KEITH NEWBERY Scumbags aren’t misunderstood – they’re criminals

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Though it may seem perverse to suggest such a thing, I believe society will ultimately benefit from the anarchy stalking some city streets.

There is a feeling abroad that the events of recent days may be an important tipping point when it comes to the tolerance levels of the long-suffering British public.

This was reinforced by the attitude of Diane Abbott, usually the last voice you wish to hear at times of social unrest.

Whatever the problems and whatever the real reasons behind them, she can always be relied upon to champion the rights of what she perceives to be the underdogs against the cruel excesses of any government of which she does not happen to be a member.

But as she surveyed the scorched and looted streets of her Hackney constituency the other evening, she had no choice but to admit the truth of what she was witnessing.

“This is lawlessness and criminality pure and simple,” she said. “There is no excuse for it.”

It was like listening to a penny finally descend from a great height.

Though she may never be prepared to admit as much in public, Diane Abbott knows the amoral, swaggering scum-bags infesting some communities are not deprived, misunderstood young people.

They are ruthless, selfish yobs; the inevitable end product of a system which has allowed the welfare state (as someone so memorably observed) to be used as a hammock rather than a safety net.

Many come from dysfunctional families and as far as employment is concerned, the only thing they know how to work is the system.

They have emerged from schools where they have been mollycoddled and offered ‘understanding’ instead of discipline and standards.

They have no respect for any form of authority, especially the police who have been hobbled and neutered by the absurdities of the Human Rights Act and a puny criminal justice system.

They have thrived under successive governments unwilling (or even afraid) to bring the something-for-nothing culture to an end.

But there are growing signs that the vast majority of decent, law-abiding people have finally had enough of the promises and platitudes emerging from Number Ten.

There are clear indications that if the government does not act robustly to deal with the problem – then they will.

* When will the TV chiefs ever learn?

History is about to be repeated in the pastel-lit world of breakfast television.

In 1983 TV-am was launched amid great fanfare as David Frost, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford, Angela Rippon and Robert Kee got together as shareholders and putative presenters.

It was a glittering failure and two unknowns – Anne Diamond and Nick Owen – were drafted in to mount a rescue mission.

Daybreak made a similarly expensive mistake by relying on the alleged ‘special chemistry’ between Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.

It’s similar to the chemical reaction which occurs when a lump of putty is placed next to a lump of multi-coloured plasticine.

The show is spectacularly awful and its stars have already been reduced to four-day weeks.

Some people never learn.