A decade ago, the far right ignited a night of violence and hatred in our city, and it had a devastating impact on multicultural relationships in the region. I had been studying in Durham at the time, and raced back the following day to see if there was anything to be done. I remembered being involved in the previous rioting in 1995, and knew this would have a lasting social and economic impact on Bradford.
Bradford 10 years later is doing surprisingly well. Last year, when everyone predicted that the English Defence League visit to the city would spark another riot, Bradfordians reacted with determination and restraint. The situation in terms of race relations has certainly improved, and the police have a much healthier relationship to the local Muslim community.
I have been invited to comment in the media about the riots, and there are plenty of 'forums' about discussing the 10 year anniversary. I think some of it is riot 'porn', though mostly I'm sure it is helpful reflection. But, apart from this blog, I've stayed well away from it all. Bradford has moved on, and should not be so associated with the riots. Yes, we have our problems to deal with, especially in terms of education, job opportunities and the health of the local population, but on the whole, we are in a better situation to deal with the issues than we have ever been.
The far right have disintergreted in our city, and instead, it is those who are struggling for a more just and respectful civic life who are winning hearts and minds. I want to celebrate Bradfords people and achievements, and not focus on the mistakes of the past.