Belfast Telegraph

Why business as usual is best message to send out to evil terrorists who think they have sent the nation 'reeling' with fear

By Lindy McDowell

Call off the election! In the immediate wake of the weekend horror in London a raft of concerned citizens took to social media to demand a polling day postponement. An online petition was even launched.

But since this garnered around only a few hundred signatures in total, it would be safe to say that this 'stop all the clocks!' cry does not appear to entirely chime with current sentiment.

In the immortal words of those hastily painted bits of hardboard signage we remember so well seeing propped up amid the rubble of just-bombed premises in Northern Ireland - 'Business As Usual' it is then.

Elsewhere, the world and its granny suggest a myriad of solutions to the vexed question of How Do We Fight the Terrorists? But back in the UK, quietly, unobtrusively, the ordinary man and woman in the street has come up with their own answer. Business as usual.

The weekend Ariana Grande concert was a very glitzy example of that. Those commuters walking to work over London Bridge on Monday morning a more subdued, dignified but equally impressive one.

I'm not a great fan of the candle-lit vigil (although I do understand people's need to grieve) or of the #WeAreNotAfraid movement.

Actually people are afraid. Pretending otherwise is not courage. Admitting you are afraid - but still getting on with it. That's courage.

And that, ultimately, is what defeats terrorists. The dogged resolve that, whatever fear you might feel, their bombs and butchery are never going to win.

It was that same courage and resolve of the ordinary people which defeated terrorism here. Courage and resolve and also (and this is important) a fair bit of grim, gutsy humour.

Even amid the horror of the London pub attacks, who didn't this week have a bit of a smile at that picture of the evacuated drinker fleeing down the street alongside his fellow bar patrons - still clutching his pint?

"That's what happens when you're a Scouser paying London £6 pint prices," his fellow Liverpudlians posted. And he didn't spill a drop.

Then there's been the bolshie humour of the online backlash against the New York Times which was foolish enough to infer that, in the wake of the terror attacks in Britain, the nation was 'reeling'.

Back at them immediately on social media, came a raft of pics of wartime Britain - a woman sitting upon the debris of her blitzed home nonchalantly downing a cup of tea, a milkman continuing his morning rounds through the apocalyptic devastation of the previous night's Luftwaffe bombing raid. This is what 'reeling' means in 'British English' said the posters.

And that, in turn, sparked a deluge of wit with the hashtag Things That Leave Britain Reeling...

"People who sit next to you on an empty bus...when you vote for Boaty McBoatface and they name the thing Attenborough... toasters that aren't big enough to fit the whole slice...when Iain (remember him?) threw his Baked Alaska in the bin... James Corden being famous..."

It went on and on. And okay it's daft and frivolous stuff.

But no, that doesn't trivialise the terror. It trivialises the terrorists. It says to them - up you and up your savagery. Because our lives go on.

The Ariana Grande concert said that too. The 23-year-old Grande skipping around the stage on her impossible heels, flicking her long locks, singing her heart out has become an icon of courage. A Disney Princess made flesh. Good and kind and sweet - and heroic. Truly heroic.

I liked Liam Gallagher too, all snarly and mono-brow brooding in his orange parka. But doing the right thing. Afterwards Liam berated brother Noel for his no-show at the concert in language typically totally inappropriate for repetition in a family newspaper.

In many ways, though, just getting on with life.

For, ironically, for a pair of boys whose hits include Don't Look Back in Anger, the Gallagher feud shows no sign of abating.

Business as usual, apparently there too.

Nothing funny about BGT's boy 'comedian' 

I'm glad the boy comedian didn't win Britain's Got Talent.

He is a child, so we must be kind.

But he is not a comedian. What he was doing was parroting, in his irritating, piping small child's voice (apologies to small children everywhere) a not-terribly-funny script written by his da.

BGT seems to have got through the "cute" performing dogs phase. I didn't like performing dogs either.

But spare us, please, the performing kids who are deemed "cute" on account of being rude.

This isn't comedy, whatever it is.

Judge is likable with his courtroom humour

I wouldn't go so far as to call him Solomon, but I do like Judge Barney McElholm in Derry, whose dry wit and kindly common sense often makes headlines.

In a recent case, he's allowed a young motorist to postpone his court appearance for sentencing while the boy travels to Spain with his granny for a surprise holiday.

However... "Tell him to go easy on the paella and cerveza because his fines are going up," the judge warns the defendant's solicitor.

I think this is legalese for - home from Spain, to Costa lot.

Belfast Telegraph


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