A Londoner's Take On Social Tensions, Past, Present and Future

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two young men are detained outside the Currys electrical store in Brixton on August 8, 2011 in London, England. Widespread rioting and looting took place across many parts of London on Monday. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/Getty)

Journalist Rupert Allman was born in London, and lived in the British capital for much of his life before joining The Takeaway in New York as the program's managing editor. He happened to be visiting his hometown last week when the riots broke out that have since dragged on for four nights and spread to other major British cities. Like many Britons, the worst unrest in a generation has made Allman reflect on decades of failed social policy that was crafted to promote equality, but instead has ingrained societal tension further. "Social mobility has struck down and hasn't gone anywhere," Allman says. "Those at the very bottom have stayed at the very bottom."

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