UK Politics

England riots: New moral army

David Cameron presented himself today as the leader of a new moral army of Britons taking the fight to those parts of Britain that are, in his words, "sick".

The fightback was underway, he said, against what was more "a moral problem" than a political one.

He pledged "more robust" policing - using rubber bullets and water cannon if necessary and ignoring "phoney concerns about human rights"; no reduction in visible policing (not the same thing as a pledge not to cut police budgets); and all night courts handing out prison sentences for those convicted of violence with more prison places provided if need be.

The police, local authorities and Whitehall departments will now try to cash in those promises while the Treasury will be counting the cost.

The prime minister also promised a society with a clearer code of values, a focus on better parenting and more personal responsibility.

The question he will soon have to answer is "What does that mean in practice?"