London Bridge JohnnyFox June 4, 2017 Other Writing, Reviews, Theatre For the first time ever I would say I’m not ‘afraid’ but I am ‘anxious’. In previous events I thought ‘well – I could have been there, but it’s not really likely’ but this one was definitely on my ‘patch’ and I, or any number of friends, could have been walking from Southwark Playhouse or the Menier to London Bridge Station as I probably have done ten times this year already, at exactly that time of evening, and been in the thick of it. If I say I don’t want to meet my end at the hands of a crazed jihadist armed with a halal knife, most of my friends from elsewhere in the world will think I’m mildly insane at even considering that as a possibility. And I envy them. London may be one of the most tolerant and multi-cultural cities in the world, but it’s also one of the most iconic and ‘desirable’ targets for terrorism. Smash London, and you have made your point not only to Britain, but to all nations. But there’s something else makes me dislike living in London at the moment and that’s the crazed ugliness of people who don’t accept that, plain and simple, this is an attack from fundamentalist members of an ideology that wants to defeat us and our irreligious way of life. I choose to be secular. I like the freedom from all religions, and I am angry that governments, leaders, churchmen and my fellow citizens won’t stand up to the source of this terrorism and give it its proper, Islamist, name. And for the people who say oh, it’s Britain’s fault for engaging in foreign wars or selling planes to Saudi Arabia, or it’s just like the IRA angered by England’s long-term persecution of Ireland before the famine, I have only two words to say. And the second is ‘off’. Many of those people who claim to understand or are prepared to tolerate the extreme actions of radicalised Islamists are also women, or gay. How either of those two categories can accept as rational the purest tenets of a religion that would have them in the first case ‘owned’ by men and subjugated by the state, and in the second killed for their sexuality, is beyond incredible to me. I am unhappy. And that unhappiness is affecting how I deal with people and situations day by day. I am fortunate that freed of the constraints of work or family, I also have choices. I could pack up, leave my friends and my familiar situations and move to a beautiful coastline or countryside. I may do that. But I also know that my friends and their familiar situations may not have that flexibility, and must persevere. I am actively sorry for them, but more than that I am actively angry that the solution which stares us in the face – rooting out the perpetrators, their harborers and those who finance and encourage them – is so palpably beyond the grasp of our government. I believe our security forces could eliminate most sources of terrorism, as they did in Northern Ireland before the peace accord, but they have to be licensed to do it by our elected representatives. Although obviously I support the status quo, I almost don’t care who wins the election on Thursday in terms of how they spend our resources – on welfare, education, health, nationalising the railways or uncoupling us from Europe. But I do want to feel safe. In my home, in my city, in my country. And if I can’t be, then society has failed me. You. All of us.