Thursday, 23 March 2017

evil can't win

I must have walked past the Carriage Gates to Parliament thousands of times. There's always police there and they present a friendly face whilst only allowing the permitted people inside.

My pictures here were only taken a few days ago.

The whole area is swamped with tourists for most of the year as well as plenty of people going about their business. The gates can be an area for tourist photographs, although there's also a priority to get cars usually containing ministers and high profile folk inside quickly because of the exposure.

Seasoned inhabitants of the area stride purposefully and can probably walk at about three times the speed of the tourists blocking the pavements.

Like many locals, I'll also select the west side of Westminster Bridge to walk across when going towards Waterloo. There's probably five times as many people on the other side of the road most of the time. The west side was the one used by the lunatic driver.

So when I saw the first tweet and then the unfolding of events on the bridge and at Parliament Square, it brought home the delicate balance of the systems that we all take for granted.

As a Londoner, I've been used to bomb threats, watching out for un-tended luggage and all the other signs of potential unease. We always had bomb alert protocols for our buildings, including what to do if one received a threat. We've been evacuated a few times too, over the years and had that Run, Hide, Tell drilled in.

Parliament itself has also had increasingly stringent security imposed. There's the concrete chicanes along the front of the building and for the access to the Lords' car park area. There's also routine armed police with big guns all around the building, with a finger resolutely pointed along the edge of the trigger guard.

Despite whatever the authorities can do (for example there's huge metal turnstile type bollards at the end of the route that the attacker took across Westminster Bridge) there's still a practical limit. The depraved perpetrators of these incidents use motor vehicles and kitchen knives to inflict death and destruction.

London will largely be back to its own amazing version of normal today, aside from the minute silence at 9:33 and tonight's vigil.

1 comment:

Nikki-ann said...

Earlier this week, I visited London for the first time in a couple of years. I was on the train home when I heard of the events unfolding in Westminster. I live somewhere where it's probably the least likeliest place for a terrorist attack (i.e. the hills of Mid Wales), but I'm always on my guard when in a city. I had noticed an increase in security at the more popular tourist attractions, beforehand.

I did a tour of the Houses of Parliament 3 or so years ago and security was very tight at that time. Police at the gates had guns and we went through airport-style security, including being scanned (including bags) and temporary ID being produced.

Hope you're well.