The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 24 May 2017

Security

Image: Getty Images

Spotlight on security

As the general election approaches, venue safety and police services outside the capital will be on many voters’ minds.

Community and local resilience has helped bring Manchester together in the terrible aftermath of Monday’s suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena but questions have been raised about how venue security needs to adapt. This is a city that prides itself on nightlife and cultural acumen, after all. Yet the attack that killed 22 and injured 59 highlighted a weak spot: what happens just beyond the venue’s doors is often beyond the checks of the security inside. It’s also tapped into a feeling among some that cities outside London don’t see the same share of funding, particularly when it comes to counter-terrorism, prestigious security systems and armed police. With a general election next month, security and services will loom large in voters’ minds in this part of the country.

Terrorism

Image: Getty Images

True grit

Britons will unite in the wake of turmoil just like we’ve always done.

The morning after the terror attack on London’s transport system in July 2005, which killed 52 people, the city went back to work. The Tube and bus network was immediately reopened and the UK’s capital tried to return to normal. That same desire to carry on as before was seen in Manchester last night, as the city’s bars, clubs and restaurants were filled with Mancunians refusing to be bowed. It can sound trite and clichéd – the idea of the stiff upper lip and Blitz spirit – but Britain, on the whole, is not a country that overreacts. Aside from a few vocal commentators on the hard-right, there is a sense of unity in Britain when the country suffers a terrorist attack. Despite the UK's announcement that it's raised the terror threat level, suggesting another attack could be imminent, Britons will go back to work, keep going to gigs and carry on with their lives.

Diplomacy

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Meet and greet

Will the meeting between President Trump and Pope Francis be a strained affair?

Donald Trump’s world-religion tour continues today as he heads to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis. Though this will be the first time the two men meet face to face, they have previously traded barbs: during Trump’s campaign the Pope publicly stated that a person preoccupied with building walls “wasn’t a Christian”; Trump claimed the comment was “disgraceful”, going on to call the Pope a “pawn”. While Trump isn’t likely to be combative once inside the Apostolic Palace, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church won’t shy away from bringing up some of the president’s more controversial policies. As we noted in Issue 90, Francis has taken a direct approach when it comes to international relations, from playing a hand in boosting relations between the US and Cuba to denouncing the Armenian genocide. Whether Trump will see the light is another story.

Affairs

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Renewed vows

Taiwan could become a liberal beacon in Asia thanks to an upcoming court ruling.

Supporters of marriage equality will be gathering in Taipei today for an eagerly anticipated court ruling that could pave the way for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Taiwan. If the country’s constitutional court decides that the legal definition of marriage as it currently stands – between a man and a woman – is unconstitutional then it would allow the legislature to pass a draft bill on marriage equality, which would confirm the progressive island’s status as a liberal beacon in Asia. “The LGBT community is waiting anxiously for the court ruling,” says Wayne Lin, chairman of the island’s oldest LGBT organisation, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association. “But putting optimism aside, the legislation still needs to face a second reading – and the opposition is ever growing.”

From Monocle 24

Image: V&A

Material world

Section D

We speak to three young designers innovating with new materials at Interzum furniture production fair in Köln. We also ask if renovation and demolition have betrayed the values of Britain’s post-war architecture, and do a stocktake of the new shop at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

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