Nobody was. I don't think there's ever been anything quite like it before. I guess we have modern social media to blame/thank for the way it spread like a rash from city to city.
The politicians- Theresa May going "criminals, criminal, criminality", Boris Johnson hefting his unused broom on the streets of Camden like a majorette, Ed Milliband wonking on about bad parenting in Salford- seemed more than usually impotent and out of touch. None of them has been anywhere near a mean street in their lives- except to chat up the voters, of course. They haven't a clue.
David Cameron told us some parts of our society were "sick"- to which one wanted to reply, "Yeah, the city, the banks, the police, the politicians, the red tops", but that would have been cheap- though no cheaper than the point it was answering.
A society gets the riots it deserves. A society that cares about abstract notions like Justice and Liberty gets political riots, it gets people making political demands (maybe while parading heads on pikes.) A society that cares for nothing but wealth and celebrity gets masked looters and the torching of Miss Selfridges.