I started my career at Guy’s Hospital, and at lunchtimes walked around Borough High Street, and the market next to Southwark Cathedral, scene of last night’s attack. I used to live down the road. At that time it was a working class district, and now it is an upmarket place, a cool place for evening drinks.
The BBC headline was properly restrained: “three suspects shot dead by Police after van and knife attack at London Bridge and Borough Market killed 6 people and injured at least 48.” The Daily Mail was less restrained and more informative: “three Jihadis are shot dead by police after killing six and hurting 48: Gang yell ‘This is for Allah’ after mowing down crowd on London Bridge then going on stabbing frenzy in bars. The men, described as being ‘of Mediterranean origin’, drove the white van at 50mph across the bridge.” However, later in their story the BBC quotes an eyewitness who said “They were running up shouting, ‘This is for Allah.’ They stabbed this girl maybe 10 times, 15 times.” The BBC also showed a picture of one of the suspects lying on the ground. In the end, the appearance and motivations of the perpetrators were made evident by bystander testimony.
Now we are the stage of ritual upon ritual, of political statements of condolence, of nostrums, of conclusions drawn and conclusions avoided. Campaigning for the general election due on 8 June has been suspended till evening, and some had even suggested postponing the election. I tweeted:
When a democracy is attacked by a theocracy the best response is to continue campaigning for a democratic election.
Emotion is leading me to want people to understand the horror, not airbrush it away. Hard to make any further comment just at the moment.