7/7...Some personal observations
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.
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:
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 can only hope the "Muslim community" takes these words to heart. Their help in hunting down the terrorists would most certainly be welcome.
"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."
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 atrocity...giving voice to loons like Benn without objection.