What Will London Do?
London Mayor Sadiq Khan famously stated that the threat of terrorist attacks are a “part and parcel of living in a big city” back in September 2016. His main point was that he wanted a complete overview of the city’s response to simultaneous terrorist attacks. He wanted vigilance, preparation, and adequate responses to the many terrorist threats. Let’s pause for just a moment though. It seems that with his quote that those living in a big city, such as London, should become accustomed to the threat of terrorist attacks. Maybe New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio could have said the same statement and not receive any backlash, but it doesn’t seem that would be the case. It would probably get at least a call out on Twitter from the president if such a statement was made.
London has been dealing with the threat of terrorism for the past 15 years or so, but in the past few years, the problem has been growing. The rise of ISIS, refugees from multiple Middle Eastern nations, and homegrown terrorism have contributed significantly to the issue. British voters dissatisfied with the response to terrorism and the European Union, famously voted for an exit back in the July 2016 referendum. Around a year later, it does not seem that their situation has improved. The government under Theresa May has not been popular as evidenced by her party’s losses in the latest election. The Labour Party’s popularity continues to grow and May is barely able to avoid sinking as she forms a government with the DUP party.
It is clear that the people of London are not satisfied with May’s response to the terrorist attacks of the past few months. It has put her on the defensive with Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has criticized her for cutting the police force. Thus far, it is yet to be seen what the comprehensive reforms will be to the terrorist attacks. Talks of arming more police and other common sense security actions have stalled. It is unclear what the Labour Party would recommend or change in the current system. From looking at the history of Corbyn’s rise to relevance in the party, it does not give any encouraging signs. Corbyn seems to have respect for Iran, blames terrorism on Western wars, tried to nearly equate Israel to ISIS, and has made other comments that would definitely be asking for tough questions if he was campaigning here.
Since the government has not laid out a new strategy, Londoners can only hope that Mayor Khan will be able to combat the changing threats of terrorist attacks. It is hard to know if he can be trusted after refusing to confirm his support of the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Perhaps he should start by devoting more of his resources to tracking the hundreds of possible threats and having a stronger vetting of refugees, including those returning from war-torn countries. If the attacks continue, it is impossible to see how he survives that political storm. Londoners and the rest of Britain will look to support leaders that actually will enact policies that focus on the safety of communities instead of succumbing to political correctness. It would be surprising if Londoners were satisfied with having the threat of terrorist attacks as a normal circumstance.