Most of us get our daily bread and milk from Tesco or Waitrose, Morrison, Asda or the Co-op. Just a few large chains provide most of our daily diet. Few people think of the organisation and activity that lies behind providing such a wide range of goods at competitive prices, making sure it is all fresh and safe to eat daily.
Small bunches of anarchists or violent criminals unchecked can break into a store and plunder it, or burn it down. If they do this, they can steal food and drink for a day or two, but that store will not be available to them a few days later. If the community is lucky the company will rebuild or repair, and restock. It will take time. The local community meanwhile has to look elsewhere for its food supply. The community is damaged, jobs will be lost. Everyone is worse off.
Watching the tragic scenes last night in disbelief, it was obvious how fragile free enterprise and democracy are. They only work if the overwhelming majority accept they need to work. They only survive if those invested with authority to keep the peace and enforce the law do so with firmness and commonsense. Good policing, from the Home Secretary downwards, rests on a unique blend of authority and understanding. The authorities have to show that they have the power to prevent violence, to protect property and people, or to catch criminals promptly and deal with them in a way which deters others. To do that they need the goodwill, support and intelligence from the rest of us. Yobs, unruly children, and looting adventurers, can undermine the rest of us if unchecked. They are a problem for us all. The police have special duties and powers. The rest of the adult law abiding community also has to contribute by creating an atmosphere against violence, and co-operating with the police to intercept, prevent and deter.
As I sit writing this in my Westminster office I feel the need for Parliament to be in session. It is strange that I cannot table a question, hear a Statement from the Home Secretary, table a motion or discuss with colleagues what we should debate next week at such a time. The MPs I would normally want to hear on these huge topics are not around. The Tea Room, the source of so many important conversations, is closed.
The Euro crisis is worthy of the recall of Parliament. The lurch of world Stock markets, raising the spectre of slowdown or worse in the world economy is worthy of Parliament meeting.The state of the streets in the UK requires debate and action. If any one of these three needs Parliament, the coincidence of them together surely means Parliament should be back in business?