BY MATTHEW CORRIGAN
I usually, for obvious reasons, carefully edit my articles on Country Squire Magazine. I haven’t with this one and I couldn’t care less.
The evening had no business being so beautiful. With a warm May sun still high in the clear blue sky, the walk along the stony hillside path should have been lovely. It wasn’t. Bounding through the clover and dandelions, rolling in the wild long grass, the dog was a vision of joyful exuberance. He was lucky. Oblivious to the searing pain, both physical and psychological, that had deeply afflicted the city standing tall in the middle distance.
Manchester looked serene. The wonderful cacophony of daily life in the second city doesn’t reach the distance; even so, I knew that on this evening things were different. The faraway towers reaching up to the sky were quiet, subdued. How could they not be? It was seven PM. The vigil to remember all those who were coldly murdered there, less than twenty-four hours previously, was coming to an end.
I was born in Manchester, in a hospital right in the centre. I feel a wholly inexplicable affinity to the city. When I finally made myself turn off the TV after midnight, I went to bed hoping it wouldn’t be so bad. The first reports made it sound as though something had gone wrong at a concert – perhaps a pyrotechnic had failed and some people had been hurt in the ensuing panic. If only that had been the case. If only. The morning news confirmed the worst: this time it was our turn to suffer the mindless, demonic hate of an otherwise insignificant speck.
I spent yesterday in a state of something approaching shock. I watched as all the predictable shit scrolled across the screen in front of me. The depressing point-scoring on Twitter. Outspoken radio presenters squabbling with celebrity novelists. Left-wing tossers hurling abuse at right-wing pricks, thousands leaping enthusiastically into the fray, desperate to be a part of it. I watched the tiresome platitudes spill onto Facebook, as if a fucking badge is going to help.
And then I watched the politicians, all of whom have failed, yet again, in their primary, fundamental duty. They have failed to defend the realm.
When are you going to get a fucking grip of this? Yet again, all the signs were there. He was already on the radar. We all know you know about these people but you steadfastly refuse to act. If it takes emergency powers, enact them. You seem happy enough to further restrict the freedom of the innocent – innocent, remember – every time something like this happens.
The country would likely support the introduction of TEMPORARY anti-terrorist legislation. Do it, cut out the cancer, then get us back to normal. It’s deeply unpalatable, and goes against the worn-out mantra of ‘being better than them’, but a tiny, infinitesimally small number of terrorists seems to be winning right now.
Untie the hands of the security services. They know who many of these bastards are. Let them intervene. Hard. Could this one, in fact, have been prevented? Were they frantically trying to act in the hours before this atrocity? I’m no expert in such matters but was that a Britten-Norman Defender circling the city, trying its best to disrupt the attacker, only desperately, tragically late? Let these people do their bloody jobs. Find the money. The vast majority of us trust them and will support them, across all of our communities. There won’t be many people who think Salman Abedi a lion for murdering eight-year-old girls – find them, wipe them out. End this.
It’s on you, our continually useless political class, to stop this. Do it and do it now. Our country is at a crossroads – it won’t be love that tears us apart.#Manchester