My friend the Canadian journalist Terry Glavin writes of the cant and bullshit that invariably surrounds incidents such as the terrorist killing in Woolwich this week of soldier Lee Rigby. Terry makes some good points, marred only by his mis-definition of Woolwich as a London borough. I would have left this comment following Terry’s article in the Ottawa Citizen, were it not for the online comments system being restricted to Facebook users.
The London Borough in question is actually Greenwich. Woolwich is a largely working class and ethnically diverse town in the eastern part of this historic maritime borough, and the administrative centre for the recently re-branded Royal Borough of Greenwich. I went to school close to the scene of Rigby’s murder, and today live just a few kilometres away. Woolwich was a shithole when I was a teenager; today it is a pretty decent place in which to live, work and play.
Terry’s point about moral illiteracy is well made. I have so far managed to ignore the bleatings of the commentariat and political class, preferring instead to focus on local community reaction to Rigby’s murder. As for pointless punditry, Glenn Greenwald, that current darling of the Grauniadistas, is a caricature of a caricature, to the extent that I cannot believe he is a real person. ‘Greenwald’ – for the concept should always be placed in inverted commas – comes across as an example of a particularly warped newspaper editorial imagination.
Local community reaction to Rigby’s murder has been commendable, by and large, although opportunistic protests waged by the fascist “English Defence League” command some support among the white working class of Woolwich and environs. This we have to take seriously, as what happened the other day could lead to significantly increased social and political instability. It could explain why the British state went into immediate panic mode following the killing.