Thamensian: ‘Riots remind me of 80s Bulli boys striking in Thame’

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WARNING: This article may contain puns

So I was walking through Thame on Saturday morning when I saw the signs for the Italian Market.

The sun was shining and I had a few minutes to spare so I strolled amongst the spaghetti and ogled the olives. It wasn’t much fun on my own, I got cannelloni. I thank you.

As I admired the Italian nougat, and admired even more the nerve of the Italian man selling it at £4 a slice, all was well with the world and you could forget what a terrible week it had been across England.

I don’t want this page to become one of political comment but the looting and rioting that went on all over the country was very naughty indeed.

As it happens I was living in Tottenham 25 years ago when the first riots broke out there and can vouch first-hand for how terrifying it can be to get caught up in those events. It was my very first week living in London as a student and seeing a rampaging mob storm the high street was a numbing experience for a young man from Thame.

That sort of thing just didn’t happen where I came from. The closest we came was also in the 80s when a group of young men from Oxford University came in to Thame and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a restaurant.

That restaurant, then Thatchers now the Thatch, had been singled out by the notorious Bullingdon Club, an exclusive dining club for upper class idiots.

They would pick a meeting point, eat dinner, then deliberately smash the place up. At the end of the evening they would then pay the owner for the damage caused.

It often led them to court and headlines but frankly they could afford the best lawyers, and owners would often settle out of court. The headlines earned the club kudos and notoriety. Even the national headlines they got for their destruction of Thatchers.

I was reminded of that incident as I watched the 2011 riots and that nice David Cameron cut short his Italian holiday to come back and sort it out. Presumably he has been strolling around an English market out there at the time? Luckily for all of us, Mr Cameron calmed things down, told everyone they had been naughty, and reassured us by telling the ‘yoof’ to respect property and community.

Well, dear readers, take a guess which club Mr Cameron was once member of? Yep, you’ve got it. The very same Bullingdon Club, those great respecters of property and community. It’s alright though. They are different class.