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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Technician

£30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Energy Sales Co-ordinator

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Energy Sales Consultant

£25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Bid Writer – Energy Markets

£35000 Per Annum DOE: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Public sector workers march through Newcastle city centre as they take part in the one-day walkout as part of bitter disputes over pay, pensions, jobs and spending cuts  

The Government’s attitude to the civil service is breathtaking hypocrisy

Chris Blackhurst
Brazil fans are devastated while watching the first half on Copacabana Beach during the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and Germany on July 8, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner advances to the final at the famed Maracana stadium.  

The response to Brazil's defeat has been a surreal exploration of loss and tragedy

Timothy Kennett
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil