The personal cost of the riots which rocked the country earlier this week cannot be measured, particularly for the families who are now having to plan funerals for the five men who died in London and Birmingham as a direct result of the violence.
And the financial cost, which is said to have reached £200 million, will affect us all. None of us will be able to escape the repercussions, in terms of increased insurance premiums, higher prices, and the huge pressure it will put on already struggling public services.
The incredible outpouring of public goodwill epitomised by the riot wombles (#riotwombles) who turned out in their droves to help with the mass clear up, and the instantly organised donations of goods to those robbed or burnt out by the violence, has done a huge amount to obliterate the fear and greed of those grotesque thugs who thought wrenching a bookie’s television screen from its wall mountings was a decent way to spend a Monday night. Shopkeepers miles away from the violence lost money as they took the precaution of shutting up shop early for a couple of days afterwards, others had to invest in extra locks and hoarding and casual workers all over the country lost out as firms sent people home early.
My friend Vix, as ever my financial barometer in times of turmoil, lost the equivalent of a day’s money as her boss, understandably, put safety over profit and closed his business early on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Resourceful as ever she simply picked up her paintbrush and resumed her moonlighting role as painter and decorator in a less troubled area of London a few hours early. Ever the social commentator, she texted me from the top of her ladder: “Farrow and Ball paint costs £48 a tin, that’s a whole week’s Giro!” Not that she would be tempted to illustrate the equality by up ending a tub of Dorset Cream over the doors of her nearest millionaire, but her next client may find she gets a vicarious thrill out of recommending F & B’s Dead Salmon or Mouse’s Back shades over the more aspirational sounding Middleton Pink.
Scary statistic of the day:
According to the fabulously named Johnny Rich, of the Push website, the new fees structure could leave students joining university in October 2012 £50,000 in debt – but don’t be freaked – it will be written off if you never earn enough to pay it off!