One of the first rioters to be arrested turns out to have been a teacher at a primary school.
Another was a lifeguard. Another a charity worker.
All are the type of community based jobs which give you unlimited license for pious posturing – should you be so inclined. Granted, the majority of teachers and nurses are too sensible to do this. But some on the fringes of the caring professions can’t help themselves.
We’ve all at some stage enjoyed some magnificent displays of moral exhibitionism from people who think that, because they work in a school or a hospital, that gives them the final word on any contentious social issue.
Seeing some of these bubbles burst is one of the few sources of comedy in the wake of these awful outbreaks of hooliganism.
The real positive that has emerged is how social media has been used to enable communities to fight back. The hash tags for Riot Clean Up and Operation Cup Of tea show how middle England is using communication to rebuild the community sprit destroyed by the Blackberry abusing hoodies.
Those who called for social media bans, after rioters used their phones to co-ordinate their attacks, are forgetting one thing. Social media gives investigators a very definite audit trail. It’s already being used as forensic evidence to prosecute a man in Lancashire who tried to encourage looting.
Community monitored TV, which is basically Facebook with a video camera, can only be seen as a force for good in this respect. It’s a social media on steroids that could help galavanise public spirit. How? Use your imagination.
Maybe we could use community monitored TV as more of an inclusive tool. Put a camera in, say, a youth club or pub. Attach it to Jabbakam.
The youths then take turns to show off their talent. They could dance, sing, read beat poetry – or just show off their latest creation. The rest of the community could watch on the CMTV at home and vote for a winner. It could be great fun.
Community spirit is organic. Social cohesion, shared experiences and security are three of the staples for building for a healthy community spirit.