Thursday, July 07, 2005

Somewhere Under London

We can't help ourselves, even on this spectacularly sh*tty day. It's a Candyskins song, sort of bittersweet and defiant, although the lyrics don't quite fit. We did all the checks, and as far as we can tell, the cru is all present and correct, although one is trapped in an apartment near one of the blasts with only the cricket for company. Hates the first person plural, but that's no reason for getting caught up in both 9-11 and 7-7. MY sympathies are with you.

An atttack on London was probably inevitable, although we couldn't really pretend to have the foresight that Hitch brings to his analysis. We're sympathetic with his idea that "Europe is steadily becoming a part of the civil war that is roiling the Islamic world," although that sentiment doesn't seem to take us anywhere from here. And Iraq has something to do with our friends trudging back home on foot today, as much as we'd like to separate it from the attacks.

We always felt that London had a kind of privileged position in Middle Eastern politics. It's home to a huge number of Muslim dissidents, of whom several felt that, say, the Saudi government wasn't hardcore enough, as well as a favoured playground of wealthy Arab rulers. We had, it must be said, always assumed that this afforded London a measure of protection, as a form of neutral ground, whatever the actions of UK governments. This was, and we need only have looked at earlier history to have confirmed this, a daft assumption to make. Probably a part of the British sellf-image that the country gets on much better with people from other continents than other Europeans. With luck this doesn't swing the other way wildly.

Quick note, part of the ephemera, and in no way meant to constitute a conspiracy theory. The private firms that have been upgrading the London Underground under a PPP arrangement, have apparently fallen behind, as we can attest from being at Russell Square station only eight days ago. They are, as part of the arrangement, designed to compensate the government for falling behind, although several have argued that they should have paid more. Since the attacks are an event for which the private sector would not have to take responsibility, it is likely that they will get a break on much of the upgrade work. Just sayin'.


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