I have to agree with the following statement:
“In my opinion, much of the guilt lies on the current leadership of the European Union, which is totally incompetent, bureaucratic, causing the alienation of European citizens from European institutions… We do not need censorship, we do not need an ideological police, we do not need a new press and information office if we are to continue living in a free and democratic society…” — Miloš Zaman, 2016.
This way of life called “normal” may be true for politicians – but they don’t have to live among them. Just what part of normal would you call this?
The first thing they need to do is vote in a new mayor. The politicians will feel differently when they plant a bomb in Parliament and someone is injured. A horse of a different color will then ride in.
UK: Going about Our “Normal” Lives?
by Douglas Murray
December 26, 2017 at 5:00 am
One of the most striking images from the night of the London Borough Market terror attack was of drinkers being marched out of the Market under police escort with their hands on their heads. The British public at that point looked not like stoical, pugnacious heroes, but like a defeated army being marched into captivity.
Contrary to all our public statements, we have become terrorised, just as the terrorists want.
It is a glimpse into the soul of a city; and like all such ugly glimpses, we will turn away from looking at it, rather than considering it and wondering what it truly suggests.
Whenever Britain suffers a terrorist attack — and it has suffered four Islamist attacks this year alone — the British public responds the same way.
Twelve years ago, when four suicide bombers detonated homemade bombs on the London underground and on a red-top bus in central London, there was much talk of “Blitz spirit”. After 7/7, the media erupted with boasts of wartime echoes. Some people who lived in London noticed a rather different atmosphere. Of course people “got on with their lives” (what else could they do?) but in the days and weeks after the attacks it was not really “business as usual”. Especially not after another four suicide bombers went onto the tube a fortnight later, on July 21, and attempted to repeat the exercise.
Fortunately, on that occasion the bombs failed to detonate. But during the period that ensued, it was certainly easier than usual to get a seat on the London Underground.
Of course, political leaders relish the opportunity to accentuate and exaggerate these echoes. If the British public are the citizens of London in the Blitz, then the politicians are Winston Churchill. After attacks like the 2013 daytime slaughter of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of London, then-Prime Minister David Cameron stressed from the steps of Downing Street that “One of the best ways of defeating terrorism is to go about our normal lives. And that is what we shall all do.” These themes are thought to play deep to the spirit of the British people.
But the more this conspicuous, self-conscious egging-on of such attitudes is stressed, the thinner it seems to get. In March, after Khalid Masood ploughed a car across Westminster Bridge, mowing down locals and tourists, and crashed the car and stabbed policeman Keith Palmer to death inside the gates of the Palace of Westminster, one prominent British journalist took to the pages of the New York Times to pour out the clichés.
“By Thursday morning, London was, if not quite back to normal, then certainly back in business. As I traveled through the south of the city, up to Chelsea and later over to King’s Cross, Londoners really were going about their lives as on any other day.
“This behavior reflects something deeper than conscious defiance, I think. It would simply not occur to the 8.6 million citizens of this megalopolis to allow one man to send them into hiding. As they say in the East End, you’re having a laugh, aren’t you?”
One wonders when the author last went into an East End pub to have a pint, and whether he honestly believes such honest cockneys still reside there? Nevertheless, he went to boast of the “stoicism” and “ancestral pride” that still exists there and to insist that, “The only way to proceed is — in the much-loved British slogan — to keep calm and carry on.”
Quite why this spirit is meant to reside in the bones of a city in which most of its current residents (according to the last census) have arrived in the decades since the Second World War is never clear.
Similar clichés spilled out after the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena in May. They came out yet again after the London Bridge attack in June. Yet one of the most striking images from that night was of drinkers in Borough Market, where the terrorists finished their assault, being marched out of the Market under police escort with their hands on their heads. The British public at that point, at any rate, looked not like stoical, pugnacious heroes, but like a defeated army being marched into captivity. Still the clichés continued. The day after the attack, in her address to the nation, Prime Minister Theresa May assured the public that “Our response must be as it has always been when we have been confronted by violence. We must come together, we must pull together.”
So it is interesting to consider, beneath all the talk of business as usual, and Blitz spirit, and keeping calm and carrying on, what, in fact, are the British public actually feeling?
Last month provided a sobering demonstration.
Early in the evening on Friday, November 24 there were reports of shots having been fired at Oxford Circus station. A crowd stampede occurred, with people fleeing in terror down Oxford Street and other parts of one of London’s busiest shopping areas. Terrified crowds barricaded themselves into local shops. A celebrity singer and television presenter called Olly Murs tweeted to his millions of followers that he was in Selfridges department store. “F**k everyone get out of Selfridges now gun shots!! I’m inside.” That was his first unwise tweet, followed up shortly after with, “Really not sure what’s happened! I’m in the back office… but people screaming and running towards exits!”
The police announced that they were responding to events as though they were a terrorist incident. Social media and some early national media reports said that not only gunshots had been heard but that a vehicle had ploughed into pedestrians on Oxford Street and that there were bodies and blood everywhere.
Within an hour, however, all this turned out to be nonsense. Not only had there been no vehicular attack — there had been no gunmen. Reports that the incident may have been sparked by a gang fight rather than a terrorist attack were themselves later quashed. The next day two men who thought they might have been responsible for the panic voluntarily came into a police station and were released without charge. The only casualties from the incident were 16 people injured, one seriously, as a cause of the mass stampede out of Oxford Circus station and through the neighbouring area.
Incidents like this one in London last month easily flow by in the news cycle, and are easily forgotten. They will not be referred to in the speeches of any politician and they immediately fell away from even the “News in Brief” sections of the nation’s media. But they are in fact extremely telling. They suggest that rather than being this persistently stoical, unbending and resilient people, the citizens of London have absorbed the lessons of the terror attacks of the last year and the terror attacks across Europe that have occurred in the years preceding them, in Paris and elsewhere. Contrary to all our public statements, we have become terrorised, just as the terrorists want. So much so that a minor altercation on an average evening can lead to a mass panic, a crowd stampede, and terrified public figures bleating to their followers about wholly imagined horrors. It is a glimpse into the soul of a city. And like all such ugly glimpses, we will turn away from looking at it, rather than consider it and wondering what it truly suggests.
Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest book, an international best-seller, is “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.”
Let’s get real. Of course people panic when it looks like violence is going on around them. And I don’t think attitudes have eroded, since the famous British resilience was never a fact on the present, rather a legend that would be told afterwards. I was one of the people affected by the attacks of 7/7, and I was sort of panicking, not because of the attacks, that didn’t affect me directly, but because it became perfectly unclear at what time I’d manage to arrive at home. My colleagues were understanding, not telling me to do the stiff upper lip. The situation is unchanged: people panic in the present, they tell the legend of resilience when it’s all over and they know they are safe. And it can keep going on like that pretty much forever, unless terror attacks become so much more frequent that the average person, at least in some neighbourhoods, make it part of their everyday precautions doing something “in case of a terror attack”. Until that sort of thing starts happening, the situation will remain the same.
Douglas, I wonder if you could explain a recent UK video I just saw. Took place in Scotland which I hear is still part of the UK. A soccer stadium filled with hundreds of hearty Scots waving the Palestinian flag. Scots supporting Palestinian Islamists during a football game? Appeared a bit odd to me.
Bulldog Drummond • Dec 26, 2017 at 18:57
I worked in London through much of the terror campaign of the IRA ; I was at times diverted down side streets by police inspecting a suspect vehicle, held up by police in the crowds of shoppers of Oxford Street behind tape and cones while police cleared a suspected area of a reported threat and” cleared the street” as ordered by police responding to an anonymous ‘phone call.
No one panicked, looked panicked or terrified or terrorized. People carried on, uncomplaining. But that was 45 years ago and most of the people in a still mainly mono culture London were alive during the war, born in the war years or shortly after. We were brought up and educated in the shadow of the solid and unexcitable Victorian age which still exerted much influence during the years between the 1920s and early 1970s, despite ‘swinging London” and Socialist governments.
But those people in the main are no more or are old and no longer use the streets of London or ride the tubes and buses of the metropolis in their day to day work. The new Londoners, the new British people, are not the old generation, do not act like them, think like them or have the same sense of self control and fortitude.
The men and women and children who lived through the blitz were a different breed; look to find them no more in the modern “UK”
A second ‘stampede’ on Oxford Street today 26th December 2017. Why should native British people not feel petrified? The Muslims march through our capitol city with placards stating that they will behead us, defended by the British state from us – the victims! The Muslims terrorists have already suspended UK law, subverted the state and enslaved young white girls by the thousand, running a white slave trade with impunity in our own country.
People going about their normal lives is equal to surrender. Criminals and terrorists should be identified, confronted, and defeated — that is the “Blitz spirit”. The entire governmental and legal structure has been perverted until it’s impossible to identify the problem, let alone do anything about it.
First, Islam must be seen for the problem that it is, the motivation for nearly all terrorist acts, and a great deal of crime. All non-citizen Muslims who are not completely self-supporting, or are suspected of sympathies toward terrorism or illegal actions, should be deported (and naturalized citizens stripped of citizenship and deported). If mosques and Islamic schools are to be allowed at all, what they teach should be closely monitored, and if they advocate violent, or illegal actions, they should be shut down, preachers and teachers arrested, and their assets confiscated. Muslims (or any other immigrants) who aren’t peaceful and productive should not be tolerated.
Next, the system has to be changed so that people have some practical means of defending themselves against criminals and terrorists. As things are today, anyone using force to defend their life, or property, is more likely to go to prison than their attacker. This has to change, and some provision should be made to allow law-abiding citizens to own and carry arms for their defense. Police can’t be everywhere, and in most cases the killing and injury is usually over before they arrive — an armed citizen on the spot would at least have the possibility of stopping an attack, or reducing the number of dead and wounded. All police, all the time, should be armed — they can do nothing to defend the public, if they can’t defend themselves. Problems must be dealt with, and the legal structure changed so that they can be dealt with — pretending they don’t exist is not a solution.
Rather difficult to deal with a low-level WAR if your Authorities are simply too compromised, infiltrated by a very well organized Fifth Column & too terrified to even NAME the Enemy or Talk about the real threat!
The Police Know they are in a war & they know that because of COWARDICE & COLLUSION they are losing rapidly!
All thanks to the Cowards in the House of Cowards & the Leftist in both Labor & Conservative Parties!
I would love to see a few of the top political powers in GB tied up to a wall and forced to admit that they are traitors, cowards, sell-outs who have betrayed everything that their populace struggled and died for in the last 5000 years or so. Who do they think they’re kidding? This should be on every media available, and then repeated, using some of the suitable EU members the same way.
Brits are still forehead-knucklingly submissive to authority, the perfect Dhimmis.
Cowardice trumped-up as “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” is pathetic, not laudatory.
Spot on Douglas! High time that the truth was told. Were a maniac like Hitler to again threaten us, we would simply quiver in fear and surrender. Do hope the politicians are pleased with this, they should be, having deliberately orchestrating it with their stupid ideas on diversity and multiculturalism, importing oddballs from around the world to come and live amongst us, whilst systematically destroying a culture that took 2000 years to create.
Went for a Christmas drink with a dear old pal of mine yesterday, like me he had spent his school days itching to change the blue school uniform for khaki, and begin kicking the living shit out of the square heads. Alas current media propaganda has removed from his brain the carpet bombing of his native birth place – the east end of London, let alone the two million who have fled London this past ten years rather than reside with the odd balls who respective governments have invited to come and live there!
There are other aspects as well. You Londoners now have a Muslim mayor whose response to the Muslim terrorists is to demand that May rescind the invitation to Trump to come visit merry old England. May herself will go down in history as another simpering idiot, just like Merkel and Macron. The three baby M’s.
I once considered moving to Britain – or to Canada, or to Australia – but those reasons are out the window now. Thanks to the government and the police, Britain and its former Commonwealth members are being Islamicized. That is, the police in these countries can’t “figure out” a motive for the latest terrorist attack, even when the perps arrested or shot have Muslim names and their social media sites boast of their jihadist motives, they still can’t “figure it out.” In fact, what they don’t want to risk is being called “racist” or bigoted, while Islam is not a “race;” it is a totalitarian ideology. So, Islam shuts them up. Recently, I sent a YouTube link of Jeff Dunham’s site to a British correspondent. His act is with a dummy and he mocks Islam. The audience laughed and had a good time. No one looked over his shoulder, or held hands to his head. I was told by my correspondent Dunham would probably be arrested and charged with Islamophobia by the police were he to try to perform in Britain. Muslims are a “protect” class; regular Britains aren’t. So, I’d rather stay in the U.S. where people aren’t afraid of Muslims and don’t go about “as usual” with their hands on their heads.
Three actions to take.
If the leadership of Britain is the exact opposite of Churchillian, it shouldn’t be surprising if the people, over time, act less than heroically.
Here’s three actions that I believe would change that, perhaps overnight:
First, re-institute the Death Penalty, exclusively for all acts of Religion-inspired terrorism (being careful of course to not single out any particular religion).
Two, following Israel’s example in part, pass a law deporting all relatives of any convicted or dead religious terrorist. This would be a sort or reverse chain migration, and would powerfully add to deterrence.
Third, call for a debate in Parliament, and in other venues around the country, the subject being,
is Islam a religion of Peace or a religion of Terror? Both side would present their arguments.
If Britain should follow these steps, I believe it would reverse today’s atmosphere of anxious uncertainty and growing darkness, and might well set an example for the rest of beleaguered Western Europe.
America rejected the ‘new normal’ being thrust upon us and, surprise, our consumer sentiment indicators are up almost across the board.
Unfortunately it may be too late, the previous three or four administrations having thrust expensive wars, massive regulations, and ‘stimulus’ debt in historic amounts upon a cooling economy. With robotics threatening to displace the unskilled -no small quantity with liberals’ theft of our academia for the past forty years and massive import of a shiny new welfare state to further burden taxpayers, we may all share in a worldwide degradation of our diminishing returns…and diminishing freedoms. Which part of this new world is the brave part, I wonder. Though speaking out like Douglas Murray and Gatestone truthers surely qualifies.
Further signs of defeat: 1) Other West European Nations have strong, often reasoned and articulate voices from the ‘Right’, with vocal popular support at the ballot box. Not so in Britain. In the UK, the ‘Official Media’ mostly adhere to the ‘do not mention’ policy of the Undesirables. They instantly attack, trash & shred any budding Geert Wilders, Marie le Pen, or (heaven forbid) Milos Zeman or Andrzej Duda. The latter two leaders are virtually unknown to British reader/consumers of their Daily ‘Liberal’ Valium pills. Deliberately so.
2) I attended the Annual Conference last December 2016 of ‘Britain First’. One does not agree with everything said, but I firmly support their right to be heard. There were some very interesting facts and figures produced. And observers from other countries present. The inevitable ‘undercover journalist’ did a predictable, biased, crude, one sided hatchet job in the Daily Mail the next day. One wonders why they even bother to turn up, when the narrative is pre-fixed in un-thinking Liberal Sacred Dogma weeks prior. 3) Censorship in the comments columns of the Daily Valioids makes the old DDR Stasi censors look positively benign. Mine are rarely printed. 4) The treatment of Tommy Robinson by Government and Official Media as a knuckle dragging thug is pitiful. So is the relentless persecution, by Police, Government, Inland revenue, VAT and lapdog journalism. In defiance of the open knowledge that he is a good writer, with healthy book sales, has a message, enjoys wide support, and is a voice for many effectively disenfranchised people. Conclusion: Spirit of the Blitz? No. More like a sad, soggy huddle on the beaches of Dunkerque. Waiting for the wail of more incoming Stukas.
As usual, Douglas Murray manages to depict the truth about our national mood with clarity and well-chosen examples.
But is Douglas writing mainly for an American audience, an audience that relates easily to terrorism?
As I experience it here in the UK, people are thinking not just about terrorist attacks. Or even mainly about terrorist attacks. They have an unease about Islam that is magnified by the association of Muslim men with sexual grooming assaults, by demographic change of a religious/ethnic nature, by the largely-unwanted spread of halal meat, by the contrasting tolerance of British society vis-a-vis Islamic ideologues, by disquiet and uncertainty about female genital mutilation, the role of sharia councils and the number of young Muslim men who are daily entering our country without permission etc.
And we feel this unease at a time when we are required as never before to couch our public expression about these issues with unfamiliar care, rather than through robust expression that previously never needed a second thought and never potentially ever needed retraction or a public formulaic self-abasement.
The terrorism exists in the west because our leaders refused to stamp out its breeding grounds in our schools and prisons, and in allowing the building of huge numbers of mosques and madrasas which are not monitored.
Also our leaders have stopped their citizens from protecting their families and civilisation by tweaking our laws to suit those who come here and closing down free speech through political correctness and arresting or punishing us – as illustrated in this article.
We moved from England many years ago to a beautiful place that doesn’t give benefits and kowtow to immigrants which we are. We have to pay for private healthcare and have to be financially independent. We have watched the Trojan Horse effect slowly but surely succeed because of political correctness, cowardly politicians and the SJWs.
Mustn’t mention Islamophobia although I suffer from this affliction. When cars are driven into crowds and gunmen attack venues, Please don’t pander to the SJWs and lefties, liberals etc.
Speak the truth, only the truth without fear or favour.
The great difference between London during the Blitz and the current situation was that then the enemy was readily identifiable. He was an outsider, a foreigner, up in the sky, raining down fire. Now, he dwells among us, carries a British passport, benefits from education and health care and enjoys the protection of our ancient laws and liberties; but, unlike the Nazi pilot, he is not readily identifiable. Is the young Asian looking man with a back pack, sitting next to you on the bus a terrorist or just a lad on his way to college? You don’t know. The great evil of this fifth column in our midst is that it erodes trust and eats away at social cohesion. The number of terrorists who wish to destroy our society is very small, but the poison it creates infects us all.
The wider United Kingdom is falling into the same mistakes that were made in Northern Ireland. Whenever an IRA or ‘Loyalist’ terror atrocity occurred the law abiding population were straightaway urged not to say or do anything to make matters worse. Londoners, Mancunians and others in Great Britain are similarly treated. Before the smoke has dispersed they are being warned against ‘Islamophobia.’ The “we are all guilty” method of control.
We have a crazy situation in Britain today. After every terror attack, we are told that our communities must come together. Whether this means the Muslim community I’m not sure, but as we all know, these attacks come from within Muslim communities! All the dignitaries are rolled out along with the various religious leaders all in apparent togetherness and all condemning the atrocity. Then just as soon as the gathering is over, the divisions again become apparent to all. We get weeks and weeks or news reports, but no one ever asks the really difficult questions, just in case they are seen as being, “wait for it”! “Racist or Islamophobic”. Being called these particular names seems to shut down any conversation and the media and government and the religious leaders wait for the next atrocity to happen!
According to our government we have to expect attacks on our way of life and our liberty, we have to accept that we cannot question Islam or Muslims. They are, so we are told, a part of the “enrichment” of our country. Quite frankly, despite what government may say, I and millions like me can do without this kind of enrichment. Many other races and religions have been enriching and a benefit to our country, but Muslims have no way whatsoever enriched our country by any means!
Going about our normal lives, putting flowers as a sign of defiance against violent ‘activists’ and sing John Lennon’s song “imagine” as a deterrent.
That has become the Blitz spirit of today.
The only consequent BLITZERS I see are Muslim terrorists.
Oops,……’mentally confused activist from N-African origin.