One more reason we should've been born a hundred years earlier: in 1911 the lower classes of London consisted mainly, I assume, of lovable Cockney flower-sellers with amusingly deadbeat fathers. Nowadays London's poor are too busy burning down and looting the city to take part in linguistic bets wagered by gentlemen of means.
To what should we attribute these riots? The problem, as it looks from this armchair several thousand miles away, is a generation of young people who have grown up without any attachment to their own communities. Admittedly, this is a problem throughout Europe, where children of immigrants have found neither acceptance nor employment in their adopted societies. (Xenophobes will point out that many immigrants have shown no desire to integrate, which is probably fair — to an extent. But the level of frustration shewn in the U.K. and elsewhere suggests that at least some have tried and been rebuffed.) We are beginning to see the effects of decades of inept immigration policy: immigrants are allowed into countries where there are neither jobs nor opportunities for advancement (i.e., education and integration programs — consider Germany's failed Multikulti policies) for them. Deprived of the means to help themselves, utterly dependent on the welfare state, is it any wonder that so many children of immigrants have grown to hate the societies of Europe in which they find themselves?
The real sticky wicket, now, is what to do with such a systemic problem. Political and economic enfranchisement is never immediately achieved; it must be the result of education, of viable employment, of real communities. Once these are gone — as is the case, in the urban ghettoes of both the U.K. and this country — well, nobody is quite sure how to get them back. Thoughts?