Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

Reaction to London bombings

Just in case you haven't heard, it looks like there has been a co-ordinated terrorist attack on London. I'm thankful that I only know 2 or 3 people who live there, but I don't know they're safe yet, so a little worry does remain.

It's weird, I was in Montreal for 9/11, I was in Spain for the Madrid bombings - I even stayed in Madrid before and after the attack - but I've never really felt as directly affected as I do now. It seems a little strange, because everyone knew London was a big target, and in fact I more or less expected an attack at some point, but as time passed I guess I'd forgotten about it.

Officially, the police and intelligence services were still on high alert - in fact they have been almost constantly since 9/11 - and their mantra was to keep the public 'alert not alarmed.' They said that the constant warnings issued in the US only serve to inure the public against the announcements. I reckon that this was the best approach to take, you can't keep crying wolf and then only finding sheep.

It looks like the attack was to coincide with G8, as it would have increased 'impact' and also there would be less policing in the London area. I think the second reason strikes me as more plausible - if you're going to attack a major city for G8, you'd go for Edinburgh surely? Maybe they think people won't know where that is, and it wouldn't make as big a statement worldwide. I guess in fact that's the key, it's not about the actual act, it's the projection of fear that is their chief goal and weapon.

It'll be interesting to see how the British public reacts, especially Londoners. Pretty stoic I imagine. There was a time when the IRA was active that bomb attacks, whilst not regular, were not one-off occurences so in a way it's not new. Of course, the other ket question is how the govenrment and police react - will there be another massive clampdown. And does this mean that the ID cards are now a shoe-in?