The response of the authorities has certainly been political. The mass round-up of suspects, the ‘shop your neighbour’ appeals by the Murdoch-linked Met, the police mob-handed in Robocop gear using battering rams to storm into working-class homes and haul suspect teenagers off, cameras on hand to record pictures for reassurance of the ruling class, all this has the character, not of hunting down criminals, but of a major security operation. Cameron and his class are frightened for the future, of the likely reaction to their planned assault on the welfare state and the rights and living standards of people in the bottom half of an increasingly divided society. This has been a clampdown on the potentially rebellious.
Were the riots political? Of course they were.
The riots may have been inchoate rage spurred by thugs wanting big screen TVs. But, as the Telegraph points out, riots like this have been going on since at least 1886 in London. But more than anything, it is the nasty and terrified reaction by Cameron, blaming everything on the lower classes and none on his class, that will make the aftermath of the riots truly political.