Many people are understandably keen to point out that they grew up in a council estate, lived a fairly impoverished life and still had a sense of decency etc etc.
So did I. 'We are different from them'. Point made. But that was then and us, this is now and them. We were historically lucky, they are not. And for them it really is as much a matter of luck as effort. Just as it is largely a matter of luck that most of us are not Derrick Bird or Raol Moat or even Anders Behring Breivik. We felt we had a future, they don't. Many of them don't believe they will live to see thirty.
Implicit in the political sentencing being administered today is the assumption that our kind of society will inevitably create a vast scrapheap of abused young people, and that their sole duty is to meekly accept their fate, or be terrified into doing so. This is a deluded escapist fantasy which will only bottle up hostility even further for future use.
Many of the sadistic punishments being drooled over today are as loony and impractical as any ultra-Maoist dogmatisms trotted out during the Cultural revolution. They are also not legal in the British style, they are merely mob rule, consisting of of summary Collective Guilt and discriminatory justice as in the evictions of entire families for the petty crime of one member, usually a child - but only those in social housing, not home owners. And so are all retrospective policies, creating offences and penalties for an act committed under previous law .
In effect a nod and wink understanding between courts and government is creating or resurrecting offences such as Seditious Arson and Affray, and is moving towards outlawing many forms of gathering. Society itself is seen as under attack, but yet there is a blank refusal to acknowledge any political implications, which betrays an appalling ignorance both of politics and society.
The truth is that crime was used last week to send a political message. Cameron implicitly acknowledges the political nature of the offences by imposing political sentences for what he claims are acts of 'pure criminality'. This is pure Doublethink. The most expensively educated and richest men in the country are by definition the best trained in this essential Inner Party skill. No wonder they rely on it when faced with the biggest act of native insurgency since the Peasant's Revolt (1381). At some point politicians are going to have to get rational and realise that crime is a political and economic artifact. An effect with a cause. And not Eve's fault for giving Adam the apple. If they don't we are in sensational trouble.
It will be interesting to see how the next angry political demonstration is handled. But also to hear the reactions of the victims of 'normal', 'apolitical', 'pure' violent crime when they compare the sentences handed out two weeks ago with the political sentences for stealing a case of water or two shirts. I think they will feel deeply insulted.