Published 09 July, 2005
I think people in England have been confused, scared and distracted since Thatcher first kicked welly. It took a pair of gobby Irish shites, a successful Olympic bid and 4 bombs to bring Britain back to its senses and restore its confidence.
The world expects wailing but instead they get calm. Public displays of emotion are not British - the way of things here in a crisis is to straighten your shoulders and make yourself useful. And people were very useful - offering help instead of running for cover.
We're back to the times of suspicion. In the 80s a mate of mine travelled to London, first time out of Ireland, and got rather drunk en route, as you do, it can be a long and emotional journey. Destination Kilburn, he got a bit dozy waiting for the tube and, in his confusion getting on the train, forgot a bag of precious music tapes - did I mention he was a musician and a mighty good spoon player?
Shortly after his arrival at base, sans music, the police were at the door and arrested the lot of them. They had carried out a controlled explosion in the tube station and were a mite annoyed - so was my mate, his precious, unique store of Irish music was dust.
My mate was no threat to anyone but himself perhaps, and left London, disillusioned, as quickly as he had come, sad lesson learnt. Being Irish and living in London in the times of the Harrod bombing, the Canary wharf bombing - you are not the most popular person in the boozer. You have to modify your tones, whisper at times, in case your accent might give offence or draw the wrong attention.
I cannot imagine how difficult it is for London's Muslim communities this week - victims like the rest of us but with the harsh, hostile glare of public suspicion hanging over them. Separated from the local community by social and political events that are not of their design or desire. Pity the parents grieving their children, and the children grieving their parents.
This vicious and lamentable assault struck at some of the centres of the Islamic community in London - in Aldgate and Edgeware Road - the former is a focal point for the poor, and the ultra-rich Arabs congregate aroung the Edgeware Road, just a stretch up the road from Park Lane and Marble Arch. Whoever did this thing did not care for poor or rich, Islamic or no.
What does this tell us about our enemy I ask. Not a lot is my non-forensic, non-police-like response - haven't got a notion. But I hope the police have. I hope the police catch these plonkers before ordinary people do. I hope they get the evidence together to stitch them up good time.
However, top priority is to recover the bodies that are still trapped - bugger the forensics. If my kid or next-door-neighbour was missing, I would care less for forensic evidence and prefer to dig in and be done with it. Are the forensic teams hampering recovery or am I just too cynical for words?
As time goes by, Kings X becomes our Ground Zero. We've always had the capacity to f**k it up ourselves, with stray cigarette stubs and the like. What blows it for me is the people/bodies are still trapped. Fix it now, please.