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Question Of The Day

Do You Miss the Riots?

Is it just us, or were they actually kind of exciting?

Welcome to Question of the Day. It gives interns something to do!

Exactly one year ago today Britain (well, mostly England) collapsed into the first of four days of rioting and looting. And you know what? While not wanting to lose sight of the fact that livelihoods that were lost, five people died and countless more were injured  – because obviously that's terrible, terrible bullshit – from a purely journalistic point of view, it was actually kind of exciting.


Is that something you can understand? Is that an acceptable opinion? Do you miss the riots?

VICE: Sir, do you miss the riots?
Wesley, 62, "man about town": No darling, I was part of it. In the throng, leading a revolution! Really?
No. It was nonsense the lot of it. Hooligans. Animals! So you don’t agree with what happened?
Absolutely not. In my manor when things like that happen, I am not a happy chappy. Do you agree with the punishments the rioters got?
No, I do not. Shoot them in the head, I say. Graham, 65, retired: Oh, I loved them. I have really enjoyed watching them. The riots?
No, the Olympics. Oh, me too. I was asking about the riots that happened last year, though.
Remind me, darling. Er, loads of kids running around burning down buildings and looting shops?
I don’t know what you’re talking about. Haha. Oh, wait, yes I do. I saw something on the news this morning. I must have missed it first time round. So you know what I mean when I say "the riots"?
Yes, yes. Terrible business. Can you tell me any more about it?
To be honest, I don’t know what I’m talking about. At least you’re honest. Do you miss the riots?
Rohan, 28, singer: What riots? THE riots. It’s the one-year anniversary.
Oh, those riots. No, I don’t miss them. It was all really surprising. Was it?
It was a bit OTT. Did you take part in any rioting?
Oh no! I was in Australia… honestly! I believe you. So do you think it could happen again?
No. Everyone seems really happy to be British at the moment. We’ve had the Jubilee, now the Olympics. Everybody’s happy, happy, happy! Lenny, 21, Olympics worker: Do, I miss them? No! People were going on stupid. It was ridiculous. So you weren't a fan at all?
No and I know people, not naming any names, that were looting and stuff. People got caught up in it but it was stupid.


Pascal, 25, vintage clothing seller: I didn’t really notice them. I didn’t find it as big a deal as everyone made out. The media definitely painted a worse picture than the reality of it. If you worked in Footlocker, you’d probably have a completely different view.
Yeah, there was a lot of opportunistic theft. But it was kids. It wasn’t a big deal. What are your views? Why did it happen?
It’s good that something happened. There was obviously a lot of supressed anger and frustration and it just exploded. It got people talking. The malicious stuff like people getting mugged was bad, though. Do you miss the riots?
Lucy, 23, shop assistant: [long pause] Hahaha, I don’t know! You don’t even care!
No, no, it was really out of order. Do you know anyone that got involved in the rioting?
Not personally, but I live in an area where there was rioting and I have friends who were affected by it. One of my friend’s flats got a bit burnt. Not badly, like some other people's, but still… It didn’t need to happen.

Vicky, 22, student: I definitely don't miss the riots. It was really sad seeing all the stuff on the news, like that shop in Croydon that burnt down. That family business. The one that had been in, like, five generations of the same family?
Yeah. Like, what did they have to do with the rioting? They lost everything and it was nothing to do with them. Do you remember why it started?
People were just getting really pissed off with the state of the country and unemployment. The government. All sorts of stuff. Do you know who Mark Duggan is?
Er, it rings a bell. I do know the name. Er, help me out? OK, he was the guy that the police shot. A lot of people thought it was unnecessary and his family led a protest against the police.
Oh, right. Yeah. Everybody hates the police.

Previously: How Long Do We Have Before Global Warming Kills Us?

For a more informed view of the 2011 UK riots, read our retrospective article and look at the pretty pictures of burning things here.