For today’s post I was going to write something that followed on from yesterday’s post on how words change their meaning. As I typed and then posted yesterday in my usual, hopefully amusing style, events were unfolding in the heart of the city I call home that changed my plan.
You’ll have seen the news coverage, you’ll know the details of the typically cowardly terrorist attack in London and like every decent human being I send my sympathy to the families and friends of the innocent victims.
This may not the best place to pay a detailed tribute to the myriad acts of heroism from the members of the public who, without a thought for their own safety, ran to help and the police and the members of the emergency services who just got on with their job, expertly under such difficult circumstances.
What can I add to the coverage? Not a lot, but a couple of things in the aftermath I felt I could comment on.
People say London is an unfriendly place, where people don’t talk or even make eye contact on the Tube. That may be true but whenever my much better half has asked someone to give up their seat for me, so I don’t have to exhaust myself trying to keep my balance on a swaying tube train, they have.
In my lifetime London has faced attacks ranging from Pub bombings in Woolwich in 1974, to the coordinated attacks in Central London on 7/7 in 2005 and now yesterday. Londoners have done what they always do; just got on with it.
Sticking to the Tube theme, station staff have notice boards to give messages to the public. One such message went viral, was mentioned in Parliament and reported on television.
All terrorists are politely reminded
THIS IS LONDON
And whatever you do to us
We will drink tea
And jolly well carry on
It was too good to be true.
As it turned that there was a good reason for this. It wasn’t true. It is very carefully constructed using favourite stereotypes, tea-drinking, stiff upper lipped, resolutely polite and following the mantra of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ In some ways, perhaps that doesn’t matter, it captured the mood, or perhaps it captured the mood to which we aspired.
There were genuine ones today.
This one was at the Oval
You have to be at your strongest when you are at your weakest