The initial clashes in Tottenham began with a political protest against the police over the killing of Mark Duggan.
The looting that followed was opportunistic and destructive, without any political content at all.
Around a hundred people were burned out of their homes. Three young Muslims were killed after being run down by a car. A 68-year old man who tried to put a fire out was assaulted and died. A Malaysian student was robbed as he lay on the floor with a broken jaw. There are scores of other stories of people being beaten and robbed, and of local communities wrecked by looting.
The Guardian/NOP poll says that most people attribute the rioting to ‘criminality’ (45 per cent); and after that to a breakdown in family values (28 per cent).
To put it bluntly, most people, including most working class people, are wholly out of sympathy with the rioters – and judging by their statements to the courts, most are themselves deeply ashamed of what they have done.