Attack In Westminster – Condolences And Some Big Questions

Our sincere condolences to everyone affected by the attack in Westminster yesterday. It is tragic for the individuals – the policeman, doing his job, and the innocent people who just happened to be walking across the bridge – and our good wishes to everyone and anyone involved in any way.

The events are shocking to everyone, but when you have walked over Westminster Bridge, and past those policemen on the gates of the Palace of Westminster as I have maybe a couple of thousand times over the last 20 years, it has personal resonance too.

I remember the days when basically anyone could walk into the Palace of Westminster. Security has got tighter and tighter over the years, and on my more recent trips, you need to have an invitation, then go through an airport style security procedure – although once you are inside, you can move around more freely than you might expect.

But if a madman with a large knife just runs up to a policeman … there is only so much you can do, and we should be glad the procedures then came into play and he got no further. The attack with the car though – how on earth do you stop that? You can’t put bollards up alongside every road in London (or the country). Every shopping street, every crowd outside the theatre or the football ground, every group of parents outside the school gates ... there are so many potential targets.

We were planning to write about the ban on laptops on planes, which we will, but that was knocked out of the headlines by the Westminster events. The common factor is a very important question we must face. How far do we go in changing our day to day lives, in potentially affecting our economies as well as the convenience or pleasure of normal life, to protect ourselves against a very small number of homicidal lunatics?

I don’t know the answer to that, but our politicians and all citizens need to have an informed debate about that issue, we suggest. And of course, businesses need to look at risk issues – maybe this hasn’t changed anything for most large organisations, but risk of all sorts must be high on everyone’s agenda.

One other point – we were surprised we waited for hours and hours for Prime Minister Theresa May to make any comment. A missed opportunity to show some leadership, we feel.

 

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