London shuts down…

Given I was in London only yesterday (thus the pacity of blogging from me) this morning’s news has a greater shock value. Now it seems the tube network is effectively closing down. The death toll is likely to rise during the day, but current estimates are about 20. It appears at least one bus has been ripped apart in Russell Square. It looks like a co-ordinated attack on London’s transport infrastructure.

Up-date: We’re hearing via the BBC that all public transport in Croydon has closed. Mainline stations are being closed too. And the M25 is said to be choc-a-block with people trying to get away from the city.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

93 thoughts on “London shuts down…

  1. I passed through Russel Square before the blast this morning

    They timed the bus bombs to catch the people being turned away from the tubes

    Bastards

    Now trying to get a bike to ride home

  2. Yes, it’s a bit of a shagger.. I’m sat in canary Wharf with all of the landline and mobile services pretty patchy, with seemingly no prospect of getting home tonight..

    Not that this is a big deal compared to those who have suffered a couple of miles to the east..

  3. The tube is shut completely in Central London but the main line stations not directly affected are running OK. Most of the buses in the Centre have been taken off to take the injured to hospital. Mobile phones are now working intermittently, landlines back to normal.

    Not the way I wanted to get into work this morning (just got 15 mins ago in on foot). I doubt this was an IRA splinter – it was far to well organised and too obviously timed to co-incide with G8.

    There are various triage centres scattered about but outside the immediate areas (where I have not been) things seem normal, very little traffic, lots of people walking.

  4. Awful day in London, thank God there were not more deaths.

    The suspects at the min are al-kaida?

  5. Reports indicate that one of the bus bombs was the work of a suicide bomber, which would pretty much discount most terror groups other than the fundamental Islamists.
    I’m sure all our prayers are with those affected by these events.

  6. BTW walked from Westbourne Grove to St. James’ Park for those interested. All OK on that route, there are even some buses running on the Bayswater Road but they are packed to the gills and moving very slowly. I suppose the Edgware Road/Marylebone Road junction is completely cordoned off, so traffic in North West London and the northerly bits of West London will be paralysed all day. The West End is actually pretty clear.

    Not, as you say, it matters compared with what has happened to other people. I find this lack of casualty figures frightening.

  7. Rather disconcertingly, we just had our chief exec on PA system throughout the building giving us an update, and he spoke for about 5 mins telling us to cancel meetings, that they were looking into transport home, in contact with police etc etc, and he was coming to the end saying “…so just to reiterate, please do not leave the building until…” and cut off with no explanation!!

    I hope he doesn’t know something that I don’t..

  8. Rather disconcertingly, we just had our chief exec on PA system throughout the building giving us an update, and he spoke for about 5 mins telling us to cancel meetings, that they were looking into transport home, in contact with police etc etc, and he was coming to the end saying “…so just to reiterate, please do not leave the building until…” and cut off with no explanation!!

    I hope he doesn’t know something that I don’t..

  9. I am just hoping that having only had 2 deaths reported so far is because it is true and not because they are holding back. Not sure where the 20 dead figure comes from.

  10. They are saying another bomb has gone off and there was a clatter of vehicles with sirens going down either Victoria St. or Birdcage Walk 10 mins ago.

    Oh shit.

  11. Horrific and cynically timed attack, very remniscient of Madrid rush-hour bombing. I think the timing is meant to send a message to G8, but London has been targetted for a long time now. Such a contrast with yesterday!

  12. When I was watching on the telly this morning they said it might be a power surge, but there were people walking around covered in black powder. They were putting people onto busses. This was clearly stupid as they were just sending people towards other bombs. They should have shut down all transport immediately and quarantined the affected areas.

    Any proper plan for the G8 summit would have included plans to shut down all transport quickly.

  13. I suppose it was half to exepcted that there would be an attack sooner or later given the Olympic news yesterday and the G8 summit.

    I only had a slight delay this morning at Euston on my way to Chalk Farm – it really makes you think ‘there for the grace of God…’

  14. That’s certainly true La Dolorosa. When I go up to central London, I invariably get out at either King’s Cross or Liverpool Street.

  15. Here’s a conspiracy theory:
    Good timing for Tony, not so soon that it scuppered the Olympic award, but soon enough that he and his mates don’t have to bother saving Africa now they’ve got this distraction.

    *ducks*

  16. Not trying to score points here.But at least we have a peace process however imperfect.

  17. When I was London last month I used at least four of those tube stations.
    I was waiting for a bus in Tavistock Square.
    I talked about film scripts in Russel Square Hotel.

    Feeling numb about that and much else.
    BK

  18. There was no power surge. I live less than a mile from Edgware Road and had my computer and ham radio gear on when the bombs happened. It didn’t even blink. I didn’t even know until I got to the tube station.

  19. This sounds horrifying and brings back memories of the Madrid bombing. As YF has said it is disturbing that the casualty figures are so low. I hope that this nightmarish attack is at an end and that there will be no further explosions.

    I was on the Piccadilly line just yesterday for a brief walk around London while waiting on a connecting flight – looks like I just avoided it.

  20. ANTONIO

    Yes. Obviously the way to proceed is to invite Al Qa’eda into Downing Street for a cosy chat and pander to their every demand. Peace process my arse! These people should be hunted down and liquidated.

  21. YF – is your mobile working? I’m not able to call out on either my personal or work mobs, both vodafone..

  22. just been out for a sarnie, and was impressed to see an airport-style x-ray machine has been put up in our foyer to scan bags, and security guys on all the doors…

    so as long as Al Quaeda have waited until AFTER all of the alarms have been raised to try to smuggle a bomb in, we’re safe as houses..

    To be honest, I always reckoned that our “Contingency Planning” budget secretly went on caviar and dancing girls for our executive..

  23. Thanks Jo! I did come through Kings Cross at about 9.15 this morning when they said it was a ‘power surge’…..

  24. Ginfizz, you might have noticed that the liquidation efforts during the past three years do not appear to have effected AQ’s ability to stage these attacks. It’s hard for me to imagine what else the UK government can do. Will it try to argue that ID cards would have stopped today’s attacks ?

  25. Italian news agency ANSA is reporting that at least 50 people have been killed.

    Are the BBC part of a strategy to let the news out slowly?

  26. YF – is your mobile working? I’m not able to call out on either my personal or work mobs, both vodafone..

    My orange mobile is working fine about 2/3 of the time, has been since 1150.

  27. Henry94

    How does Pisanu know all this – 50 dead – and it doesn’t appear anywhere else. The BMA doctor at the site of the bus bomb states ten dead and nine serious.

    BK

  28. Henry94,

    This morning, at about 9.30, BBC News 24 were saying that it didn’t look like a terrorist attack. They had no reason to believe that. So maybe they are lying to delay/avoid panic.

  29. It’s time to seal our national borders and arrest everyone who came into this country in the last twelve months from a middle eastern country. In order to protect our society, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice some of our liberties.

  30. Earlier this morning, on Radio 5, eye witnesses were quoting, by mobile phone, dozens of dead. Blair’s face and composure, when giving his statements, gave me the impression that he knows more than he is saying.

    Today’s events reminded me of the day the IRA planted 22 bombs in Belfast, resulting in the deaths of nine people, with 130 people injured. Railway stations and a bus station were among the targets. The British responded by putting Operation Motorman into effect, ending no-go areas in NI.

    It will be interesting to see if the present government has a similar response planned to deal with Islamic terrorism. It seems like they have been reluctant to take the bull by the horns, being content, thus far, with just observing extremist activities.

  31. My better half is working in one of the A&E departments that victims are being taken to. Certainly, loads of walking wounded – and apparently a number of people still trapped inside tube stations.

    Our office is staying open, but lots of places are closing to give their staff a chance to walk home – which will be difficult, as apparently some of the Thames bridges have just been closed.

    I suspect that the reason why it took a while for LUL to figure out what was going on this morning was because there had already been engineering problems on the Northern Line overnight – so maybe they figured that the initial bombs were something to do with this.

  32. Ginnfizz,

    It’s not entirely clear which of your own liberties you are prepared to sacrifice, unless you recently arrived from a middle eastern country.
    It might be a good idea to do what almsot everybody on Slugger is already doing – stay calm.

  33. harelquin
    any source/update on those bridges being closed. I can cope with the 10 mile walk but not the swim

  34. wouldnt set too much weight on ginfizz comments, their contrib elsewhere was clearly off the wall.

  35. Ginfizz ; As one of my favourite tennis players used to say/shout – “you cannot be serious” .Just keeping Bush out might help.

  36. Liberties that should be curtailed until this threat passes include freedom of movement and certain privacy rights. Only those who have something to hide have something to fear.

    The extreme Islamist threat is in our midst – the time has come to stamp it out.

  37. midonogh

    Report was apparently on local news – not sure whether BBC or ITV. Heard this second hand, so can’t vouch for relibility. However, someone else in the office did report that Waterloo Bridge was closed earlier on today – and this was a bone fide eyewitness account.

    I guess its going to be rumour after rumour all day today. I’m looking at finding somewhere to stay in town, because I’m about 20 miles out of town.

    Tell you what – I know the French really wanted to win the Olympics but I really didn’t appreciate they were this serious about it

  38. La Dalarosa

    Typical leftist/liberal whinge. Our country has just been attacked bu Muslim Fundamentalist scum, and all you can do is whitter on about Bush.

  39. La Dalarosa

    Typical leftist/liberal whinge. Our country has just been attacked bu Muslim Fundamentalist scum, and all you can do is whitter on about Bush.

  40. Liberties that should be curtailed until this threat passes include freedom of movement and certain privacy rights. Only those who have something to hide have something to fear.

    Do not feed the trolls, especially not on a day like this.

    WAGN are running a special service from Finsbury Park to replace trains normally running from Euston.

  41. Ginfizz: It’s not a whinge at all. ID cards didn’t stop the horrible attack in Madrid. It’s a fact that Bush is a hate figure for many and is public enemy no 1 for muslem fundamentalists.

  42. La Dalorosa

    So we should allow Muslim extremists to dictate who our international allies can and cannot be? Of course that’s what the electorate of Spain thought, but thankfully in the UK we won’t have our foreign policy decided by a bunch of terrorist murderers.

  43. Liberties that should be curtailed until this threat passes include freedom of movement and certain privacy rights. Only those who have something to hide have something to fear.

    Do not feed the trolls, especially not on a day like this.

    WAGN are running a special service from Finsbury Park to replace trains normally running from Euston.

  44. Ginfizz,

    The country has just been attacked by scum, and all you can do is whitter on with knee-jerk measures which will serve only to create a thousand monsters like the ones who carried out these attacks.

    Their religion is immaterial.

  45. have to agree with Ginfizz in regards to La Dalorosa. On the other hand i do agree that ID cards are a waste of time money and effort.

  46. Ginfizz ; Please don’t put words in to my mouth. The electorate of Spain did the comendable thing and decided that they didn’t want to be lied to and were totally against the PP taking Spain to war.

    I don’t think we should be dicated to by anyone whether its neo con fundamentalists or muslim fundamentalists.

  47. ginfizz

    no matter what measures are taken if there are terrorists willing to sacrifice their own lives to cause mayhem there is very little you can do. You could have the whole world on complete lockdown but if someone is that determined terrorism will still happen.

    Its like what the head of police was saying on ITV a minute ago, he compared his job to that of a goalkeeper, the terrorists keep trying to get one past him and its sadly inevitable that they eventually would.

  48. This is an awful attack which must be condemned by any right thinking person.

    Taking a political slant, for a moment, maybe we should consider the effect this attack will have on the Governments intended introduction of ID Cards…

  49. My sincerest sympathies to everyone in London and those with loved ones there who are worrying. Like many Irish people, I spent many years living and working in England, including 6 years in London when it was being targetted by people who claimed to represent me. I still have many friends there, who were unfailingly forgiving and hospitable then and truly showed the greatness of humanity when it would have been easy to reach down to the level of the attackers. This is a time for solidarity, but it is also important to remember that the people who do these things are not representative of the communities they emerge from. I hope there will be no begrudgery when tricolours are lowered to half mast here, as I presume they will be, in a gesture of respect and support to our neighbours.

  50. Augustus

    I agree with the analogy re. a goalkeeper, personally, I want us to break the ankle of the terrorist striker before he gets near the goal.

  51. I don’t see how it is any more a “troll” thing to to demand increased security measures/restrictions, than it is to attack Bush.

    I don’t see myself how ID cards in themselves would reduce the risk of these types of attacks, nor do I recall Bush doing very much at all to provoke Sept 11. And, don’t forget, we had already had the attacks on the US Emassies in Africa before Bush was even on the radar.

    These viewpoints – and others – are valid; throwing around the put-down “troll”, rather like “bigot” is a bit two-a-penny and isn’t really serving any purpose, but rather indicates a paucity of thought and lack of debating skills on the part of the hurler.

    I have no idea what the solution is, none at all. I just feel quite sick and so very, very sad.

  52. New Dubliner

    Excellent post. Your comments re. not tarring communities with the same brush because of the actions of few nut cases is so apt and so important. I heard Livingstone speak from Singapore. Usually can’t stand the man, but he was brilliant in alluding to the diversity of Londoners and the fact that they won’t be driven apart.

  53. Augustus

    Sealing the borders would make it more difficult for any more to come in to our country and consequently make it easier to track down the terrorists already here. Before I am accussed of xenophobia, I am aware that there are British-nationals who will support this action and may even take part in it. Combatting this fifth column is as equally important as tackling foreign terrorists.

  54. throwing around the put-down “troll”

    Apologies. I’m tetchy and nervous myself. Still have to get home this evening. I don’t want to be bounced into a load on unnecessary, useless or even actively counterproductive crap by this, that’s all.

  55. Ginfizz: Just think of Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma bomber)………he was one of ‘their own’.

    Think efforts to close borders etc would just be a distraction as well as a knee jerk approach. It’s not a long term solution to a complex geo political probelm that needs solved.

  56. Seems strange… BBC still indicates only 2 confirmed dead and will not suggest any higher figure.

    Whilst AFP reports US official stating 40 dead.

    Is it just because they don’t want to talk about unconfirmed reports?
    BK

  57. YF – agreed I was going to take a red card there.

    Apparently a suicide bomber was shot in CW – fears that the bombers are going to try and get the people packing onto trains on their way home

  58. The electorate of Spain did the comendable thing…do you not mean cowardly? Easily intimidated, weren’t they?

  59. New Dubliner, I think that is one of more heart-warming contributions I’ve read in a long time and I’m sure I’m not alone in identifying with the sentiments.

    Again, deepest sympathies to all concerned and affected this awful day.

  60. Just seen Livingstone on TV, close to tears, and he was bang right. This was an attack on working class people. Furthermore, it is an attack in which people of many different nations will have died. London is an international city.
    In 1940 they made a documentary about the blitz called “London Can Take It” and I would be proud to say that the people of that fantastic city are bigger, better, stronger and braver than the unspeakable filth who carried this out.

  61. The inane pandering of the left in favour of Muslim terrorists is toatlly bizarre. I recently read an excellent article, I think it was by Christopher Hitchens, in which it was argued that the fundies, stand in total opposition to everything that the left has stood for in the past – womens rights, universal franchise, equal society.

    When people like La Dalorosa argue that we need to “solve” the problem which produces such actions, he/she absolves those responsible of guilt, the logical outworking of this approach is to say that we bring such attacks upon ourselves.

  62. Awful day but i have been expecting it for a long time. The US news is reporting 40 dead at this time. I am thankful that all my friends appear to be ok although one of them was in Edgware around 15 mins before the blast but he is thankfully safe. Its sad that for so many families they wont be so lucky.

    Ginfizz leave it out until tommorrow. We can debate the political issues later on lets just think about the human tragedy today.

  63. Ginfizz,

    Any chance you could save that conversation for another thread/day? It would be good to save this for experience/information for people stuck in London.

  64. I’m sorry. I shall refrain from further political comment on this black, black day. I apologise for my insensitivity.

  65. Apparently the Metropole Hotel on the Edgware Road (opposite the station) is the main triage centre for St. Mary’s Hospital. That does not sound like two dead to me. They are now confirming the rescue operation in the train trapped in the tunnel at King’s X.

    What’s this story about the suicide bomber at Canary Wharf? I take it is just a wild rumour. A lot of them go about on days like this – there was a story going about a bomb in Shoreditch which seems to have been total bull.

    Haven’t heard a siren down here off Victoria St for about two hours now. It’s very, very, quiet here.

  66. YF – the CW is rubbish – as is the London Eye one. There are armed police knocking about – but you’d expect that

    But it’s been doing the rounds.

    I went out at lunctime to buy a bike, quite a lot of people walking around, really notice the difference without the busses.

    I fear for how many have been killed and for those who could be trapped down there

    Luckly I don’t know of anyone missing nor have I heard of anyone who knows of anyone. A lot of people have gotten into work before 9.

  67. Radio 4 have 21 dead at Kings cross, 10 in the bus, 7 at Aldgate and 5 at Edgware. So thats 43 dead so far. Look like the US news had it about right. My heart is breaking it really is. What a terrible terrible day.

    Ginfizz thank you. We can debate it another time.

  68. I don’t think this will be much consolation to you(s), but i just noticed that all of the major American news websites went from ’40 dead’ to 33.

    My heart goes out to all of you. I was in Manhattan on 9/11 and, while i wouldn’t dare assume that i know how any of you are feeling right now, i can empathize to a certain degree.

  69. I don’t think this will be much consolation to you(s), but i just noticed that all of the major American news websites went from ’40 dead’ to 33.

    They’re leaving out the 10 in the bus.

  70. I’ve had 4 emails from friends in Spain asking me if I have got caught up in it whichj mercifully I haven’t apart from a minor delay this morning at Euston which is nothing in the bigger scheme of things……

    I work in Primrose Hill which although close to thr centre is quite cut off (it is like that most of the time anyway) but I will be going home through Camden tonight to Tottenham so I will see what the impact is….

  71. I’ve had 4 emails from friends in Spain asking me if I have got caught up in it whichj mercifully I haven’t apart from a minor delay this morning at Euston which is nothing in the bigger scheme of things……

    I work in Primrose Hill which although close to thr centre is quite cut off (it is like that most of the time anyway) but I will be going home through Camden tonight to Tottenham so I will see what the impact is….

  72. I’ve had 4 emails from friends in Spain asking me if I have got caught up in it whichj mercifully I haven’t apart from a minor delay this morning at Euston which is nothing in the bigger scheme of things……

    I work in Primrose Hill which although close to thr centre is quite cut off (it is like that most of the time anyway) but I will be going home through Camden tonight to Tottenham so I will see what the impact is….

  73. It would appear that my initial hope that the death toll woiuld be very low has not materialised. I suppose it could have been a whole lot worse considering the scale, but somehow I cannot feel like celebrating this.

    Like a lot of people I first heard about a power surge on the Underground. I live in London but luckily am of work today. I didn’t realise the enormity until I started to have friends and families ringing me to check I was OK.

    My heart breaks for those who are still blissfully unaware that they have lost a loved one. I just hope that my friends are all safe. Selfish I know.

  74. A sad day for all who have experienced terrorism in the past to be reminded that the threat is still, and unfortunately, always will be here. My heart-felt sympathy goes to all who have lost loved ones today or who have family or friends injured in this barbarous attack. This is no time for political point scoring, my sympathy and that of all right-thinking people, is with those who have lost family and friends.

  75. How I want to believe it was nasty evil outsiders like Al-Quaida who bombed London today. It would sure make things easy. They kill us, we kill them. But the cynic in me says “Remember the Maine!” And I keep hearing My Lai whisteblower Ron Ridenour saying: “The fuckers will do anything.” So we need to ask who really benifits from this atrocity because it certainly puts Bush & Blair’s own war crimes conveniently on the back burner. And nothing like burning down the Reichstagg and blaming the commies to get us all on a proper war footing.

  76. Ginfizz,
    In what way is Jack’s comment disgusting? JackShea is just suggesting a theory that you happen to disagree with. It’s quite obviously a theory that could be true, it’s just that you think it’s very unlikely. Since when is it disgusting to suggest that a long shot might come up?

    Rather than asking “Is Tony Blair a terrorist”, ask yourself “What’s stopping a terrorist becoming PM?”. You will never be able to answer that with 100% certainty.

  77. Ginfizz – I agree with OC here. Things like that can happen – I am nost suggesting that it is necessarily the case with yesterday’s attack but sometimes there are more ‘interested parties’ than at first appears.

    There is a considerable amount of opinion that Putin and his henchmen were behind some of the ‘alleged’ Chechen bomb attacks…

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