Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Manchester Arena suicide bombing

I had turned on the BBC News Channel at 11 o'clock last night. News was already coming through of a loud bang at the end of Ariana Grande's concert in the Manchester Arena. Mobile phone footage from inside the auditorium shown by the BBC did not identify the source or nature of the explosion. There appeared to be no material damage. It was natural to assume that it had any one of a dozen causes. In view of the BBC's tendency over recent years to follow the popular press in sensationalising events and the reports becoming repetitive, I turned off the TV and switched to clearing up outstanding matters on the Internet. Thus my earlier posting may seem insensitive. I can only plead ignorance.

At 3:10 something woke me up. Checking on the TV news again, the full horror was brought home to me. Memories of Arndale were aroused - on that occasion, nobody was killed. Last night, though the physical destruction was less, the personal desolation was much worse. I believe the timing was deliberate, twenty-one years after Arndale, and probably advanced three weeks because of the snap election and taking advantage of a concert attracting a young audience making the atrocity more appalling. I deeply sympathise with the families and friends of those killed and seriously injured last night. They would have included not only young people themselves but also parents waiting in the foyer to pick up their children. My thoughts also go out to the performer herself, not much older than most of her audience, who must be affected.

Then the reactions on Facebook started coming in as friends woke up to the appalling news. Public political campaigning has by common consent been suspended, and no doubt many concerts and other public events. It is important, though, that this cessation out of respect is only temporary, or the terrorist will have won.

Thoughts of South Wales Police will turn to extra security for the Champions League final on 3rd June. Up to now, Cardiff has been regarded as a happy and welcoming venue for sporting finals, with unobtrusive policing. Regrettably, with the new terrorist tactic of attacking people outside a popular venue after an event, the security net will have to be thrown wider and probably inconvenience people not involved in the sport at all. I trust that people will understand and support the police.

I wrote that political campaigning has been suspended. That is not completely true. One popular newspaper, sinking below even the level of previous editors Kelvin Mackenzie and Piers Morgan, has sought to blame Jeremy Corbyn for causing last night's bombing by being soft on terrorism. All political leaders should condemn this gutter journalism.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

Just one afterthought: it seems I was right about the timing, but not about the event the terrorist cell was commemorating. Young Lee Rigby was murdered on a street in Woolwich on 22nd May 2013.