The only bright spot in a desperately awful situation has been the amazing efforts of all sections of the local community to help out without thought of themselves. I've also been moved by the remarks of so many of the victims. One of those who was forced to hurry away in fear was a young girl who got home and then saw a horrible message about Muslims online. She immediately pointed out the reality:
" It was a Muslim who pulled up in his taxi and drove us home to safety. A very compassionate man who was also terrified yet helped others."
That just about says it all. I am not asking any of my Muslim friends to even begin to think about apologising for the behaviour of the killer. They didn't ask me to apologise for the white racist who murdered Jo Cox. The only people who share responsibility for this kind of thing are the people who carry out the act, those who have assisted in its planning and anyone who is cruel enough to cover up any small piece of information that might help identify the victims or prevent a future attack.
As for the Sun's front page headline accusing Jeremy Corbyn of backing terrorism that was published the morning after the attack I can only say that it is beneath contempt. No wonder almost no one buys the paper in Liverpool decades after Hillsborough. I can only hope they have finished themselves off in Manchester as well.
I can imagine the reaction of the Sun if those of us who opposed the Iraq war or the irresponsible destabilising policies in Libya used the incident in Manchester to start trying the very next morning to associate those who took a different attitude with acts of terrorism that they would never condone. What on earth went through the mind of the Sun's editor that made him think it was an appropriate morning to try making cheap slurs?
What is needed now is a refusal to allow either terrorists or bigots to bully us out of following our normal daily activities. If bombers see that they have the chance to disrupt election campaigns and influence the outcome of elections then surely that will only encourage them. It feels exactly like what they would most want. It gives them an influence on events and a success in disrupting and dividing us that none of us wishes to provide.
So, with a bad taste in my mouth and little of my normal enthusiasm for free argument and discussion I intend to go back to local campaigning tomorrow. I understand that this is the day when regional campaigns can start and that national campaigns will be properly underway again on Friday.
The best advert against aggressive bigots who want to destroy our way of life is to get back to it as quickly as normal. So, in the spirit of tolerant understanding of the views of people from all parties, I can actually understand why Paul Nuttall from UKIP thinks that it is right that he should go back to full national campaigning tomorrow and launch his manifesto. I just wish that manifesto would contain some understanding that the best kind of British nationalism is the kind that is proud of all our communities, happy to defend all our liberties and recognises that our problems don't stem from "them immigrants".
Our problems stem from bad policies and intolerant individuals. It will be nice to get back to free debate with people on the streets about which of those policies are flawed and how we build a safer, more tolerant, more stable and more successful country. I will, of course, be putting the case that sustainable Green policies are the answer to that and I look forward to lively argument with interesting people who genuinely value our democratic right to hold different views and discuss them with open minds no matter how much intimidation we encounter.