Sunday, July 10, 2005

Five things changed London last week. The first was the awarding of the Olympic Games in 2012, the other four were the explosions that have affected almost every Londoner.

Now I'm not going to sprout off about not being changed by terrorism and all that guff. I was back on the underground at 7am the next morning and didn't give a second thought to being blown up because, unlike muscle-bound machismo actors like Sylvester Stallone who refused to fly across the Atlantic after the World Trade Center attacks, I have an ability to assess simple risks and their likelihood of occurring to me. Which fortunately isn't much.

Having said all that, the section of the Piccadilly Line where the most horrific of the attacks took place is one which I used to pass through daily for many years and most of my friends still do. And it's a mightily tight fit for the train. The tunnel is a pathetic twelve inches wider than the trains that pass through it. So the explosion was particularly deadly and the attempt to clear up particularly challenging.

Piccadilly Line carriage.

But we'll go on because we always do. On my times on the Underground since Thursday - and I have taken several trips - I have seen no sign of nervousness or hesitancy. Funnily enough I saw more of a change in people's behaviour after 9/11 than I have after Thursday. We are used to bombings here and everyone considered this to have been an inevitability. And some feel here that now we've been bombed, we are over the uncertainty of "how will it come?", "how big will it be?". This thinking is wrong. The Madrid bombers intended the train bomb to be the start of a campaign against Spanish targets - that was until they blew themselves up once cornered by the police.

To our credit I have felt no negativity on the streets towards Muslims or Asians; we are a multi cultural city and, wonderfully, people's reaction to Thursday seems to be to embrace that rather than shun it.

And now we prepare for the Olympic Games. Perhaps it will always be associated (in Londoners minds at least) with last week's bombings. Our response should be a determination to put on the best games possible for all the countries of the world.

No comments: