I have a prediction to make that tomorrow we’ll find out whether Britons are, still, in fact, Britons. Many years ago I was working in The City and there were two events that made travel into work almost impossible.
The first was a series of storms that brought down power lines, blocked train routes and so on. Not surprisingly, the place was empty the next day. Why bother to struggle through?
The other event was an IRA bomb which caused massive damage and loss of life. Trains were disrupted, travel to work the next day was horribly difficult and yet there were more people at work than on a normal day. There was no co-ordination to this, no instructions went out, but it appeared that people were crawling off their sick beds in order to be there at work the next day, thrusting their mewling and pewling infants into the arms of anyone at all so that they could be there.
Yes, we’ll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?
Fuck you, sunshine.
We’ll not be having that.
No grand demonstrations, few warlike chants, a desire for revenge, of course, but the reaction of the average man and woman in the street? Yes, you’ve tried it now bugger off. We’re not scared, no, you won’t change us. Even if we are scared, you can still bugger off.
(Turns out that Worstall is abroad too.) Sullivan also spots this, from the London News Review:
What the fuck do you think you’re doing? This is London. We’ve dealt with your sort before. You don’t try and pull this on us.
Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you’re trying to do, it’s not going to work.
All you’ve done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You don’t get rewarded for this kind of crap.
And if, as your MO indicates, you’re an al-Qaeda group, then you’re out of your tiny minds.Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we’ve got news for you. We don’t much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We’ll deal with that ourselves. We’re London, and we’ve got our own way of doing things, and it doesn’t involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.
And that’s because we’re better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we’re going to go about our lives. We’re going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we’re going to work. And we’re going down the pub.
So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.
Here’s Sullivan himself, with his pithy endorsement of British stoicsim:
Brits regard the best response to outrage to carry on as if nothing has happened. Yes, they will fight back. But first, they will just carry on as normal. Right now, a million kettles are boiling.
I’m not drinking tea these days, but I think I’ll boil the kettle anyway.