At a recent local party meeting (22nd August), Green Party member Esther Sutton conveyed her thoughts from the perspective of a business owner whose premises found itself in the middle of the riot zone. She also talked about what the Croydon Advertiser has dubbed the 'Window of Hope'. Hundreds of messages of hope and love for Croydon now appear on the pub's glass front.
Earlier on that evening, I went along to a meeting called by Malcolm Wicks - MP for Croydon North. It was very well attended, although I am uncertain to how many business owners who lost their livelihood were actually there. Inevitably, at least for the time I was there, it did turn into a forum for local people to vent their collective frustration both from the stage and the floor. There is a lot of anger. People need to be heard.
Malcolm gave a speech which caught the mood of the room. Why was the Borough Commander up at Scotland Yard on the night of the riot? Why was the pedestrianised zone protected by the police whereas the area north of West Croydon station left undefended? Just how many police officers were in Croydon that night - something he described as a "state secret" for the moment. In view of what has happened, the MP for Croydon North has correctly called for a full independent inquiry.
There were no representatives from the police or the council, apart Labour opposition councillors, which meant that a lot of questions remained answered.
As I left the packed meeting, a local resident, who left just after I did, told me that the meeting was a waste of time and Wicks was also a waste of time and that no one really feels the local area will change. For her, optimism appeared not to be the outcome of this meeting.
Tags croydon, greenparty