Growing up in Liverpool meant that I was well accustomed with ‘chavs’ hanging around on street corners selling drugs, so when I moved to London I wasn’t exactly shocked by the ‘roadman’ culture that was prevalent. I don’t even want to compare them to ‘chavs’ as that is already a derogatory term and I having nothing but admiration and respect for the roadmen of London. They are true libertarian entrepreneurs, ignoring the current government regulation surrounding the selling of drugs. There will always be a demand for drugs and it a silly to think that someone won’t be there to supply them its just basic economics.
People love to look down on ‘roadmen’ accusing them of taking the easy way out by selling drugs. However the only people that think selling drugs is easy are people that have never sold drugs in their life, they just cannot relate to the struggle. They don’t see how much work is needed to be put in to make sure you have a good client base, you don’t exactly just put up a sign and wait for the customers to come to you. Hours of walking around various estates is needed just to get your number out there, a roadman without an active phone is just a mere man.
They are also some of the most confident people I have met in my life, it’s not easy to just walk up to complete strangers and ask them if they want to buy drugs, yet they do it effortlessly all day. They are also top salesman, never before in my life have I heard someone be able to big up a plant so much, they leave you thinking you have a one of the kind weed from Malawi or somewhere, when in reality you just have a leafy bag of ‘lemon’.
Maybe my view of roadmen is warped by the good relationship I had with the local roadmen in Bethnal Green. I had helped one of them after they had been stabbed 3 times last Eid and ever since then they always helped me out if ever needed. To be fair though one of them did threaten to shoot me shortly afterwards but it all worked out in the end.
Knife crime is no laughing matter and it should never be looked at as cool to carry a knife however can you blame them. They are under constant threat of getting robbed by rival dealers and need to be able to protect themselves as their life could depend on it. It’s not exactly like the police are gonna be there to help, they only investigate crimes that have happened, they are very rarely there when the crime is committed.
We also need to look at the socio-economic factors that are at play here as well, London is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the whole world yet the government cannot even ensure a living wage for the majority of workers in the capital. When people aren’t earning enough money to survive then of course they are gonna sell a little bit of weed on the side, can you really blame them? Those in a position to moan about not being paid the living wage are the lucky ones as a recent study has shown that the number of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds who have been unemployed for more than a year has risen by almost 50% since the coalition came to power, according to figures released by the Labour party.
There are now 41,000 16- to 24-year-olds from black, asian and minority ethnic [BAME] communities who are long-term unemployed – a 49% rise from 2010, according to an analysis of official figures by the House of Commons Library. People need to survive, if they aren’t working they are going to make money one way or another.