Ken Livingstone: Our resolve saw us through. Now we must learn lessons
Saturday 07 May 2011
The terror attacks of 7 July are still vivid. No one can forget how we felt as the news came through that a normal London activity like taking a tube or bus had become a murderous nightmare.
The 2005 bombings were the worst terrorist attack in London's history, an act of indiscriminate murder aimed at people regardless of creed, colour or background. None of us who weren't there can know what it must have been like, but the choice of target could not have been a more direct attack on a city's psychology.
Lady Justice Hallett's report has sensible recommendations that the relevant agencies must now absorb. We must also now rethink the planned reductions of police – by 1,000 officers – and London Ambulance Service jobs – by 890 posts including, by their own estimate, 560 frontline posts.
I cannot see how weakening the emergency services is the way to sustain resilience. Fewer ambulance workers and police could weaken our future response.
A terrorist attack on this scale is bound to mean lessons must be learnt but the emergency services responded with great efficiency and dedication, as did the many public transport workers
We got our transport system running again quickly – not only because of transport staff but because Londoners went about their business with calm and resolve. We came through 7 July and the attempted bombings on 21 July by uniting and showing we would not turn on each other as al-Qaeda wanted.
A unlawful killing verdict is welcome – a significant moment that formalises that this was a criminal act on a horrific scale.
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