If you live a normal life of absolute futility,
which we can assume most of this week’s rioters do,
excitement of any kind is welcome. The people who wrecked
swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised
communities have no moral compass to make them
susceptible to guilt or shame.
Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might
pass. They know no family role models,
for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed,
or from which he has decamped.
They are illiterate and innumerate,
beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and
They are essentially wild beasts. I use that
phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young
people bereft of the discipline that might make them
employable; of the conscience that
distinguishes between right and wrong.
They respond only to instinctive animal impulses —
to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the
accessible property of others.
The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our
society is a layer of young people with no skills,
education, values or aspirations. They do not have what
most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.