Letter from Simon Kelner

 

Share

I leave you in charge for one week, and look what happens...

When I was last here, life seemed so much more simple: the Prime Minister was packing his Vilebrequins for Tuscany, and the continuing saga of who was hacked by whom, and who knew, was still dominating the news agenda. And I come back, seven days later, to survey a very different landscape. The European economy is on the verge of collapse, a new credit rating has turned America into the Arthur Daley of global finance, and there's violent disorder on the streets of London. You might think you wouldn't be able to switch on a TV or radio without seeing or hearing a front rank politician explaining, warning or condemning.

But no. It was left to Lynne Featherstone, a home office minister who happened to be on duty at the weekend, to address the London riots. The PM, his deputy, the Chancellor and the Mayor of London were all in their respective time zones. Of course, everyone needs a holiday (and I'm hardly one to talk, having just had a week off myself) but you have to question the sensitivity of all our senior politicians being away at the same time. Haven't they got a planner on the wall at Downing Street to avoid clashes? (I'm sorry, George, I know it's half-term and you've got VIP passes to Disneyland, but Nick's already booked it to go to the inlaws, and you know what Miriam's like if she has to change her plans.)

And the juxtaposition yesterday of the pictures of London suburbs on fire and David Cameron posing with the waitress he'd forgotten to tip was unfortunate to say the least. As for the rush to be the first one back in Blighty, that was almost as unseemly. Another noteworthy aspect of the riots is the role played by social media, and in particular the way in which some of our traditional media have discussed its influence. From much of the coverage, you would get the impression that the activity on Twitter was responsible for fanning the flames, or, as one newspaper put it, "helping to fuel the mayhem". But not very long ago, wasn't Twitter lauded as a force for good, unleashing people power and democracy in the Arab world? Which goes to reaffirm what we've always known: one man's glorious revolution is another man's bloody sedition. See you tomorrow.

Simon Kelner is Editor-in-Chief of The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and i

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Clean energy should be our mission to the moon

Martin Rees
Angela Merkel and David Cameron say goodbye in the Bundeskanzleramt after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 29 May 2015  

The complacency of Europhiles could lose them the referendum

Steve Richards
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral