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Sunday, 4 June 2017

No Safe Haven

I sit down to write this blog entry at seven o'clock on a bright and tranquil Sunday morning. But I am acutely aware that I am exactly one mile from Tower Bridge, where the latest reported terrorist incident occurred. When I went to bed last night, it was being reported that all three killers had themselves been shot by the police; within half an hour of the first call being made to the emergency services.

The assailants, who had been armed with knives, had apparently said; in English: "This is for Allah!" as they stabbed people at random.

Although my flat is on the north bank of the Thames, many of my friends and neighbours regularly go to Borough High Street and Borough Market [as I do]; it is an easily accessible place for dining and shopping. It is quite likely that in the coming days I will learn that someone I know is a victim of the incident; but now it is most important to give consideration to all the people who were victims of the attack and to their families.

It is usual to say - and to mean - after such incidents that 'we are not afraid', 'we will not be intimidated'. Yet there will be an intensification of the admonitions to be on our guard and to report anything suspicious. The pressure on the police will intensify, and this pathetic government will try to cut some other aspect of public spending to pay for some increase in the security services.

It is likely that shoddy plans to reduce still further the number of soldiers and sailors and airforce personnel will be hardened to cover some of the funding gap; thus ensuring that the UK is even less likely to be able contribute sufficiently to the growing threats to peace and security around the world.

The current General Election is increasingly being recognised as a surreal event. The Conservatives have almost no policies, relying on the silly notion that the nation can be made to trust the prime minister to dream up policies that she has not yet enunciated, once she is returned to power. Meanwhile Mrs May is making an appeal to 'hard-working families' to support her, despite the fact that the social and community services around them have savagely been cut: and more cuts are promised. The Conservatives have abandoned their usual attempt to woo 'the business community', despite the fact that they are again generously being supported by backers who believe that the Tories are still a less-bad option than the Labour Party.

Mrs May has returned to Downing Street to be able to appear 'prime ministerial' as she makes statements of the usual vacuity and chairs a meeting of the COBRA committee that has command of no additional resources with which to enhance the security of the country.

The paradox of the election is that Labour's plans to re-energise the economy could produce resources both to strengthen industry and to fund more resources for the security services and the police. Only by investing in the growth of the economy can our society secure its future. For centuries, the state has been a major investor; often through militarily investment, but also in the nationalised industries when the UK had a functioning 'mixed economy': that was not a golden age, but it was infinitely more comfortable for hard-working families than is Mrs May's depressing environment of cuts and dissimulation.

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