Great Political Speeches #4: Ken Livingstone Responds To The 7/7 Attacks

by George_East on July 7, 2015

Ten years ago today terrorists attacked the London transport system in the middle of the morning rush hour with four separate suicide bombs, killing 52 people.

Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister was at the G8 summit at Gleneagles.   His reaction was platitudinous and has been rightly wholly forgotten by history.

The then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone,   on the other hand was in Singapore for the meeting of the International Olympic Committee which only the day before had awarded London the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games.    His speech was pitched perfectly and summed up exactly what Londoners felt on that dark day. It was perhaps the most perfectly judged moment of his career:

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith – it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others – that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

Say it again:  ‘however many you kill, you will fail.’

The 7/7 Victims RIP. Viva London.

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