Before the recent English riots began, some in the Right of the UK Tory Party might have been tempted to conclude that such events would not be a bad thing. After all, the sequence is a core feature of right-wing politics in the post-WW2 era -- impose a series of cuts on social services, kick away whatever meagre ladders have been put in to lessen inequality of opportunity, light the blue touch paper, and step back. When it all kicks off, send the police in hard, lay waste and re-affirm the moral narrative: these are people who want something for nothing, raised in a society of the hand-out/moral relativism/post-colonial guilt (the language changes with the decade), force quivering left-liberals to come down on one side or the other, and roll on to victory.

That was the Margaret Thatcher method following the Brixton uprising of 1981, a motif capped off by her minister Norman Tebbit' epochal speech to parliament, saying "When my father was unemployed, he didn't riot. He got on his bike! Get on your bike!". Tebbit was a working-class Tory from Essex, and unlike some, he'd never bothered to have his accent altered through speech lessons. His invocation, delivered through a flat nasality, had full moral force. Before the Falklands War, when Thatcher's first government was facing defeat, it rallied the troops behind the party, and the ideology. When people remember the "iron" character of Thatcherism -- which had not yet developed as a full-bore movement -- it is in fact that speech they often remember.