From holiday season to crisis season

Financial meltdown in the US, the looming break up of the euro zone, London in flames, comments Frank Kane. The holiday season has once more turned into the crisis season.
Riot police walk past a burning building in Tottenham. Reuters.
Riot police walk past a burning building in Tottenham. Reuters.

Financial meltdown in the US, the looming break up of the euro zone, London in flames.

As has happened often in history, the holiday season has once more turned into the crisis season, and caught politicians and policymakers at the poolside rather than the desktop.

The sight of my home city London in flames, especially Tottenham, home of my football club, has been particularly heart-rending.

Much has been made of the poverty and social deprivation of this part of north London, but it wasn't always like that.

As a young and impressionable teenager in the 1960s, I was a regular pedestrian along Tottenham High Road, on my way to watch Spurs play at White Hart Lane.

The road then seemed to have a bit of glitz and glamour about it, especially the big department store that dominated it.Turned later into a carpet warehouse, that building was looted, then gutted by arsonists last weekend.

I felt as though a bit of my life had turned to ashes along with it.

Some youthful off-colour humour: London, in the bad old days before we were all so environmentally aware, was known as "The Smoke" because of the permanent pall of carbon-based pollution that hung over the city from coal-burning homes and factories. The city still retains the nickname, even though these days the air is usually crystal clear, and younger people are often mystified on hearing the phrase.

In the early hours of yesterday, as I watched, horrified, the scenes of devastation on live TV, I had a message from my teenage son, in the city: "Dad, now I know why they call it The Smoke."

 

fkane@thenational.ae

Published: August 10, 2011 04:00 AM

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