Something snapped in August 2011, and it was a long time coming. If you listened to what those few rioters to have got near a journalist had to say – ‘The whole country is burning, man’; ‘We’re showing the rich people we can do what we want’; ‘They’re screwing the system so only white middle-class kids can get an education …. everyone’s heard about the police and members of parliament taking bribes, the members of parliament stealing thousands with their expenses. They set the example. It’s time to loot’ – what you heard was an excuse, sure, but also a truth. Over the last few years, the ruling class kept trying to commit suicide – financial crisis, expenses scandal, News International, the Met, financial crisis mark two – and most of us wouldn’t let them, we’d rather Keep Calm and Carry On. These kids, venal and stupid as some of their actions are, don’t want to carry on. They want to see the whole bloody thing burn.
– Owen Hatherley, A New Kind of Bleak, XLVII