Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the writer.
On Friday the 29th of November, London Bridge faced yet again another terrorist attack. Two people died, and three others were injured. The terrorist was said to be holding a knife that he used to stab victims with. He had a fake suicide bomber vest on. This unspeakable tragedy was met with utter remorse, and yet, some questioned the timing of the attack as suspicious given its proximity to the upcoming national election.
Within the U.K., a worrying pattern seems to have developed before every election. There tends to be some sort of attack right before it. For example, before the E.U. referendum, a Member of Parliament named Jo Cox was murdered, and before the general election in 2017, there was the first London Bridge attack. Before we go any further I need to point out that what I am not doing is promoting a “conspiracy” theory, only suggesting that the situation is slightly suspicious.
Conservatives can basically guarantee that people who have succumbed to this blatant fear-mongering are more likely to vote for the party that is more racist, has tighter immigration laws, and supports Brexit — the Conservatives.
In terms of gaining political points, the Conservative Party have the ability to use this most recent attack as political leverage against Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party candidate for Prime Minister, by smearing him as “weak on terrorism”. We already saw some media outlets such as the BBC buying into this, with a 2015 article about Corbyn being anti-shoot-to-kill trending on their homepage.
The argument from the Conservative Party about election attacks seems to be that they happen because “terrorists” don’t want a left-wing, tolerant society. Conservatives want to incite fear and distrust between different types of people through the divisive narrative that comes with an attack of the sort we saw on London Bridge. By doing so, Conservatives can basically guarantee that people who have succumbed to this blatant fear-mongering are more likely to vote for the party that is more racist, has tighter immigration laws, and supports Brexit — the Conservatives.
As history has dictated, we will unfortunately see an increase in racially-motivated hate crimes because the attacker in the recent London Bridge attack was visibly Brown and Muslim. Amongst the murkiness of dirty politics and manipulated optics, however, there does seem to be a light. The response from Corbyn is something refreshing that we haven’t seen from a Western political leader before. Corbyn has stated, in no uncertain terms, that the U.K.’s military interventions, such as the war on Iraq, has fueled terrorism, rather than solved it. A politician who is unafraid to speak hard truths about the failure of the U.K.’s foreign policy is miles better than a politician who openly lies to the people, and uses fear-mongering tactics to amass support.
At the end of it all, a vote for the Labour Party would mean a government that understands that violence isn’t caused by an ideology, or Islam, but is rather a context of that individual person. To have a Prime Minister that does not inherently view Muslims as violent or extreme would mean taking an unpopular and disruptive stance to mainstream media. It would also, however, allow society to move forward. It would allow us to move away from the Islamophobic counter-terror legislations that have been passed since the 2000’s.
It has become apparent that in order to gain political power, parties have seen that Islamophobia can get them there as it means more support from more right-wing, uneducated voters. The examples are plentiful. The Green Party candidate recently said he would place a ban on halal meat. The current U.K. PM, Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to apologise for his infamous comments that Muslim women resemble letter-boxes and bank robbers. It seems that due to Corbyn’s vocal support for Muslims, he may not have the same support that he deserves. But that’s wrong. And for that reason, if you are eligible to vote in this British General Election, I urge you, vote Labour. That’s the only way forward for our community.