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Goddamn it

June 4, 2017

Twelve years ago I stood on London Bridge, one of the thousands of people lining the city’s bridges, one of the millions of people lining the streets and squares of London for the two minutes of silence following the bombings of 7 July 2005. Last night on the very spot where I stood that day, people were ploughed down by three toerags in a van.

I know the London Bridge area like the back of my hand. There isn’t a pub in Borough High Street or Borough Market that I haven’t been in at least once, several of them on many occasions. Last night three knife-wielding wankers charged into some of those pubs and into restaurants I have patronised, stabbing and slashing anyone who crossed their paths.

Vauxhall, Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Southwark, London, Tower – I cannot even guess how many times I’ve crossed these bridges in my life.

I wept before I fell asleep last night.

This morning I am filled with rage. Goddamn it, goddamn them.

Somehow I have to fight this rage, because it is what those toerags wanted. Rage and fear. They won’t get the latter from Londoners. What they’ll get instead is the middle finger. Of course, the toerags aren’t around to get that finger. They got what they really wanted: “martyrdom”. These tosspots committed bloody “suicide by cop” in the full expectation that they would be transported to paradise where scores of virgins await them.

So I suppose this is one of the things I want to see today. I want to see London’s mayor Sadiq Khan say, “There will be no virgins – fucking or otherwise – for you. You’re going straight to hell, you poisonous pricks.” I also want to see Muslim leaders saying the same thing (minus the swearing).

One of the other things I want and fully expect to see is packed pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, concert venues, galleries, parks and streets. Just as there were twelve years ago on 8 July 2005. The fuck you attitude of Londoners towards the Blitz and towards the IRA. (Hard to believe that decades later the IRA seem like gentlemen terrorists, the ones who issued a warning before their bombs went off.)

Cui bono?

After any major crime is committed the first question asked is cui bono? Who benefits?

When the conspiracy theories began to bubble to the surface after 9/11, I asked myself this question. It seemed obvious to me that the main benefactor was George Dubya Bush, who on 10 September 2001 was on a fast track to being the least popular one-term president in US history. Not that I believed there was a conspiracy by Dubya and his minions. He certainly wasn’t smart enough to dream up that horror.

I asked myself the same question this morning.

Yesterday I was thrilled to see that Labour was surging in the polls (not that I trust polls these days). It seemed there was a genuine possibility that the result of the coming election in the UK offered a ray of sunshine, a chance to nix Brexit. Corbyn has said that he would not govern in a coalition. (As Mandy Rice-Davies once famously observed, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”) All very well, but a Labour/SNP/LibDem coalition could kill Brexit, couldn’t it? Sanity could prevail. And now? I don’t know. I can only hope.

Corbyn was recently vilified for suggesting Britain should accept some responsibility for contributing to domestic terrorism with its recent misadventures in Muslim countries. How many votes will this cost him next week? How many knee jerk votes will now go to the supposedly tough-on-terrorism Tories?

I happen to agree with Corbyn, although the hatred so many Muslims have for most of the western world goes much further back to nineteenth century British and French colonialism in north Africa and the Middle East and twentieth century American interventionism in the same area.

Osama Bin Laden may be dead, but I have no doubt he is laughing in his watery grave. He has what he wanted: a never ending clash of cultures, a chaotic and pointless war without end.

I wish I was in London today. I wish I was meeting mates for a pint at the George. I am certainly there in spirit.

the george

I hope this is what it looks like today.

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From → Columns

6 Comments
  1. Irmani permalink

    Rebecca and I were sharing some prosecco in the garden this afternoon and planning to do this exact thing later in the month. I was at the Southwark Tavern and Vivat Bacchus with Mark Mac on Thursday evening. These fuckpigs will never, ever stop London being London. As soon as the trains are running into London Bridge I will actively commute through it (mainly because it’s nicer than changing at Canada Water, but still). They picked on the wrong city if they were expecting cowering fear. Didn’t do terribly well on that score with my other home city of the north, either.

    • As one of the many mates with whom I’ve spent many an hour in Sothwark pubs, I thought of you last night. Toerags was the best I could come up with as I wrote. Fuckpigs is much better. Love you. Love everyone in London. Love London.

      • Irmani permalink

        The stories coming out of this attack are improbably brilliant. Have you seen the Millwall guy who took on all three attackers unarmed? Or the Kung Fu genius banker guy who also decided to have a go? Love my lovely Londoners 🙂

  2. Donna permalink

    Brilliantly, heart-rendingly said. Love xo

  3. Irmani permalink

    And thanks for posting a picture of my old workplace. Love The George!

  4. Irmani permalink

    One final thing to say – much as I dislike Sadiq Khan on a personal level (you know the story, right?) his responses to Trump have been spot on. And the other thing to give you some feels is that 138 Imams have refused to say prayers over the bodies of the terrorists. We need to get a handle on Saudi Wahhabism in London and elsewhere in the UK, though.

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