The top-scoring petition on the government's e-Petition site calls for all welfare benefits for convicted rioters to be withdrawn; just 9,000 signatures away from the magic trigger point, it's raced past Paul Staines' hanging petition, which is languishing and static with just 20,000 signatures.
On the face of it, it's pointless. Those convicted and sent to prison will lose benefits anyway, and those fined for minor offences either pay the fines out of benefit, or, erm, commit further offences to raise the money. But if it provokes a Parliamentary debate on special retributive measures against those who don't obey the law - or at least a particular law - it will be interesting. A Labour council has already threatened to evict any council house tenants convicted of riot offences, but presumably those convicted of white-collar fraud or sex offences are secure. And given that the 12 to 16 year-olds who were most apparent on the streets are neither benefit recipients nor tenants it seems that few will be touched by special retributive sanctions.
It's clear there's no public mood to pour cash into the Afro-Carib estates this time. Harman may whine and pout, but Labour's asinine MultiKulti and moral relativism are recognised by much of the population as being directly responsible for the state we're in. If what emerges from the riots is not retribution against individuals but a new moral certainty, an admission that not all 'lifestyle choices' are either good or acceptable, a strengthening of support for the traditional family and a reaffirmation of the Anglo-Saxon work ethic, all the pain and loss may just have been worth it.