We have just moved back to London. At the moment we are in Fulham, which as you can imagine this morning was a bit like a war zone. Helicopters buzzed above us, ambulances whizzed through the streets and there were police everywhere. It made me feel fiercely protective of this city and livid that yet again it is under attack.
I have just written the speech I wish London mayor Sadiq Khan had given rather than trotting out the same old tiresome platitudes. It seems to me that what we need is a Winston Churchill to take charge…
This morning at 8.20am there was an attack on a tube as it pulled up at Parson’s Green. A home-made bomb caught fire. Thankfully the perpetrators were too inept to make it explode. But still, it went up in flames, hurling a fireball down the carriage into the faces of people going to work and children going to school. Among the injured was a 10-year-old boy. If the bomb had actually blown up he, as well as countless other, would now be dead.
London is one of the world’s great cities. It has always welcomed people from all countries and religions. Walk down any street in London and I guarantee you will hear people talking in foreign languages. They will be different colours, different religions, they will even support different football teams.
But they will have one thing in common. Their home. London.
An attack on London, as my predecessor Boris Johnson said, is an attack on the world. It is an indiscriminate attack on whatever religion, culture or creed happens to be in the wrong place as the wrong time. It is also an attack on our way of life. And we are no longer prepared to put up with this kind of assault.
If you want to live in London, make a life here for your family, have a career and exist peacefully in this great city, you are welcome.
But if you attack us, if you try to kill and maim our children in the name of some spurious utopia that takes us back to the Middle Ages then you are not welcome. In fact, anyone who posts allegiance to Isis or any extremist organisations, or declares our way of life abhorrent, is not welcome.
If you don’t like the way we live, then leave. Just as Londoners have let millions who differ from them live alongside them for centuries without bothering them or trying to impose their own beliefs on them, let us live how we want to live without fear of attack. We will not be hounded in our own home. Londoners are famously stoical and patient. You only have to spend a winter here to see that. But enough is enough.
From today, anyone swearing allegiance to any extremist organisation that threatens our way of life, or who goes abroad to fight for a foreign enemy will have their residence revoked. Living in London is a privilege, not a right. It is a privilege that too many have come by too easily. And maybe that’s why they don’t respect it.
We are not prepared to see our children injured, innocent people maimed or frightened to leave their homes. The time has come to take action. London will survive this era. You cowards will not.