knee-jerk policy initiative has been lapped up by my more muesli-oriented mates. It’s as if they have discovered the joys of a full English after years of disdainful self-denial. Bring back national service? Check. Name and shame young offenders? Tick. Jail every looter? Of course. Remove families’ benefits? Top idea. “Zero tolerance” policing? Yep. Arm the police? About time. Clamp down on immigration? You want baked beans and mushrooms with that?
Meanwhile, my more conservative friends oscillate between a smug “I told you so, that’s what you get after decades of liberalism” and a howling despair about a mythical England (this is an English story) long gone.
For my friends, read you, our evergrowing band of i readers. The riots have provoked more of you to write in even than those who complain about Cooper Brown. As so many of you continue to be new readers, it is fascinating to absorb your collective politics. i is born of a famously liberal newspaper, The Independent, but is politically neutral by intent. This, of course, is impossible to achieve in absolute terms — every story choice any editor makes is political. But the philosophy lies in the striving.
Now, did I tell you which Hollywood star was honeymooning in Positano?