In the recent history of Great Britain, these past few months must surely rank alongside the darkest.
In little more than 10 weeks the country has endured four outrages which have claimed the lives of ordinary people, including children, and then came the nightmare which was Grenfell Tower. But, in a world which seems smaller than ever, the public is doing more than simply watching events while shaking their heads in disbelief. As we have seen time and time again the past few weeks, the public has stepped up to show its love and support to complete strangers. In the aftermath of the murder of 22 people in Manchester last month, a city really did come together as one, both to mourn those who perished and support their devastated loved ones. But it was the bitterly cruel events of last Wednesday morning in London, when so many lives were claimed by the remorseless blaze at Grenfell Tower, that we really did see a spontaneous display of unity, in a city which is so often dismissed by those who don’t know it as a place without communities. Although there was understandable anger from many in the days that followed, it was the initial response of the immediate community and the capital in general which touched so many. People of all races, religions and backgrounds pulled together, to ease the trauma of a disaster which has shocked a nation, one that was in danger of becoming numb to awful events and the collective grief which follows. It was the sight of ordinary people taking time out from their own lives to take car loads of nappies, food, water and other supplies to makeshift community centres, which tipped me over the edge. Perhaps it was because they felt that they had been helpless to do anything to help during that terrible fire or that they were all big hearted individuals but these small acts of kindness didn’t go unnoticed. Anybody with enough patience to read my self indulgent drivel will know how I have worried about Britain becoming less tolerant. In the past few weeks I have been proven wrong, although it has taken some truly horrible events to convince me.