Challenge of Cameron's 'big society' plan has never been more apparent
Those with little hope for the future were drunk on the power of the mob, where they can rule the streets, says Ivor Roberts
At the end of the Great War, most people would have been hard put to recall that the spark was the assassination of the Austrian Arch-Duke by a Bosnian-Serb nationalist. And the origins of the Arab Spring, a Tunisian street-vendor's self-immolation, now seems lost in the mists of time as uprisings have gone from Tunisia to Egypt to Bahrain to Libya, Yemen and Syria. Similarly, when people look back at the rioting of the last week in Britain, the shooting of Mark Duggan will seem if not irrelevant then relatively insignificant.
The underlying issues are social not criminal in the narrow sense. The rioters tick a majority of these boxes: aged 12-25; male; unemployed or from households where unemployment is the norm; living on sink estates; no voting history.
The UK has managed to create an underclass out of this group who feel that they have no stake in society; nor do they conform with its norms. They have no career or career prospects; they have been let down by an education system devised by social relativists who have vandalised the best while putting nothing worthwhile in its place; they and their families live at the fringes of society, angry and disappointed that 'they', ie those in authority, are not better satisfying their material wants and alarmed that the threatened/promised reform of the benefits system in the UK will seriously erode their income if they do not successfully seek work. Their rage is compounded by the sense that those most responsible for the UK's economic woes are suffering little or no discomfort while they themselves are facing a regime of savage cuts when they are least able to sustain them. Thus the doctrine goes and many politicians and churchmen rush to reinforce this impression.