Thursday, 15 January 2009


In January 2008, Jacqui Smith let slip that she doesn’t like to walk at night through London. I could say that and it would be a fair comment. But for the British Home Secretary to denounce London after dark because she’s frightened of attack was a mistake – an honest comment, but a mistaken one. The press leapt on her. How could the head of the Home Office, the champion of Britain’s law and order, utter such truths about her home, England’s celebrated capital, and the venue for the 2012 Olympic Games?

A few days later an article about nightwalking in London by Kate Pullinger appeared in The Guardian. ‘Our levels of fear bear little relation to the statistics…but we are told to be afraid, so many of us are, both despite of and because of our experience.’

It's true. The number of times I've walked at night and avoided being stabbed. I've even avoided the threat of being stabbed. Even the threat of a threat of being stabbed. Of course I won't be laughing so heartily if I'm stabbed in the next 11 months.

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