A few thoughts on London Bridge…

Another day, another atrocity. It’s hard to know what to say that wasn’t said after the Manchester Arena bombing nearly two weeks ago which cost the lives of 22 people, many girls and young women. Words seem inadequate yet they’re all we’ve got.

Here are a few numbers: six dead and 48 injured as a white van sped into pedestrians. Three men in the vans jumped out and started stabbing people and were then shot dead.

This happened in London Bridge and in nearby Borough Market. London Bridge is an unpretty corner of the capital, but Borough Market is great in the day. Browse the over-priced foodie stalls and you can then go on one of London’s great walks along the South Bank and past the Globe, the National Theatre and others, with the wide Thames glittering at your side.

It might seem wrong to mention that so soon after people have died, but while we mourn in shock we should also remember the every-day glories of London. Otherwise the idiot ideologues will have won a sort of victory.

According to a witness who spoke to the BBC, “the men were running up shouting, ‘This is for Allah’. They stabbed this girl maybe 10 times, 15 times. She was going, ‘Help me, help me’.”

Haven’t we had enough of angry gods? Enough anyway of demented ideologues who hijack angry gods to their own twisted ends. If you don’t believe in any god, it’s hard to know what to say about this, except that Allah must surely despair of the cruelty done in his name.

The Conservative Party has suspended electioneering for the day, as Theresa May has more important things to do than going around the country looking brittle and trying not to talk to real people. Has a general election ever before been suspended twice in two weeks thanks to terrorist atrocity? It seems unlikely

After a short hiatus, the Manchester bombing was dragged into the political arena in a manner that seemed unseemly all around. Perhaps the same will happen again the last few days before the election on Thursday.

Are politicians right to suspend electioneering? Some people don’t like this pause in proceedings – however appalling the reason – as they believe that taking time out can be advantageous to one party or the other, usually the one in government at the time.

Such suspicions are understandable, yet it’s hard to see how the politicians could carry on slagging each other off while people lie dying.

Maybe part of the problem is that we hope our politicians might have an answer to such atrocities, but in general they do not, other than to say that the terrorists cannot win – a necessary platitude.

Mrs May described last night’s events as ‘dreadful’ while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called them ‘brutal and shocking’, and no one can have any argument there, even if such condemnations get us no closer to a solution.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said what happened was “a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners”, adding that the capital remained the “safest global city” and Londoners would not be cowed by terrorism.

Older Londoners who endure the Blitz may shake their heads at this latest sad news, while also quietly observing to themselves that they lived through worse. Which they did during a war that cost so many lives on all sides. But this sort of terrorism is something different, in that it flies out of nowhere and turns ordinary people into “enemy soldiers” who are worthy of being killed.

It’s scary stuff and sitting on my ledge, I don’t have a single answer – other than to say that we have to carry on living our liberated life as best we can.

Leave a Reply