Evening Standard comment: Parsons Green attack – how we should respond

EVENING STANDARD COMMENT

The explosion on the Tube at Parsons Green, which police have confirmed they are treating as a terrorist incident, has injured passengers and conjured up memories of earlier terror attacks — though we do not yet know who is responsible.

What is evident is that while there was understandable panic among passengers, many behaved well, evacuating the train and supporting people who were hurt.

The police and emergency staff who came to the scene were exemplary in their approach. In the face of yet another terrorist incident, Londoners did their best.

There is to be a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee this afternoon, chaired by the Prime Minister, to consider how to respond to the attack.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, spoke for the capital when he declared that “our city utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life.”

In a busy global metropolis there can be no absolute guarantees of security; we can only be as safe as good intelligence from police and security services can make us.

And common sense and alertness to the risk of terror attacks matter too, which means we must all be vigilant about unattended bags and packages such as the one that appears to have caused the explosion today.

This attack is a reminder, if one were needed, that the risk of terrorism is ever-present: what we can do is watch out for obvious dangers, and to report our concerns to police.

Meanwhile, London and its transport system will continue to function in the face of an attack designed to elicit panic and division: it hasn’t done so.

China must act

This week the UN imposed fresh economic sanctions on North Korea, directed at its textile industry and oil imports.

Last night the regime fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan, with an even longer range than the one at the beginning of the month which elicited the sanctions.

The trouble is, there is not a great deal Western powers can do in response, other than to call yet another meeting of the UN Security Council, which will happen today. North Korea is vulnerable to sanctions: trade is the single most important source of foreign currency.

Some 90 per cent of it is conducted through China. Sanctions will bite but they may not deter further missile tests in the short term.

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has responded to the tests by observing that China and Russia “must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own”.

It’s a sensible approach because these two powers, chiefly China, are uniquely placed to put direct pressure on the regime. Instability, let alone conflict, in the region would have a devastating effect on China and, to some extent, Russia.

Let us see if they can use their undoubted leverage over the North Korean regime to force it to abandon further launches. China must shoulder global responsibilities commensurate with its economic power.

Fast fashion

London Fashion Week strutted into town this morning.

It will be enlivened by new Vogue editor Edward Enninful on the front row and new ideas on how those clothes move from the catwalk to the high street.

The West End expects to see a jump to £735 million in sales this month as people flock to London for the shows and fashion designers move to a new sales model of “see now, buy now”, eliminating the old six-month lag between a show and clothes appearing in shops.

That’s one new model that is looking very healthy on the catwalk.

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