Double Take

'When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there. And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you – George Harrison

Pouring Money Away by Nigel Summerley, photograph by Rowena J Ronson

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Until The End Of TimeOne of the world’s leading cities has just stocked up on water cannons for dealing with rioters – no great surprise.
But that city is London – which does come as something of a shock.
The water cannons are the idea of Mayor Boris Johnson, although they can only be used with Government approval.
The city’s police bought the cannons second-hand from Germany. “They were purchased at this time, as it was cost-effective,” they said.
The mayor approved the purchase, apparently to give the police more power to curb large-scale public disorder.
But what large-scale public disorder are they expecting? And aren’t water cannons more the mark of a repressive, dictatorial regime than of metropolitan liberalism?
Yes, there were riots and looting in London a few years ago, but those were sparked off by the police’s shooting of a suspect alleged to have a gun – something widely disbelieved at the time.
If the police had taken more care, perhaps there would have been no public disorder.
And wouldn’t the £200,000-plus for water cannons be much better spent on addressing, however marginally, some of the urban inequalities that might fuel rioting and looting?
It would not even be prevention being better than cure, but prevention being better than exacerbation.


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