On Friday 29 November 2 people were killed and others injured in a terror attack on London Bridge. I live near to this area, and like most in South East London was shaken and upset to learn of this attack. What happened on London Bridge was an outrage and sickening. My heart goes out to the friends and families of the two victims.
Inevitably this horrendous attack has become part of the 2019 UK General Election campaign. After the terror attacks during the 2017 election then Conservative PM Theresa May came under criticism for the Conservative Government cutting police numbers. In 2019 Boris has gone on the attack and blamed Labour for the early release of the terrorist, as the legislations that allowed this to happen was passed under a Labour Government in 2008.
This has been part of a wider strategy by Boris’s campaign to act like they are part of a new government. They are trying to distance themselves from the Conservative’s last decade in office. This becomes difficult when Boris was a senior minister under both Cameron and May. In 2016 when warned about the early release of prisoners Boris said there was no money de-radicalise terrorists in prision.
As PM, Boris may wish to change the direction of the Conservative Party. And yes he can point some of the blame on the previous government. But after 10 years in office, the Conservative Party have had plenty of opportunity to make changes.
Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has blamed the Conservative Governments cuts to public services and Tony Blairs support for the Iraq invasion as being responsible for the London Bridge attack. However the local Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark Neil Coyle, a prominent critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, has come out against. Neil is quoted in the London Evening Standard as saying “it is a fallacy for anyone, including Jeremy Corbyn, to claim this was “set off” by the Iraq War.”
The father of one of those killed on London Bridge has said Boris Johnson is “beyond disgusting” for using his son’s death to promote “vile propaganda.” Victim Jack Merritt, worked in a program aiming to rehabilitate prisoners into the community through education. Jack’s father shared a tweet by academic Ash Sarkar which said: “It’s beyond disgusting that Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and newspapers like the Mail are using Jack Merritt’s death and image to promote an agenda he fought against all his life. He was a passionate believer in rehabilitation and transformative justice, not draconian sentencing.”
With just over a week to go till the UK General Election, polls (which are questionable in reliability) show the race getting tighter. Expect lots of harsh word and dubious tactics. In all this, political operators shouldn’t forget that real people’s lives are impacted by events like terror attacks. Politicians from all sides need to think about their actions before trying to gain political points.