Skip to main content

A riot of comments

The riots in British cities have been followed, predictably, by a riot of comments. The emergency parliamentary debate produced nothing of value, but then how could it have done? People have tended to pick an explanation that fits their point of view. There is almost bound to be some truth in what they say because the causes are so complex and have so many dimensions to them.

Widening inequality and poor economic opportunities are obviously a factor but then that is as much effect as cause. What is the reason for the almost universal refusal to address this – or even think about it – at a radical level?

There was clearly no political motivation behind these riots. But as increasing numbers of graduates and middle-class people find themselves in economic straits, what happens on the streets will take on a political aspect, as we have already seen with the student demonstrations earlier in the year.

There are difficult times ahead.