Many people will argue that the United Kingdom of Great Britain is no longer great. Some will say it’s because we entered the EU and that’s why we are now facing Brexit. Others will say that we will no longer be great due to Brexit as it is going to weaken us financially, politically, socially and security will be threatened. Those who agree with Brexit will state that we will be stronger in all of these areas after we have left the EU. Others will argue that the nations wanting to divide no longer make us Great or United. And, whilst I could get into the pros and cons of Brexit and my feelings towards it, this is not what I believe to constitutes to whether Britain is Great.
Throughout, our history we have kept the same mentality when it comes to people hurting our country. During the Blitz and before Britains have never allowed people (those individually or a whole country) stop us getting on with our lives. Again, this is what happened on Thursday. Whereas, other countries have ‘shut down’ the day after we didn’t Ministers were back in Parliament the next day along with their staff. Now, I have many friends who work there (and I’m lucky enough to say that they are all fine at least physically). Despite the shock, they were back in their offices the next day, after not being allowed to leave them for hours the day before due to the threat they were under. It is this, that makes my nation Great.
It is those people who ran to help those, who were injured and dying, despite the threat to their lives. The Junior Doctor, who was off duty, the Police Officers getting people to safety, the MPs, who were on their way back to the house, the Paramedics, and the general public. These are the people who make this country Great. I’m sure that there are many people that I have missed off this list and a few that people will argue it is their job to go into that situation. Yet, they still made that decision when they signed up to their job to go into those situations and many probably hoped that they would never have to face that situation. They make us great.
It is the police officers, paramedics, doctors, security services staff, and the armed forces that served when 7/7 happened and where there again for the Westminister attack. It’s the way the victims of 7/7 have learnt to adjust their lives to the new realities that they had to face. The same for whose who are having to come to terms with theirs after Wednesday. Instead of seeking revenge and posting it all over social media.
Whilst, we could change our ways and make all the offices at Westminister armed, would this not take away the feeling of us being free and safe? Has this worked across Europe, the United States and other Western countries? We will probably never know in our lifetime how many attacks our intelligence and security services have prevented in the last 16 years+. We will only ever know about the ones that they ‘failed’ to prevent. Yet, in both 7/7 and Wednesday’s attack, our casualties have been lower than many other countries who have faced similar events. Yes, they failed in terms of the event still happened, but have they truly failed? They quick responses meant that fewer people were injured and killed. If it wasn’t for PC Keith Palmer resistance it could have been a lot worse. PC Palmer would have known that he couldn’t take down the assailant unarmed, yet he still tried. It is this heroism that runs through my country’s history that makes us Great. If he was armed, would it really of prevented the situation or would it have made it worse? Whilst we will never know in this case, it is one that I do not want to have to find out either. One thing for sure is, we wouldn’t be hearing the stories about how wonderful man he was if he was armed. Would tourists ask for a photo with officers outside Parliment if they are carrying guns? Some would argue that tourists shouldn’t be taking photos with our officers you don’t in other countries. But, the British bobby is an iconic picture along with our red phone and letter boxes, the black cab, and Westminister itself. If we change this we would be changing some of the fundamental things about our country. This would be the point when I would start to question if we are Great.
Britain is Great because people not allowing others to dictate what they are going to do with their day. It’s Great because the day after the attack people where using hashtags to promote that we were still getting on with our day. It’s the viral images of positive quotes at our train stations. And, the stories of heroism that are being reported instead of just reporting about the attacker and his life. Britain is Great as we look for the positives even when we are down. Britain is Great as there will always be someone to help those who are hurt. Britain is Great as we will always rise stronger than we were before. Britain is Great as we make the decisions as a nation not and not let a few dictate to our democracy.
This is why we will always live up to being Great Britain.