The Riots 2011:

Riots: the political battle lines are drawn

David Cameron blames children without fathers and schools without discipline, while Ed Miliband blames bankers and MPs for failing to set a better example for society

David Cameron and Ed Miliband will today set out contrasting views about the causes behind last week's rioting and the solutions needed to fix them, as the debate over what led to the outbreaks of mass civil unrest moved from one about policing to one concerning politics in general.

Click HERE to view graphic (215k jpg)

Mr Cameron will use a speech this morning to address what he describes as the "slow-motion moral collapse" of parts of British society over the past few generations. He will promise to review all areas of government work on schools, welfare, parenting and communities to address the "attitudes and assumptions" that have brought parts of the country to a "shocking state".

At the same time, Mr Miliband will use a speech at his old school – Haverstock School in Chalk Farm, north London, close to where some of the rioting took place on Monday night – to suggest it is not just the bottom of society that is to blame, but examples set by people with money and power as well. He will single out bankers' pay and MPs' expenses as instances of the breakdown in standards which have seen "greed, selfishness and immorality" become the norm.

The speeches come as:

* The court system continued to struggle under the weight of cases coming before it. The Metropolitan Police has so far made 1,414 arrests in connection with the violence and charged 810 alleged perpetrators.

* The row between senior police and ministers showed no sign of dying down. Yesterday the Chief Constable of the West Midlands became the latest senior officer to criticise ministers.

* Around 5,000 people attended a peace rally in Birmingham in the area where Haroon Jahan, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir were run down and killed. A 26-year-old man and a teenager have been charged in connection with their deaths.

Both leaders' speeches today – and an address that Nick Clegg will give tomorrow – will set the political battleground ahead of the party conference season next month. Mr Miliband is expected to portray the Prime Minister as responding to the riots with "knee-jerk gimmicks" that have not been properly thought through, and to restate his call for a public inquiry.

In contrast, Mr Cameron will attempt to reassert his party's law-and-order credentials, blaming the last Labour government for many of the policies that have damaged society. Mr Clegg is likely to argue there is a danger that underlying problems are ignored after the initial flurry of media attention.

All three are attempting to appeal to large sections of the public described by Mr Miliband as the "squeezed middle". Mr Cameron has attempted to capture the same constituency through his idea of the Big Society. Party strategists know these voters will be critical in determining who wins the next election.

In his speech, Mr Cameron will say the rioting has been a "wake-up call" for the country. "Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face," he will say.

"We must fight back against the attitudes that have brought parts of our society to this shocking state. Irresponsibility. Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control.

"Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivised – by the state and its agencies."

Mr Cameron will say that his plan for the Big Society is capable of dealing with a "broken society". He will say: "I and ministers from across the Government will review every aspect of our work, on schools, welfare, families, parenting, addiction, communities, on the cultural, legal, bureaucratic problems, too; from the twisting and misrepresenting of human rights that has undermined personal responsibility to the obsession with health and safety that has eroded people's willingness to act according to common sense."

Mr Miliband will draw parallels in his speech between what he describes as the "feral underclass" responsible for the rioting and bankers who award themselves million of pounds in bonuses. He will call for an end to the "me-first, take-what-you-can attitude" that has eroded all levels of society.

"We must be honest with ourselves. The greed, selfishness and gross irresponsibility that shocked us all so deeply is not just confined to what is being portrayed as a feckless and feral underclass," he will say. "The bankers who took millions while destroying people's savings: greedy, selfish, immoral. The MPs who fiddled their expenses: greedy, selfish, immoral.

"To tackle the values crisis in our society, we need those at the top to start behaving better, too. When we talk about the sick behaviour of those without power, let's also talk about the sick behaviour of those with it."

In a direct attack on Mr Cameron, the Labour leader will also accuse the Prime Minister of turning his back on examining the connections between circumstances and behaviour and resorting to "knee-jerk" policies to appease the Tory right.

"Five years ago he thought deprivation as well as culture both mattered. But now he says: 'This is not about poverty; it is about culture'.

"I don't understand why he has changed his mind. The world hasn't changed. Maybe it isn't his view of the world that has changed, but his view of what would make him popular that has changed."

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on