Those who claim that the 'riots' were a phenomenon of 'the underclass' are wilfully ignoring the elephant(s) in the room.
I'm here replying to BBC Home Affairs editor Mark Easton's own blog -- myself and Mark having been in private email discussion.
The 'riots' were not started by 'the underclass': they appear to have been started by the community of Afro-Caribbean gangsters and their associates, as a ploy to impose costs on the police for their efforts to try to disrupt gangsterism through Operation Trident and associated activity; and in consequence to get the police to back off.
This was essentially an assault by one community on another: the entrenched Afro-Caribbean migrant enclave (the most visible and extreme elements of it, or wider sections of it led by extreme elements) on the host community -- if the latter could be considered sufficiently cohesive to be termed a community; which, of course, it no longer really is.
Mark chooses to restrict consideration to those who at most are merely the hangers-on to ethnic-gangster-based culture: those who at most have in part assimilated to 'black' culture even whether or not they possess the particular in-group marker of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity themselves. To these people the 'riots' were either just a fashion statement to which they were conforming, or -- showing even less agency -- simply normative behaviour they opportunistically piggy-backed to a minimal extent.
Anyone who has studied any social-psychology at all will recognise this sort of behaviour. Humans will conform to the most outrageous behaviour if they perceive it to be normative. Hence the famous Milgram experiments, where perfectly normal and average individuals administered what they were led to believe were painful electric shocks to others, even up to lethal levels, simply because they were instructed to do so.
As Peter Hitchens remarked (BBC Radio 4 Any Questions last night): most of those initially picked up by the police were the numpties that in their keenness to display that they were street-cred sheep were too stupid not to still be there when the police finally bothered to do something. They are hardly the criminals who instigated the 'riots', but just those who came along to gate-crash the party.
So it was that amongst the first to be charged were several who could in no way be characterisable as 'underclass', who may now be mightily embarrassed that they were so stupid, or may salve their cognitive-dissonance by seeking to justify their actions as being akin to seeing a common commodity item lying on the floor and just picking it up to take home -- which in the context of what had indeed become normative behaviour, indeed is just about what their behaviour amounted to. Both of these responses are acutely evident in comments to reporters by many of those who took part and now look back on their behaviour in the cold light of day.
It speaks volumes about the media and the BBC in particular that none of this fairly obvious analysis can be seen through the standard government-media-education uber-class PC-fascist blinkers that pretty well all BBC employees possess as a mindset in order to have obtained and to retain their jobs.
As ever, ordinary people are to be condemned and, if possible, criminalised; whereas those who are PC-identified as members of spurious 'disadvantaged' groups are to be supported and pitted against ordinary people as agents of the 'progressive project', as it were.