Attack on the British Parliament

An attack that sought to undermine our democracy but failed

This blog post constitutes personal opinion
Attack on Parliament - The home of British Democracy

Wednesday saw another senseless attack on the one of the tenets of what we as a civilised society hold dear, this time it was to undermine our democracy, by attacking one of the world's greatest symbol of democracy.

The last time I wrote about an incident of terror that too had occurred on a Wednesday, it too was an attack against a key tenet to that which defines us, then free speech. However, this attack was different to me, it was the first place I had worked at that had been a target of terror.

I've been to places that would go on to experience terror before, I worked in mid-town New York two years prior to September 11th and had been to the South Tower Observation Deck, I've holidayed in the south of France and walked along the Promenade des Anglais before a similar attempt to drive down the public. Those were places I had been to though only on a couple of occasions, not like Parliament where I worked for the best part of three years.

On Wednesday afternoon I thought of my ex colleagues, most of whom still work there, I hoped for their safety, as the large numbers of other people they know will have done. The people I worked with in Parliament were the similar cross-section you experience in any office, from the easy going to the curmudgeonly, some helpful some obstructive, though for the most part a good bunch, friendly and competent, more intelligent and hard-working than in your average office, with a wide background of acquired knowledge and dedicated in what they do. Democracy requires quite an overhead in terms of back office support.

The attacker, whose name I care not to remember, made a difference to the lives of many and in such a wrong way. If only they had chosen to do something of merit with their life, instead we find out his was a life of crime that ended in ignominy.

As with other terrorist attacks, the victims are not our democratic leaders or those hold any form of high office, possibly justifiable to a warped mind. The victims were innocent ordinary people just going about their day and one brave policeman doing his job to protect and to serve. A page has been set up to raise money for the family of PC Keith Palmer on Just Giving which has currently raised more than double its expectations.

Many not familiar with the Parliamentary Estate wondered why PC Palmer was unarmed. The entrance which the Prime Minister exited Parliament though is a very busy thoroughfare, so near to the gates that are opened and closed so very regularly, what if he had been armed and then disarmed by an assailant as we saw so recently in Paris Orly.

The turnstiles adjacent to the gates the perpetrator rushed through are the exits visitors to Parliament go through at the end of their tour. When the gates are opened for cars and vans (there is a lot of building work going on in Parliament) passing pedestrians start to back up on the pavement either side of the gates, it is a very busy area. Parliament is a public building not only hosting debates and the business of law-making but large numbers of guests and visitors daily too.

Many have worried that the terrorist could have progressed further into the grounds, though that did not happen, nor do I believe this likely to have been a possibility. The walk through that main entrance across the courtyard under the cloisters that lead passed what people refer to as Big Ben (now Elizabeth Tower) under Westminster Bridge and up into Portcullis House was a common route of mine to walk for lunch at one of the staff canteens. On that walk I cannot remember a time when I didn’t pass armed officers carrying what (to my untrained eye) resembled sub-machine guns.

Whilst Parliament itself and the surrounding buildings are protected by concrete and bollards, Westminster Bridge clearly was a weak point where so many were ploughed into with no regard for humanity. Hopefully this will be addressed and the pavement for pedestrians protected.

Commons members from across the political divide came together in unity to express their condolences for the family of Keith Palmer and all those affected by this act of terrorism.

Theresa May MP (Prime Minister)

UK Parliament

March 23, 2017


Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Theresa May MP, statement to the House of Commons on the London attacks on Parliament and Westminster Bridge.

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd highlighted, 'Of course, there will be people who will try to sow discord'. One such individual Paul Nuttall of UKIP, talking outside Parliament (as he has not yet earned his place to address Parliament inside the house through the democratic process) suggested that, "the Muslim community itself have got to root out this cancer [of extremist terrorism]". This was not the only voice I did not agree with nor wish to hear, FOX News displayed breathtaking ignorance espousing that Birmingham was in the North and a ‘hot bed of terror’, as well as suggesting that we in this country had not got a handle on this type of terrorism, subtext: in way that they [recently] had with the actions of their new president.

Yes we were sickened and appalled by what we witnessed on our television screens but the House of Commons sat in session as usual, indeed more members were present than usual for a Thursday. Hansard was still published as usual for Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions. The Prime Minister’s full statement to the house, given yesterday, can be read here London Attacks.

Richard Fortune
Written By

Richard Fortune

A seasoned Lead Architect delivering complex distributed cloud solutions with four decades coding experience.