Mass Murder in Paris – Condolences and Good Wishes

The events in Paris on Friday evening felt just as close to home for me as the London 7/7 bombings of 2005. We’ve written here in recent weeks about two major solution provider conferences in Paris that we attended, staying just a few hundred metres away from Friday’s terrible scenes. I have spent many evenings in venues and gigs of a similar nature to that being held at the Bataclan where around 100 people died on Friday night. I’ve seen the Eagles of Death Metal and the Deftones (the bands playing on Friday) play at Reading Festival several times.

We always say after these events “this won’t change people’s behaviour” but I wonder. Will there be fewer conferences in Paris next year? Will some fans decide that attending a gig in a crowded venue with limited escape routes is not worth the risk? Should we sit outside restaurants on busy city streets?

The terrorists aren’t primarily interested in economic damage. Their aim is to kill a lot of people, and draw more people into their perverted “Holy War”. But there are side-effects in terms of businesses and the economy, as well as on our personal lives.

We suspect that organisations will be reviewing their travel policies and related arrangements for staff. No doubt precautions at airports and other transport locations will get even tougher, with more delays and hassle. This must be the final straw in terms of the Schengen agreement, which allows movement across Europe, already under pressure from the influx of refugees and arguments between different EU states about how to handle the situation. We suspect free movement across European national borders will go down in history as a failed and short-term experiment.

That will have implications for business too, and many organisations will be convening meetings of their risk committees or similar on Monday morning. Procurement people should be ready to play a role in those discussions and think about potential implications for our supply chain.

There will no doubt be political ramifications too. In our view, Angela Merkel’s statement about welcoming unlimited numbers of migrants into Germany will go down in history as one of the most stupid things ever said by a major politician. I don’t think we have seen the consequences of that yet, but I suspect we will. These atrocities will also strengthen the National Front in France and nationalist parties across Europe.

But finally, and most importantly for today, our sincere condolences to everyone affected by these events and we particularly hope that those who are critically injured can pull through.

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