Guest post: Punish them, but give copycat rioters something to copy

Neil Ridulfa is a local Coulsdon lad who works in PR for the Museum of Brands. He loves singing and makes occasional media appearances in obscure publications and international radio shows that I’ve never heard of.

This post was originally posted on Neil’s facebook page but he has given me full permission to republish it here (the unmarked bills are in the post, Neil! 😛 )


Evil was visible in Croydon on Monday night.  Smoke and flames rising at Reeves Corner made it so.  Shattered glass on pavements made it so.  Blackberry messages saying, “Loot! Shoot!” made it so.

In our heads, we know good people outnumber those willing to spread destruction and chaos. So why would kids copy the rotten few?  Is it because ‘We the Decent’ are invisible?


We commute.  We work.  We go home.  We smile at the neighbour.  We don’t speak to him though.  We curse at school kids through gritted teeth.  We don’t help schools out though.  We’re ‘down with the kids’ because we have iTunes.  We won’t talk to kids about music though. Best we all keep our headphones in, eh?

Each time one of us retreats into our bubble, a child loses a role model.  We are all a different illustration of what a good person looks like.  I am a good person.  My brother is a good person.  We are completely different but we are both good people.  The ways in which we show we are good are different, but we both do good. There are kids out there who could end up being like me, or being like him.  Whoever they end up being like, one hopes they end up being good.

However, this will only happen if my brother and I bust out of our bubbles and show publicly the individual ways we have found of being good.


‘The good outnumber the bad.’  You wouldn’t know it looking at the news.  You would know it if you were out there meeting your community.  I do it at Purley Breakfast Club and Sing Purley, eating and singing – doing what I love most.  Everyone I meet there shows me yet another way of being a good human being.  We keep each other sane and happy because we don’t keep our kindness to ourselves.  We’re out in public, celebrating community spirit.

#purleybreakfastclub meets on last Saturday of every month at Cafe Nino

The more we are out of our bubbles showing the public – the youth – the infinite ways you can be a good person, the better for us all.  Make good deeds as visible as the bad ones.


Not all British homes are safe havens for kids.

If kids are not lucky enough to have a role model at home, they’ll need one on the bus: offer your seat to someone who needs it.

If a kid does not have a role model at home, they’ll need one in the shops: always say please and thank you to the cashier.

If a kid does not have a role model at home, they’ll need one on the road: drive safely, don’t swear at other drivers and respect pedestrians.

Kids will learn. What they learn depends on what they see.

My message to everyone is, Make Good Visible.


About jonathanrose

Raconteur. Intellectual. Showerman.
This entry was posted in Local community and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Guest post: Punish them, but give copycat rioters something to copy

  1. Wendy Ager says:


    I think this is a fabulous post from Neil. I shared it on Facebook and even tried to get it a mention on BBC Question Time!


  2. I’ve read this 4 times now – and get something different from it each time.
    A great inspiring piece.

  3. Neil Ridulfa says:


    Thanks for these wonderful comments and for passing it on too. Been getting lovely feedback from all sorts of people – friends and strangers alike – and its nice to know people find it useful and reassuring.

    Take care….


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