Manchester is special for me. I went to the same clubs there as my mum did when she was young. Shopped in Affleck’s. Went to a gig at the Arena. Wrote my dissertation on part of it.
A friend was in a record shop when the IRA bomb went off. They were lucky, they were behind a vinyl stand, and the explosion of plate glass windows largely missed them.
Last night someone chose to kill themselves, and in doing so hurt and kill and cause panic and distress, mainly to quite young people, for reasons yet unknown. My first thoughts were for the families, for those who were killed, injured, terrified. For those still wondering where loved ones are. My second thought was anger, and a dark disbelief that someone had done this in Manchester, of all places.
Manchester has a long history of standing up, shouting out, and furthering causes where there is injustice. The first public unveiling of a Suffragette banner happened there. The Free Trade Hall was so called because they managed to stop a stranglehold which was leaving people hungry. The People’s Museum is based there, showing how folk have banded together and fought for rights or expressed opinions over the years. From anti nuclear campaigns back to unions for working men.
As yet, we don’t know why this bombing took place.
Killing doesn’t further causes.
Killing doesn’t make anyone listen to your message.
Killing doesn’t demonstrate your plight.
If you wanted a lesson in how to be heard, then Manchester could have provided that, had you listened.
They may not have agreed, but you'd have had your chance.
It’s the offer of rooms, lifts, telephone calls and NHS staff attending a conference, offering to help at hospitals which most people are talking about. It’s the tragedy and cowardice of striking out at young people having a good time which people are talking about. Not about the reasons, the bomber.
That should tell you what we think matters.