On Wednesday 22nd March, I was set to attend a Youth Affairs debate in the Houses of Parliament. How little did I imagine the chaos that I would be walking into as I stepped out of the tube station in Westminster. It was a surreal moment when I realised what was going on. The feeling of possible imminent harm was overwhelming, and I saw and heard things that day that no one should ever have to witness. To say I was lucky is an understatement.
We will always remember the innocent lives, like PC Keith Palmer, that were horrifically taken away from us that day. However, when turning to the future we must not live in the darkness of the past. There was no coincidence that it was exactly one year since the attack in Brussels. It was no coincidence that it was an attack at the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’. It was an attack on our democracy, on our liberty, on our freedom, and on everything we in Britain hold dearly.
We must not change the way we live our lives. We must not lose faith. Despite all the mayhem, that day I saw an excellent operation by our inspirational police force who every day put their lives on the line for our safety. Although a fellow officer had just been ruthlessly murdered, I saw faces of confidence and determination from the Metropolitan Police that reinstated all belief I had in them to get the job done. It is a fact that our secret service foil s plans like this every month of the year, plans that we have no idea about. On this occasion a rogue terrorist slipped through their fingers, but we must realise that was an incredibly rare event.
I would like to remind you that in Britain we have one of the best secret services in the entire world, and that we should have every reason to feel safe knowing that there are people right across the nation working tirelessly day and night to ensure we are away from harm.
To change the way we live our lives would be allowing those barbaric terrorists to win. That simply cannot happen. If history as taught us anything, it is that we should never give the enemy what they want.
Not only is this a battle in the shadows of the secret services, or in warfare in the Middle East, but a battle that everyday people like you and I can help to win. It’s a battle of beliefs. The terrorists are determined to spread death and hatred. In Britain, we have weapons of unity, love, freedom of speech and compassion. These are ideals that always have, and always will, be stronger and come out triumphant.
By showing those true British ideals in our everyday lives, and by carrying on with our business in the face of evil and horror, we will come out of this victorious with our heads held high, just like we have done so many times before.
St Joseph’s RC High School Council took part in the #SeneddNewport event during March 2017, and discussed human rights with members of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee.