« Previous | Main | Next »

From riots to Olympics: an emotional spasm?

Post categories:

Robin Lustig | 11:46 UK time, Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My colleague Mark Easton, the BBC's Home Editor, has written a thought-provoking piece today in which he reflects on the very different national mood from a year ago, when several English towns and cities were engulfed in riots.

In his words, we've moved on "from national soul-searching to national celebration in exactly 12 months; from Broken Britain to Team GB."

So how come? Are we the same people, burning down shops in the High Street one minute, then cheering on Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, plus our rowers and jumpers and gymnasts, the next?

A couple of random thoughts for you: first, wouldn't it be interesting to track down some of the rioters from a year ago and ask them if they're as swept up by Olympic-mania as the rest of us?

And second, perhaps we're a nation of teenagers, subject to extreme mood swings. One moment, it's all: "I hate you, you've ruined my life"; then it's "I love you to bits, you're the best."

We wept over the death of Princess Di; we cheered the wedding of Wills and Kate; then we did a spot of rioting, and now we're glued to the telly-box marvelling at the achievements of Team GB.

Emotional spasms, or a nation so diverse in its make-up that it encompasses all the above, and more?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said--


    --the "clear message" that the Olympics was sending "could not come at a better time for a country that is making a difficult psychological adjustment to a new world without easy credit, where life is considerably tougher than it was before the crunch".

    -- The mayor went on to say there had been a "culture of easy gratification and entitlement" during last year's riots.

    -- The mayor said £70m had been pumped into inner city areas of London to try to avoid a repeat of the violence and looting...."

    -- As he justified the Billions for the ´party´ and Olympics.

    -- A psychological adjustment for whom ?

  • Comment number 2.

    Always intrigued by the use, and often abuse, of that all-inclusive, presumptive 'we' word by 'journalists'.

    But this, of several, is a doozy: 'Are we the same people, burning down shops in the High Street one minute, then cheering on Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, plus our rowers and jumpers and gymnasts, the next?'

    I'd rather hoped to be spared the worst excesses of filling the 24/7 'news' void with Olympically grasping and tenuous projection pieces post events, but it appears not.

    Especially by those uniquely funded to speak for... to... at the nation.

    'wouldn't it be interesting to track down some of the rioters from a year ago and ask them if they're as swept up by Olympic-mania as the rest of us?'

    Bless. Now a 'them' at least creeping in the frame.

    Given that post riots the BBC managed to create a rather 'interesting' cross-section of riot profiles, the answer will probably be yes as there was if I recall a white public schoolgirl in 'the mix' given prominence, and when it comes to box-ticking in BBC world such sporting connections do seem to capture editorial focus when it suits.

    I think she 'medalled' in the ex-JD Sports dash using Daddy's motor.

  • Comment number 3.

    "We wept over the death of Princess Di; we cheered the wedding of Wills and Kate; then we did a spot of rioting, and now we're glued to the telly-box marvelling at the achievements of Team GB."

    Robin, you really do need to 'get a real life'.

    You in the media think this stuff matters, but it doesn't. Real people have real lives that matter to them despite the media's best efforts.

  • Comment number 4.

    #3 J_f_H

    -- Sorry, can´t agree.

    Robin takes a ´bigger picture´of events and presents the dilemmas and contradictions that societies ´should´ have, because of their actions, inactions or hypocrisies.

    For the approaching catastrophe WE need as many clear thinkers as WE can get.

  • Comment number 5.

    "And second, perhaps we're a nation of teenagers, subject to extreme mood swings. One moment, it's all: "I hate you, you've ruined my life"; then it's "I love you to bits, you're the best."

    -- teenage hormonal disturbances ?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/08/us-britain-eu-blair-idUSBRE8771DU20120808

    "Britain must play a strong role in this. Because we need a balance between European institutions and the nation states."

    --or only Hubris ?

  • Comment number 6.

    "Are we the same people, burning down shops in the High Street one minute, then cheering on Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, plus our rowers and jumpers and gymnasts, the next?"

    Perhaps not. Perhaps the rioters find the Olympics as dull as I do. Perhaps, like me, they also feel they are a big waste of money.

    Things could be done more cheaply if the Olympics were not so confined to one country. If it was spread over several countries, existing facilities could be used rather than spending billions on a load of new buildings which invariably end up abandoned.

  • Comment number 7.

    '4. At 16:54 8th Aug 2012, quietoaktree'

    On matters big picture, who tackles them and well, I fear I, in turn, cannot agree with your entirely legitimate personal view.

    Which is kind of interesting, as 'we' appear now to have at least two different 'we's'.

    Now, 'who' gets to... clearly think... on 'whose' behalf in such as situation?

    Surely logic must accept the dilemma of all being equally 'we', but some getting to be more equally 'we' than others?

    Especially considering the influence of those who have control of the edit suite, given its often pervasive persuasive power.

    From soul-searching to national celebration, or considered introspection based on facts vs. 'anger' stirred by 'views' (I have dubbed Newsnight's Paul Mason the new Anger and Protests Editor in honour of his favoured slant on near anything, from #Occupy to Greek activism) my concern on matters catastrophic is what is simply reported upon... or driven via 'enhancement'.

    And 24/7 deployment of £4Bpa is a potent way to sway the answers to such questions as posed in the headline, often based on the whim of not too many who can often appear presume to represent 'us'.

    It's a current situation that may suit you, but sadly does not reassure me.

  • Comment number 8.

    #7 JunkkMale

    "It's a current situation that may suit you, but sadly does not reassure me."

    With that sentence, the justification of my reassurance must leave the ´we´and ´they´-- and also at times use the ´I´.

    I do have large problems mainly with Mr. Hewitts European blog as the two countries he more than often ´pits against´each other is the UK and Germany -- with the UK as always the ´victor´, while knowingly or unknowingly disregarding relevant contradictory societal information-- I know both well and have (objectively) attempted to analyze the societies to ´justify my prejudices´ (conclusions).

    If you read carefully both this and the previous blog from Mr. Lustig -- can you really tell me what his political and societal views are ? --I can´t, -- but one thing is clear, he puts a heck of thinking into them and has been doing the thinking for a heck of a long time --I see no (or very little) ´BBC one-sidedness´on his part -- but a professionalism that sometimes nerves me, when arguments (and topics) are already covered --before I thump the keyboard.

    -- From the previous blog Mr.Lustig wrote-

    "Yet perhaps as long as there are nation states, there will always be a need to encourage national pride. If we no longer charge into war brandishing flags,..."

    #5 link to Reuters --Blair also said --

    "People will not go along with the abolishment of the nation state."

    -- Did Blair also read the previous blog ?

    -or did Robin inadvertently question the necessity of the Nation State (Britain) ?

  • Comment number 9.

    And while we are on the Olympics topic--

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-19190509

    "A lawsuit brought by a group of Vietnamese nationals against US manufacturers was dismissed in 2007.

    The US compensates its veterans exposed to the defoliant, but does not compensate Vietnamese nationals.

    Nga Pham, of the BBC's Vietnamese service, says Agent Orange is a very bitter legacy of the war, and most Vietnamese think the US should do more to help."

    No protest from Scotch Git having Dow as an Olympic sponsor ?

  • Comment number 10.

    '8. At 13:11 9th Aug 2012, quietoaktree'

    Always a pleasure to engage in discussion with you. It is clear that we are not destined to agree on all things, so maybe in this we may have to contend with agreeing to not even disagree... but simply accept diverse opinions will exist and can stand firm.

    But questions will continue to be asked...

    'If you read carefully both this and the previous blog from Mr. Lustig -- can you really tell me what his political and societal views are ?'

    This one rather neatly highlights my concerns. The BBC often uses that 'questions being asked' phrase. But in being masters of the edit suite, even the questions that get asked, or not, and who is asked them, or not, can shape the answers. Often... too often, the answers desired. That hardly seems objective.

    You have challenged on a narrow basis citing two recent posts.

    How about this one: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldtonight/2012/04/does_murdoch_matter.html

    I fear yes, I feel here Mr. Lustig's political and societal views seem pretty clear, and in keeping with those who employ him (if not funding his wages, so uniquely garnered elsewhere). And I said so. As did others (we even exchanged there on this too). Fair points all from many quarters, if left to rattle around without further contribution from the author (At least this blog still remains. To see the true horror of what has happened to civilised interactivity around BBC programming, check out the Newsnight FaceBook page, which has descended into anarchistic farce... with those that lead it there seemingly entirely content with the kamikaze system they created... one suspects deliberately to further get away from what has obviously proven an experiment in talking with licence fee payers that did not offer enough control to be 'managed' in the way hoped).

    I simply repost, as they seem apposite and appropriate to my concerns, the two last lines from that thread:

    Propaganda propped up by censorship is not pretty or with great historical precedent.
    ________

    This entry is now closed for comments


    Have to love the smell of irony in the morning.

  • Comment number 11.

    #10 JunkkMale

    --Thanks for your reply.

    "You have challenged on a narrow basis citing two recent posts."

    -- I am not sure how broad your defense is --if one understands the topic as the BBC trying to justify its existence ?

    My recent problems with censorship appears to have been (mainly) resolved -- however it appears that the problem was from outsourcing and possibly an over zealous Mod --with ´nationalistic´ tendencies. A failure of the BBC to protect the blogs adequately was my conclusion. The stated ´Appeals Mechanism´ does not function --probably because it does not exist.

    I have heard Mr. Hewitt on the business programs being ´neutral´-- in direct contrast with his ´blog opinions´. It would please me if we could at least agree that this blog is the ´lesser of the many evils´?

    As Mr. Lustig has ´touched on´nationalism, I am sure we can agree that this is still the greatest danger -- either forced or self-censorship. Unfortunately neither the USA nor UK have managed to jump over the hurdle.

    Of course ´the powers that be´ can and do influence the general (and specific) trends within a society -- and are responsible for the ´cannon fodder´.

    -But out of interest can you tell me HOW MUCH Mr. Lustig is in favor of the ´Nation State´?

    ( Sorry -- do not use Facebook or Twitter --but can imagine your frustration)

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.