Alan’s published a heart-warming compilation of reaction to the London bombings, which reflects my own attitude. Sure, it’s easy to be blasé when you’re 400 miles away – and I won’t pretend I wasn’t mildly concerned by the pairs of policemen on seemingly every street corner in central Glasgow yesterday – but… put it this way:
In recent history, London has seen not just bombings, but sustained campaigns. When the news was coming in on Thursday, I found myself skimming back through that history, and discovered, to my astonishment, that I’d been living in London right in the middle of that IRA campaign. I suppose I must have been aware of it at the time, and presumably I rationalised the risk as being, say, lower than that inherent in crossing the road or whatever, but – get this – I lived right in the middle of a ‘terror campaign’ and I’d clean forgotten about it.
I’m sure I’d sing a different tune had I been more closely-connected, but I’m still heading towards the conclusion that, by inspection, terrorism plain doesn’t work. I have two caveats to that. Firstly, 9/11 wasn’t the same sort of event at all. If anything, post-London I have even more sympathy for New Yorkers.
My second caveat is more subtle. Another search I was constantly running on Thursday, skimming websites and flipping between broadcast media, was for words like ‘vengeance,’ ‘retribution,’ and ‘retaliation.’ To my surprise, relief, and – bluntly – national pride, I didn’t hear it. Not once.
Until Friday, when I read The Sun. And you know what? Those guys scare me more than al-Qaeda. They’re having more impact on my way of life, and I don’t like it.