The scenes in London are heartbreaking. However, it's pretty pointless trying to draw conclusions at this early stage - if the Brits are good at anything it's setting up inquiries, committees and making reports and doubtless we will see a plethora of them in coming months. The violence is wrong, the looting is wrong, the destruction is wrong but when people are pushed too far they react irrationally - and at first glance that's precisely what appears to have happened. Alienate people and by default they behave in ways alien to accepted norms. A disenchanted youth with no hope or investment in the future will grab whatever immediate gratification they can get.
Lots of political point scoring will be made in the coming days - arguably the rioters are sending a message to the Government, the politicians will send a message to the rioters, the Prime Minister will undoubtedly send a message to the nation when he finally arrives back in the country from his 'hols'. One message already stands out although quite what it means is unclear. London's burning and 1,700 Police Officers have been deployed to tackle the worst social disturbances in London's history - yet the Metropolitan Police managed to put 5,000 Officers on the streets for the recent royal wedding.
What message are they sending and to who?