From Michael Goldfarb at Globalpost:
“When the smoke cleared on Sunday morning it was obvious that the violence was not about the police and racism — as it had been in the 1980s. The Duggan family were appalled by what had happened, much of it directed against shops owned by black and immigrant businessmen. Back in the 1980s, community leaders were harshly critical of the police and the government. Local black politicians used the riots to point out the institutional racism in the police force. Now the local member of parliament, David Lammy, son of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, led the criticism of the rioters.
The underlying causes of the rioting are difficult to determine with certainty, but one key fact must be considered: youth unemployment.
The rioters were overwhelmingly teenagers and kids in their 20s. About 20 percent of 16-24 year olds in Britain are unemployed. That figure is much, much higher on council estates — the British term for housing projects.”