London Bridge terror attack: Boris Johnson’s response has been pathetic – Angus Robertson

The London Bridge terror attack may lead to better ways to monitor released prisoners and notice warning signs about terrorism, but it should not have been treated as an opportunity for low-grade election propaganda by Boris Johnson and co, writes Angus Robertson.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 6:00 am
Saskia Jones was described as 'a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people's lives' in a family statement (Handout photograph/AFP via Getty Images)

The first duty of the state is to keep its citizens safe, but in these times of lone-wolf inspired terrorism that is a hugely difficult task.

The scenes of violence on London’s streets last Friday are a reminder of the risks and dangers. Sadly, the politicisation of the tragedy during the general election campaign has been all too predictable.

Instead of concentrating thoughts on all the victims, including Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, who lost their lives, we have been subjected to a barrage of low-grade election propaganda by Boris Johnson and his supporters in the right-wing media. It is frankly disgusting.

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As news emerges about the victims, we learn that Saskia Jones was a criminology graduate, volunteer with the Learning Together criminal justice programme and wanted to join the police, while Jack Merritt was also a volunteer with the same programme. Their deaths are an immeasurable tragedy.

Meanwhile, we will never know how many lives were saved by the bravery of Polish kitchen worker Lukasz who fended off the attacker with a narwhal tusk, or porter Mohammed who tackled the knife-wielding terrorist while on his lunch break. Everyone who put themselves in harm’s way are remarkable people.

In my two years on the oversight committee for the UK intelligence agencies, I developed a deep respect for the professionalism and public service of the security services who work 24/7, 365 days a year, to keep us safe.

No doubt there are lessons to be learnt about how to best monitor released prisoners, reduce the risks from radicalisation and notice the warning signs of would-be terrorists. What it should not become is a pathetic party political football.