These riots are different from previous riots that have happened in Britain throughout history. These riots are fuelled by pure greed, by a belief that something can be had for nothing. The usual morals and appreciation that this behaviour is unacceptable are largely absent. This, we can blame on four decades of increasing breakdown of the basic network of authority figures that once was there to provide an extra element of control over any bad behaviour in society by young people. The alienation of communities has also become worse over the years and has played a role in the power that the police have handed over.
The police have become more like social workers than upholders of the law and order. And the places that have really suffered as a result are the most deprived, they are the ones that have to deal with the criminality and the fear, squalor and alienation that accompanies it.
Part of the problem is that the breakdown of the family has left a generation of wild adolescents without a father or any adults to act as role models. Parents rarely know what their children are doing and hold little power or authority over them. Instead, their loyalty is to their gang and its rules, rather than answering to the moral codes of the majority of the population. Low-level criminality is a way of life. Drugs, robbery and routine armed violence are everyday activities. They know if they get caught, they are unlikely to punished, or not severely as once was the case.
To find out what has gone wrong, we do not need to go too deep into the specific causes of the past few days. We know what went wrong. The police lost control of the streets not in Tottenham, last weekend, but many years ago.
The biggest problem has been the creation of a sense of entitlement thanks to an overly generous, and no longer affordable, welfare system, which expects nothing in return for the benefits they receive. The awful events of the past few days have shown how far our country has broken and is in desperate need to be fixed. Order and protection needs to be restored firstly and followed by the Government reversing a culture that is now sadly deeply rooted in our society.