London has security cameras everywhere, and between them and the ability to monitor social media its pretty surprising that the police have been so ineffective.
Is is true that Britain has cut back on police as part of their austerity measures? If that's indeed the case, this would explain what we've seen. That and a failure of imagination, i.e., "it can't happen here, so there's no point in preparing for it."
IIRC, one of my high school history teachers said that Karl Marx expected Communist rebellion to occur in England, probably based on his own experience seeing the economic injustices of the 19th Century there. However, the rise of the Labour movement in Britain prevented that from happening.
In Marxist theory (IIRC from high school), people don't rebel until they have nothing to lose. If people have a decent livelihood, they won't risk it. Could it be be that what we're seeing now in London is Karl Marx's prediction asserting itself a century later than he expected?
In this occasion, social media is playing a major role. Poverty exists everywhere, and the thugs who are looting shops and breaking public property in the UK are far from being the worst off in this world. There can be no justification for these actions and the full force of the law should be brought to bear on these thugs who are in the minority it has to be said. To come back to the social media issue, such minor groups of thugs could not strike at the speed we are seeing (stretching police forces to the limit and beyond in the process) if it were not for instant mobile messaging. That said, technology is also being used to counter them. The police are monitoring social media sites and have just made few arrests based on inflammatory blogs. CCTV and other forms of sensor networks are also being used to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The rule of law must be brought be back and quickly, and technology need not be our enemy in this, it can be our ally.
I think this article is way off target in the blame game. I suppose if there were just phones, we would blame the phones. Or maybe cars where information can flow faster than walking. The more important questions are why the riots happened in the first place,and why in England where my perception of the world says they shouldn't even happen? Answer those questions and maybe then you can place blame.