#DancingPoliceman Made Us LOL, The London Bridge Attack Makes Us Choose A Leader

How depressing for MAD London to return as the television stations are full of rolling news from outside a police perimeter line just south of London Bridge, the area around Borough Market. For those who don't know the place, you need only imagine an area famous for young people from all over the world socialising. It's a place to go to enjoy street food from a variety of cultures and to get fired up over ingredients to take home and cook something up with yourself.

The international appeal of the area is revealed with the first victim to be named being Canadian. The authorities have said citizens from Spain, Australia and New Zealand were also caught up in the ramming and stabbing spree, although it is unclear whether they are among the fatalities or the injured. After one man of violence detonated a suicide bomb to kill as many young people as possible at an Ariana Grande gig two weeks ago in Manchester, we have a different target. This was an attack on London's cosmopolitan entertainment scene, where people of all races eat and drink alongside one another, set against the iconic backdrop of London Bridge.



Just as with Manchester, we have social media to thank for people putting up offers of accommodation for those who couldn't get back to hotel rooms and a local tax company offering people free rides home to safety. We also have a McDonald's that shut to the public so it could devote its remaining food and drinks stocks to nourishing emergency workers, for free and random acts of kindness such as the picture of young man who was distributing water to police officers from two carrier bags balanced on his bicycle handlebars.

We also have reports of the serious wounds suffered by at least one off-duty police officer who tackled the three assailants. Their efforts were matched by members of the public who threw pint glasses and chairs at the crazed knifemen to slow down their progress.

Two stories have risen to the surface here, though, through the help of social media. The #DancingPoliceman at the One Love Manchester will be one of the key moments that will come to sum up the UK's response. He immediately went viral next night as embodying the best response to men of violence by holding hands with a ring of children and dancing in the face of suicide bombers. The night itself was a wonderful way of embracing love as the antidote to terror as Ariana Grande lined up a host of famous names to take to the stage. Nevertheless, I think the enduring memory will be a dancing policeman at the back of the concert helping some young girls enjoy the music coming from distant dots on a faraway stage.

The other was more political. For some reason, Donald Trump chose to lambast Sadiq Khan, London's first muslim Mayor, for telling people not to be alarmed, despite the latest terror attack. British tweeters took to social media to call out the US President for mistaking reassurance with weakness. Most famous of all, J K Rowling pointed out that Khan was showing leadership after an event in which three attackers were dead within eight minutes of the police being called. She signed off with one of her legendary Twitter put-downs, "If we need an alarmist blowhard, we'll call." 

As for where this leaves us? Today and two more days of campaigning -- and then it's election day. What do you reckon will now be the only topic on the political agenda? A fascinating read in The Times revealed how the Tory party has been scared of being ahead too early in the polls. The article points out that it's better to come off the proverbial ropes in the last week to talk up the character and leadership. The author predicted, before the weekend attack, that this week would be devoted to presenting the choice between May and Corbyn with the question mark over which one you think should tackle terror and represent the UK in Brexit talks?

Another article from a pollster in the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph makes some further good points about polls and how they have potentially exaggerated Labour's share of the vote. Last week's news was all about Labour making up lost ground, but it's interesting to read why this may be more about what people say to pollsters than how they actually vote.

So the backdrop to the election that will decide who goes to Brussels to organise our withdrawal will be set firmly against a backdrop of the country's response to terror and the need for strong leadership. This was how the last week would always go, but now the focus is more pronounced.

Although no politician would ever want to be given a boost by such terrible events, one can't help but wonder if that's what will happen for May on Thursday. We'll find out on Friday.

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