In the wake of terror attacks, we are often urged to carry on ‘as normal’, to not let fear stop us from living our lives.
And carrying on as normal, on British shores anyway, always seems to involve a certain amount of wry humour while facing the bleakest of times. Thus, the Twitter hashtag #BritishThreatLevels was born.
This week’s appalling attack by a suicide bomber at Manchester Arena shocked and horrified the world, targeting as it did a crowd largely comprising children and teenagers. The investigation resulted in the UK’s official terror threat level being raised to ‘critical’, meaning “not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that an attack may be imminent”.
The move is obviously unsettling, and it would be easy to take the horrific details of the bombing and the change in alert status as a reason to change your routine, to be suspicious, to be fearful. But while there’s sadness, anger and devastation, there’s also been a wave of positivity, including a slew of uplifting stories of how the city rallied round, how people helped those in need, of more than £1 million pouring in to a fundraising page within a few hours.
And, being British, we met the threat level with self-deprecating humour.
Initially, Twitter user Jeremy Cook posted, “We're British. I don't get scared until the threat level hits ‘Replacement Bus Service’”.
We're British. I don't get scared until the threat level hits "Replacement Bus Service".— Jeremy Cook (@Jeremy_JCook) May 24, 2017
A couple of tea-based missives:
General British politeness-based issues:
Not forgetting the bumper category of general British awkwardness-based problems:
And a personal favourite: