If the Muslim extremists are mad, as most of us believe, then we must remain sane – or go mad ourselves.
If that seems to state the obvious, you wouldn’t know it after reading the responses to the Manchester attack by some of our esteemed (by some) newspaper columnists.
The vile and evidently demented Katie Hopkins, writing in the Daily Mail, is one. She wants to scream, she writes, at the Mayor of Manchester, the newly-elected Andy Burnham, for saying that the only rational thing that he could say, that the city will carry on doing business as usual. “Business as Usual?” shrieks Hopkins, “BUSINESS AS USUAL?” She is just getting started. ‘Business as usual’ and other calming bromides uttered by the Prime Minister and other politicians are characterised as “the eunuch politicians peddling their narrative that we will carry on as normal, that we stand united. Trying to find some hope to hang on to.”
“This country,” she goes on to assert, “is not usual. It is absurd. Disgusting. Forlorn. Broken”.
Those adjectives can be said to describe Hopkins herself. They can certainly be applied to the terrorists as well, of course, but the last object to which they can be applied is the country that has been attacked, least of all the victims. And even if they can be applied to this country, they must also be applied to the United States, France, Germany, Spain, and all the other countries that have experienced similar outrages. Are we all in the West absurd, disgusting, forlorn and broken?
Hopkins tweeted to a television commentator whom she thought was not being robust enough: “Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution.” The offending two words – which need no identification – were hastily modified to ‘true solution’. Too late. The phrase originally chosen tells us all we need to know about Hopkins’ delicate sensitivities.
Allison Pearson in the Daily Telegraph joined the clamour from the right for stronger measures: “We need internment of thousands of terror suspects now to protect our children.” The only surprise is that she failed to fully go along with the Hopkins theme and call for the reintroduction of concentration camps. They were, after all, invented by the British, albeit under a different name.
The Manchester attack was disgusting, but the country is not. It is merely bewildered. The frustration with the lack of an adequate response is understandable, and shared by millions. The cause is known but a solution – that is, a rational solution – remains elusive. So does the elimination of poverty and certain diseases.
Even if there is a solution presented it is unlikely to qualify as ‘final’. History tells us that much. Meanwhile in the present lacuna, the politicians are left with nothing but the bromides that are being spouted across the land this morning. But what else can they spout? What do any of us find to mumble at funerals other than, “I am deeply sorry for your loss”?
The British government has called out troops to guard sporting and other venues thought to be likely targets. We have been warned that another attack may be imminent. The nation has been put on high alert. That may not be doing enough, but it is more than doing nothing.
Whatever is done will not satisfy the likes of Hopkins and Pearson. They will stop shrieking only when the government comes up with a cure that will make the disease seem more palatable.
They are entitled to their opinions, but they should be ashamed of themselves this day.