Conversations are now elevated and scrutinized in an amphitheatre of social media. There are those that spectate, speculate, and jump on the bandwagon - whether that's with good intentions, or to kill the show. The Internet means that people don't forget words, and events are recorded forever at the end of a web search. Over time, the moment, context and goodwill crumbles away...
Howard Jacobson hates himself for not being a worse man than he is. The once-proclaimed 'English Philip Roth', Booker Prize winner and literary dirty dog - his new novel Zoo Time, revels in its shoe fetishes and lusty ménage a trois fantasies - he still feels he hasn't sunk to the depths he looked excitedly into as a boy.
Liam Stacey showed extremely poor judgement when he tweeted offensive and thoughtless statements shortly after footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field, and the situation quickly escalated when Stacey mentioned picking cotton. Is this political correctness gone mad? I don't think so. On the contrary, it's political correctness gone sane.
There are many enemies right now, political and real. Freedom is under threat, and not just from fundamentalists. Those who don't give a name to their ideology, who hide behind non-ideology, or who claim to be post-ideological make an ideological claim just as surely as if they declare themselves to be communists or fascists; and will keep on distracting us with straw men, unwilling to draw a line in the sand, to say - this is what I believe.
There is much of merit in the Prime Minister's speech concerning the riots. His emphasis on morality and questions of 'right and wrong' will resonate with many. However, such rhetoric may be an empty vessel unless based on robust research into the causes of and solutions to the social problems to which he refers. A voice to stand up for democratic freedoms is crucial, but so is a need to work within the society that social workers are part in this country if we are to build together, rather than tear down, supportive state welfare that benefits social, political and economic well-being for all.