Alistair Burt’s monthly column: Looting and violence show us a broken Britain

The recall of Parliament, while not a once in a lifetime event, is still sufficiently rare to happen only when something very serious requires it.

What has happened in London and other major cities has been at once depressing and infuriating, provoking feelings of intense anger towards those on the streets engaged in looting and violent robbery.

Whatever questions are understandably asked about the reaction of authorities and the police, we should be quite clear that fault lies squarely with those who committed the crimes.

To spend all our time on excuses would be a slap in the face for those who have seen homes and a lifetime’s work in a small business go up in flames.

But our response will not be confined to restoring law and order on the streets, and offering full support to the police (and the irony of asking so much of them while the government deals with the issue of their pay, pensions and structure is not lost on me).

It is time to confront the very deep rooted causes, not excuses, of what we have seen.

Essentially mass and collective crime has been committed by lawless youngsters, unafraid of the law or authority, beyond the control of parents, probably for some time, with insufficient self-restraint and knowledge of right and wrong.

They may want things they can’t afford without hard work or saving up, but that does not make them ‘poor’.

They have not robbed for food or basics, but for jewellery, mobile phones and trainers.

So why, and why are these young people so different from those most of us know, hard-working, well motivated, mentored by some good teachers, fine uniformed leaders and cared for by responsible parents?

And what can we do about it?

The answers surely are in how we steadily turn the one into the other.

There is no need to panic, but being honest about what we have seen is the best start.

Then we should re-read Iain Duncan Smith’s work on broken Britain, and get to it.