Domestic policy, austerity measures, government cuts seem unimportant now. No one wants to think about all that. Everyone’s attention is now focussed on how to feel and what to do about the threat of terrorist attacks, on questions of revenge, fear and hate.
Except those who came very close to dying on Friday. Amongst these people, survivors, in interviews I have seen, they all send a powerful message of love. They embrace humanity. They know that killing is wrong. Full stop! One hundred percent wrong. They call on us to not fall into a trap that augments it. This is overwhelmingly the plea they make. We should listen.
Suddenly there is money for bombs, money for war. Once we label this as ‘war’ we silence all opposition, labelling opposition as unpatriotic and weakly utopian. Why is there never enough money for peace, money for homes, money for compassion, but there is always plenty of money for war, even when there is no clear evidence that dropping bombs will help in any way? We are busy creating the conditions that feed into the hands of the terrorists. The more panic and havoc we create the worse the situation becomes. This is not a utopian position it really is the only hope. We cannot bomb our way into peace.
A ‘shoot to kill’ policy would be a disaster for Britain. The police and army already have the right in clear extreme circumstances of absolute and critical necessity to shoot to kill. We do not need to extend that right. Once we accidentally shoot and kill the wrong person the situation will escalate and get totally out of control. It is not hard to imagine who the falsely killed victim might turn out to be and how large groups of ordinary, decent people will then feel about it. Do not do that, read my lips, do not augment the possibility that that sort of thing will start to happen in this country. It will put this country at even greater risk. Read my lips. Do not do it. Do not even think about it!
We need to find political solutions and to do that in an atmosphere of calm good sense. Jeremy Corbyn epitomises this principled attitude at this terrible turbulent time. This is no time for our leaders to panic. We do not need to be bounced into war games. Instead of pitching both sides against each other in Syria by bombing both sides and creating pockets of poverty and homelessness we need to seek to understand and work towards internal solutions in a region that has been so destabilised by previous military interventions. Defeat IS by cutting off funding and weapons. The Attacks in Paris were intended to create hatred and divisiveness. We must not fall into the trap.