During the week, there was hardly a newspaper which could resist quoting the title of the eighth song from The Clash's incendiary 1977 debut album, as the headline 'London's Burning' screamed from the news-stands. Mind you, it didn't look like London was 'burning with boredom', as Joe Strummer's lyric went, but with a particularly self-destructive explosion of thuggery and violence.
Even The Guardian, for all its well-intentioned liberalism, couldn't escape the fact that the majority of those youths running riot were black, although being joined quite heartily by feral white teenagers who've bought into the worst aspects of gangsta rap culture and wish they were black anyway. It was quite telling that in the same paper's photograph of hundreds of Clapham residents banding together to clean up the streets after two nights of riots, you'd need a microscope to pick out the two black faces in the throng.
Kevin Myers was castigated for a piece he wrote in the Irish Independent this week in which he pointed out that the lack of father figures in the UK's Afro-Caribbean community was a major factor in the riots -- but he was right.
New Labour, with its decade of appeasement and ludicrous defence of 'rights' without corresponding social responsibility, screwed what was British working-class society to a far greater extent than Margaret Thatcher ever did and what we saw on our screens was Tony Blair's real legacy.
For all the mumbling Lefties scrambling in vain to put events into the context of genuine political upheaval, the fact remains that this was simply an underclass going on the rob.
Passive policing (could you honestly imagine the gardai standing back and letting people loot O'Connell Street?), a nanny state, the toxic fallout of a post X Factor culture where people are battered with the delusion that 'you can be anything you want to be' and the ramming of naked consumerism into the faces of people who can't afford it all boiled to the surface -- and will do so again.
Britain is broken, make no mistake about that, and when you have a 'culture' where effectively fatherless ignorant adolescents are allowed free rein to behave as they see fit and speak constantly about 'respect' when they've done nothing whatsoever to earn it, then streets will burn.