Just in case you were thinking whether or not to be “cowed” following the latest islamic fascist atrocity in Berlin, reassurance arrives from the prime minister, Theresa May. She says: “It is important, I think, that we send a very clear message that we will not be cowed by the terrorists – that we will carry on with our lives as usual. The security services and the police are working day in and day out to keep us safe. They are often unsung heroes but they are actually doing a very good job. However, they have to be vigilant all the time and we should be very grateful for the work they do.” What a woman. What a message.
In order to show those cowardly murderers what I think of them, my message is quite simple: I’m off for a few pints. That, I expect, will show the friends of Mohammed Emwazi that I mean business and have them quaking on the streets of Raqqa, as they throw another gay man from a high building or gang rape a schoolgirl. If my message doesn’t scare the shit out of them, what will?
The most surprising aspect to Mrs Mayhem’s “very clear message” is her grudging admittance that the “security services and police are…actually doing a very good job.” Phew, that’s a relief. They’re actually doing a very good job, with the unsaid “despite what I may have told you to the contrary.” Well, yes. They’re doing a brilliant job even more brilliantly because you, prime minister (still as weird to say this as it is to refer to Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition: some things should not happen) have cut their numbers to the bone as well as destroying their morale by constantly attacking them.
May couldn’t really have said anything else. She couldn’t have come out and said, “We should be bricking it now. I’d advise anyone to stay at home and order their presents from Amazon and beer from the local corner shop (not an Asian one), but don’t answer the door is someone who looks like a Muslim drives a van up your road. He could be the enemy of the people. Emily Thornberry certainly thinks so.” Talking in banalities is part of the prime minister’s uniform and no one is as banal as Mrs May.
The BBC asks what I assume to be a rhetorical question by asking whether the police can protect Christmas crowds. What do you suppose is the right answer for that? If some religious fanatic decides to hijack a large truck, or to blow himself up in a large crowd, the answer is no. Of course it’s no. The police have to be lucky every single time. Terrorists need to get lucky once.
Am I “cowed”? No, not really. I am apprehensive about travelling into Bristol on a packed train and then drinking in a crowded pub? Not really and once the beer starts kicking in, I won’t give a toss. Not really actually means, that I will think about it, just as I thought of the Bataclan when, last week, I went to see Kula Shaker at the 02 academy and found myself searched on the way in. I didn’t think of not going, though.
And I’m going to carry on with my life as usual. What else can I do? We’ve got this to contend with for the rest of our lives now and it will get worse before it gets even worse.
I am very grateful for the work carried out by the police and security services and unlike Mrs May I haven’t spent much of my career attacking them, cutting their numbers and worsening their conditions. I certainly think they’ll do more to protect me than another cliche spouting here today, gone tomorrow politician.