Tubby Isaacs wrote:
Don't the right understand that the rioters will be really enjoying the feeling they scared the shit out of everyone?
Exactly. This is a primary argument for not 'bringing in teh army!!1!' The little fuckers will instantly see it as evidence of what a big deal they are and be mightily encouraged. You make a containable situation, which it clearly is, as evidenced by reality, into one that looks like the authorities are running scared and clutching at straws. Guess what? They will soon try again to see just how powerful they really are. The government aren't really scared but a healthy dash of fear in the populace is manna to them so why not let it marinate through for a while?
I argued this point on my local papers website and it was a very lonely experience. People were claiming everyone on the street after midnight, including children, ought to be shot on sight and getting tons of support. Try pointing out that we had half a dozen shops with one window each put through, two were looted and about 40 people tried and failed miserably to lure the police into a Benny Hill style chase scene. Forget empirical evidence - it's the end of the world, Sky News sez so.
Even the stupidest politician can see how to translate that widespread level of paranoia into tangible power in just a handful of moves - and Clegg is sittng there handing out mulligans to Cameron.