by Graham Pierrepoint
The UK was this week subjected to one of its most devastating terrorist attacks in modern history, following the detonation of a suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. The disaster has claimed the lives of 22 people, including children, with 64 thought to be injured and in care at the time of writing – and in response, the country’s terror alert level has been raised to ‘critical’, with armed forces deployed to public areas to help protect the country’s built-up areas from any further potential attacks. Already, at the time of writing, arrests have been made and raids have been authorized to tackle what authorities believe may be an elaborate terror network that helped to mastermind the tragedy. Regardless of who caused such devastation, the world has been united in grief with the UK this week as respects were paid to those who lost their lives, and who are fighting in hospital, as a result of the bombing.
Those too who paid their respects were the country’s politicians, who summarily agreed to suspend campaigning for the upcoming snap general election on June 8th. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Farron, both running for election, led tributes on Twitter shortly after the disaster, with Prime Minister Theresa May making a full statement following an emergency COBRA negotiation deploring the act of ‘cowardice’ that robbed so many lives – among them children. On Tuesday, party leaders agreed that campaigning should be suspended until further notice by mark of respect for the families devastated by the disaster – and while some local campaigning may be due to pick up again beforehand, it has been agreed that all parties will return to national campaigning on Friday.
The BBC has been providing rolling news coverage of the disaster and the subsequent investigation and move to deploy armed forces since news broke in the early hours of Tuesday morning (GMT). They, too, made the decision to suspend the latest in a series of interviews with party leaders by way of respect.
The raised terror level is being advised as a caution to keep alert, and that normal civilians should not feel intimidated or scared by the presence of armed patrol in city areas. The UK’s response to the threat so far has been humbling – showing respect for those who lost their lives, there has been a widespread notion that terrorists simply cannot win – and that the nation simply will not be scared by such actions.