Nick Wood is former Head of Communications for the Conservative Party and now runs Media Intelligence Partners.
Nearly a decade ago Theresa May chided the Conservative Party for being the "nasty party", thereby encapsulating a long-running power struggle between modernisers and traditionalists – or more simply Left and Right inside the party.
Mrs May won. The Tories, once seen as cruel but efficient but more latterly (pace John Major) feeble and inefficient, eventually bought her argument that the clue to electoral recovery lay in niceness.
David Cameron, who limped to power on the strength of his hoodie and husky hugging, embodied the switch from nastiness to nice – or more specifically to cool, modern (think of the Converse trainers and the barefoot Rasputin Steve Hilton), and above all liberal.
Egged on by the liberal media, Cameron "detoxified" the Tory Party, thereby implying that past Titans such as Churchill and Thatcher were unsuited to polite company. For all that he only sneaked home with 3% more of the vote than Hague or Howard and was forced to govern with even nicer people like Nick Clegg.
How the wheel has turned. Last night, no doubt much to SamCam's fury, Dave was forced to abandon his Tuscan idyll and fly back to a city in flames (not to mention the small matter of an economy in meltdown). Mrs May also cut short her holiday to issue a routine denunciation of street violence.
Dave will chair a meeting of Cobra – the sort of thing you are meant to do when the terrorist threat hits boiling point. Mrs May will no doubt stamp her kitten heels and rail at the incompetence of what's left of the Met Police. Post Hackgate they are down to the C-team.
Meanwhile, Middle England looks on in horror as large parts of the capital (not altogether the scummier bits) are looted and torched. The cops, meanwhile, wear fearsome riot gear, but appear to do very little, beyond chasing a few teenagers down the street, trying to dodge their missiles, and ignoring casual looters who queue up to strip electrical and fashion stores. Some looters, invariably the women, insist on trying on shoes and garments before calmly stealing them.
The smack of firm government? You must be joking. Not when BBC and Sky waste no time in finding "community spokesmen" to insist that torching shops and nearly incinerating the residents living above is an inevitable product of police brutality, alienation and cuts in public spending.
This kind of thing – though on a much smaller scale – happened in the 1980s and led to the advent of the kind of political correctness that has reduced our police to the role of clumsy medieval knights. Weighed down by the armour of the rule-book and its accompanying red tape and no doubt the fear of incurring the displeasure of Mrs May and the rest of the PC brigade, the poor old constables trundle helplessly behind the teenage rioters, chasing them down side alleys where they escape within seconds to resume their torment.
The kids are right. They come from families who only know the benefit cheque, not work. They have no fathers. They know nothing of right and wrong. They know there are no penalties. They can rob, loot, laugh, Twitte and set fire and even if they are caught, they will escape with no more than a joke community sentence they will ignore.
Mrs May was once worried about seeming nasty. She should relax. The average pussy cat is more intimidating than our so-called forces of law and order.