it is impossible to adequately put into words the horror of the latest terrorist atrocity in France.
There is no need for the historic ties of the Auld Alliance to feel an affinity with the people of Nice and the rest of their country. There is no need to dwell upon Nice’s reputation as a safe city to understand that we are all potential targets. All we can do is stand shoulder to shoulder with France and condemn the terrorists.
Of course it makes sense to take stock ahead of the upcoming festival season when the centre of Edinburgh will be packed like the streets of Nice were for Bastille Day celebrations. We should ask whether there are any more practical steps we can take to ensure we are better protected against the worst possible turn of events.
Maybe there are extra portable barriers that could be sensibly installed around certain particularly busy pedestrian areas, or perhaps more pairs of eyes will be employed to monitor the banks of CCTV images that are constantly recorded in public spaces across the Capital. On a UK level we might decide to invest more in our security services.
Such steps may offer a degree of extra protection, but the reality is that there is no way that we can ensure our safety against terror tactics like these. How can you stop terrorists arming themselves when their weapon is a hired lorry? How can you stop a terrorist when you have no intelligence to suggest that they are a threat?
There is no way we can make ourselves totally safe. We could cancel the festivals and the Hogmanay celebrations, but there would still be places where significant numbers of people would gather as we go about our day-to-day lives.
The response of Police Scotland is sensible and proportionate. Our response should be the same by defiantly going about our daily business.