I’ve spent much of the day under a cloud, processing the grim news of a third major terrorist attack in this country in as many months. It’s solipsistic to consider such events in terms of how they might have impacted oneself, but sometimes it’s hard not to think along those lines – it’s one of the reasons why domestic incidents will always engender more column inches than attacks with a higher death toll far away, no matter how much that inequality seems to irk a certain type of Facebook bore. The Westminster attack in March happened yards from the church of whose choir I am a member, but I probably cross London Bridge even more frequently than I do Westminster Bridge, and goodness knows I’ve spent enough fuzzy-headed evenings in the George and the Market Porter and the Rake with dear friends down the years. Reading the details of people being scythed down in the street while enjoying a pleasant summer evening has made me feel pretty queasy. As, of course, did the thought of children being blown to bits while excitedly leaving a pop concert less than two weeks ago.
Our sense of civic defiance is as admirable as ever, and I will go about my life in this city as usual because, well, what else can you do? But I must confess that I do tire of the predictable parroting of bromides along the lines of ‘we will not be broken by this’, while blood is still warm on the streets. Dozens of people were broken by yesterday’s attack, seven of them beyond repair. Triple that in Manchester. For each of the victims, there will be a circle of family and friends who are also ‘broken’. I can’t be the only one to feel somewhat uneasy at such platitudes, however well-meant.
Oh, and Ronald T. Dump can, as ever, go fuck himself….