After a calm, quiet night with hardly any traffic to speak of on the street, and the feral scum at home wondering when the police knock on the door will come, the acres of print of excuse and opinion are rolling off the presses. But already the winners and losers are identifiable;
The Police - losers. Despite the undoubted bravery and commitment of most individual officers who were on the streets, a failure of command and of intelligence, of preparation and tactics is apparent. The behaviour of trigger-happy gun cops is again under question (I've always said that no officer who volunteers to carry a firearm should be permitted to do so). And Londoners may be forgiven for asking when we have 32,000 officers on the payroll why only 6,000 could be mustered for duty.
The government - losers. Clegg was booed off and forced to escape in his armoured limo to jeers from the crowds; Cameron's minders didn't let him near the public for fear of similar scenes. Theresa May is an anodyne noise, utterly ineffective. Cameron has displayed his 'hysteria' again by recalling Parliament. No one has much confidence that the government is any use at all.
The law-abiding poor - losers. It's their neighbourhoods that have been trashed, their convenience stores that have been burned out. In the current economic climate, they'll stay burned out, shuttered and empty. These areas will be shunned by the few business investors still investing. They'll have to go further and pay more for their basic food and clothing. Shuttered and closed parades of shops will blight their areas as even the bookies, the fried chicken shop and the offie shut-up and leave.
Internet retailers - winners. Compared to a vulnerable, high-risk High Street shop, already with high levels of theft, 'steaming' and potential claims from traumatised staff, and therefore high-cost, the attraction of running an internet retail operation with a warehouse in rural Scotland will grow. The net-savvy population will reap the rewards; the webless will pay high prices for a limited range of goods from local shops.
Council tax payers - losers. Under the 1886 Riot Damages Act it's local police forces - and local council tax payers - who pick up the tab for riot damage. (NB 'riot' and 'civil disorder' are not the same. If your store is torched by ten youths acting together, it's a civil disturbance. If there are thirteen of them, it's a riot).
The Corporations - winners. Crapita, G4, Serco and the rest will do well out of the riots. Police bosses will retreat into 'managerial' responses, riot kit will be bought, prison and custody downsizing halted, new intelligence and command systems introduced. All ultimately futile - see next.
Local democracy - ????? As Simon Jenkins points out in the Guardian this morning, the long term answer is real power at local levels, but the temptation is for our wartime Whitehall to retrench with Statist solutions. Hard to predict which way this will go - the groudswell of local reaction, of the decent majority wanting to take control, wanting to have authority over their own policing may prove stronger than one may initially think.