ON Bank Holiday weekends in more innocent times, the sight of armed police patrolling seaside resorts like Scarborough would have been unthinkable. Now it is a necessary precaution as an unprecedented security operation is launched following Monday’s terrorist outrage in Manchester.
Yet the very fact that it is deemed necessary to deploy officers at high-profile locations, and also on the region’s railways for the first time, is also indicative of the scale of the security threat facing the country as police desperately seek to identify, and apprehend, the ‘network’ that supported suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
This is clearly a race against time – the raising of Britain’s security status to ‘critical’ means that the intelligence agencies fear another atrocity is imminent – and it’s chilling to think young children having fun are no longer safe from the barbaric intentions of those jihadists prepared to slaughter innocent individuals so indiscriminately.
Yet, while the best response to such atrocities is to carry on as normal and show that terrorists will never break the will of this country, it’s also imperative that people do co-operate with the police. These are individuals putting their lives on the line to protect the country and they deserve to be respected.
The same applies to those hospitals, and first responders, tasked with putting contingency plans into place – plans they hope that they never have to activate. If there’s one lesson to be learned from this tragic week, it’s the extent to which Manchester’s emergency services and hospitals were prepared for such a tragic eventuality – this saved lives.
On a weekend when Manchester’s victims will never be far from the nation’s thoughts, it’s also important never to take the security services, police or NHS staff for granted. They are this country’s unsung heroes.
Security – do you trust Corbyn?
IF only the resumption of the General Election campaign was in keeping with the national unity witnessed since the Manchester concert bombing.
After Ukip’s insensitive manifesto launch, Jeremy Corbyn’s national security speech only served to reveal his own leadership shortcomings.
As a lifelong pacifist, his principled opposition to war and violence is sincerely held. Yet, if he was to become Prime Minister, he would be entrusted with protecting this country’s liberty. However, the inference is his principles are non-negotiable, potentially adding to Britain’s vulnerability at a time of crisis.
Past and present prime ministers only deploy the Armed Forces with the heaviest of hearts. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous – it cannot be said with certainty that the world would be any safer if the West had not intervened in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Furthermore, Mr Corbyn’s own record does not inspire confidence. He’s been a steadfast opponent of anti-terror legislation since 1983 – how would he act if the intelligence agencies demanded greater surveillance powers from him? – while his support for the IRA continues to embarrass many in his party.
And while there should be a debate about police numbers, Mr Corbyn did not acknowledge two salient points. First, Labour’s policing plans don’t add up, as evidenced by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott’s cack-handedness. Second, Daesh – the so-called Islamic State – loathes Britain because of who we are, and the values so much in evidence this week, rather than what we do.
WHEN THE FA Cup was lifted by Huddersfield Town in 1922, it was football’s greatest prize – and the season’s traditional finale. Yet, while the showcase tournament has still retained its prestige as Chelsea and Arsenal prepare for today’s setpiece occasion, the prize is dwarfed by the riches that will be at stake on Monday when Yorkshire’s very own Terriers take on Reading for the right to join the Premier League.
With a reputed £200m at stake to the victors, this match, the most lucrative in football, has more significance than Town’s glorious Cup run in the 1920s which was the precursor to the team winning the old First Division for three successive seasons. Not only will victory be the club’s greatest achievement, but the financial windfall will transform Huddersfield’s fortunes on and off the pitch. As such, Town’s players and supporters travel to Wembley with our good wishes – games don’t come any bigger than this.