22 Mar 2016

Brussels bombings and political capital

This morning I was preparing a blogpost responding to the comments of John Redwood about his ill-advised promotion of an unrealistic 'first post Brexit budget', when the first news reports broke of explosions at the airport in Brussels.

As soon as it became clear there were two blasts in different parts of the airport we knew this was a terrorist attack. The third explosion at the metro station near the European Commission and the Council buildings dispelled any doubts.

By then there were already people taking to the internet using the attacks to variously dismiss or ridicule David Cameron and the remain campaign's central argument that we are safer as a member of the EU. It's impossible for those who were not there to imagine the horror the victims experienced in those blasts. Their awful experience was not something to be used as a political football just minutes after the event. We should be taking a moment to spare a thought for them and their loved ones.

Too many tweeters were indecent in their haste to make political capital out of mass murder, as the dead and dying were still being recovered or rescued. It was selfish, needless, distasteful and disrespectful. One wonders what goes on in their heads when they take advantage of an act of intolerance and hatred to exhibit some of their own. Where is their self control?

There is nothing they could say at that moment, as dozens of human tragedies were played out in the terminal buildings and at the station, that could not wait until worried families, friends and co-workers could be told if their loved ones were alive or dead. Not all, but most people, I am certain, will be appalled by the insensitivity and enthusiasm shown by some to make political points that fit their agenda.

There is a time for criticising and refuting assertions made by our opponents regarding their claimed benefits of EU membership. This morning wasn't it. It can wait until later on. Turning people off with such behaviour doesn't help our campaign, it undermines it.