I suppose that few British people have ever seen the collapse of public order. The United Kingdom has at least been fortunate in that regard. The tumultuous events of the past century have left largely intact the Victorian legacy of “law and order” bequeathed by the 19th Century.
Britain has endured two world wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945), other and smaller wars overseas, a General Strike (1926), other periods of industrial strife (1930s, 1970s), acts of terrorism, periods of political violence (1930s, 1970s) and even a limited and slow-burn civil war in pockets (Northern Ireland, particularly 1970s to late 1990s), yet overall order (and the rule of law) has persisted. Even in Northern Ireland that has been so, though a barrister friend of mine visited a “Diplock court”–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplock_courts— in the 1980s and told me of how surrealistic it was to see a criminal trial with all the panoply of the English law (bewigged and gowned barristers, a “red judge” in his wig and robes etc) but without a jury and, instead of court security or police officers, several soldiers carrying submachineguns and on guard.
This is of course in stark contrast to the experience of other Europeans. Russia of course is, as always, sui generis, with its 20thC revolutions (1917), civil war (1918-1922), political purges (1917-1948), invasion and vast wartime destruction (1941-1945), as well as the collapse of the Soviet system in the 1980s and early 1990s and the waves of gangsterism and Jewish-Zionist oligarchy that followed from 1991 onward until a degree of stability was attained under the Putin regime.
The older generation of mainland Europeans were almost all affected, at least at second-hand, by disorders: the Second World War swept across the continent leaving few countries untouched (and even some of those–Finland, Spain, Eire– had seen their own wars, civil wars etc). In fact, the only European countries of any size unaffected directly (though certainly indirectly) by the Second World War or civil upheavals were Sweden and Switzerland. Even Portugal, neutral during 1939-1945, later had a military coup and revolution (in the 1970s).
France, for example, was in the 20th Century invaded twice, had several all-France republics established, as well as the Vichy Government of 1940-1944; it also had considerable political and industrial conflict, huge destruction from air, land and sea (in 1940, from German attack, but more seriously from the Anglo-American invasion, bombing, shelling etc of 1941-1944). France also had the underground war of the OAS in the early 1960s, which very nearly brought down de Gaulle and the Fifth Republic.
Again, Poland has seen, from 1914 through to the 1980s, invasions, purges, wars, civil disorder, very great changes in the Western and Eastern borders of the country itself, near-starvation at times, economic collapse several times, destruction of much of its infrastructure, ruination of its currency.
The effects upon civic life and rule of law of all these events has been greater on mainland Europe than has been the case in the UK. On mainland Europe, the ways of life of the various countries has had to be re-established, sometimes several times over, usually with very significant changes. In the UK, the way of life has evolved quite slowly and –even as a result of WW2– without dramatic alteration overnight.
Why then, do I see civil disorder as a serious possibility in the UK?
First of all, Britain has taken in a vast horde of mainly non-European immigrants, most of whom have no racial, cultural or religious connection with anything that British history has produced. Even those non-Europeans born in the UK do not feel the same connection with the country that is felt by the real British (including those with other white Northern European ancestry and who were born here).
Secondly, the reaction of the Caribbeans and other non-Europeans to serious difficulty is to engage in street protest which can become riotous, as has happened several times even in the past decade.
Thirdly, the indigenous British have lost at least some of the resilience which sustained public order in previous times. By way of personal anecdote, I recall the “petrol crisis” of 2000, when I had not long returned from overseas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_protests_in_the_United_Kingdom. Having little choice but to travel across country, I saw at one motorway filling station scenes not far from the chaotic. This left a deep impression on me. Speaking personally, I have little faith in the ability of the System to maintain order, should a more serious or prolonged crisis hit the nation, if “nation” it still is.
I do not see the British now as a unified people, because of both cultural and directly racial/religious factors. A large and growing minority are really not British at all and have only tenuous connection with and loyalty to the State.
A fourth aspect is that the arms of the State are not now well-staffed. Police, Army etc. Could they handle large-scale disruption? I wonder.
It may be that the UK will have to undergo some of the vicissitudes endured in the past century by many of the mainland European peoples before a new system is established.