Thursday, July 07, 2005

7/7...Some personal observations

Thanks first to all of those in the US who have called or sent e-mails checking in on us. We are fine, and luckily I do not know anyone who has suffered directly from the attacks today. Thanks also to those US readers who have sent their condolences to and expressions of solidarity with the British people today. I whinge an awful lot about how much America and Americans are misunderstood over here, and about the undercurrent of anti-Americanism that exists, especially in the bien-pensant circles of elite British life (like at the BBC). But I was living here back on 9/11 and must confess that I was touched by the sincere outpouring of concern and emotion, not just for me and my family but for America as a nation, from ordinary British people in the days following 9/11. I still remember, on the Saturday after 9/11, driving around Surrey and being struck by the number of American flags I saw. (Even British flags are generally few and far between.) I hope and expect to see the same embrace from Americans towards Britain in the wake of today's events. They deserve it.

On the attacks themselves, my first reaction is that if the death toll (37 at the time of writing) remains this low, it is a remarkable result. Four bombs on public transport during rush hour...I would have expected a much higher toll. Looking at the picture of what remains of the double-decker bus, I find it amazing that only 2 people were killed, as the BBC is now saying. Having said that, there are over 700 non-fatal injuries, many of which seem likely to be pretty traumatic (eg loss of limbs). That is no small number.

Tony Blair gave a good strong speech tonight at about 5:30, after leaving the G8 meeting in Scotland. On second thought, I think my earlier criticism of his reaction in Scotland was a bit harsh. His was an unscripted, impromptu reaction to a horrible event, and probably deserved to be taken without having his words so scrutinized.

I listened to David Davis (Conservative MP) on the radio on my way home, and he was very good. When the BBC presenter tried to suggest perhaps these attacks were the predictable result of Britain's stance on Iraq, Davis shut him down immediately, insisting that blame for the attacks lie directly on the shoulders of the people who target innocent people, not on British policy. David was also good in parlaiment, properly offering the full and unqualified support of his party to the government.

Saddam apologist George Galloway, on the other hand, was his usual disgusting self, blaming - who else? - America. Minister Adam Ingram got it about right in suggesting that Galloway was "dipping his poisonous tongue in a pool of blood".

I am equally unimpressed with the reaction of so-called Muslim leaders. The BBC headlines its story "Muslim leaders join condemnation", but in fact they seem primarily motivated by concern for the "Muslim community" rather than for Britain itself.

Muslim leaders have condemned the attacks on London and said they fear their communities could now fall prey to vigilante attacks.

Muslim Association of Britain president Ahmed Sheikh said the attacks would make the Muslim community less safe...He said the police should consider extra protection for mosques and Islamic schools

I suspect the "Muslim community" will find itself a lot safer when "leaders" like Sheikh start focusing their concern on how the attacks make the British community less safe. Sir Iabal Sacranie struck a more sensible note:

"We are simply appalled and want to express our deepest condolences to the families.

"These terrorists, these evil people want to demoralise us as a nation and divide us.

"All of must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down."

I can only hope the "Muslim community" takes these words to heart. Their help in hunting down the terrorists would most certainly be welcome.

An interesting note...New York's 9/11 mayor Rudy Giuliani happened to be in London, and indeed right near Liverpool Street when the first attack occurred today. I am watching him at this very moment being his usual, eloquent self on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman.

It's been a long day. Thanks again for all the concern from everyone. And break out your British flags.

Note: Ten minutes on after Giuliani, Tony Benn just said on the BBC that "of course" Bush had planned on invading Iraq prior to 9/11. Jeremy Paxman let the claim stand without comment. This is one reason why I find the BBC such an voice to loons like Benn without objection.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only hope the "Muslim community" takes these words to heart. Their help in hunting down the terrorists would most certainly be welcome.

Yes that is the key & something in which I think they have been found wanting.
They allow "radical" clerics to hold court in the their mosques where impressionable youth is recruited to jihad.
Secondly Muslim leaders have never done anything as extreme as they were prepared to do to Rushdie & declare terrorists to be apostate.

Jeremy Paxman let the claim stand without comment

I think I did hear a typical Paxman sigh (off camera).

12:32 AM  
Anonymous psojka said...

Thoughts and prayers from the U.S. on this most terrible of days. While we all consciously know that this heinousness called terrorism is not about to stop, it is extraordinarily painful to watch the evidence of its existence and power in London today. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.

I was in D.C. on 7/3/05, and walking near the Iwo Jima Memorial (in Arlington, actually). I passed two Middle Eastern men, at the trunk of a car, one man handing some package into (or out of) the trunk to the other man. I glanced back over my shoulder and walked more slowly as I passed them. With the thousands of people expected there the next night for fireworks, I couldn't help but wonder, "What if...?" Call me a "racial profiler" or whatever, but how can we not have these thoughts after today?

2:10 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Before giving Sir Iabal Sacranie a pass, it's worth remembering what he said in regards to the religious hate law Britain is trying to pass.

'There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist. This is deeply offensive. Saying Muslims are terrorists would be covered by this provision'.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous tired & excitable said...

The death-wish of the deluded Brit political and media elites is a major factor here, as picked up by Mark Steyn in today's Telegraph:

What happens in the days ahead will depend largely on whether the British people finally decide they've had enough. Sadly, appalling to say, I don't think we're there yet: there simply weren't enough deaths.

It may take a mushroom cloud over Hyde Park. Meanwhile, I fear the sheep will continue to bleat. Prepare for another round of platitudes and reports.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Mark T said...

Don't bame Paxman, the question is, what editorial policy at the BBC decided to have Tony Benn on at all. he is as precitable as he is wrong. This was an editorial decision make no mistake.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous popapat said...

..the thought of flying the British Flag hadn't occured to me,until now...I DO have one and I WILL fly it.


4:34 AM  
Anonymous JohninLondon said...

Mark T

You are exactly right. The BBC keeps giving airtime to loonies like Benn, Galloway and even Tariq Ali. These are deliberate editorial decisions. Meanwhile the nonsense from the unholy alliance of the Socialist Workers Party and the Hamas-approving Muslim Association of Britain gets free rein on the bloated BBC website.

The BBC is increasingly a fifth-column in our midst. Which we are forced by law on pain of imprisonment to pay for.

6:56 PM  

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