How should politics react to the Manchester attack? It has become customary in recent times that, when such terrorist atrocities occur during an election campaign, the campaign is suspended for a period. Following the terrible murder of Jo Cox MP, campaigning for the EU referendum was suspended for 48 hours. In response to the Manchester attack, campaigning for the general election has been suspended too, with some suggestions that that suspension might last until the weekend. But is this the right thing to do?
Politics is not a game. It can be fun. It involves larger-than-life characters, publicity stunts, rousing speeches, comical one-liners, silly posters, colourful rosettes. But it is not a branch of the entertainment industry, some frivolity that we should put aside when important and urgent matters come up.
Donald Trump reacted to the Manchester attack by saying that he would not give the terrorists the satisfaction of calling them “monsters”. They would like that idea – a monster, a thing of terror to frighten us. Instead, he said that from now on he would call them “losers”. Well said, that man. That’s what they are: losers. Jealous of the innocent fun of young girls. Frightened of their own desires and too ill-disciplined to tame them. Finding so little joy in life that they want to die to deny joy to others.