It is the terrorists’ inability to understand our culture and system of values at the backbone of our society, which means they are incapable of victory, argues Rory Broomfield.
The atrocious attacks in London yesterday weren’t just attacks on our city, but a set of values. Those that resort to such cowardly acts will never win.
The attacks were sick, depraved and horrific. The individual involved, who is yet to be named, perpetrated an act not just against those innocent individuals that he brutally murdered and injured, but against the values that the people of the United Kingdom hold dear.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been killed and injured, along with their families. The murdered police officer, Keith Palmer, had a wife and child. He died in the service of his country – protecting its people, institutions and values.
Those who died and were injured all had plans for the future – now changed through these acts of evil. It must remain a reminder to us all to make the most of our lives – and inform the institutions of our society through democratic and just means.
This is because, above all, the terror attacks in Westminster showed cowardice. These individuals are cowards who do not engage – or respect – the fundamental legal, cultural and political institutions that help make up and inform our society. Instead of participating in processes that have developed over centuries, they use a binary logic of destruction.
The wanton disrespect for our culture and values pose a significant question mark over how to deal with such an issue.
Our security services should rightly be applauded for their courageous work to help protect us; however, it would be only too easy for government – in a naïve effort to protect its citizens from such evil – to empower the security services with the powers necessary to inadvertently transform the country into a draconian police state.
This would be wrong – and would run against the fundamental principles of a free society. It could also be counterproductive: creating cumbersome bureaucracy and hindering the authorities in their attempts to adapt to future threats. Rather, those in power should review and prepare to evolve the operational capabilities of the services to adapt to the real and present threat.
A successful response to these attacks must also see wider society play an active part. The vast majority of people in this country contribute daily to help define the institutions, activities and values that make up our country – whether it be through business or public service. We must never forget the role we play, and the responsibility we bear, to inform the processes that ensure the fabric of society remains strong and that the state is able to adapt appropriately.
Yesterday’s attacks should remind us all of our duty to inform our society in a proactive and constructive way. Our values and our approach to finding solutions is what makes this country great. It is something that the terrorists do not understand, do not engage with and will, therefore, never be able to claim victory.