The extraordinary heroism of ‘ordinary’ people

The courageous defenders of London Bridge show up our clownish elite.

Julie Burchill

Topics Politics UK

It’s a cliché that Christmas starts too early these days; there can be few things less attractive than seeing emblems of the most tender of Christian festivals jostling for space with Freddy Krueger masks in mid-October. The first Christmas TV advert encouraging people to spend, spend, spend – and spend a gloomy January in the red. The first drunk singing songs that could be anything from ‘Away in a Manager’ to ‘Fairytale of New York’. And the first Islamist attack on a European capital. It’s dismaying, to say the least, that the Religion Of Peace has now joined us in counting down to Christmas.

But these acts of evil are dwarfed by the acts of heroism which often follow them. We learn the names of the attackers before the names of the defenders, but it is the latter who become legends. And so the man who grabbed the knife will be remembered in the same way we think of the heroes of the 2017 London Bridge attack, when eight people were butchered by Islamists, like the young doctor Jonathan Moses who successfully pleaded to be let out of a locked-down restaurant in Borough Market and ran towards the carnage.

When ‘ordinary’ people behave in such an extraordinary way, they do us a political and philosophical favour, as well as a practical one. Such acts are the only true sorting of first-rate people from the rest of us – and they leave politicians and lawmakers looking particularly substandard. We’re not meant to mention party politics at times like these, as though it’s in some way disrespectful to the dead. But what would be truly disrespectful would be to pretend that different parties don’t bring different contributions to the counter-terrorism table. Jeremy Corbyn voted against banning al-Qaeda in Britain just six months before 9/11, said it was ‘a tragedy’ that Osama Bin Laden was killed rather than put on trial, and just last month said ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi should have been arrested. If there wasn’t an election round the corner, I have no doubt that Corbyn would be making cross noises about the fact that armed police had the cheek to shoot dead a knife-wielding Islamist maniac before he’d had the chance to get his postal vote in.

There will also be the usual platitudes about ‘not giving in to hate’, which means not expressing any anger and singing ‘Kumbaya’ while waving candles instead. If we say anything even slightly heated we are apparently in some way as bad as the attackers. But on the contrary, you give in to hate when you allow a violent fascist ideology free rein. As Christopher Hitchens said, ‘The barbarians never take a city until someone holds the gates open to them – and it’s your own multicultural authorities who will do it for you’. With each new attack we are told that this has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ – but even if that’s so, we’d be justified in thinking that Islam certainly attracts a higher proportion of murderous maniacs than any setup since the Manson Family.

When Sadiq Khan says that the threat of terror is ‘part and parcel of living in a big city’, or when the official police pamphlet on what to do when faced with a terrorist incident is called, shamefully, ‘Run, Hide, Tell’, we know that those who believe they know better than us are either silly or sinister, to use another Hitchens line on surrender in the face of Islamofascism. What a relief it was to see on London Bridge on Friday policemen shoot a killer dead without first sitting him down, giving him a cup of tea, and asking him if he wanted to report an Islamophobic hate crime.

We live in a time when the Great and the Good take any chance they can to have a dig at ordinary people. We’re racist. We’re ignorant. We shouldn’t have been allowed to vote on anything as important as Brexit. But it’s the Great and the Good who repeatedly do ruinous things to this country, like letting thwarted terrorist plotters out to have another go once they’ve served eight years of a 16-year sentence. The man on the Clapham Omnibus – or the passer-by on London Bridge – is often a hero; the man making the rules in Westminster or in the law courts is often a clown. If we allow liberal halfwits to carry on pandering to maniacs in our name, some day soon it will forever be Halloween and never Christmas.

Julie Burchill is a journalist and author based in Brighton.

Picture by: Getty

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.



2nd December 2019 at 10:36 pm

Start by closing down all 3000 mosques in this country so that this violent Arabian death cult is prevented from spreading its poison. Even so-called ‘moderate’ Islam has no concept of human freedom, separation of state and religion or the sanctity of human life.

antoni orgill

2nd December 2019 at 8:45 pm

Why are you afraid of justice, Julie? A dead terrorist tells no tales. A trial? Why, an open trial of captured terrorists would make for refreshing viewing. Could Joe Public cope? People less enlightened than you? Both you & Brenda have a big problem here. You’re both being pretty fucking slaggy. It really is a bit sad that your bitterness has encroached upon your better judgement.

Cedar Grove

7th December 2019 at 11:09 am

Live by the sword, die by the sword. That’s justice, the Old Testament version plagiarised by Islam, practised in Muslim countries, & accepted by people like Khan.

If people want the privileges of secular democracy, they should abide by its principles.

Your slavering sexist insults don’t endow your view with more credibility.

Neil McCaughan

2nd December 2019 at 6:38 pm

Meanwhile, Roy Larner, who took on the murderous savages in the previous London Bridge outrage, has been placed on a watch list, and been obliged to sit through the idiocy of a de-radicalisation programme, lest he become ‘islamophobic’ Yet our cretinous government, imbecile judges, and worthless police allow homicidal maniacs in thrall to a monstrous bloodthirsty ideology roam our streets.

Welcome to ClownWorld.

Cedar Grove

7th December 2019 at 11:22 am

The link says that he spat on a Black photographer and made a viscerally racist remark, so perhaps that was the basis for suspecting that he might be inclined to the Right.

The article also says that the Parsons Green tube bomber was another attendee at the deradicalisation parties, so Prevent seems to be far better at detecting verbal crimes than planned acts of mass murder.

James Knight

2nd December 2019 at 6:13 pm

The official advice “run and hide” contrasts with the instinct of ordinary people. Makes us look like a nation of lions led by donkeys.

Douglas beckley

2nd December 2019 at 12:56 pm

Effective and robust policing and stern sentencing will never be enough. Only smug, sanctimonious and self-satisfied empty left-wing rhetoric can stop terrorism, and wipe it out.

Bella Donna

2nd December 2019 at 12:49 pm

Until the Establishment grows a spine how many more of us must die before Common Sense kicks in and the Government starts protecting us from these terrorists? Bring back the Death Penalty!

Robert Spowart

2nd December 2019 at 9:25 am

I see the lead letter in the Daily Telegraph is a multi-signature effort from the relatives & survivors of recent attacks and appears to be pushing the “Teddybears & Tealights” philosophy.

Brandy Cluster

2nd December 2019 at 10:54 am

Are you referring to the fact that the Merritt family said their son wouldn’t want harsh sentences to be the answer to their son’s death? Of course, they’ve got many stages of grief yet to encounter and, come significant milestones with their son cold in his grave, their atruism will be tempered – to say the least of it. The harshness of time will leave no room for bogus refulgences.

James Knight

2nd December 2019 at 6:16 pm

It is actually Sadiq Khan who was complaining that indeterminate sentences were abolished under the Tories. So he was politicising it and playing the authoritarian.

Phil Ford

2nd December 2019 at 8:46 am

‘…What a relief it was to see on London Bridge on Friday policemen shoot a killer dead without first sitting him down, giving him a cup of tea, and asking him if he wanted to report an Islamophobic hate crime.’

Yes, and the shocking thing is that if these morons try this stuff almost anywhere outside of The West they get just the same short shrift from well-armed, well-trained security forces there. The Met did absolutely the correct thing – they neutralised a known threat in their duty to protect the public. Bravo.

H McLean

2nd December 2019 at 7:41 am

Nothing will change because politicians are weak, craven cowards. The West has allowed itself to be destroyed from within, by liars and traitors on both sides of politics. Stalin would have laughed.

Liz Davison

2nd December 2019 at 7:29 am

The father of the naive and too kind young man butchered by this deceitful barbarian has said his son wouldn’t have wanted his murder to be “used” to condemn the system. With a father like that, is it any wonder the young man chose to take pet in this worthy charade? Hitchens should be required reading. In the Bible it says that the Lord helps those who help themselves. Muslims seem to understand that message better than soft Europeans. Why allow the wicked free rein?


2nd December 2019 at 10:38 pm

Where precisely in Scripture does it say that? I don’t recall that being a biblical teaching.

Cedar Grove

7th December 2019 at 11:16 am

It isn’t in the Bible. The origin of the phrase lies in Ancient Greece. It appears in European fables as the moral of the tale, but came into modern consciousness in the 18th century. American Christianity adopted it in support of the “can-do”attitude.

The sentiment is found in Islam. Mohammed is said to have told someone who trusted Allah to keep his camel safe to trust in God, but also tie up his camel.

Jane 70

2nd December 2019 at 4:41 am

Great article but I would prefer ‘liberal f..kwits’.

BTW, as expected ,the good old Graun ran an article which averred -‘it’s nothing to do with the ROP.

jessica christon

2nd December 2019 at 5:36 am

And by any chance did this article have comments enabled beneath it? *snigger*

Brandy Cluster

2nd December 2019 at 3:33 am

I’m sorry, there must be something missing in this tale of heroism: WOMEN. Were they the ones who fended off the attacker or was it MEN who did this – you know, the ones guilty of “toxic masculinity”. I think we need to be told.

T Zazoo

2nd December 2019 at 3:54 am

In fairness, women aren’t the perps of most terrorist attacks either. Regardless of their religion.

H McLean

2nd December 2019 at 7:28 am

In fairness, T Zazoo, yours is a straw man point. Men are almost always the ones who put their lives on the line to save others. When a woman does it, it is an outlier. And society (including and especially women) EXPECTS men to put their own lives last when it is necessary to defend home, country or, indeed, civilisation.

Brandy Cluster

2nd December 2019 at 10:52 am

Thank you both for making my point: it IS men who do all the defending and for their trouble they’re condemned as “toxic”. In this age of equality of opportunity it’s time for the women to step up and do the defending too. Otherwise, it’s sheer hypocrisy. And the use of language such as “ordinary people” is trying to cover from the fact that women are seldom the instigators of heroism and bravery. They’re happy to leave men to do that – and absolutely NOTHING ELSE.

Cedar Grove

7th December 2019 at 11:25 am

In this case, it was only men who ran at the attacker, & good for them, but in a previous London incident, a woman was killed because she left the safety of a restaurant to run to help the wounded.

And in Rojava, the Syrian Kurdish women have been as much involved in fighting Da’esh on the battlefield, and rescuing Yezidi women, as the men.

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