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First anniversary of the 7th July bombings

In a fit of staggering originality, a few thoughts and anecdotes about the bombings: I'm well away from the centre of town where I am, but a shortish walk away from one of the main London railway stations, so where I am is probably a B-list target. Anyway, when the bombs went off last year, I can't say I was hugely surprised, as along with an awful lot of Londoners I'd regarded it as a near inevitability. Having unrestricted access to e-mail, internet etc, I ended up being something of an information clearing house for less connected friends.

A day or so before a former boss had offered free tickets for a charity ball at the Dorchester happening on the 7th, and this made me all the more determined to attend. Particularly as my friend the organiser was making ever more desperate pleas as corporate attendees (AIB - shame on you) were dropping out. Clapham, where I met up with my then girlfriend for preliminary drinkies, was atypically subdued. Trains going into town were predictably empty, and Southern didn't exacly cover themselves in glory by holding us outside Victoria for an age without bothering to tell us why. The tube, buses etc were down at Victoria, but the stroll across town wasn't unpleasant as it was so empty compared to usual. Approaching Buck House from Buckingham Palace Road I allowed myself to feel vaguely smug that security was no more extensive than the usual guardsmen. However, once on Constitution Hill I could see there were rather a lot of figures in olive drab/camo miling around.

The turn out at the ball was really rather poor, and my normally unflappable ex-boss/ friend was clearly frazzled (by her standards), as this was the centrepiece of her fund raising year and it looked to be going to hell in a handcart. Fortunately one of the charity's benefactors agreed to underwrite a repeat later in the year. Prince Edward was supposed to make a speech, but he bottled it too. Conversation around the table was more than a little bomb-centric, and I fear that we all felt a little too filled with the Blitz spirit. The trip home was similarly eerie.

Do I think there will be more homicide bombers targeting London? Yes. Am I particularly anxious? Not really. The efforts of the Republicans were an ever present threat during the 80s and earlier, and I've been caught up in the odd bomb scare before. For me the key difference between the Irish Republicans and the current crop of fanatics is that the former were rarely if ever intent on a massacre, but rather to grab headlines and engage in propaganda by deed.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reckons London is in denial, and here's something I bookmarked this time last year, Nosemonkey's live blog.


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Blogger barbara worth said... 4:32 pm

I don't think London is in denial.

I imagine that most thinking people would agree with you that further bombings are inevitable. There is a fairly limited amount one can do to prevent them on an open access service like the Tube.

So we have a choice of working ourselves up about it or accepting it as a hazard of life. Given that working ourselves up will change nothing- and may worsen relationships between Moslems and non-Moslems- a certain amount of sang-froid seems sensible.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:12 pm

I think that threat is the price you pay for living in a high profile city like London, New York, Madrid, and probably one of these days, Paris, as there will always be malcontents who want to get their names / cause in the paper, one way or another.

I found the Warrigton and Manchester bombs infinitely more unnerving than the PIRA bombs in London, as they were, to me, so unexpected.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 5:27 pm

I found the sentimentality and mawkishness of the anniversary repulsive. When did this bulldog breed become so passive? Where is the rage?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:42 pm

I'm not sure that we really do rage, it isn't really in our nature. At our best, we do steely determination, although there is also a tendency to acquiesce.

There was a joke e-mail doing the rounds last July about security alert levels across Europe, with this place characterised thus:

Finally here in UK we've gone from "pretend nothing's happening" to "make another cup of tea". Our higher levels are "chin-up and remain cheerful" and "win".

It might not be strictly true, but it is how we like to think of ourselves  

Anonymous Verity said... 10:01 pm

Our gracious host said: "It might not be strictly true, but it is how we like to think of ourselves."

Yes, and I think I'm Marie of Romania. So what?

I disagree profounding with Barbara Worth whose post, I feel, is defeatist. She writes: "Given that working ourselves up will change nothing- and may worsen relationships between Moslems and non-Moslems- a certain amount of sang-froid ...".

I think we should work ourselves up a great deal more and cease being so passive about Muslim aggression in our country. And in a relationship between 2m Muslim immigrant families in "Muslim communities" and 58m British and integrated immigrants, I believe we are the ones who own the country and who call the tune.

An articulation of steelier resolve would not go amiss.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:55 pm

I do like a bit of Dorothy Parker....  

Anonymous Verity said... 2:03 am

Croydonian - I haven't said anything Parkeresque yet.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 7:57 am

I thought you were quoting this:

"Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania".  

Blogger barbara worth said... 9:22 am

Love is indeed a thing that can never go wrong- it is fear that gets us into big trouble, in personal relationships and community ones.


Anonymous Verity said... 12:07 pm

Croydonian, you are, of course, correct. The authorship had slipped my mind, although it shouldn't have. I don't know that anyone rivalled her for cynicism. (Parker, that is. I have no idea about the temprament of Marie of Roumania.)  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:17 pm

Verity - all very true. There seems to be no end to her bon mots, and there are few days when I don't find myself asking, in indirect hommage 'What fresh hell is this?'  

Anonymous Verity said... 2:53 pm

She named her canary Onan "because he spills his seed upon the ground."

When someone said, at a Hallowe'en party, "They're ducking for apples," Parker said, "There, but for a typographical error, is the story of my life."  

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