The banking system has shown itself to be concerned only with what it can get. MPs have fiddled their expenses. The press has been guilty of phone hacking. There has been corruption in the police. If young people had any respect for authority, most of them have lost it.
And as Britain burns, night by night, some people are still wondering what has gone wrong.
Archbishop Cranmer writes: "It is quite moving to read of Sikhs in Southall guarding their gurdwara, and of those three Muslims in Birmingham who died trying to protect their property and community. It is reported that some of those involved in the violence are as young as 10 or 11, and that it is principally being perpetrated by those in their late teens - early 20s. This is the price we pay for moral relativism. Parents and teachers can no longer instruct their children in the difference between right and wrong, and so there is no distinguishing between good and evil. If it feels right and good, do it: the moral course of action is what the individual determines. The truth is what you make it, for there is no universal law of morality; no absolute standard by which all may be judged. And so we must tolerate the beliefs and actions of others even when they impinge upon the rights and liberties of others.
"Our politicians have spent decades dismantling the foundations of our moral order; fracturing and fragmenting the culture that made England cohesive and the United Kingdom coherent. They have created a culture of rootless individualism, for which we are now paying the price."
The cause of the problem, top and bottom, is that we are a nation away from God.
This world runs on laws; natural laws that cause the sun to come up in a morning and go down at night. Laws like the law of gravity. They're called laws because they work every time. If you jump off a high building, you won't break the law of gravity; the law of gravity will break you.
There are spiritual laws which are just as unbreakable. Here's one: as a man sows, so shall he reap (Gal 6:7). This nation is reaping what it has sown. But it has not yet gone so far that it cannot come back.
Christian organisations are pleading this week for Christians throughout the nation to pray. Says the Maranatha Community, in its appeal for prayer: "The current riots across the land hold up a mirror to the moral and spiritual sickness of our nation. The issues facing us today are not primarily political or social but spiritual. This is yet another manifestation of the consequences of our nation turning its back on God and His ways. . .
"We believe that God, in His mercy, is shining the light of His Truth on to the ugly wound of our nation which is in need of cleansing and healing."
The opportunity to pray, Maranatha says, is a God-given opportunity to bring hope to our nation. It is.