Guns don’t kill people, idiots do

There was a shooting outside the (ironically-named) Aristocrats nightclub last night. According to the BBC, three men are being treated. The radio news this morning said that one man is critically ill, and the shooting was provoked by someone letting off fireworks inside the club.

I was going to ask what kind of idiot lets off fireworks inside a club, but I guess that it’s the same kind of idiot who carries a gun.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

144 thoughts on “Guns don’t kill people, idiots do”

  1. eusebiovic.

    I’d plump for agreement with you there.

    I grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne. A lot of my school exerience was grim. My abiding memory is constantly being in fear of mindless, utterly random and totally unprovoked violence meted out indiscriminately on anyone happening across the path of numerous boys who terrorised the neighbourhoods I walked through to and from school. All my friends experienced the same. We lived with permanent low level terror.

    Occasionally I found myself on the periphery of big gangs of boys aged from six to sixteen facing each other out on common land armed with chains, crowbars, thick electrical cable, flicknives and rocks. Scenes from mediaeval folklore. I never saw the outcome of these pitched battles — always slipped away just as the fighting began — and I never underestood why they faught each other. The boys collectively behaved as though this barbaric and terrifying behaviour was utterly normal. Showing any degree of fear, or questioning the point of it in any way, was a sure fire way to get a smack in the mouth or a good headbutting.

    A friend from Norfolk who I met at college years later said his experience of Yarmouth was much the same.

    All that violence and stupidity was about forty years ago and was an unadulterated white thing of course. It clearly still resonates in our society now, variations on a theme.

    We’re still crawling out of the dark ages my friends.

  2. Three black men are shot in Camberwell with a sub-machine gun .A man is dead. Camberwell road is closed off all day resulting in turmoil:buses on diversion, people not being able to get to work. This incredible story did not make national news.A sub-machine gun! People shot with it in the street! Do you think the murder of a white man with a machine gun would have passed with so little comment by those who live outside of Camberwell?

  3. I cannot believe some of the ignorant comments I have read on this page!

    Non of you knew Big Show, so what gives any of you the right to judge him!

    He was a soft, kind hearted, clever young man who was tryin to teach others how to live a good life!

    He was not mixed up in any of the goings on within or outside the club and was unfortunatly cought up in something that was nothing to do with him or his friends!

    Why do people make assumptions? Ignorace!

    Jam was not mixed up in any gum crime and the fact that his life was taken is not his fault!

    He was 19 and only just beginning his life!
    It is a shame that we do not have more young black men like Jam, instead of silly little boys who think they are big by carrying a gun and killing innocent people!

    IT HAS GOT TO STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Clever? It doesn’t seem particularly clever of him to be hanging around outside a dodgy club at 2.30am on a Tuesday night, when gang violence had just erupted. Big Show indeed.

  5. welcome to the new brixton camberwell used to be a nice place to live well every flat that is vacant the council give it to blacks what do you expect you brought it on yourselfs

  6. This is what we want to know. We don’t know much about black life on this blogsite. We discuss dinners in restaurants — the langoustines in this place tap dance on your plate better than they do in that place, kind of thing.

    So we don’t know if the gun slingers are like you say, silly little boys who think guns are bling, or whether they’re nasty gangsters from Brixton who’ll kill you simply because you’re the wrong kind of black.

    It’s not really about colour, it’s about Camberwell. If this was an Eltham blogsite we’d be fed up with the white gangsters there, or Woolwich, what a nightmare! Welling, agh!

    Personally, I like anyone who can make something — it might be just a phrase like “He was soft, kind hearted clever young man.” “It’s a shame that we do not have more young black men like Jam.” That was good. Seriously, you could read that out at the funeral and there would be absolute silence — it would totally shame the perpetrators who are still alive.

  7. the shooting outside aristocrats the police were called then the police went away 5 min after the police went the shooting started in the window of the nightclub in question have got a stsement saying it took place at 1.30am and it didnt take place outside the club what a load of lies the club is a run down place just a place for trouble people to go its been on the cards for a long time i mean look at redstar across the road they call that a club well it isnt its just a dump where they use the upstairs to house any imergrant to rent there flats nightclubs are not nightclubs these days
    why dont the police ever wake up …silver buckel pub again what a dump full of trouble and yet the place is till open see southwark will never learn ..BIG COMMENT WELL DONE SOUTHWARK all you do is give a license out for a quick buck give a license out to a real nightclub not a smokescreen for a drug den

  8. Flippin’ ‘eck, the langoustines have started arguing. It’s true though that Aristocrats shouldn’t be here, this is not Brixton or LA.

  9. ben patio — WHAT AN IGNORANT MAN!!!!!
    He had been on a night out with his friends and was unfortunate to have been cought up in it all!
    You cant help where you live and others who live there!
    But because of SMALL MINDED people like yourself things will never change because no one is willing to stand up and be counted=, everyone just wasnts to run away from it all!!

    everywhere has got its problems!
    Not just camberwell!
    london as a whole, birmingham, bradford, even nice little places in the country where young girls and kidnapped and raped on there way home from from school.

    Its not a race thing, or a class thing, you are just so caught up in the media and bullshit fed to you by people who have never lived in these ares, dontknow the people that have been hurt!

    rob as for you, well I think your statement says enough about you! SCUM!!!

    Stop judging and strat helping to stomp this out!

    Dagmar I do believe that these are just stupid little boys as I believe that true gansters are more worried about making money and dealing with other gansters than going out and killing innocent people.

    Have any of you stoped to think about his family and friends who are now having to deal with this loss?

    Of course your not, your too worried about that fact that it was near your homes.

    Well i dont think any of you need to worrie as none of you would be out later than 8pm and none of you go out with your mates for a night out!

  10. well lion as i know camberwell green very well the boy in question that was shot down wasnt inocent he was known as a trouble maker not a poor boy who got shot trust me they knew who they was after and they got there target
    thats all im saying

  11. rob i would also like you ask you how you and i both live in camberwell if we are white and they only give homes to black people?

    YOU KNOW NOTHING!!!

    They werent looking for him and they never got there target!

    You obvusly dont know camberwell very well!
    And you certainly dont know Jam!

    And i would like to point out to you that on wed as i was walking past the police who were talking about him and even they where sayin he wasnt a bad boy, he was more of a gentle giant!!!!

    So untill you know the truth dont comment!

    SCUM!!

  12. what ever like i know nothing like the other boy who got shot was done a while back for carrying a fire arm but like you said i know nothing lol as in for scum i dont use guns the people you surport do so you are the scum

  13. i dont carry guns the idiots you surport do carry guns so your the scum as in i know nothing the other boy that got shot was done a while back for carring a copy fire arm but like you said i know nothing lol wake and small the coffee

  14. I would also like to ask you all, that if they shut down Aristocrats and Ivory Arch, all the clubs in London where does it go then?

    Will it spread into the parks, the shops, the streets??

  15. Why were these kids, and camberwell kids in general, carrying guns and why were they shooting at each other? And Lion, what do you mean by ‘standing up and being counted’ and whatever it means, will it stop these kids carrying guns and shooting at each other?

    It seems to me the reasons for a gun culture are very complex and will take a whole plethora of policies that deal with parenting, teaching, out of school activities for kids, policing style,a more responsible media and marketting etc. In the mean time the council and the police need to reduce the immediate risks to the neighbourhood, and if that means shutting trouble night clubs down, then they should do it.

  16. It ia a complex issue indeed and one that needs addressing in the kind of way people are doing here. I think what is most worrying is that the violence is affecting more and more youngsters. It starting to eat into the fabric of their whole lives, something which should be of concern to us all. I chose to bring my children up in London because of the benefits. I have been able to live in Peckham with my black husband without fear and without us being unusual. If you want to know what being famous is like, try eating in a rural Frence retaurant as a mixed family and see how it feels! London was great for my kids. I suppose people live in Camberwell because they like its vibrant mix. But we want to keep it that way. We have to take the rough with the smooth. We can’t enjoy the delights of our Greek Olive shops, our kebabs and our Jamaican patties without being truly aware of the communities that serve them to us. It moves beyond a woolly delight in multiculturalism to embracing and welcoming the community as a whole. So it’s our responsibilty to ask ourselves have to ask ourselves why young black people want to kill each other. It’s our problem, our community problem. Otherwise go and live somewhere else. I think much lies with trying to undestand each other better.

    Our schools (and I am a teacher ) are already becoming either black or white by parental choice. We fear that which we don’t understand , so one solution is better undestanding. That can take place in small ways. Ways in which we can all particiapte. Get to know the man that serves you your kebabs. Say hello to the hoodie on the bus, or at least give him a smile. I know, by experience that 90% of young people put their hoods up because they are afraid of other young people, not because they want to commit a crime on you. But do you know that? If not how can you find out? We need to talk more, relax more.…get to know each other more. Otherwise we are not a true mixed community.

    I don’t disagree with any of the comments here , regarding crime. Crime rots all around it and needs to be dealt with. Yet it’s not dealt with effectively in my experience. My dealings with the police as the mother of a black son have not been happy.…so I have to struggle with my assumptions about them. And I do and try to teach my son that not all police are the same. And that is the issue. White guilt is a waste of time. Knocking sections of society is a waste of time. The key lies in keeping open minds and I am heartened that this debate has shown that people are more than willing to do that still. Let’s keep trying.It is an effort. It’s hard for me sometimes not to get totally cynical and bitter when I see how my son has been treated by all around him. But this is the work we have to do. The boy who stabbed my son is as much a victim as he was. His mother probably as sad if not sadder than me. We are talking about the future of a whole group of children in the community here and all crime and fear has a root cause. Although I am still not sure exactly what that is.

    PS My son has read your posts…thnaks for taking the time and trouble and special thanks to Amanda.

  17. Rocky mentions “policing style”, and I think that’s important to remember — bearing in mind the experiences of Realme’s son.

  18. What I like about this blog is how open it is to debate. I’ve just taken the last 56 postings in one sitting and what a sitting it has been!
    I’m conscious that realme must be getting sick of direct questions, so I won’t ask one, but make an observation. If the police have been unfair to your son, bear in mind that the Met is populated with more than it’s fair share of people who do not believe in any sort of “rainbow” society. It is much whiter (and, I suspect, prone to racism) than it should be for London, but responsibility for that, in part, rests with the non-white (sorry for the shorthand!) communities in London in not joining it’s ranks in significant numbers.
    I have lived in Camberwell for 20 years and love the place — my friends are bored rigid hearing me bleat on about it. I’m not frightened of going to Lewisham and cannot understand why anyone would be.
    As to the shooting — I think it’s really tragic that a 19 year old ends up dying on the street, before they have had the opportunity to live their life. Though I don’t believe in any form of deity or afterlife, my thoughts are with him and his family.

  19. I agree that the police should be racially more representative of the population that they are at present, and give them credit for trying to recruit more from non-white communities and hope that they will succeed in this. But they must take full responsibility for the style of policing that we see now. They stereotype. Too many of them abuse the authority given by their uniform. So they stop young Muslim men, they stop young black men, they stop young men of any colour or race driving certain types of car, and by and large they do it in a way that stores up resentment.

    It is no excuse to say that they have crime statistics in their favour — that certain types of crime are largely committed by young Muslim or black or white men. If we have a community in which the police can treat any young man — picked up at random — as an actual or potential criminal, and if they have our support in this, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

    Years ago there was a TV series which allowed members of the public to make mini programmes in which they could put their point of view. One programme was made by a young black man who described how much it upset him when, as he was walking along the street, he saw other pedestrians cross the road or hurry away from him because they ASSUMED he was going to mug them. He knew the crime statistics too, he knew why they did it, but he still thought it was unfair because he wished them nothing but good.

  20. I take your point Mushtu, but believe me it is a tough job being a black police officer. At the risk of sounding boring with my anecdotes, my sister in law has been a firefighter in London for fifteen years and what she’s been through as a black woman in a white man’s world would start a whole new thread! My son and all his black friends don’t trust the police any more and are a million miles away from wanting to join. The police and the fire service work very hard at recruiting a proper mixed force that represents the community and do try to ensure that anything racist that is reported is dealt with-but it’s the constant daily stuff that goes on-bananas put on your seat-people urinating in your boots and constant jibes about your culture. You have to be very tough to survive that (and my sister in law is-she’s leading hand on her fire engine and will be a station commander soon, so not all is bad news)

    I don’t expect the Met to believe in a Rainbow society-just to do their job professionally. I am a white teacher. I don’t expect to treat any child differently to another. If a black child doesn’t work, I will pull them up. If they tell me I am picking on them‑I will say “Yes I am, because you’re not working and achieveing your best” I do my job. That’s all the police need to do. Follow the PACE stop and search code. Don’t put young people in handcuffs for nothing. Don’t provoke them and then rough them up when they get mad. Don’t assume every young person is a potential criminal. Surely that isn’t too much to ask?

  21. Rocky The Milkman — All your concerns in post 55, go directly back to the mental state of the majority of the British Public who all subscribe to the Thatcherite maxim which I described in post 49 — As Mark said in some ways we are still crawling out of the dark ages…the human condition evolves painfully slow…

  22. Go down to the memorial site for Jamail Newton and have a look around. The first time I was down there I saw this guy sitting reading (I thought) a piece of foolscap paper. Then when I went back, there were posted up three foolscap pieces of paper written in Jamail’s memory by a friend, who was obviously the same guy I’d seen sitting there. If you read his testimonial you will find an elegy to a friend who died, but also the same confusion about what is happening, why it is happening, and what can be done about it.

    Ben — I’ve often been outside bars and nightclubs at 2.30am when shit has gone off. If it’s got nothing to do with me, I don’t assume I’m going to get shot in the head. I understand your anger, but in this case I think it’s misdirected.

    Aristocrats must be shut down now, and I don’t give a shit about the wailing of Eyo Henshaw. If he had any respect for the memory of an innocent man, he’d close the club himself. Fuck him and all his Fascist kind.

  23. Am I drunk or has a post been removed? It came before Ben Patio’s post and was about the fact that Jamail Newton was being accusing of being a gang-banger without any evidence to that affect. I’m pretty sure there was a post there, and as far as I can recall what the person said was not derogatory or offensive, so why has it been removed?

  24. A bunch of comments got picked up by the spam trap — for whatever reason, if one comment is identified as spam, all past comments are also identified. I’ve been through and restored all I can find.

    I assure you, I’ve never once removed any genuine comment from this site.

  25. This is very emotional and I find it very upsetting that anyone no matter what their background, or where they are from, should ever find themselves in a situation where they are either being killed or killing other people.

    Killings, any sort of this level of violence, are a stage way too far — for anyone, no matter how dysfunctional their normality. Who in all this really has taken pleasure in the outcome of a gun being fired or of fireworks being set off in a place full of people?

    I’m sure that a good number of people who have posted here would be prepared to put some real effort into taking this extraordinary dialogue further and act to help make this awful situation stop.

    Emotional name calling and parrying each other’s posts over levels of intimate local knowledge isn’t getting anyone anywhere.

    We should arrange a meet up out of all this, agree in advance some rules of engagement, some positive results that we, as a community, would like to see come out as a result, and get together and take it further.

    I reckon.
    People who have posted here are,

  26. Well everyone, as Bob Marley says.…“One love” It’s all about Fear on one side and Love and understanding for the human race on the other, however twee that sounds. Let’s hope some kind of love shines through. I am hopeful as long as people can raise these issues and at least engage in really thinking about them. It has gladdened by heart. Love to you all xxxxx

  27. Realme, it’s good to hear from an actual real teacher in the area. What I want for my white 3 year old is to go to an interesting mixed local primary. What I face is the council placing her in Oliver Goldsmiths because it’s the nearest. This is not a mixed school but predominantly African. It’s only right that schools reflect their catchment area, but I want my nipper to go to a mixed Camberwell school not an African school. What should I do?

  28. Jamail was not carrying a gun and was not shooting at anybody!

    It saddens me to see the behaviour of some of you people.

    I agree that people who carry guns are the scum of the earth

    Lord Henry — That letter was written by a close friend who very destraught at the loss of his friend, it has come from the heart and what has been put in that letter would put most of you to shame for the comments you have made!

    Known of you know these boys but the fact that because they are young black men, in hoodies asumptions are already made!

    You really need to stop believing all that you read in the press as they do not know the facts.

    one thing I have learnt from all this is to stop judging!

    I used to sit at home with my paper and read the storys and make the same small minded comments alot of you have made.
    But it wasnt until it got closer to home and I knew the story etc that I realised the media really is evil and they will write whatever makes them money.
    I was sitting on the bus listening to someone talk about the situation in the same way many of you have, and i put my hands up that i too used to make these judgments.
    But i will no longer be the sheep and follow what everyone else has written or is thinking!

    Its time to let Jamail rest in peace!

  29. Hi

    Speaking as someone who grew up, and lived in Dunblane, I have to tell you that we are on this Earth to protect kids from harm, even from one another.

    If we fail in this we are a desolate people.

    To follow Realme’s quote — There ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation.

    Agape and peace.

    Andrew Mishmash

  30. I read that letter today, Lion, it was very good, so was the poem near it. I want to hear what you think — I’m one of those who don’t get out (that was funny). It’s bleak, though, this.

    They want to hang Saddam Hussein. They should say, “We’re not like you, we don’t do that.” Instead, they’re mediaeval, too.

    You get my point. These are not very nice times, with not a lot to look up to.

  31. Dagmar

    I guess the question you need to ask is why is Oliver Goldsmith predominantly African, in a mixed area? The answer lies in parental choice. And often it is white parental choice. In my experience white parents don’t want a school to be too black. The question is why? What do you think will happen to your child? What are you afraid of? Follow the answer and I suspect you will find the solution!

  32. Firstly I’m really sorry for the kids family – its shit to lose anyone especially when their so young and have so much ahead of them.. its just not fair.

    A question for anyone: why are the black only clubs such as Aristocrats more popular than the other clubs where everyone is welcome? would people not meet and mix better if people went to mixed clubs?

    Also why are there never any witnesses when so many see the incident? I understand from Realme comment 33 about fear — but the answer to fear is surely not then carry a knife or gun yourself but to work together as a community guide the wrongdoers through carrot & stick I would have thought?.. not to brush it under the carpet , pretend its not happening or protect family members or friends because doing so does not help them or the community?

    There is much anger and animosity on both sides but we all know that prejudices are wrong as many of us will have close friends from different communities.. so rise above & ignore those who cultivate prejudices as bigoted or more likley less eductated.

    Most important — All communities have to trust the police no matter how much they have let you down in the past as not doing so is making yourself prejudice against THEM and as established prejudice is a bad thing. The police are not always the most intelligent or nice people to approach for ANYONE but they are what we have to live with and no one should think themselves above it.

    PS Lion & Rob – You are so similar to each other its funny- both lacking education & awareness (the bad spelling isn’t the only give away)

  33. I’m reminded of the guy I met at Poet’s Corner a few years ago. Sandwich board strapped to him with an old Evening Standard headline: ‘It’s Going To Get Worse’.

  34. Lion — you’re right, we are too ready to make assumptions — bad assumptions — about people. Don’t judge us too harshly, I think that underneath most of us want the same thing, just to live peacefully together. But how do we achieve that? It’s not easy.

    I was very moved by Jamail’s memorial, the letters and the poem, so many people miss him.

  35. You are so fair, Realme! I take your point about fear and Oliver Goldsmiths. Still, on this blog (6 October 2006) it says Camberwell made the front page of the Independent for having the greatest ethnic CONTRAST in the whole of the UK, meaning there are large amounts of one kind of people in one small area (e.g. one ward in Camberwell is now 41% African).

    So now many people can fear their kids will be in a minority at school and therefore different and stand out and maybe get bullied, kids being kids — not just some!

    I don’t understand Camberwell any more, except it’s clear that many people feel under more pressure than they should be. Like Bukowski333 says, the fear becomes paranoia.

    That’s why people move to Penge.

  36. Yes Dagmar, but I would ask the question why has Camberwell got the greatest ethnic contrast? It wasnt that way when I first came to live here 30 years ago. I think it has a lot to do with economics and also perhaps the housing stock. The house where I have lived for 25 years is a terraced 4 bedroom house in a mixed street near the art college. As young marrieds we could afford to buy a house here in 1981.Many of those house were inhabited by West Indians, who cluubed together in “pardner” schemes do they could have somewhere to bring up theiir families. Now they are dying and their children are moving out to Croydon and Bromley, where they can afford a house. Our children could never afford a house here now. But they are big family houses at a price that many more wealthy families want to live in.…

    Many of these families are white middle class professionals. Fine.…anyone has a right to buy. The problem is that then they want a different community. They want things to be “nice” on their terms. They want to be able to say they live in a wonderful mixed community, but they want to change things to their view of nice.

    And then the trouble starts. There is conflict as people want to do away with the ethnic takeaways and put in trendy cafes, they want the people who have always been sitting on the walls to stop doing it next to them. They want their kind of music-Jazz in the Park-picnics on the Green…and they want the local community who have been here for years to go somewhere else.

    I grew up in a small village in South Wales. The community had been fairly stable rural community for 100s of years. Things began to change when people moved in from Bristol and commuted. THey wanted the village to be their idea of a rural idyll. And they started interfering and trying to create their idea of a charming village. Thats when problems began and a “them” and “us” situation started to develop. It got quite ugly at times.

    Now if I wasnt part of a black family who had been living in the South London for years before I came, I would be like one of those people. I would want my rosy view of a multi ethnic community to be realised. Because I wouldnt have thought about people living in the community who are not like me. But it didnt happen like that for me and I have had my eyes opened. I have seen the very real struggle my husband, my children and all my extended black family have had to go through every day.

    Anyway what is a minority? If we accept all members of a community as part of that community there is no minority. So your children wouldnt be part of a minority. They would be part of a community.

    My children are often in a minority-when we go to Southwold for holidays, when we go for holidays to the Lakes.….but they are fine. My boy is still a wonderful happy chap even when the police harrass him constantly, old ladies suspect him, shops watch his every move. He still sings in the bath. I am sure your children will be fine too.

  37. I’ve been following this discussion develop and been very impressed by how people are tackling these very difficult subjects. I must be quite persuadable because this discussion made me feel scared when it started and now I’m feeling all positive again. That’s not to say I didn’t go through a process. I’ve been thinking a lot about multicultural Camberwell, and my own position and experiences.

    I’ve only lived in Camberwell for a year, having previously lived in Balham, in Clapham and most recently in Vauxhall. Going back now I don’t like what Clapham has become – it’s like a completely different place to when I first arrived in London. All the really useful shops selling things that you might actually need have shut down. The restaurants look like chains and I don’t feel much empathy with the daytime posh mums or evening lads on a night out. I feel more comfortable in Camberwell than I do in Clapham and I feel safer. I’d hate to see Camberwell turn into Clapham (but I’d love to have its cinema and tube, but maybe its impossible to have the facilities and keep what I like about Camberwell). By the way, the social demographic that far and away makes me feel the most uncomfortable is drunk white lads in big groups like you often see rampaging around Clapham in the early hours. It’s not good to stir up the ‘who’s better’ argument – for the balance that’s how I feel.

    Regarding schools, I remember my first day at school very clearly as I didn’t speak any English and no one else spoke Greek (except my sister, who was hugely embarrassed and pretended she didn’t know me). I don’t have a home town and I don’t belong to just one social group – but I’m happy with many different people and I feel like the part of my brain that understands how to communicate with different groups was opened when I was a child due to the mix of cultures I experienced. Growing up with a mixed bunch of people gives you a different vision. I don’t have kids yet but I’m not far off and what currently worries me most is not race but how much more ‘knowing’ London kids seem to be. We were innocents by comparison.

    Regarding fear and crime, I’ve just had a look at the Met’s crime figures for areas. It’s interesting to do a comparison between your postcode and other parts of London:

    http://www.met.police.uk/crimefigures

    I’ve realised that I am far safer in SE5 than I was in my last home in SE11. I compared about four London postcodes and there’s not so much in it crime-wise. You’re certainly safer in Camberwell than Covent Garden. There’s more ‘Violence Against the Person’ here than in Clapham for example, less burglary than in Westminster, and SE5 seems to have a significantly lower ‘Sexual Offences’ record than any other postcode I typed in.

  38. Clap…, Clap…, Clap…, Clap (that’s slow ironic clapping by the way).

    You play your parts so well.

  39. DofB.

    Can’t be civil but can sneer from the sidelines…

    Sounds like a school report doesn”t it. Pip pip old chap very, um, daring.

    Don’t suppose you’d come up with that Clap Trap if you were posting openly.

  40. Dear Mr Duke of Bickleigh,

    Your post is lost on me.

    So with that in mind, have you got anything interesting to add to this discourse?

  41. Realme, thanks for balancing the debate a little.

    However, re ethnic takeaways, I need to point out that most “white middle class professionals” (WMCPs) in the area prize nothing more than the ethnic groceries and restaurants, whether Ivory Coast, Vietnamese, Ethiopian etc. They also have a horror of the arrival of chain cafes like Starbucks, because that way lies homogeneity.

    What ethnic minorities and WMCPs usually want is exactly the same thing. Good education. Better public transport. Low crime. Fresh food and non-threatening areas where anyone is welcome to relax and drink. These include independent quality cafes, which are perhaps more appreciated by ethnic minorities when done well, since much of the best coffee and chocolate will have been imported from their own mother countries, and those cultures already have more of an al fresco culture than WMCPs.

    You’ve got to remember the real damage has been done by certain council planners assuming that all ethnic minority communities’ needs are comprised in McDonalds, Iceland, rap music and Fried Chicken from whichever American state you choose.

    We need to fight against the presumption that ethnic minorities and WMCPs want different things from the community. Their needs are not at odds, in my experience.

    The perception that their needs are different has led the Council to discourage local shopping by removing parking facilities, since the interests of local shops are perceived as a white middle class conceit, whereas the majority of shops in Camberwell are run by ethnic minorities!!!

  42. I was going to make the same point — although not as eloquently, of course!

    A big part of the charm of Camberwell is that we haven’t been inundated by the chains, and the variety of foods we have here is pretty good. Having said that, I would like to have more fresh produce available — and not in the same way as Peckham, which has 30 shops selling the same 30 types of vegetables.

    I’d welcome more deli-style shops — not expensive faux-Italian delis, but places to buy decent meats and cheeses. With five fried chicken shops within 5 minutes of each other, there must be space for a little more variety.

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