Well, the riots. And whilst Harry Hutton, as usual, talks a great deal of sense, the sense of surprise remains. The beak makes some good early points; initial reports were very vague; but it now looks like only the police fired. Which really doesn’t help. Part of the recent phone hacking stuff has been yet more erosion of trust in the police. Mind you, according to wiki, the family were implausibly pretending that Duggan was unarmed, which didn’t help either. And also, contrary to early impressions I’d got, I can see no evidence that the police ever claimed he shot at them.
Time will tell what the actual problem was, that lead to so many people being prepared to go out rioting and looting – in effect, to break the social compact that says we don’t live in a police state, peace is largely self-enforced, and you’re better off not breaking the law. My own pet theory, which I’m sure others have put forward but I can’t for the moment find it, is that we’ve failed to buy off the underclass. Or, put another way, that we’ve also broken the social contract, the bit that says that as society as a whole gets richer, so does everyone. And this despite the fabled cuts to reduce the deficit having not really yet started to bite.
In the unlikely event of actual facts arriving, I might update this post.
Note: to avoid potential confusion: “stone the crows” is a conventualised English expression of surprise. It is not an injunction or instruction, which indeed would make no sense since “crow” is not a nickname for the police (or for a rioter).