Last night’s terrorist attack in Manchester has horrified our nation. It has once more reminded us both of the challenges that the world presents us, and of our greatest strengths.
First reactions to tragedy are always telling. From the hate-mongering columnists demanding a ‘final solution’ to acts of terror, to the tin foil-hated tweeters retweeting what should be untweetable, tragedy lays bare the person within, artifice and second thoughts stripped away. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the actions and reactions of the people of Manchester last night. From those who opened their homes and their hearts to strangers, to those who offered transport, safety and a chance to call their families, the people of Manchester have shown us everything that is great about Britain.
I was reminded this morning of the lessons so many politicians swore to learn after the death of Jo Cox. To demonise less, to end the mongering of fear and hatred, and to celebrate our common passions as people and as a nation. #moreincommon and now #standtogether are ideals – ideals so many of us cling to in these uncertain times, and ideals that we can be proud of. They are the aspiration for a better public discourse, an aspiration that acknowledges viciousness to be the problem in our country, and not the solution.
There will be many stories yet to tell of last night’s attacks – of the heroism and sacrifices of our emergency services, of the many kindnesses shown, and of the grief of so very many yet to mourn. But let us also not forget that we are not just observers. In our recounting of the tales that tell our country at its best, and in our mourning of the memories of those taken before their time, we speak to our highest ideals, and we point the path to the country we long to continue.