One of the funniest things I saw last night was on the 10 o’ clock news. There was a piece about Iran wanting nuclear power and the reporter was speculating as to why they’d want it, when they already have so much oil and gas. As he was talking, footage of a lorry bearing the words WE WILL TRAMPLE AMERICA BENEATH OUR FEET rumbling down a dusty road was shown. Me and Steve laughed a lot, in a slightly terrified way.
Speaking of terror (a word I can never think of without hearing George W Bush’s pronunciation of it: ‘teer’), I am jumpy these days. Armed police on the streets ain’t helping things. On the bus this morning, as we drove up Whitehall, I looked out of the window to see two police, cradling machine guns, squinting up at the top deck of the bus. At every station there are at least two police in high-visibility jackets, usually carrying guns, scrutinising everyone entering and exiting. I know that the heightened police presence is supposed to reassure Londoners, but it just makes me more scared. I’m not sure why. Maybe because if I didn’t see police every time I stepped outside, the ‘terrorist threat’ wouldn’t be at the forefront of my mind. But I do, and so it is. And also the fact that the Met is taking it so seriously (rightly so), and has clearly stopped bothering trying to hide the gravity of the situation from us, makes me think oh shit this is real. And I should be scared. And OK, the terrorists haven’t ‘won’, in the sense that most people* are still taking the bus and the Tube, but also, on one level, if you count ‘keeping people in a constant state of low-level fear’ as ‘winning’, they have.
* I have spoken to several people, friends and family, who now refuse to travel on public transport, instead walking, taking cabs, or just staying at home.