WITH the wave of urban rioting appearing to have passed, the first serious clash over the way forward has sounded between the Prime Minister and the Labour leader.

In a speech today, David Cameron will promise a conservative counter-revolution to overturn liberal failings that have led to modern-day Britain, but Ed Miliband is due to return to his old comprehensive in North London to make a speech attacking “knee-jerk gimmicks unveiled without being properly thought through”.

The Labour leader will also attack “finger-pointing at the police” – a clear dig at the way the Home Secretary Theresa May has angered senior officers with her criticism, and he will say “greed, selfishness and irresponsibility” is not the preserve of the underclass given the recent conduct of bankers, politicians and the media.

Mr Cameron will talk of the need to match the “security fight-back with a social fightback”, admitting: “Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face.”

The Prime Minister will make clear he will use the aftermath of the riots to push through changes on everything from welfare and education to the culture of human rights and health and safety.

“Over the next few weeks, I and ministers from across the Coalition Government will review every aspect of our work to mend our broken society,” he will say. “On schools, welfare, families, parenting, addiction, communities, on the cultural, legal, bureaucratic problems in our society too.

“From the twisting and misrepresenting of human rights that has undermined personal responsibility, to the obsession with health and safety that has eroded people’s willingness to act according to common sense.
“And to consider whether our plans and programmes are big enough and bold enough to deliver the change that I feel this country now wants to see.”

He will ask: “Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations?

“Irresponsibility. Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control.

“Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivised – by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally de-moralised.”

Mr Miliband, at Haverstock Comprehensive in Chalk Farm, the scene of rioting last week, will warn of the demand for “deep-roooted” solutions. He will say: “Of course, there is a demand for firm action and the first duty of any Government is to ensure public order.

“But a new-policy-a-day, knee-jerk gimmicks unveiled without being properly thought through  are unlikely to solve the problem. The usual politicians’ instinct – announce a raft of  new legislation, appoint a new adviser, wheel out your old prejudices and shallow answers – will not meet the public’s demand for deep-rooted solutions. Nor should we engage in finger-pointing at the police and claim these huge problems of irresponsibility and opportunity go no further than what is seen as an underclass.

“The greed, selfishness and gross irresponsibility that shocked us all so deeply is not just confined to what is being portrayed as a feckless and feral underclass in Britain.

“We can’t say the looters are the only ones who have demonstrated greed, selfishness and immorality. Indeed, it’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of me-first, take-what-you-can attitude. The bankers who took millions while destroying people’s savings: greedy, selfish, immoral. The MPs who fiddled their expenses: greedy, selfish, immoral. The people who hacked phones to get stories and make money for themselves: greedy, selfish and immoral.”

The comments come after hostile remarks from senior officers, angered by what they see as political interference and politicians determined to demonstrate a firm grip.

Metropolitan Police Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin complained of “inconsistencies” from Parliament over tactics and spoke of his upset at political criticism of the Met’s response.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, directed his latest attack at Mr Cameron’s decision to recruit US “supercop” Bill Bratton to advise on tackling gangs.