I can hear sirens in the distance from where I’m typing, but I’m nowhere near Woolwich.
Instead, I’m sat in a hotel courtyard trying to catch up with the horrific news from John Wilson Street, where a man has died and two others are injured after a reported machete attack. I’m squinting at a live news feed trying to make sense of it all, next to me a French couple are talking to children on Skype. The more I hear, the less sense any of this makes.
As discussed on this website over recent months, though, Woolwich had been slowly on the up. After the nadir of the riots, there’s been every reason to feel optimistic for Woolwich’s future – while grand projects like the new Tesco have divided people, the fine job done by Greenwich Council in revamping General Gordon Square, and a trickle of new businesses like The Coffee Lounge and the forthcoming pub, The Woolwich, have indicated the battered old place is finally heading in the right direction. Tomorrow’s imminent approval of funding for the Crossrail station was to have set the seal on that.
Or, of course, you could just dig out the stereotypes, like once-popular social networking site Friends Reunited, whose Twitter feed parped this great insight.
A staff member has been suspended by FR for that, it’s since emerged.
Oh, or you could be a famous media blogger…
FSF, real name Susie Boniface, has since deleted that one, but she’s got form spouting off about a south-east London she knows nothing about – merrily tweeting during the 2011 London riots about Charlton Asda being on fire, when nothing of the sort happened.
So, when the professionals can’t even be bothered to think before they open their mouths, is it any surprise when the general public start to fill social media and newspaper comment pages with half-witted bile?
London stuck together after 7/7, hopefully the same will be true of the place where I was born after today.
PS. Greenwich Council was due to hold its mayor-making event at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich tonight. Hopefully it’s had the good sense to cancel.
Update, 8pm. With Prime Minister David Cameron returning home to the UK following today’s events, Greenwich Council’s mayor-making knees-up at the Royal Naval College went ahead as usual, attended by both Labour and Conservative councillors.