Terrorism can’t become normalised

 The most recent attack in London is a horrific reminder of the continuing vulnerability of British people to indiscriminate murder.

The third such attack in three months has seen a wretched pattern emerge. Absolute horror ensues, the emergency services rally to their duty; heroes prevail and a torrent of ‘we will not yield’ rhetoric flourishes from the political class.

This is not to be dismissive; merely to note that no explication is ever presented save for a totemic indulgence of what it means to be British.

When is, as Theresa May said, enough going to be enough? 

Both Conservatives and Labour and the other main political parties have, once more, suspended their general election campaigns in response to a terrorist incident (for the second time after the wretchedness of Manchester).  To what end?

The definition of terrorism, according to the Oxford Dictionary is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

We know the political objectives: the establishment of a medieval-style caliphate ruled by pure Koranic and Sharia law (just as in parts of Syria and Iraq that have fallen under ISIS). 

The general election is to be held in four days. When does the suspension of elections, done so out of respect for the dead, turn into the gradual diminishment of our democracy?

Blaming Muslims is lewd, inaccurate and dangerous. Their religion has been hijacked by murderers and thugs and Muslims, as much as any other British ethnicity, are as vulnerable to the whims of madmen. 

The real danger is not only in terror, but the normalcy that it breeds. Expecting horror, knowing it will come, is how a problem is perpetuated, not solved. It is decidedly wrong to continue to delay any ballot – it is precisely how radical jihadists want to destabilise the British way of life. 

The last time a general election was delayed was from 1940 to 1945 because of the Second World War. And British democracy does not, and never has, answered to thuggery. 

Something must be done, an honest conversation free of accusation, hyperbole and insinuation about how to root out further attacks must be had. There can be no justification, no cerebral excuse for supporting extremism and no apology given for its excision.  

Accepting horror as the new normal is the red line, the last line, that cannot be embraced. 

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Alastair Stewart 260 Articles

Alastair Stewart is a freelance writer, journalist, and teacher based in Edinburgh and Almería. He regularly writes about politics, history, and culture for magazines across Europe.


He was formerly a press officer at the Scottish Parliament. He graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in International Relations.


Alastair founded DARROW in 2013 to support new and emerging writing talent in Scotland around the world.

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