When I started writing this blog, Ann and I decided that I would write about current events and life in Scotland. So far, I have enjoyed finding my patriotic side and sharing some of the light-hearted examples of our culture. But this week, the whole of the UK has come to a standstill due to the horrific attack in Manchester. I’m sure it is in your newspapers, on your twitter feeds and tv screens as much as it is on ours, and the purpose of this blog isn’t to discuss the sadness or the horrors that have taken place. It is to teach you a different side to British Culture, the side that has shone even in these terrible circumstances.
I saw this lovely quote on Facebook, “When I was a boy I would see scary things in the news and my mother would say “Look to the helpers, you will always see helpers” And there have been hundreds of helpers doing everything they can to support the victims and the city. There were taxi drivers who worked through the night, hotels that let people stay for free and the queue to give blood went on for miles. A fundraising page was set up with a target of £15,000 and the target was smashed within hours with donations from Tom Hardy, Wayne Rooney, Russell Brand and thousands of others.
Every day our emergency services prove their hero status, but in addition to them, one man has now been named the “Homeless Hero”. Steve Jones was sleeping rough nearby, but a man who has nothing gave absolutely everything as he ran into the arena to help. As a result, the owner of West Ham United (a London football club) managed to find him and is going to pay his rent on a new home to thank him for everything he did on the night. How great is that? Out of something horrible comes something positive.
British people are known for our dry sense of humour and it’s something even a tragedy like this can’t take away. Shortly after the attack the UK’s threat level was raised to critical. And what was the general public’s response? On twitter #BritishThreatLevels started trending. These social media jokes make fun of the British National Character and stereotypes to lighten the mood. When reading some of the examples, I just couldn’t help but laugh. I struggled to find my favourite example to include in the blog, so instead suggest you look them up and find your own (or ask Ann to explain it!)
But my favourite of all the “good news” stories from this horrific attack had to be the response of the people in Manchester at one of the vigils. They held a minute silence to show respect for all the victims and at the end burst into the Oasis anthem “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. The song has become a symbol of Manchester’s spirit in the face of tragedy. The band Oasis come from Manchester and are one of the UK’s most famous bands ever. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” has always been a British Anthem but a chorus of this song is being sung more and more at each tribute and is a fitting response. Here is one example of the town coming together singing this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT8sJuLjx7Y
I’m sorry for a more subdued post this week on the blog, but anything other than this felt wrong and disrespectful. I hope that I have managed to show a little bit of our strong British spirit. Those of you who have been reading my blogs or who took part in the activity a couple of weeks ago will have noticed that I always manage to fit in a Harry Potter reference somewhere and this blog is no different. I’ve realised that Dumbledore can say what I’ve been trying to much better than me when he said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”. And so, I urge you all take a moment to be thankful for everything that you have, and that you all have a safe and happy week.