London Riots: Could the terrible scenes impact upon Britain’s Olympic dreams?

With now just less than a year to go until London hosts the Olympics it is time for panic stations, and sadly it is for all the wrong reasons. For now forget the fear-mongering that 2012 will attract an international terror threat, put aside the criticism of the much scrutinised ticketing system and focus on the more present and dangerous threat to our games and to our lives.

Mark Duggan; the deceased man behind the riots

Since Londoner Mark Duggan was reportedly shot dead by the police last week there has been a sense of societal unrest brewing slowly across Britain, but now the host city for the 2012 games has become a scene of widespread rioting and mindless thuggery.

Protests which began in more sedate and peaceful fashion in the immediate wake of Duggan’s death have escalated since Last Thursday’s revelations. Now, in areas in and outside of the capital, events of a far more malicious and infectious nature have begun to take place. The death of Duggan is being cited as the motivation for such criminal acts, but it is not unreasonable to suspect that many are not acting in the interests of the deceased. In the same breath it would be unfair to presume that the majority aren’t acting in protestation, but the agendas seem to be more personal.

There will be those acting on behalf of the deceased, there will be those pursuing their own acts of protestation, but most unfortunately of all there will be those that are using this as an excuse to perform evil deeds. The actions of these individuals are beyond unacceptable, they are stupid, outrageous, moronic and venomous.

People’s homes, possessions, livelihoods and lives are being ruined and for what reason? What cause is worth inflicting intentional and directed criminal acts upon innocent human beings? There is simply no justification for such inhumanity.

Terrifying scenes in Tottenham, the former home of Mark Duggan

This whole ongoing episode reeks of something stretching beyond the realms of a direct response to the loss of a life, and an air of disillusionment seems a more likely motivation. The progress of the active unrest in London and areas such as Birmingham over the last couple of evenings is terrifying and fear is rife that the trouble could stretch further still.

Beyond the physical damage that has already been done there are other huge considerations for our nation and for our government. Though the immediate concern must of course be to preserve the safety and well-being of the British population there are other huge issues that the rioting could cause.

Unsurprisingly the glare of the world is presently directed upon Britain in preparation for next year’s Olympic games, and this week’s panic in London will have done nothing to aid preparations. This may seem a minor problem amidst the more urgent concerns caused, but our hosting of the games are of immense political, economic and societal significance.

There has been an enormous amount of money invested into the games which will generate astronomical levels of revenue, thousands of jobs have been created and our country has been granted the privilege of working towards a major event. This global gathering that is to be so proudly hosted next year is a chance to showcase everything that is great about Britain, but some members of our population are causing huge levels of upset and are diminishing the hard work and efforts of others.

Trouble brewing in Hackney, near the Olympic Stadium

It is sickening to think that members of our society are so unappreciative of what this country has to offer them. If such selfish and frankly disgusting behaviour continues then lives will be lost and our nation will be disgraced. Thus far there has been little movement from Olympic officials in public response to the rioting, but we can be sure that the violence and unrest will have scarred public and global perceptions of our ability to play host to the world’s most prestigious sporting spectacle.

Spot The Fixers; The Pakistani Cricket Scandal

The fourth morning of English cricket’s summer swansong descended into misery and chaos. On a morning that should have been all about the extraordinary achievements of messers Broad and Trott and their record-breaking stand, the News of The World broke the news that Pakistan players had been involved in illegal spot-betting during the test match.

Ashen faces filled the stands at the home of cricket where the vast majority were seen clutching to a copy of the NOTW. Star bowlers Mohammeds Aamer and Asif it had been alleged were involved in spot-betting regarding the bowling of no-balls. Recently appointed Captain Salman Butt was also accused of overseeing and profiting from the scandal. Cricket a ‘gentlemen’s sport’ was left reeling.

Suspicion arose when Asif and Aamer delivered in total three blatant no-ball deliveries at the times which corrupt ‘middle man’ Mazhar Majeed revealed they would in an undercover sting carried out by the NOTW. Since these initial allegations investigations have progressed. Aamer, Asif and Butt have been interviewed by Scotland Yard but were all let go without charge, however, the ICC have suspended all three players from playing until investigations are finalised.

It seems as though all thus far suspended are indeed guilty though no official charges have yet been made. Too much clear evidence seems available and even the team mates of the trio such as Yasir Hameed have come out with revelations regarding the whole Pakistani’s team involvement in spot-fixing over the past few months. The publicly named and shamed trio have all protested their innocence but besides themselves and their team of lawyers very little seems to be on offer in terms of sympathy or defence. One would suspect this is down to their being little to defend.

My personal belief is that all players found guilty of such deviance should be dealt with by the toughest means possible; however, I will offer a crumb of support to the cause of the accused. I in no way advocate their actions but it is perhaps understandable that world class Pakistani cricketers are tempted into such corruption when their average annual central contract is approximately £30,000. Compare that to the average English central contract of £400,000 and you begin to grasp a sense of injustice.

Pakistan after horrific recent flooding is a country in ruins, their idols careers may well be as well. I hope for the sake of a desperate nation that this story can in time reach its most savoury and appropriate resolution.