I haven't been out today – no farther, anyway, than into my back garden to hang out washing that should dry well in the fine day that seems likely. A little later I shall walk the dog. Then I might discover whether there have been any attacks overnight.
The attacks have begun within the last three weeks. Paint is thrown over the low walls of front gardens, or over cars, or over the front walls of houses. The first I was aware of was against our Asian next-door neighbours, when paint was thrown over their car in the small hours of the morning.
Yesterday morning, Sunday, I was commiserating with the latest victims: the parents of my neighbours, who live a few doors down. They'd just discovered the incident. A small quantity of white paint had been splashed on and over their low front wall. It was thick, and still tacky when I saw it. Last time the paint was red. The stains can still be seen alongside their front door.
The assaults are repeatedly made against certain families. They are mostly, but not all, Asian. Asians have lived along our street for many years, without anything like this happening. The most prominent Asian in the area, the keeper of the corner shop, hasn't suffered in these attacks, so they don't seem to be racially motivated.
(By the way, for readers outside the UK: 'Asian', as applied to British citizens and other residents, invariably means people with antecedents in the Indian subcontinent – not 'Orientals'.)
We've not suffered any of this – I went to bed last night without the thought of it crossing my mind. (In the past, however, we've had a few eggs thrown at the house by some of my wife's less affectionate students.)
The attacks are a puzzle. One thing is clear to all of us, though: the police will be no help. But one night, I hope, the vandals will run into some of the men of the wronged families lying in wait and get the kicking they deserve. Then the problem will be how to defend the good guys from the police and politicians who will try to victimize them for presuming to defend themselves.