Ed Mead attempts to look positive whilst hiding under his desk......

Tuesday, August 09, 2011 by Ed Mead


Sitting here in a dark office, everyone has gone home, their computer screens hidden under their desks. When I say dark, I mean no lights on at all bar my monitor dimly transmitting away in a corner. Desktops are cleared and the doors are locked. It’s only 4.30 in the afternoon and for better or for worse it’s our company’s reaction to the riots. It’s been upsetting thinking of so many businesses that have been ruined by the greed of a few tossers and one of the few times I’ve been glad I’m an estate agent. There’s not been a time I can remember when events you see on the TV have felt as close. Yes, 9/11 brought everyone closer because you had to talk about it, I remember the Falklands War, Gulf War 1 etc etc but somehow altering your behaviour, closing early, not wanting to go out, advising your kids to take earlier trains all seem unfair. Why the bloody hell should we be forced to change by the behaviour of a few people holding what are now cheap enough Blackberrys to allow them all to move around like an amorphous unruly mass. Tempting though it is to go out and take them on that’s pointless, and although I’ve kicked the odd handbag snatcher [hard] up the arse (only to be confronted by his bigger brothers later I might add) my inclination has always been to run or hide, not fight.

Getting angry is not wrong, but failing to try and see the positives is. As the decades have passed I and my company have happily taken commissions from enriched middle class types keen to live safely and comfortably in areas like The Northcote Road,(I call it the new Kings Road - the original Kings Road might as well be Festival Place in Basingstoke). We’ve watched as these ever more affluent areas have sat cheek by jowl with often pretty rough estates. Imagine what it must be like to see all that wealth and yet feel it’s never going to happen for you. Yes, that sense of entitlement needs to be tempered with a sense of responsibility in how you go about acquiring what you want, but it somehow seems as if that sense of entitlement has won through and manifested itself physically with widespread looting. Yet, it’s one thing to watch some guy pimp rolling his way down the street whilst crossing it to avoid him, but quite another to get out of the way of 100. Many commentators will ridicule Cameron’s Big Society, yet this is, I genuinely think, the best chance many fractured streets and areas will ever have of getting together to defend, clean and protect their own streets, I’ll repeat….. together. And if that’s not the best way of protecting the value of businesses in your area, and by definition the values of residential properties, I don’t know what is. If it actually makes previously selfish self-aggrandising people think about someone else for a change, then that has to be something positive to come out of this frightening mess.