I've been tied up with things lately and so haven't had the chance to write much, particularly about the recent police raid here in Forest Gate.
Part of this is that for all the national media attention, the story hasn't been that noticeable here. Maybe it's because I live just off the main street and so don't often go down into the more residential roads, but walking around here the only signs of the incident have been the Evening Standard advertising boards mentioning it. Otherwise the whole thing could have happened in Gospel Oak (at the end of a railway line that runs through here) for all the difference it makes. Maybe that will change if any of the planned protests happen.
As for the raid itself, ultimately without knowing the full facts of the matter I feel I have no option but to trust the police's judgment. The police do sometimes make mistakes but I'd rather they were over cautious than ignored something that proved to be dangerous. At the end of the day only a full report can tell all the facts, but in the meantime it is worrying when people start calling for non-co-operation by Muslims with the police, as Yvonne Ridley has done. To his credit, George Galloway has disowned the remarks. But more is needed to rebuild confidence.
As for Forest Gate itself, this is an area full of surprises and I urge people to visit. The beautiful Wanstead Flats are adjacent, being the southern most tip of Epping Forest (hence the name), whilst the Gate itself is a vibrant mixed community. It has good transport links, with the main station on the railway line from Liverpool Street/Stratford to Ilford/Romford, as well as also Wanstead Park station on the Gospel Oak to Barking line, plus many buses converging including the 25 to 86.