Two items in today’s Graun in the aftermath of Woolwich. I’m not attaching too much significance to either – and in particular, I’m not trying to suggest that tea and custard creams are usually the way to deal with racists (see #2 below); but I found both these items intriguing and, in their different ways, strangely encouraging:
1/ Interview with Ingrid Loyau-Kennett
She’s the woman who jumped off her bus, initially with the intention of giving first aid to Lee Rigby, but who then found herself engaging in debate with the killers in order to prevent further mayhem. “It’s only you and there are many of us” she (now) famously told one of them.
The Graun interview shows her to be complex (Catholic, single parent) and in many ways admirable (many sensible opinions) …and a Tory:
Loyau-Kennett says she is “naturally rightwing”. She adds: “I don’t agree with the socialist thing where they praise everything rather than praising hard work. I’m proud that we are now represented by David Cameron rather than Gordon Brown. I voted for him.”
The killers should now face “severe punishment”, she says. “I will not waste any of my energy in hating, or even thinking further about these men. Yes, they deserve to be in jail because they killed a man who did a lot for society and who could have done a lot more in his life, and been an excellent father. The trouble with jail is that we have to pay for their keep. Will they stay in jail for ever? I don’t think so, because of the judicial system these days.”
Before her bus had arrived, one of the men had talked into an onlooker’s cameraphone, quoting “an eye for an eye” in an attempt to justify his actions. Loyau-Kennett believes the killers should face the same retribution.
“If it were possible, then, yes, they should die a painful death,” she says. “But we can’t do that, unfortunately. They wanted to behead someone, so they should face the same. If they want to do something like this, they should have gone to where the action is [in Afghanistan, etc]. That is cowardice. They were egotistical. They are like the men who drive round thinking they are king of the road. It’s just me, me, me. It’s that thing where young men are bored. They should be jailed for murder, just as I think people who drive when drunk and kill someone should be jailed for ever for murder. No television in jail. Nothing. They must pay for what they did. But will that happen in this era of so-called human rights?”
2/ Mosque offers tea to would-be protesters
All too predictably, the far-right have been cashing in, targeting individual Asians and Mosques. The EDL has been given a new lease of life, and members of the BNP and UKIP have mobilised to stir up hatred and racism. In Grimsby, petrol bombs were thrown into a Mosque and those inside, including children, were lucky to escape with their lives.
A Mosque in York was targeted…
(NB: the following is in today’s print edition of the Graun, but not the on-line version)
Around half a dozen people arrived for the protest. A St George’s flag was nailed to the wooden fence in front of the mosque. However, other members of the group accepted an invitation into the mosque, tensions were rapidly defused over tea and plates of custard creams, followed by an impromptu game of football.
Leanne Staven, who had come for the protest, said that she had not come to cause trouble but because “we need a voice”. “I think white British who have any concerns feel we can’t speak freely,” she said.
Mohammed el-Gomati, a York University lecturer, said: “There is the possibility of having a dialogue. Even the EDL who were having a shouting match started talking and we found out that we share and are prepared to agree that violent extremism is wrong. We have to start there.”