Letter from Simon Kelner



No wonder David Cameron is angry.

There he was, enjoying a nice bowl of linguine al vongole and a glass of vino rosato in a 15-bedroom villa in Tuscany, reminiscing about the times when he used to create mayhem with his host, also an Old Etonian and a former member of Oxford University's notorious Bullingdon Club. "We used to have such a riot," someone might have said. And then, sooner than you can say al dente, he's back in Britain, surveying scenes of devastation on our streets, and having to respond in Prime Ministerly fashion to the genuine riots that blighted our cities last week. For all of us, it takes a little time to switch our brains from holiday to work mode, but if you're the PM, you're not allowed the luxury of easing yourself back into the office, particularly if you're told that half the capital is on fire and the streets are full of gangs of feral youths and anarchists. Of course, it wasn't Cameron's fault that he was on his hols when trouble struck, and he came back as soon as it became clear this was a national emergency. So perhaps we should forgive some of his more knee-jerk authoritarian responses to the disturbances (of which the threat to curb the reach of social media was the most risible) and the fact that he has casually fallen out with the police and the Mayor of London (who must have been miffed not to be invited to the Bullingdon reunion). Cameron was still adjusting from Tuscany time. I fully understand this predicament: I went on my honeymoon on the early morning of 11 September, 2001, which, as a national newspaper editor, was not the most perfect timing. I returned as soon as was practicable, but, to me, the attacks on the twin towers had an almost mythic quality. I hadn't experienced it in real time - I was travelling when the planes struck - and it was difficult immediately to comprehend the true magnitude of these events. Cameron deserves credit for picking up the pace so quickly, but I find it hard to get behind his thesis about Britain's "moral collapse". It plays well with his core constituency, and makes a few headlines, but as Peter Oborne pointed out in a magnificent column (which has gone viral: look it up) there is moral collapse at the top, as much as at the bottom, of society. I doubt that would have been a dinner-table topic in Tuscany.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam