Monday 22nd May – Manchester Tragedy
In the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017, Ariana Grande, a favourite children’s pop star was performing at the Manchester Arena before a largely juvenile audience. As the performance came to an end, a suicide bomber, now identified as Salman Abedi, a British born Muslim, whose parents came to the UK from Libya, detonated a bomb killing 22 of the audience many of them children and injuring 59 others some of whom are known to be critically ill. The response of the police and the ambulance services to this tragedy was exemplary. This page of the Manchester Evening News has details of the victims: “These are the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack“.
The Manchester Evening News also commenced a crowd-funding page on Just Giving to support the families of the victims: “Weʼre raising £2,000,000 to support families of those killed and injured in the Manchester Arena attack“. One hopes many more people will support this initiative.
Ariana Grande cancelled forthcoming concerts in London, Belgium, Poland and Germany, saying she wanted to “pay proper respect to those lost”. She later announced that she will return to Manchester for a special concert to raise funds for the victims see this report in The Independent: “Ariana Grande to return to Manchester to perform benefit concert“.
Very rightly, the politicians suspended their campaigning for the General Election and the media concentrated on the tragedy which has greatly shocked the nation rather than with electoral issues. The Conservative and Labour parties later agreed to resume local general election campaigning on Thursday 24th May and national campaigning on Friday 25th May.
Wednesday 24th May 2014
The Independent had this: “Manchester attack: Security services find more explosives in hunt for terror network – One device blown up and real possibility others are yet to be found, The Independent has learned“.
The consensus of the security experts is that others may have been involved and that there is possibly a bomb making factory factory somewhere in the country. There is consequently a massive police search in progress to discover where that might be and the terrorist threat index which has been raised to “critical” – its highest level – will stay at that level for the time being.
The Wicked Witch and Terrorism
While it was entirely right for the parties to suspend campaigning as a mark of respect, Mrs May (aka the Wicked Witch of Westminster) has been on the steps of Downing Street on every possible occasion.
Of course, she is not only the Leader of the Conservative Party. She remains in office as Prime Minister throughout the election campaign and, as Prime Minister, she has has had a great deal of television air time and press coverage relating to the Manchester attack. Just about the only thing she refrained from doing was a visit to the hospitals treating the victims – no doubt because HM The Queen did so.
It is right to recall that the Wicked Witch was previously the Home Secretary with responsibility for security and the anti-terrorism strategy.
The Telegraph has this: “Security services missed five opportunities to stop the Manchester bomber“. If the allegations in this article are correct, Mrs May will need to be able to answer quite a number of questions.
The Independent has this: Theresa May cuts a reassuring figure – but her anti-terrorism plans for the future leave a lot to be desired – Baroness Warsi, the former Tory chairman and first Muslim cabinet minister, says the Prevent brand has become ‘toxic’, while a former adviser on terrorism has told MPs: ‘Prevent has become a more significant source of grievance in affected communities than the police’.
It is worth re-reading this March 2016 Telegraph article: “What is Wahhabism? The reactionary branch of Islam from Saudi Arabia said to be ‘the main source of global terrorism’“. Since the 1970’s Saudi charities have been funding Wahhabi schools and mosques around the world – including the UK . And it often a condition that clerics for the funded project travel to Saudi Arabia for indoctrination. The simple truth is that both the USA and the UK have completely failed to persuade Saudi Arabia do anything to deal with Wahhabism, or Salafism, or Human Rights, or (name whatever). Why ? Because arms sales, oil prices and the like take priority.
The Telegraph has this: “What is the anti-terror Prevent programme and why is it controversial?” – The Guardian has this: “UK’s Prevent counter-radicalisation policy ‘badly flawed’ – Justice Initiative report says viewing radical Islam as precursor to terrorism risks human rights and is counterproductive“.
Saturday 27th May 2017
The Telegraph also has this: “Muslim children and their relatives march to Manchester Arena to show their revulsion at bombing“.
The security issues will continue but the parties are back in election mode. The Independent has this: “Elections 2017: Poll tracker shows how Labour has steadily eroded Conservative lead – Tracking the overall trend with regular updates from all the mainstream polls“.
The UK Threat Level has now been reduced from “Critical” to “Severe”.
The Guardian has this: “May puts Manchester attack at heart of election with attack on Corbyn – Prime minister targets Labour over national security in row over role of foreign policy in fostering terror as polls show Tory lead is declining“.
So – the election gets tighter and it cannot yet be said that the likely outcome will match the Wicked Witch’s expectations. The Guardian has this: “Labour poll rise suggests Manchester attack has not boosted Tories – Poll with Conservatives five points ahead of Labour is first since bombing, but shows other factors such as manifestos are at play“.
The Independent has this: “Young voters have registered to vote in force – Theresa May made a dire mistake underestimating them – The Conservatives bargained on maintaining the older vote and keeping young voter registration low – but it’s all fallen apart“.
The article points out that IPSOS MORI has concluded that 42% of young voters will vote Labour and only 24% will vote Conservative. Interestingly an online poll of Independent readers gives: UKIP: 1%, Don’t Knows 2%, Green: 3%, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats: and SNP 5% each and Labour: 80%.
It is too early to sing: Ding Dong the Witch is dead – but one can hope!