"We heard the blast of the bus"

8 July 2005

Melanie Clements, Researcher, University College London

"Yesterday was a long-awaited day in London and my over-riding view is that it was not in any way as bad as I expected it to be. Although we have no idea of the final numbers of people involved and my thoughts go out to them, considering the numbers of people who move through London every morning the devastation caused could have been so much worse.

I was on the northern line tube when the tunnel blasts went off and we were all informed that due to a power failure our train was not stopping after Euston on the Bank branch. I got off at Euston so wasn't worried but was concerned when thousands of people were trying to get out of Euston station and was just contemplating what a disaster there would be if there was a fire at that point in time.

Little did we know what had already occurred less than a mile down the tunnel. Having arrived at work thought nothing more of it other than usual tube problems until we heard the blast of the bus and were aware of all the medics from the building rushing to UCH hospital to do what they could.

I think the emergency services were well prepared, the hospitals and all those involved in moving the injured and helping them were more than well prepared and as a result things are already beginning to return to normal.

This will not affect people in London - for most it was a long walk home or a slow bus journey but baring those directly involved everyone has taken it in their stride and will continue with their normal routine. It was mildly disturbing today when the tube once again changed direction mid-route and helicopters were flying around Euston, but that is only to be expected.

Ken Livingstone's emotional speech and Tony Blair's flight from Gleneagle's really are token gestures, appreciated none-the-less and for them necessary in a popularity way, but hardly inspirational or life-changing. It would be better placed for them to try and do something about the horrors that are occurring throughout the world on a daily basis.

I feel very sorry for the perpetrators of these atrocities, presumably they must think that they did a good day's work yesterday but I can not in any way understand what drives people to behave in that way, whether it is religious, personal or just a generalised hatred, it makes no sense to me."

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

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Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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