There are few words suitable to describe what happened in Manchester on Monday night. Atrocity. Barbaric. Evil. Depraved. It is almost impossible to comprehend the scene.
I am told that hardened police officers trained to deal with such situations found it extremely difficult to deal with what they found.
A bomb set off to kill people innocently coming out of a building would be bad enough, but to pack it with nuts and bolts to maximise its killing power illustrates the sheer murderous intent of the bomber and his accomplices.
That it was aimed to kill children, mostly young girls, was no coincidence too; the past record of Islamists seeking to target young people to shock and frighten us is an unavoidable fact. The targeting of rock or pop concerts, night clubs or bars and restaurants over the last few years is explained by their sick ideology that cannot accept free-thinking people deciding what to wear, drink, dance or how to express themselves.
Individuals, but especially women and girls, seeking enjoyment is literally an affront to them and their violent creed. Forcing us to change our behaviour is what they wish and we should always ask, What do they want us to do? How do they want us to react?, before we rush to respond.
The point of terror is that it seeks to provoke a reaction, especially retaliation that will divide and polarise us so that we blame and hate each other – so that it may feed the recruitment of more converts into accepting murder as a just cause. We endured it in Northern Ireland for more than two decades and we have seen it around the world.
Advocates of terror wish us to join them by descending into their mental sewer of moral relativism, where life has no value, so that we are no better than them.
They wish this because they know we can never be as cold, callous and evil as them. And were we to be so, then we would have lost. To defeat terror we must use our liberal values by defending the rule of just laws that have been decided by our democracy.
It is important to recognise not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is also necessary to accept that in the terror campaign that Western society currently faces, all terrorists are Muslims. It is important because it tells us that the only way we can defeat the radicalisation of men and women who consciously choose to murder innocent victims so that they can impose their beliefs on us is by working with leaders in the Muslim community.
It was therefore encouraging to see the genuine outrage of Manchester’s Muslim community when asked about the murderer who had lived amongst them. The unequivocal condemnation of the atrocity by the leaders of the murderer’s local mosque was also a welcome intervention.
There is a great deal more in that vein that can be done but it was a welcome first step that can only help pull the community together and encourage greater information to be shared with the police and security services by those that know who is turning to radicalised violence.
The Muslim community has to work with the police in identifying the jihadists amongst it rather than seeking victimhood for what it calls hate crimes. The primary crime of hate we need to address was perpetrated on Monday night and only by all sides of our community working to prevent any more such abominations – by speaking to the police – shall we reduce the levels of hate and pointless revenge that will divide us all.
Cranks have lost the plot over bombing
I recall how some cranks sought in the past to allege that the attack on New York’s twin towers, above, was the work of either Jews, US defence contractors or President George Bush.
Now, within minutes of the news about the Manchester bombing breaking on Twitter, some truly sick people thought it sensible to start alleging it was all a Tory plot to distract attention away from a few campaign mishaps.
Really, is there no level low enough for some people to sink to?
The Saint’s motor was just heavenly
Another legend goes to the great film lot in the sky.
Sir Roger Moore was a classic character of the 1970s and yet my fondest memories are not of his seven James Bond films – which were enjoyably Extra Strong Mature in their cheesiness – but his six series of The Saint, playing the lead of Simon Templar.
(I also recall, faintly, him playing Ivanhoe in the TV portrayal based on Sir Walter Scott’s novels, when I was a nipper.)
The Saint drove a lovely white Volvo P1800 sports car. The TV show originally asked Jaguar to provide an E-type but they declined and Volvo stepped in, increasing their sales as a result.
Sir Roger had a real P1800 himself, while us kids had to settle for playing with the nifty scaled-down version made by Corgi.
Chocs away for new health kick
After all the nonsense health scares over the years (first, butter was bad for you and margarine was good; now, margarine is bad and butter is good), it is great to read about a further study that suggests chocolate can be good for your heart.
Apparently eating three (only three!) one ounce portions in a month lowers the risk of atrial fibrillation by ten per cent. It’s possibly all nonsense too, but it’s a pleasant change to be told you should eat something rather than you shouldn’t.