Riots may be tipping point when it comes to tolerance

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Though it may seem perverse to suggest such a thing, I believe society will ultimately benefit from the anarchy stalking city streets.

There is a feeling abroad that recent events may be an important tipping point when it comes to the tolerance levels of the long-suffering British public.

This was reinforced by the attitude of Diane Abbott, usually the last voice you wish to hear at times of social unrest.

Whatever the problems and whatever the real reasons behind them, she can always be relied upon to champion the rights of what she perceives to be the underdogs against the cruel excesses of any government of which she does not happen to be a member.

But as she surveyed the scorched, looted streets of her Hackney constituency she said: ‘This is lawlessness and criminality pure and simple. There’s no excuse for it.’

It was like listening to a penny descend from a great height. Though she may never be prepared to admit as much in public, Diane Abbott knows the amoral, swaggering scum-bags infesting some communities are not deprived, misunderstood young people.

They are ruthless, selfish yobs; the inevitable end product of a system which has allowed the welfare state (as someone so memorably observed) to be used as a hammock rather than a safety net.

Many come from dysfunctional families and as far as employment is concerned, the only thing they know how to work is the system.

They have been mollycoddled and offered ‘understanding’ instead of discipline and standards. They have no respect for any form of authority, especially the police who have been neutered by the absurdities of the Human Rights Act and a puny criminal justice system.

They have thrived under successive governments unwilling (or even afraid) to bring the something-for-nothing culture to an end. But there are growing signs the vast majority of decent, law-abiding people have finally had enough of Number Ten’s promises and platitudes.

There are clear indications that if the government does not carry through its robust pledge to deal with the problem, then they will.