Yesterday evening, the BBC’s main news was mostly about Theresa May’s reshuffle, this taking up most of the programme. At the end, there was no more than a fleeting mention of a lorry driving into a crowd in the southern French city of Nice. What a difference daybreak has brought: that lorry was driven deliberately into Bastille Day crowds on the city’s Promenade des Anglais, and 84 poor souls were now dead.
Promenade des Anglais, Nice
Sometimes there are no words, no sentiment that can adequately convey the emptiness felt, the numbing realisation of what some will do in pursuit of ideology. It is yet another horror visited on the people of France, so soon after the Paris attacks that killed so many, with those attacks coming while the memory of the Charlie Hebdo killings was still in the public consciousness. It is a sad and sombre time.
As families grieve, and others wait by hospital bedsides, the authorities in France have urged that calm, responsible reporting should be the order of the day, and the Police Nationale Twitter feed has asked “Par respect pour les victimes et leurs familles, ne contribuez pas à la diffusion de photos ou de vidéos des scènes de crime”. An appeal not to circulate photos or videos from the scene, with their inevitably graphic images.
Most have heeded the call, shown that even the most raucous part of the Fourth Estate can behave sensitively and responsibly when the occasion demands. But not all: to no surprise at all, the Murdoch doggies at the Sun have had no restraint placed on their lust for extra sales and clicks, advertising “VIDEO: The moment terror truck plows into Bastille Day crowd in Nice” with the tagline “CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT”.
That much was sick enough, but it got worse, as the inevitable blame game began, and some who would have been best served stepping away from social media waded in to go after the Left, Muslims, and indeed anyone they could find to pin the horror upon. Typical was actor Frances Barber, whose antics will be familiar to Zelo Street regulars, who earlier in the evening had frothed “Stalin led pogroms for mentally disabled. Seumus [sic] loves him. And therefore Corbyn”. Add in the Nice attacks, and off she went.
“Blood on the streets & Corbyn won't resign to get a major opposition to help deal with this. I am disgusted & heartbroken”. Scores of dead bodies strewn across the Promenade des Anglais and someone is perverse enough to use it as a way to kick Jeremy Corbyn.
And it got worse still, as she frothed uncontrollably “Corbyn resign please please I beg you. We need an Opposition to deal with this threat of terrorism. It's not you. I plead with you”. It certainly isn’t him. But it is an example, like the Sun’s exploitation of the killings for its own ends, of how the saddest and most desperate of times can be hijacked, with the actual event left unaddressed, such is the desire to push personal agendas.
It could also be because Ms Barber was let loose on Twitter rather late in the evening, something for which she has previous form.
But we should not lose sight of what happened last night in Nice.