Attack disrupts British election campaign

Just two and a half weeks before the parliamentary elections Britain has been rocked by the attack in Manchester. Campaign appearances have been cancelled while Prime Minister Theresa May and her rival Jeremy Corbyn have refrained from drawing any political conclusions about the attack. Commentators disagree about whether the decision to temporarily suspend the campaign was right.

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Financial Times (GB) /

Not the time for a belligerent tone

The terrorists won't achieve their perfidious goals because people at all levels have demonstrated unity, readiness to help and calm, the Financial Times stresses:

“British politicians have taken the correct approach: campaigning has been suspended for the duration and political leaders have called for unity in the wake of the attack. Theresa May, the prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader, and Mr Burnham have all struck the right tone in calling for calm. ... Those who perpetrated this attack hope to sow division and undermine the values of British democracy. The response in Manchester, where everyone from emergency services to taxi drivers rallied to help victims and grieving families, is the finest riposte to the agents of terror.”

Politiken (DK) /

Return to day-to-day democracy

Politiken disagrees, arguing that to demonstrate the resilience of democracy it is vital that the British resume the election campaign as quickly as possible:

“We must return to our normal lives, and normal life in Britain is in the midst of an election campaign. It is understandable and right that the campaign has been put on hold today. But it is crucial that it continues tomorrow. Because the strength of democracy lies in the fact that there are many of us living in a well organised society - a pluralist society in which many different attitudes can be found. But one thing must never have a place in our society: we must not accept violence and terror and allow evil to hold sway. Our cohesion and our strength in everyday life will triumph against terrorism. And we will win - despite this dreadful deed.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Strong leader May will win

The Manchester attack has made Theresa May's election victory inevitable, the Tages-Anzeiger concludes:

“Her combination of a resolute stance and hospital visits in a good Mother Theresa capacity speaks for itself. Timid voices from the opposition are asking whether May did enough during her years as home secretary to protect the country from terrorism. And there will be more such talk in the days to come when the sense of unity starts to fade. For the time being, however, commentators have refrained from posing this 'politically motivated' question out of respect for the victims. And until that happens, the opinion polls will no doubt show a new surge in Theresa May's popularity. Can she be stopped before the elections? Even before Manchester there was little chance of anyone ousting her from her position as a 'strong leader'. After Manchester it will be pretty much impossible.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Security must not suffer under Brexit

The Manchester attack shows how important European cooperation on security will remain despite the Brexit, Der Standard concludes:

“In exiting the European Union the nation is moving towards a situation which will at the very least change the security concept of both the EU and the UK. A lot was said at the end of March about Theresa May's Brexit letter to the EU: 'A failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.' The immediate accusations that this was a threat were quickly rejected by the British side. But what further cooperation with the EU law enforcement agency Europol will look like, for example, once the UK has completed its withdrawal remains entirely open. Against the backdrop of the persistent threat of terror in Europe the EU and the UK's mutual interest to continuing to exchange confidential information should be great.”