Given the events on Monday the following may not be popular, people will accuse me of trying to politicise the tragedy. Well I'm not, it doesn't matter which party is in charge at the moment, I am talking about the GOVERNMENT response, not the Tory response, or the Labour response.
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT RESPONSE.
After the tragic events on Monday I have been watching the UKs response, the city of Manchester has been mourning but more importantly giving an almighty FUCK YOU to the terrorists by carrying on as normal (or at least as much as possible).
But the response from the Government has, to me, had all the hallmarks of weakness and fear.
Shutting down the Election.
On Tuesday, after the attack and as the news was spreading and the impact was becoming known the Prime Minister declared there would be a suspension of campaigning for the Election.
Stopping campaigning for a single day to allow people to mourn is perfectly acceptable, and necessary, allowing people to discuss the event without politics getting in the way. Very measured and reasonable response to the terrible events.
But we have gone beyond that, we have an indefinite suspension of the election. The United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland is choosing it's future, May or Corbyn, Tory or Labour. Two manifesto's, two futures and we are to pick between them in three weeks, which, given the state of things and the nature of the two parties means we are in fact voting for the next ten or twenty years of our future.
Our future, our election. On hold. The Terrorists have stopped our election dead and by doing so we have sent them the message that they can do it again and again. We have sent them a sign, that we are weak and that they can control us.
They have been able to shut down our ELECTION, for days, for a week? People are talking about not starting the election again until the weekend at the earliest. So then what? Another bomb in a week's time to shut down our election again?
What we are doing is showing that the terrorists are winning becasue we are changing our society in response to their actions, we are stopping something as vital as our general election becasue of them.
We are telling them that we are weak and afraid, we are telling them that they are in control.
We are inviting more bombs, because we are showing the world that bombing us works!
The deployment of soldiers to the streets.
As I write this the TV channels are covering the first deployment of troops onto the streets of London. Groups of them are being briefed, some of them are on TV walking alongside police officers. Armed police officers, with automatic weapons, pistols, truncheons, radios, stab resistant armour, walking alongside squadies in camo shirts, sleeves rolled up and holding assault rifles.
I mention the equipment for several reasons. Firstly the troops that have been seen so far do not appear to have radios, so if something goes wrong these soldiers are out of contact with any higher authorities.
Secondly the soldiers have assault rifles, very useful engaging a hostile armed force at some distance, not so useful when engaging targets close by in the middle of a crowd. Also no sidearm's, regular soldiers don't carry them which means they have no other option than to fire those assault rifles.
Next we have training. Armed police, the response teams, the protection units, all of these are extensively and exhaustively trained in the use of firearms in a policing role. Target selection in crowded streets, fire control, when to fire and when not to, detailed rules of engagement and more.
The British army trains its soldiers to fight against an enemy, in the dust of the middle east most recently, they are trained to handle many situations, to use many weapons, to utilise many battlefield tactics.
But how well are they trained in armed policing roles?
Beyond these questions we have troops being put onto the streets as a very clear sign that the police are not considered sufficient on their own to ensure security. We have thousands of armed police, then we have the special response teams, then we have the diplomatic protection units, the nuclear police and other units. But they are not enough to protect us, after years of cuts, 20,000 police officers lost and at the first terrorist attack in years, we send in the troops.
Again this, to me, sends a message. Our police are not up to protecting us when there is a significant risk of a terror attack. That a bomb attack on the UK, tragic and terrible as it has been, so frightens the government that the army must be deployed.
We live in a time when the soldiers guarding our royal palaces must have armed police to protect them and now the police guarding our important buildings must have soldiers to protect them.
A fine show, brave British troops standing guard over us.
But the message that sends has four more words in it, BECAUSE THE POLICE CANNOT !
Stopping all tours and visits to the Houses of Parliament and other such sites.
We live in an age when terrorism is a real and constant threat. While we are not France we still face such threats. We are, after all. constantly told that our safety is at risk unless our freedoms are taken away, that it is necessary for our online privacy to be stripped away in order to root out the terrorists.
Anyone who visits London quickly becomes used to the armed police at the underground stations, outside every government building and patrolling certain areas. We have become used to walking through or past metal detectors, a visit to an airport shows you the security measures that are now everyday things.
We watch on TV the gates, the fences, the barriers designed to stop vehicles that now surround our important buildings and the metal detectors and bag searches that come as part of the routine of visiting some places.
Which makes the suspension of visits to a number of areas questionable.
There is a treat, a bomb has exploded, children, CHILDREN, have been murdered and there is the risk of another attack.
But shutting down access to government buildings, what message does that send.
There is now a risk of a bomb so we are closing the sites.
So does that mean the security of those sites isn't good enough to protect them? If the security isn't good enough when there is a risk of a bomb then is certainly wasn't good enough last week or last month. Shutting the sites sends a clear message. It says we need to keep people out because we can't protect the site if we let people in.
It says OUR SECURITY ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH TO PROTECT THE SITE IF WE LET PEOPLE IN !
Talking heads are talking about measured response, about contingency plans, about freeing up police to secure other areas by replacing them with troops.
Year after year of taking police off the streets and using ever more intrusive digital monitoring and now, when something actually happens, we need to reinforce the police with soldiers because we don't have enough police to deal with a bomb. So what happens if next time it is two bombs, or three.
We look weak, we look as if we are reacting not acting, we look as if we are not in control of the situation. That makes the likelihood of the next bomb more certain. Because we look weak where it counts, on the streets.
I'm not going to go into the reasons behind a lot of the terror threats that face us, or of the enemies who hate us. Go read some of my previous posts.
Instead I want to focus purely on our response as a nation. The government's response to this terrorist attack. And it makes us look weak and vulnerable.
I don't want to live in a police state, I argue often enough against our governments endless march toward a digital police state with 1984 like monitoring and intrusion in to our lives online. I don't want to be subject to random checks on every street corner if I go to the town.
People talking about tanks on the streets, what exactly is that going to achieve other than to make us look even more afraid. The police deploying armoured vehicles, what are they going to do. In case anyone missed the detail, those armoured police vehicles protect the people inside, not the general public outside. Soldiers on the streets, armoured vehicles parked at crossroads, like some third world hell hole where the police have lost control.
These things are not needed. What we need is police in the communities, officers who know and speak to the locals, the people who know the area, know the faces, police who the locals know and talk to. Exactly the sort of police who will be told by concerned families, friends and neighbours that someone has started talking about supporting terrorists and hating the UK.
What we don't want is to change our society in response to terror attacks, because that is the whole point of the terrorist. To force us to change through violence.
And we have changed. Our general election suspended until further notice, that's a pretty bloody big change that the terrorists have forced on us. They are now dictating when and how we hold our election. That's how weak our nation is. And if we look that weak they will bomb us again, and again, because we are weak and will give in and change our society in response to terror.
What message are we sending to the world, to the terrorists who are planning the next bomb.
See how cowardly the British are, how they call their soldiers to protect them.
The British government, trembling in fear, so afraid they will not allow their own people near them.
The British leader, calls upon Britain to show it's spirit then runs and hides behind armed guards.
Great and mighty Britain, one bomb and we control them, ten bombs and they will beg for mercy.
You want some spirit, tell the Terrorists to go FUCK THEMSELVES. don't let them change us, don't let them make us change. Yes people have died, children have been murdered, but we go on, we keep going. We go on with our lives, we go to work or to the shops, we enjoy a show, we let the security people look in our bags then go enjoy the music. But we don't close down the show forever, we don't shut down our society.
We show strength, not weakness, we show them one bomb or ten won't stop us, we give them no sign that the bombs are changing us. We mourn and we move on, let the police investigate and find the motherless bastards behind murdering children, but in the mean time we continue with our lives.
WE DON'T LET THE FUCKING TERRORISTS CONTROL US.