Labour candidate Neil Coyle explains why he's back campaigning—and why terrorists won't change an area the Nazis couldn'tby Stephanie Boland / June 6, 2017 / Leave a comment
“There’s a real community pride,” Neil Coyle tells me, sounding both optimistic and far less exhausted than I’d expected him to be. Until recently, he was the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark—the constituency where Saturday night’s terror attack took place. Now, he’s campaigning for re-election.
When we speak on Monday, his team have started returning to the doorstep following a suspension of campaigning on Sunday, and Coyle is clear about why.
“Postponing the election date would be caving in,” he says. “It would be ideal for the people who are attacking us: if people thought that they could attack, commit atrocities, murder people, and that that would change how we run elections, that would give them an impetus to do it.”
In the wake of the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, in which seven people were killed and many more injured, most local parties suspended door knocking and phone banking, although some local campaigns continued elsewhere. “Local people needed the time to collect their thoughts, and to recognise that people had had a horrible atrocity happen, right here on our doorstep,” he explains.
There is, of course, a difficult balance to be struck between defiantly continuing as normal and admitting that, after Saturday night, things aren’t normal—for every person who went straight back out to London’s bars the next evening, there will be another who feels scared, having seen the attack on those who had done nothing more than go out to enjoy dinner or a drink with friends.
But if the brutal attack on Saturday was in any way intended to derail the democratic process, it is unlikely to succeed….