First just a huge expression of thanks to our awesome London Metropolitan Police Service. They pretty much emptied the station houses and sent everyone out last night. And they took back our streets, at grave personal risk. Awesome. Thank you, and well done.
Here, contrariwise, is where humanity is profoundly broken:
The 17-year-olds were drinking stolen rosé wine at 9.30am yesterday as they laughed about the previous night’s disturbances in south London and made vague complaints about ‘rich people’.
One told the BBC: ‘Everyone was just on a riot, going mad, chucking things, chucking bottles – it was good, though.’ Her friend added: ‘Breaking into shops – it was madness, it was good fun.’
One of the girls bragged about ‘getting a couple of free things’, before insisting: ‘It’s the government’s fault. I don’t know. Conservatives, whoever it is. It’s the rich people who’ve got businesses and that’s why all this happened.’
They said further crimes would ‘hopefully’ follow.
But that's by no means the note I want to end on. This is. I'm reprinting nearly the whole article from the (paywalled) Times, which is well worth reading.
ARMED with brooms, brushes and rubber gloves, London's defiant middle classes have turned out in force to reclaim the streets of their city after its worst night of violence for decades.
They responded in their hundreds to calls on Facebook and Twitter, as well as radio and TV, to help to clear up the damage caused by looting, arson and violence by mobs on Monday night.
The biggest "broom army" assembled in Clapham Junction, where more than 500 bankers, teachers, estate agents and students gathered to help their community to get back on its feet.
James Freeman, a software consultant, said: "There was a terrible feeling of helplessness last night. More of us have turned up today to clean up than turned up last night to loot. We need to show people that this is what being a Londoner is all about."
After a five-hour wait, during which Sainsbury's fed the crowd with Danish pastries, police had secured the site. In groups of 50, residents and council workers swept away broken glass, discarded electrical items, TVs, mobile phones and empty boxes.
James Walker, 31, a member of the Royal Navy who helped to organise the sweep, said he did not want politicians to claim credit for what was a spontaneous effort by locals: "This may be the Big Society in action, but there is a difference. We are totally apolitical and I hope everyone recognises that."
Among the crowds was the musician Sam Duckworth, 25, a well known social activist on Twitter who records as Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. In the early hours of yesterday he set up the @RiotCleanup Twitter page, which by yesterday afternoon had amassed almost 80,000 followers.
"People have come from all over London," he said. "It's communities standing together and standing tall and taking a stand, saying that we're not going to let things lie like this."
Also volunteering was Ricky Wilson, of the Kaiser Chiefs, whose 2004 song I Predict a Riot has gained a new following among social networking users in recent days. He later tweeted: "Home now after a long day on the brooms. If I need to, I'll do it again tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that."
In Hackney, more than 100 residents joined a clean-up operation. Liz Veitch, 66, said: "The biggest defence I've got is a pair of rubber gloves." Camden and Chalk Farm were also swept clean by early-morning volunteers.
In Liverpool, Charles Jupiter, 21, a barman, set up a Facebook page, "Liverpool Clean Up", as the riots erupted in Toxteth. A local Asda donated brushes, the Co-op shop gave bin bags and two local cafes provided free tea and coffee to 100 volunteers. Mr Jupiter said: "People were posting, 'I'm embarrassed to be English' or 'I'm embarrassed to be from London or Liverpool'. I re-posted and said, 'I am not'. That's why I'm out here to help clean up."
Okay, one final final thing. When the s*&% came down, who turned out into the streets to protect their shops, homes, neighbourhoods, and neighbours? Sikhs, Turks, and Kurds. You've got to love Kurdish people. And you definitely don't want to mess with them…
Okay, okay, okay. The PM's comments are well worth listening to:
Here's the priceless bit:
But there are pockets of our society that are not just broken but frankly sick.
When we see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are robbing him, it is clear that there are things that are badly wrong with our society.
For me, the root cause of this mindless selfishness is the same thing I have spoken about for years. It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to feel the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities and their actions do not have consequences.
Well, they do have consequences.
We need to have a clearer code of standards and values that we expect people to live by and stronger penalties if they cross the line.