by Caroline Colebrook
LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone last week responded to last Thursday’s bombings, saying: “I want to say one thing to the world specifically today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers.
“It was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old.
“It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion or whatever.
“That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith, it is an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to turn Londoners against each other.”
He went on to say that Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack.
Respect leader George Galloway repeated his call to end the occupation of Iraq in his condemnation of the bombings. The east London MP warned: “The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.
“We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings.”
Union leaders also condemned the attacks; TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “These attacks have brought out the best in London’s workforce. Emergency service and transport workers have earned the gratitude and admiration of everyone affected by these outrages.
“We offer our sympathy and condolences to everyone who has suffered in today’s atrocities. They were an indiscriminate attack on the population of one of the world’s most diverse cities.
“We have received messages of support from trade unions around the world including those who have suffered from similar terrorist attacks.
“When the immediate emergency is over, we will look for an opportunity to bring London’s workforce together in all its diversity to show our unity in opposition to terrorism.”
Unison general secretary David Prentis reacted to the explosions in London by saying: “Our sympathy goes out to all those who have lost loved ones in the London transport blasts.
“And our thoughts are with those who have been injured or suffered trauma as a result.
“On behalf of Unison and local communities, our thanks go to all the emergency workers for all they have had to do in London today.
“We pay particular tribute to our health service workers – nurses, paramedics, ambulance workers – who have had to deal with the aftermath of today’s tragic events.”
RMT, London Underground’s biggest union expressed sympathy for the families of the dead and to those injured in today’s explosion and called for a security review of the Tube network.
“These terrible attacks show just how vulnerable commuters and Tube workers are,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
“Tube workers and the emergency services have responded magnificently and there is now a clear need to review security after such an attack,” Bob Crow said.
Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, spoke today following the tragic explosions in central London. The TGWU represents thousands of bus workers and support staff in the emergency services.
“Our sympathy and solidarity is with the families of those who have been killed today, and our thoughts with those who have been injured. It is a terrible and shocking day.
“Bus workers in London should be commended for their work on this difficult day, working with Transport for London and bus operators to take buses off the road safely and professionally after the shocking explosion at Tavistock Square. In the coming days and weeks, the TGWU will play its part in assisting security operations, in particular on public transport.
“These awful events will undoubtedly have a wider social and political impact. We will do all we can, together with the rest of the trade union movement, to respond with strength and solidarity.
“Our response as a nation must be consistent with our culture of tolerance, and we will stand together with all communities to resist any expression of division and intolerance.”