In 1919, Max Weber, the social and political theorist helpfully defined the state as.
“As the sole grantor of the ‘right’ to physical force. Therefore, ‘politics’ in our case would mean the pursuit for a portion of power or for influencing the division of power whether it is between states, or between groups of people which the state encompasses.”
Essentially it means that only the state has the legitimate use of violence within it’s borders and therefore in return for obeying the laws the state makes, the state has to keep it’s citizen’s safe. It’s a trade off. We surrender our individual right to use violence, and give that right to the state.
For the most part this works. Last night it didn’t. Some might say that its too early to apportion blame, but they’d be the same people who helped create the conditions that facilitated the attack on London Bride. Precisely in an election campaign is when we should be looking for the ‘whys’, when our minds are focused on the loss of life. ‘Our thoughts and prayers’ are of scant comfort to the bereaved if the same ‘whys’ create yet more bereaved families in the future.
So it is all well and good for Boris’s Johnson to pay tribute to the police and emergency services for their quick response, but that would be the same Boris’s Johnson, who now Prime Minister of a Conservative government that has cut police numbers by 20,000. Actually, they haven’t, the police forces have, but that’s because their funding has been slashed.
Same too with other, more indirect factors, no-one of which in isolation caused this, but when added together helps create the mindset that makes someone think that such an act is justified. If years of austerity, and underfunding have made cuts to council services, schools, housing, the welfare system an inevitability, then why should someone feel part of a society that has shown little regard for them?