Boris Johnson

London Burning

No matter how hard he tries, David Cameron’s attempts to evade responsibility not just for the conditions that may have caused or contributed to the eruption of riots in London, but also the inadequacy of the response to it, it is becoming apparent that not only politicians, but the public at large are losing faith with his reforms and the Big Society it promises.

Cameron of course, beset by calls from the Labor Opposition to reconsider cuts to the police budget laid the blame on parents and the so-called broken society. The rioting was criminality run wild, not a form of political protest against an unjust social order. The police response was slow and tactically wrong, he intoned during parliamentary debates.

Unfortunately for him, the police did not take too kindly to this characterization of events, and the public appear to back them instead of the political leaders. The seeming disconnection of the politicians who were on holiday, the PM in Tuscany, his deputy in France and the London Lord Mayor Boris Johnson in the United States, when the burning of London raged surely did not help build credibility for them.

In this situation, the importance not only of empathy but also a desire to ease suffering on the part of ordinary citizens could have gone a long way.