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The terror threat

Eddie Mair | 17:13 UK time, Friday, 29 June 2007

feel free to comment here.


  1. At 05:10 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    So we're back to the bad old days, are we? when everybody travelling to London felt fear in their bones ....

    I hope the perpetrators of this particular plot are rapidly aprehended, but there must be plenty of others queuing up to take their place.

    Could Mr. Brown and all others of influence begin to work on delivering a resolution to the problems of the Middle East? C'mon, Gordon, you've a fresh sheet and have the chance to show the strength of your intellect now.

  2. At 05:24 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Far be it from me to be the big fat Conspiracy Theorist around here ...

    But how convenient for those who seek to curtail our personal freedoms that there's a terrorist incident just at the moment of the handover of power.

    I predict some knee-jerk legislation over the next few weeks.


  3. At 05:38 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Never fear, Honest Tone, whose good faith is beyond doubt is on the job!


    I wouldn't bet against some knee-jerk, ill-considered legislation. It wouldn't be the first time, would it?


    Malice correctly detected! I'll just amuse myself with self-abuse for a minute or so....

  4. At 05:45 PM on 29 Jun 2007, FrankAcne wrote:

    So someone (Al Quada of Course?) placed a nice big car bomb in Central London. If only we had all been carrying ID Cards and had been Chipped, this could never have happened could it. Idiots!!! Of course it could. Tinkering with the deck chairs on the Titanic is still apparently fashionable in political circles. You may just be right Fifi.

  5. At 05:51 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Peej wrote:

    You're wrong Fi - you're a slim svelte conspiracy theorist

  6. At 06:14 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ross wrote:

    Big Sis,
    I agree there are no doubt plenty of others queing to take their place. Just as there are in at least 40 other countries where similar conflicts rage at the moment.

    I really hope Gordon Brown uses his intellect to bring about change in this country. I don't think Sir Digby Jones has the knowledge or even understanding to start tackling social inequality.

    As far as the Middle East is concerned. Israel no doubt, has the wisdom to deal with it's own enemies.

  7. At 06:30 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi -- yes. Very convenient. I don't think the guvmint dunnit guv, because it might have gone off by accident and killed people, but...

    Big Sister: yes, the bad old days, and yes, the IRA bombed London several times, and damn' near killed me on one of them. With you all the way.

    I don't recall the then-government making it illegal for anyone to read a newspaper near Downing Street, or bringing in compulsory ID cards, or any of the rest of the panic-stricken garbage that the folk running the country this past ten years have felt they had to introduce in order to demonstrate that they were doing *something* rather than admitting that like everyone else they were unable to stop madmen from being mad.

    And FrankAcne, yes, deckchairs it is.

    Someone put the other point of view, quick, we're agreeing too much, must be a clique.

  8. At 06:38 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ross (6),

    "Israel no doubt, has the wisdom to deal with it's own enemies."

    No doubt, that's evidenced by her success over the past six decades.

    I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do Evil in return.

    W.H. AUDEN, "September 1, 1939"


  9. At 06:56 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ross wrote:

    Chris, hope I haven't offended you by introducing some balance to an otherwise rather predictable set of blogs.

  10. At 07:06 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ross wrote:

    Chris apologies. I just posted comments directed at you they were intended for Ed.

  11. At 07:16 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ross wrote:

    Chris I would have thought that the main difference in the response by the then-government and the current government is the fact that the IRA gave warnings on potential attacks in most cases whereas now, people blow themselves to bits with the intention of maximising deaths and injuries to others.

  12. At 07:43 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ross (9),

    So you consider Israel to be 'wise'? Would it not have been wiser not to create so many enemies in the first place?

    And you consider your contribution an attempt to introduce balance? If you want balance, follow the link.


  13. At 07:57 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Ross wrote:

    Ed. If Israel wasn't wise it wouldn't have survived for so long.

    Well I find it strange that you consider Israel has made so many enemies. I don't think Israel has a holy war mentality similar to that of it's neighbours. People who lack tolerance do so wherever they settle. Think about it.

    Why do you get so inflamed when bloggers don't show anti-Israel sentiment? I find it intriguing.

  14. At 08:34 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Since neither Israelis nor Palestinians are likely to have been responsible for the Mercedes in Haymarket, could we leave Israel and Palestine out of the discussion just for *once*? Please?

    Ross, I agree that the IRA gave warnings (except when they didn't: the one that nearly got me was one that had slipped their minds, being only a little small letter-bomb that blew up in a pillar-box instead of wherever it was meant to be going) but the warnings weren't the response of the government, they were the action of the IRA. The government responded without all this flapdoodle and grandstanding.

    What difference is it going to make if the suicidal loon blowing himself up on a bus is carrying a valid ID card? All the people who've done it so far would have been able to get ID cards perfectly legitimately. And how is making it illegal to demonstrate near the Houses of Parliament going to prevent someone with a rucksack full of explosive from demonstrating his feelings by blowing himself up without warning, possibly even waving his valid ID card as he does so? As for arresting someone under anti-terrorism legislation for *reading The Independent near Downing Street*... Yes, well. All that does is make the authorities look like complete idiots.

    Incidentally, does anyone know whether it is possible to place a bet with a reputable bookie on how many days it will be between the first compulsory ID cards being issued and the first tabloid journalist getting a false one that can't be told from the real thing? My money would be on less than 24 hours.

  15. At 07:07 AM on 30 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I'd just like to say thank you to all the members of the police force who bravely dealt with what turns out to be two car bombs that could have blown up in their faces at any moment.

    Another thank-you goes to all the night-clubbers - not usually my favourite people especially when they wander home down my street at four in the morning shouting and throwing up - who I see on this morning's news were determined not to let a potential threat change their plans.

    That's what will stop the terrorists from winning; not wars or limits on civil liberties, but people doing their jobs and getting on with their lives.

  16. At 09:37 AM on 30 Jun 2007, Molly wrote:

    Conspiracy theory or not- it works (for me anyhow). Half my family live in London- their lives ahead of them. I had a bad night last night. I worry every time they fly. etc etc
    Huge admiration for the emergency services(wwhich I have) isn't enough. Security in the obvious target areas-airports, theatres, hospitals-is totally laugheable. It's not long since we were told to put paper bags on our heads and sit under the stairs if there was a 'scare'.
    Well, we're a lot more grown up now.
    I agree with Big Sis- Gordon has a chance to get things moving-now!
    (By the way, I've never really understood the objection to ID cards-bank cards, d. licences, passports?)

  17. At 10:28 AM on 30 Jun 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Molly (16) - imagine the following. You go to undertake a task for which your ID card is required. You present it only to be told you do not exist - your id has been removed from the central database by a corrupt employee who has sold it on. How do you then prove who you are?

    Or how about this one - you have minor treatment in hospital resulting in your details being held on a central NHS database linked to your ID details. This enables doctors and others to check your details for your treatment - however security checks are lax meaning several hundred other people can also access your medical history. For some people this could lead to embarrassment or even blackmail.

    Or this one - a section of the ID database is stolen and sold on to criminals, meaning you spend the rest of your life in fear that your identity will be stolen. This one has already happened to veterans in the USA and government employees here.

    Or this - someone with access to the databases uses your id to take out a huge loan leaving you to prove it wasn't you and you are not liable to pay it off.

    The problem is that no database is 100% secure and never can be because human beings have to be able to maintain the computers and the programmes. Leaving out simple human error there is already plenty of evidence of the ways in which criminals can use information to their advantage.

    And of course for the conspiracy theorists amongst us there are always the uses to which the state can put the information and the possibility that false information e.g. criminal convictions, terrorist tendencies could be accidentally or deliberately logged against your name.

    It is not longer enough to say, as I once thought, that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

  18. At 10:40 AM on 30 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Well put, Anne P!


  19. At 11:26 AM on 30 Jun 2007, Moz wrote:

    I think it's great that we live in a country where we get awfully miffed about people parking car bombs on double yellow lines!

    "You can't park that car bomb there I'm afraid sir!"

  20. At 11:28 AM on 30 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Anne P,

    While all those possible drawbacks apply, we have still to be given any realistic benefit to be received from the integrated database.

    Would it have prevented yesterday's attempted carnage? Or 7/7? Or any similar exercise?

    Anyone got anything credible to add to why we should carry on with this expensive police-state mentality?


  21. At 11:42 AM on 30 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Anne P, that's a good start on why this scheme isn't as fine an idea as they'd have us believe.

    One other little point:

    The spokespeople themselves are saying that "not more than ten percent" of entries are likely to be "inaccurate in more than one particular". That's, oh, between five and six million people who *are* going to have an incorrect ID card, before we even start to worry about the criminal possibilities. They don't say what percentage will have only *one* mistake in them, just that only ten per cent or so will have two (or more: more than one means what it says).

    This somehow does not fill me with confidence.

  22. At 12:09 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    The words froze on my lips:

    "Of course, they'll use this to prove that CCTV everywhere will..... oh."

    Yes folks, Big Brother is knocking politely on our front doors. Wouldn't we all feel safer knowing that our next-door neighbomber is being tracked on camera?


  23. At 12:55 PM on 30 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Anne P - I agree with every word you say! And having lived in Northern Ireland for most of my life, including through the worst of the "troubles", I can't think of one atrocity that would have been prevented if identity cards had been compulsory.

  24. At 05:44 PM on 30 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Well, now we seem to have a car-bomb(?) terror attack in Glasgow. It'll be interesting to see how we deal with this; unlike London and a few other English cities like Manchester, we never suffered from attacks by the IRA in the 70's, so this is all new to us.

    It's heartening to hear that one of the men who jumped/fell out of the burning 4x4 was immediately tackled by a member of the public.

  25. At 06:13 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Roberto Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    I hope everyone is OK.

  26. At 06:53 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Plimsol Line wrote:

    I'll try to be restrained as this subject makes me furious with indignation. Some more drawbacks to ID cards:

    Don't forget that you have to attend an interview where these details that will be stored on the database will be taken. And if you refuse to attend you could be fined and/or imprisoned.

    What happens if you pitch up at this interview and someone has already registered your identity fraudulently? How do you persuade officialdom that you are you, not the other person?

    There's also the fact that you have to pay for a card that the Government are forcing you to have. Depending on who you believe that could be £35-00 or more than £100-00.

    You also have to pay if there are any mistakes on the card/database - and it will be a criminal offence for those details to be incorrect, whether it's your fault or someone else's.

    For me the most biting aspect of this is that it's just damn un-British and goes against principles of rights and civil liberty that we have built up over the last thousand years or so. Why should I have to prove to the Government - that was supposedly elected to serve its People - who I am?

    My view is that imposing such foolhardy measures means that the terrorists have won by default. They have made us change our way of life because of their actions. A cage, no matter how gilded and filled with pretty things, is still a cage.

    Thanks to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006, any future Government can make changes to the ID system Bill requiring additional data be stored on the card/database, crucially without having a vote on the subject in Parliament. That's right, under that Bill the Government can amend the wording (and hence purpose, intent or legal requirements) of any existing Bill by an executive order, nothing has to go through Parliament.

    If this all comes into force, I'm emigrating. I'm serious.

  27. At 08:47 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    My overwhelming concern about ID cards is somewhat different: What about all of those organisations that will insist upon seeing them before providing goods/services even though they have no right to do so?

    For example, already when returning things to shops many insist that we provide some form of ID/our name, address and signature before they will provide a refund, even though their publicised conditions of sale do not mention it and therefore do not form part of the contract of sale. Tried arguing that with a shop assisant? Be assured you won't get your money back unless you give in. How long before they insist on seeing your ID card before giving a refund? Then before selling you something? Stamp your feet and say "you're not entitled to it" all you like but it won't get you anywhere. A relatively trivial example, I accept, but illustrative of a wider potential problem.

  28. At 08:55 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Trouble is, plimsol, where to?

    btw, I thought the reporting of the Glasgow ?bomb? was excellent.

    And how ironic/fortunate that Helen Boaden was there!

  29. At 09:10 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Val P wrote:

    Appy - my experience of retailing leads me to suspect that this requirement of ID from customers wishing to return goods, could be as much to do with preventing staff from running scams.......:-( No easier a thought to stomach though.

  30. At 10:06 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    ID cards wouldn't have helped with this, it's absolutely true.

    The "timeline" for events, as given on the BBC news site, goes

    0125 An ambulance crew is called to the busy Tiger Tiger club in Haymarket to treat a sick person. While there the crew noticed what resembled smoke, or possibly vapour from the petrol in the car, coming from a metallic green Mercedes outside the club.

    [NB: the CCTV operators hadn't raised the alarm. Is it not their job to spot suspicious circumstances like people running away from illegally parked cars? So CCTV was as much use as ID cards in this case.]

    0200 Police cordon off the area while explosives officers examine the vehicle.

    0230 A blue Mercedes 280E is found parked illegally in Cockspur Street, near Trafalgar Square, not far from the discovery of the first car.

    0330 The blue Mercedes is taken to a car pound in Park Lane. Police manually disable a device in the green Mercedes, preventing what police sources said could have been "carnage".

    The following day

    1025 The green Mercedes is removed from Haymarket.

    1430 Park Lane is closed off as police investigate the second car. The road was eventually reopened five hours later.

    Knowing that they had one car-bomb, knowing that it was in the same make of car as a car they found abandoned nearby half-an-hour later, they towed the second bomb through central London and finally put two and two together twelve hours later.

    Meanwhile they carefully stored this bomb in an underground car-park, just full of fuel in all the other cars there waiting to help with a really *big* explosion.

    Colour me unimpressed about that, I'm afraid.

  31. At 10:35 PM on 30 Jun 2007, whisht wrote:

    hey folks - Aperitif, Anne P and others - thanks for giving me extra reasonable reasons for thinking that the ID card is a bad idea.

    I only thought of it as a bad idea cos I work in IT and have been part of the implementation of databases of people and things for government agencies...

    Fifi - actually, although we've never met I think i like you but you intimating that leaving cars full of explosives could be the government is crass and offensive.

    (some) politicians may be corrupt and venal and stupid. But they are not indiscriminately murderous. Also, from a practical point of view, that entails a helluva lot of planning and coercion, and yet would not gain them anything that their main strength would not get them (ie being within the mechanics of government arguing for more stringent laws).

    All you do is obscure the extremely important issues with yah-booing against real people who would never kill innocents.

    However, as we all know on this blog, this ain't personal and is just me caring about the issue and trying to keep the focus there (as did Chris at 14!)

  32. At 10:51 PM on 30 Jun 2007, whisht wrote:

    Has anyone (Ed??!?) got stats on economic wellbeing and terrorism?

    Just thinking about the Irish situation.

    It may be a coincidence, but a factor (to relations improving) must surely have been the economic improvements in the South vs the North.

    And for that matter any correlation between economic disparities and social violence (without necessarily the racial or religious angle).

    Hmmm.... this is just a pet thing of mine. I know Ed you have a lot of links on the Palestinian situation. However, if you have any others or insights beyond this it would be interesting.

    Do people care a lot about race/ religion but even more about the pound in their pocket and feeding themselves and their family...?

  33. At 11:05 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Molly wrote:

    Anne P (17)
    I've just picked up your posting- and the others-and I do agree with most of what you say. It's just that in the general area of civil liberties, infringements thereof,things that human biengs suffer,etc,worrying about carrying extra ID is not top of my priorities.The list of possible scenarios is not good.However, my security and privacy are already threatened because I buy things on the internet using my card-what could be riskier.
    I thought that the plans to have aa central data base for NHS details etc had been shelved,anyway.I'm probably wrong!
    Food for thought though. Im afraid I'm still at the stage of believing that if you've done nothing wrong etc etc .


  34. At 11:35 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    How come all these sensible folk on the frog see how useless the ID cards would be in preventing terrorism, but our Great Leaders don't?

    As I've grown older It's been a constant process of realising I ain't as smart as I used to think I was, but it's frightening to come across evidence tyhat I'm still smarter than our governors.

    Sorry Whisht, but all I've got is a gut feeling you're not far from a truth. I think there's probably plenty of data relating crime to poverty and, of course, terrorism is closely related to perceived (or real) injustice.

    Peace and love to one and all

  35. At 11:44 PM on 30 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Molly @33, first we have to define "wrong"!

    I see nothing wrong with somebody being homosexual, never have. However, as we found when we listened to Eddie's excellent recent programmes about Camp, until this century being revealed as a homosexual, and sometimes merely being suspected to be one, was enough to destroy people's careers and lives. Quite recently a government database including details of the sexual preferences of young doctors was accidentally published on a website, and I seem to remember that they were not very happy about it. Had they done wrong? No. Were they potentially going to suffer? Yes, quite possibly.

    In this country the way that you have voted can be easily discovered; would you be happy for that information to be published, or worse, retained and used by a later government who regarded your once having voted communist as being sufficient reason to hound you from your job and house?

    Nobody has *nothing* to conceal, in some circumstances and from some people.

    What's worse is if the information is just plain wrong. Remember the pensioner who was arrested for being a criminal on the run wanted by the CIA, in a foreign country where he was on holiday, and imprisoned... because he had the same name as the man the CIA wanted? Suppose you are Jane Breen, and your entry has added to it erroneously the information that ought to have gone into Jane Green's entry, related to her having sexually abused a child? (Or some other Jane Breen's conviction for shoplifting.)

    The danger is not the card itself; it's the database behind it, to which you as an individual probably won't have access but to which every traffic warden quite possibly would, every council employee, every health professional, every person in the civil service... Like the lovely lads behind the CCTV cameras who keep getting caught watching women undressing, or copying film of people making fools of themselves and showing the footage for their mates in the pub, and such-like responsible stuff, not everyone with access to the database will be someone you want knowing about the abortion you had at sixteen or the conviction for smoking dope when you were twenty. Or whatever else you thought/hoped you had left behind.

    (For "you" read "one" throughout, but it sounds so silly! I don't mean you-Molly, just you-general.)

  36. At 08:51 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    And another thing, Molly, even if there is legislation saying that you must be allowed to see your record you would never know if what you were seeing was your whole record.

    For example I worked on an HR database and we built a front end so that everyone could view a person's name, department, reporting structure, location and phone number. We did not display confidential stuff like next of kin and salary details - but as IT people we could see and change them.

    It would be very easy to hold details, which might be incorrect, but would be acted on by police or social security or MI5 etc and which you would never know were there.

    You would not know why you had been refused that job, why your neighbour suddenly stopped speaking to you, why your doctor refused to treat you.

    And most people would believe the incorrect 'facts' because it was on the computer.

    As a society we cannot now function without computer databases, but we do need to be very careful about what we store on them, why and what use is made of them.

  37. At 09:47 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Neil Hudson wrote:

    I have just watched Gordon interviewed by Andrew Marr on Sunday AM.
    Marr did not ask the key questions:

    1. We have now had 4 unpredicted terrorist attacks in 2 years-
    The 2 failed London car bombs

    2. Why no specific intelligence? Are the security services truly doing their job properly

    3. In the same period, there have been ZERO unpredicted attacks in

    Spain (exclude ETA)
    etc etc

    4. I am sick of hearing that our SS are brilliant etc. Brown quoted a budget of 2billion for security. Why is it being misspent so badly?

    5. Why was the threat level not increased to CRITICAL before Glasgow. Who was responsible for this error?

  38. At 10:19 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Harry wrote:

    Neil (38) Could it be that the other countries you mention take firm steps against terrorists whilst in this country we are told that we have to be politically correct and win the hearts and minds of those who hate and want to murder us in cold blood.

  39. At 10:38 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Ross wrote:

    Harry. I would also suggest that we blame everyone, ourselves, Blair, America, Israel, Infidels, Homosexuals etc, etc, for the actions of these terrorists. That keeps the the Muslim community in denial about their complicity in this matter.

  40. At 10:52 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Harry (38),

    "win the hearts and minds of those who hate and want to murder us in cold blood"

    It isn't cold blood, but overheated blood, and winning hearts and minds might serve to cool it down.


  41. At 11:19 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Harry wrote:

    That isn't what the evidence shows and I refer to recent polls in which a large percentage of the Muslim community made clear their views on many aspects of life in this country. In my view it is they who should seek to fit in with the wider community.

  42. At 11:39 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Briab Christley wrote:

    Top of the list in Gordon Brown’s ‘government of all the talents’ should be a speech writer and an actor to read them, his address to the nation following London and Glasgow car bomb attacks, which should have conveyed his powers of leadership by instilling our confidence in his ability to safeguard this country, was memorable in the fact that we had forgotten it by the time he ended it. He must learn that there is more to politics than transferring our money from one column to another.

  43. At 11:40 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Harry (40),

    I'd be pleased to see these polls and the questions asked. Can you provide a link or other reference?

    Thanks in advance

    P.S. It's my impression that the vast bulk of Muslims in this country are 'fitting in'. If you have information to the contrary, I'm sure we'd all like to see it.

    And that's deemed malicious!

  44. At 11:45 AM on 01 Jul 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Harry (40):

    Maybe, but then again *I* have no interest in fitting in with the wider community.

    Even though I'm Scots for umpteen generations back with occasional touches of Irish & English, I have no interest in going to the pub or football matches, or watching soap operas or Big Brother on TV, or using mobile 'phones or going on package holidays to the Mediterranean, or spending a quarter of my working day stuck in traffic jams or complaining about the weather, or any of the things that are what most people seem to do so much of.

    Should I conform too, or am I exempt due to having a heritage here - a heritage I mostly have no time for BTW.

  45. At 11:51 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Ross wrote:

    Harry. I don't understand what you mean by 'winning hearts and minds'. We as a country give refuge to people escaping repugnant regimes, for a variety of reasons. We provide them with benefits, housing, education, opportunities where possible. They have the opportunity for free speech, freedom to practice their religion. What else do you suggest we do?

    I would suggest that you replace the term 'winning hearts and minds' with 'giving into their demands'.

  46. At 12:08 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Harry (40

    Is this
    the poll you refer to?

    The Populus survey for The Times and ITV News has found that more than one in ten thinks that the men who carried out the London bombings of 7/7 should be regarded as “martyrs”. Sixteen per cent of British Muslims, equivalent to more than 150,000 adults, believe that while the attacks were wrong, the cause was right.

    But the poll also revealed a stark gulf between this group and the majority of British Muslims, who want the Government to take tougher measures against extremists within their community. ....


  47. At 12:31 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Harry @ 38, referring to Neil @ 37, but wasn't there a nasty outbreak of train-bombing in Spain some time recently? Rioting in France, complete with petrol-bombs? A few little scares in America?

    Harry @ 40, I wonder whether a poll of non-Muslims in this country would produce an equally large percentage who were dissatisfied with 'many aspects of life in this country.' (Maybe that's what the large percentage of people who don't bother to vote are trying to say.)

    Since this isn't Paradise, almost anyone you ask will be fed up about *something*; why should Muslims be any different from any of the rest of the population?

  48. At 12:32 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And, from Ed Hussein, who gave such an impressive interview to PM a few weeks ago:

    The vast majority of Britain’s 2m Muslim citizens are concerned with mundane daily life: they are no different from anybody else. But most British Muslims, in common with the rest of the country, fail to understand the difference between Islam the religion, and Islamism, a postcolonial political movement.

    The blurring of the lines between religion and ideology has put Muslims on the defensive when we hear British politicians talk about “Islamic terrorism”. Rightly, Muslims fail to understand how Islam, a heartfelt experience of serenity, can possibly be linked to killing and mayhem. Yet there are those who hide behind the mask of being Muslim, while advocating Islamist separatism and confrontation with the West. It is these culprits, the advocates of Wahhabi-Islamist ideology, that we must confront. But how?

    Extinguishing the flames of extremism should be a joint venture between government, Muslim communities (not Islamist representatives from the “Muslim Council of Britain”) and wider society. But there is a serious breakdown of trust between activist Muslims and the police. There exists an abject disconnection between native Englishmen and women and their Muslim neighbours. At the top, too, government departments have their favourite “Muslim spokesmen” with whom they are keen to do business, regardless of their Islamist connections.


    The entire article is well worthwhile, as is Ed's book.


  49. At 12:48 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Harry wrote:

    Ed 45. The polls I refer to are firstly, a Chanel 4 news poll in which a quarter of British Muslims believe the Government and security services were involved in the July 7 suicide bombings.

    Secondly, last August an NOP poll showed that 45% of Muslims believe that the attacks of 9/11 were a conspiracy between the United States and Israel.

    Thirdly, in April this year the Pew Research Centre published findings consistent with this.

    fourthly, Zia Rahman writer and Human rights Lawyer notes that "cospiracy theories abound in the Muslim community , many of them piggy-backing on an underlying notion of an American,Israeli bogeyman. In themselves, these ideas might be ragarded as mere folly, but they are terrifyingly dangerous because they fertilise the ground in which more hostile projects can take root". These conspiracy theories held by members of the Muslim community are well documented.

    For me the main point is that we have minorities in this country some of whom have been here for many, many years. Most make a good attempt at integration, why should Muslims set them self apart as a special case in order not to integrate.

    In my opinion it is appalling that some people come here do not even attempt to learn the language, instead they are provided with interpreters.

  50. At 12:55 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Plimsol Line wrote:

    Frances O @28: Well my first choice would be New Zealand, second choice would be Canada, third choice Scandinavia, probably Denmark. All are consistently in the UN's top ten list of best places to live, have reasonable liberal democracies (note the lower case "l" in liberal), good education and health-care systems and (based on my visits to these countries) are populated by friendly, tolerant and generous people.

  51. At 01:21 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Harry wrote:

    Chris 46.
    Over the last few months I have dealt with two local families both of whom were not aware that as tennents they had any legal rights at all on their situation.

    Both families are living on extremeley low wages. Both have been living in properties which defy description, indeed, both families did not believe me when I told them there were agencies to help them with their plight. Both these couples are English. The point is that Muslims as a community deny they have a problem with how they perceive' us'. People use the term Islamic terrorists because that is what they are. They are not Christian or Jewish terrorists. We know what the majority of Muslim's think about this country, this government, our foreign policies etc,. So we react accordingly.

  52. At 01:32 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Harry (48),
    Channel 4 poll

    August Poll NOP):

    I can't find the Pew research poll among those published in April:

    All the polls show the vast bulk of the Muslim community doing their best to integrate. We should be encouraged and encourage this process to continue. We should aid them in the ways suggested by Ed Hussein in the article linked above.

    Zia Rahman gets cited often. Nobody doubts conspiracy theories abound in the Muslim community (nor in other communities). He is cited because he represents someone speaking against the majority cultural narrative, as do such folk as Chomsky, Uri Avnery, etc.

    "Most make a good attempt at integration, why should Muslims set them self apart as a special case in order not to integrate."

    This statement might be considered internally inconsistent.

    "In my opinion it is appalling that some people come here do not even attempt to learn the language, instead they are provided with interpreters."

    The same could be levelled at many English speakers abroad. They form ex-pat subcultures and talk about 'the natives' in disparaging terms.


  53. At 01:47 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Harry (50),
    "We know what the majority of Muslim's think about this country, this government, our foreign policies etc,. "

    According to the polls you cite, the majority are 'on our side', with the exception that they view the war on Iraq to be a sad mistake, a view they share with at least half the native (and immigrant) British folk.

    In fact their views are pretty much in line with mainstream British thought - moreso than the BNP. The IslamISTS, (Wahabis) are similar to the BNP in representing a lunatic fringe.


  54. At 02:01 PM on 01 Jul 2007, harry wrote:

    Well I think we'll have to agree to disagree on all that's been said.

  55. At 02:09 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Harry @ 48: thank you! Interesting reading.

    I'm slightly suspicious of the news poll from Channel 4 because I can't help wondering whether the respondents might be self-selecting; that is, the people who bothered to reply were more likely to be those agreeing with the proposition 'it was the Government and security services wot dunnit' than those who thought it a ridiculous notion and therefore ignored it. I also wonder how 'Muslim' was being defined, and how easy it is to establish someone's actual belief (as opposed to ethnic origin or country of origin) in such circumstances. Do you happen to know how this poll was conducted, and whether the respondents were a truly random selection or not?

    NOP polls carry a bit more weight with me, but I need to know what the question was! 45% of Muslims believe that the attacks of 9/11 were a conspiracy between the United States and Israel might be the answer to 'Do you think there is any possibility that this was the case?' or to 'Are you sure this was the case?', and I have to say that *I* would answer 'yes' to the first, 'no' to the second. (I put nothing past some loons in each country mentioned.)

    I think that there are some Muslims who refuse to 'integrate', for all sorts of reasons including just being natural-born non-joiners-in, and I think that Zia Rahman is absolutely right to regard the conspiracy outlook as being dangerous (though of course one person's opinion, however good that person's credentials may be, can always be open to question), but I also think that if when one tries to be friendly one is met with hostility it may be hard, after a while, to go on and on trying. It's easier to spend one's time with people who agree with one's views and speak the same language than it is constantly to try to be with people who disagree with everything one says and talk a different language. It seems to me that the best way to argue against people who think they are hated because they are foreigners or Muslims or have a brown skin is not to demonise them, though, but to try to find ways of getting through to them and demonstrate that they might be mistaken in their belief, and that they meet hostility because their behaviour has begun to be hostile as a defense against perceived hostility. Nobody wants to believe that the reason he is disliked is because he might deserve it for his behaviour; it's always more comfortable to be able to assume that the dislike is for something over which he has no control 'someone else's fault'.

    (Shades of the old nasty joke: 'They didn't g-g-g-give me the newsreader's j-j-j-job! J-j-j-j-just b-b-b-b-because I'm b-b-b-black! Racists!')

    That's why the 'hearts and minds' thing is valid, and why each time a child is called by a racist epithet it's doing harm. Expectations too often turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Call someone evil often enough, and he may eventually react by saying, 'Well, if that's what you think, I might as well *be* it!' Which is a pity all round, and bad for everyone.

  56. At 02:09 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    So it seems, Harry. I'll buy you a drink in the Furrowed Brow anytime.
    Salaam, etc.

  57. At 02:41 PM on 01 Jul 2007, jonnie wrote:

    So now we know the answer to the flooding. It's not anything to do with concreteing over our back gardens or hacking away the forests.

    It's nothing to do with global warming.

    It's *all* because of nasty homosexuals -- as always!

    It must be the reason - the bishop has told us :-


  58. At 03:00 PM on 01 Jul 2007, stewart m wrote:

    jonnie, the bishop must have forgotten that the church of england has lots of gay priests. And a lot of them do a damned good job.

  59. At 03:00 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Remember Sodom & Gomorrah and be warned!


  60. At 03:22 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Harry @ 53 -- agreeing to disagree is entirely reasonable: the data may be the same and the conclusions reached from them different, given any two people with different other experience than the data themselves.

    Your post at 50 has me completely baffled, though, and I would be very grateful for explanation. You cite two English families who are ignorant of their legal rights and living in bad conditions, and then say 'The point is that Muslims as a community deny they have a problem with how they perceive' us'. People use the term Islamic terrorists because that is what they are. They are not Christian or Jewish terrorists. We know what the majority of Muslim's think about this country, this government, our foreign policies etc,. So we react accordingly.'

    How does the 'Muslim Community' have anything whatever to do with the two families?

    This is making my brain hurt. Could you clarify your point? Where do the ignorant English fit in? Or is what you're saying that only the ignorant English are unpleasant because they judge all Muslims on incomplete or inaccurate data?

    We know what the various media tell us the majority of Muslims think, and we conflate 'Islamic' and 'Islamist', possibly. But is that any reason to say 'An Islamist terrorist is bad, therefore all Muslims are bad?', even by implication? one might as well say 'The IRA purported to be Roman Catholic, therefore all Roman Catholics are terrorists.'

    I can't believe that's what you intended me to understand: please could you untangle this for me?

  61. At 03:42 PM on 01 Jul 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Exactly Ed, The country is being flooded,

    my fault it would appear,

    and the only future is that for any sins I may have commited, I'll be destroyed by 'brimstone and fire' from the Lord out of heaven"

    I think I'll have one last puff on the pipe - (way down the back alley, you understand) :-)

  62. At 04:23 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Chris (59),

    The questions and breakdowns are here for the NOP poll.

    Worth a thorough perusal. It does show there remains much 'hearts and minds' work to be done.


  63. At 05:12 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jonnie, just remember, "Don't look back!"

  64. At 05:15 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Whisht (31): You said...

    "Fifi - actually, although we've never met I think i like you but you intimating that leaving cars full of explosives could be the government is crass and offensive."

    I'm sorry that you appear to have read rather more into my words than I'd intended. As a so-called wordsmith this is shame on me, not at all upon you.

    The timing of the attacks (including the Glasgow one, which for various reasons I didn't find out about till lunchtime today) will be jumped upon, by those who have an underlying agenda about persuading the population willingly to give up personal freedoms in return for what we will be told is improved personal security, as an opportunity.

    I am not clever enough, nor do I have time to research sufficiently the writings of those who are, to accuse anyone directly of perpetrating the attacks.

    I trust that sets the record straight, Whisht. If not, perhaps you'd let me know, either here or privately via the name link, and I'll shut up in future about serious issues -- rather than be considered 'crass and offensive' by someone I have respected since first I frogged.

    And I am deadly serious about this.


  65. At 05:23 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Jonnoe (56) : Before I retire from public strife, may I express my disgust at the bishops' statements.

    Quite apart from being outrageously offensive, insensitive and showing an intolerance that ill-suits the most forgiving religion around ... it shows a disturbingly inconsistent vision of what 'God' is supposedly about.

    Would the 'God' he and his cronies are talking about really be quite so ham-fisted as to punish thousands of people who aren't involved in any of the activities or proclivities of which he so disapproves? Knowing (as an all-knowing 'God' must) that they're among the very people who will never get a message delivered that way?

    If the bishops are the only ones who've spotted this alleged retribution for our naughty ways, perhaps they should consider it's actually aimed at themselves...


  66. At 05:23 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Harry wrote:

    Ali, (61) Baba (59) To you both I think If I had to depend on your skewed view of the world I would remain poorly uneducated, or should I say educated in a manner which would prevent me from psychogically progressing. Sorry for any bafflement caused I do tend to rush these postings as I actually have a life.

    Take care

  67. At 05:37 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Jan wrote:

    Harry (64). Forgive me but I think you meant to say psychologically instead of psychogilly. I have to say I agree with what you write.

    A bit of a double act.

  68. At 05:43 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Just for fun,

    2 gas bottles and 6oz of roundhead nails, al qaedas are certainly not the outfit they used to be, from single handedly standing the whole USA airforce to stand down, and bypassing the pentagons anti missile defence from a cave, and being the most sophistcated terror network ever seen, to crashing a merc on a deserted road, armed with 2 gas bottles and 6oz of nails.

    For some Conspiracy thinking, follow the link, or the one at my name.


  69. At 06:33 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    "Hurricane winds combined with high tides today to bring disaster to Britain's east coast. As sea defences collapsed from Lincolnshire in the north to Kent in the south, at least 280 people are known to have been drowned and thousands more made homeless. [...] In Essex, Canvey island is said to be devastated, with 125 people drowned and 500 missing. Thirteen thousand inhabitants have been evacuated and 150 taken to hospital...."

    All right, jonnie, you bad boy, own up: what were you doing on February 3rd 1953 that made God so angry?

    To paraphrase Hilaire Belloc slightly:

    "The dear old Bishop thought -- But there!
    I really neither know nor care
    For what the dear old Bishop thought.
    In my opinion, Bishops ought
    To know their place, and not to play
    The Great Jehovah night and day."

    Nil illegitime carborandum, or words to that effect, matey.

  70. At 06:35 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Chris Fish,

    It seems we are considered to be a double-act - Ali Baba! What with you (I think) being Jewish and me a WASP, and both anarchists, an Arab act could be amusing.

    I like Psychogilly! Is that a very sophisticated guide for Scottish fishermen?

    Still waiting for rational refutation, but I'm patient, if not very hopeful.


    "I am a Muslim and a Hindu, a Christian, and a Jew" -- Mohandas K Gandhi
    (not to mention a Buddhist and a Taoist!)

  71. At 06:36 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Personal abuse, rather than engaging in the debate, is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    If your (cogent) arguments are not accepted by the other guy either reinforce them with indisputable hard facts or quietly withdraw. If he is too blinkered to accept fact and reason, give up and leave him to his narrow-minded ways. Don't stoop to flaming others, it makes you look petty and foolish, not them.

    And note that I'm not Ed's shield. He and I don't agree on a lot.

    'If you can't win an argument, then abuse', can be altered to 'If you can't win the argument, then attack'. Which is why the horrific conflicts in the Middle East continue. For all their supposed civilisation there is little to be found in Israeli/Palestinian/Sunni/Shi'a/Fatah/Hamas communities. None of them can concede to the other for fear of appearing weak. None dare negotiate with the other. So the interminable struggles continue.


  72. At 06:37 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Fifi (64),

    "Would the 'God' he and his cronies are talking about really be quite so ham-fisted as to punish thousands of people who aren't involved in any of the activities or proclivities of which he so disapproves?"

    Certainly not, if we refer again to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah:

    In Genesis 18, God informs Abraham that he plans to destroy the city of Sodom because of its gross immorality. Abraham pleads with God not to destroy Sodom, and God agrees that he would not destroy the city if there were 50 righteous people in it, then 45, then 30, then 20, or even ten righteous people.

    Enjoy the Bible reading at the link

  73. At 06:53 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Ed : I gave up reading that book a long time ago. But thanks for the refresher!


  74. At 07:07 PM on 01 Jul 2007, admin annie wrote:

    whisht/fifi. my husband said as soon as he heard about the bombs in London that he thought it could have been done by people acting for the government. Even I am not quite that cynical, but to be honest having lived through the government acions that one assumes were meant to persuade us that we were right to take part in the so-called 'War of Terror' - Heathrow and Gatwick surrounded by tanks, Leeds/Bradford airport full of troops etc etc. is it any surprise that people can believe that this latest incident could be government inspired. That was the most cynical ploy I remember by a government, and I remember a few.

  75. At 07:30 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    ed, As the menonite who gave the sermon today said when talking about Elijah and his fight with jezebel. When destroying whole populations was the way it worked thats what God asked for. We are more enlightend now and the old ways are not the way to deal with things. i.e God does not expect us to kill all the Sodomites. (or indeed any. Thou shalt not Kill remember.)

    Not as eloquently put but the wrath of God is an old testament thing.

  76. At 07:43 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Ed(67) - aha! I knew it! It's the Roundheads who are at the bottom of all this. That Cromwell, always knew he was up to no good.

  77. At 07:44 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Jan @ 66, do you by any chance have an AOL account?

    Ed @ 69, I don't mind being a double-act insofar as I seem to post similar things before I actually see what you have posted, but I have to admit that I'm not properly Jewish because it's not from my mother's side, and it's a matrilinear matter. It's enough for me to be able to find accusations of being anti-Jewish pretty silly. Unless of course the Jew I'm anti is Great Uncle Joseph, a very unreasonable fellow. Anyhow, horticulture, I tell'ee, horticulture!

    But if we are Ali Baba, who is Ali Baba's Camel? Is s/he on the Beach? I think we should be told.

    A Psychogilly ought be a fish-warden who's obsessed with showers, which means unlikely to be a fish since fish prefer baths.

    Si @70, Harry having just announced that s/he is ill-educated (it probably isn't what s/he meant, but worries about remaining so seem to indicate that it's the present state) looks to me more like self-abuse than abuse of Ed or me, so I don't think I will worry too hard about him or her.

    Fifi @ 72, the Bible is a wonderful book for finding justifications for anything you want to do, not do, or tell someone else they ought to do or not do: look hard enough and you can find *anything* in it, including an injunction not to plait your hair. (I Peter, 3:3, if you're interested.)

  78. At 08:18 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Chris (75) : At the age of 17, and just about to leave school, I couldn't resist the temptation - having been specifically invited to do so - to tangle with my headmaster on matters of theology in a public discussion at the end of my final term.

    Our (now late) school Rector, Hugh Black, was, though I didn't know it at the time, the head of the Pentecostal Church in Scotland. I just knew him then as head of the Struthers Memorial Church which I'd stopped going to a couple of years before.

    He'd spent most of that lunch hour, batting back perfectly sound logical and rational questions from the floor - each time using this-or-that esoteric quotation from The Bible. I was losing patience with the lack of logical answer; but I knew he knew The Bible a lot better than I did.

    So I stuck to what I knew: "Sir, you're answering every question with a quote from the Bible, being careful to stress every single word's exact meaning. But the English version you're quoting from is a translation of a translation of someone's interpretation... etc ... how can you know that what we have today is what was actually meant?"

    He glared at me for several very long seconds, hooded his little glittering eyes, and spoke in a strange voice that owed more to The Exorcist than to Greenock:

    "Young lady... come the Day of Judgement ... I would not like to be in your shoes."

    Game set and match. To me! By being a bully, he'd handed me the popular vote - for the first time in six years at that awful school. Utterly confusing but I knew I hadn't lost anything.

    I do hope he's nice and warm now.


  79. At 08:43 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    PRINCETON, NJ–According to the latest Gallup Poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday of this week, nearly three out of four Americans can no longer believe this ****.

    (second attempt)

  80. At 08:53 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Ed, here:

    ((( frug )))

    You've cheered me up no end.

    Whisht, come on man! Down to the Beach with you, and let me ply you with a generous glass of the tipple of your choice.

    We were never meant to quarrel! I didn't mean to offend, and you didn't mean to either. This is the PM blog!!!


  81. At 09:59 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Si (70) Well said. I mean, very well said.

  82. At 10:16 PM on 01 Jul 2007, Molly wrote:

    Chris Ghoti (35ish)
    I agree with you,of course, about the concept of ''wrongness'' and should have realised that my choice of the word wouldn't be appropriate- what I should have said was, as Anne P put it-
    if have nothing to hide etc etc

    I don't mind the ''you'' aspect of your posting- I'm learning so much- on a curve you might say-


  83. At 10:49 PM on 01 Jul 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Thanks to all for reassuring me that in a Froggers perspective I wasn't contributing to the flooding.

    Chris, I wasn't around in 1953 - but am in the process of re- reading the Kenneth Williams Diaries. There is an entry for Tuesday 3rd Feb 1953 - but I don't think Kenneth can be held responsible either.

    However, God would have perhaps needed a few hours to sort out the hurricane - and Kenneth Williams was a bit bitchy on his Monday 2nd Feb entry :- ...... suffice to say that the entry ends with the words ......... "He smells of old spices and old dick ...'

    As for your friend Harry? Errm! He may 'have a life' but he could certainly do with a look at the beach protocol.

    And to all of you who had a dig about Princess Diana a few Months back -

    Tonight (7 odd hours on BBC1) served a timely reminder for the good she did.

    The last ten minutes were especially moving - Nelson Mandella, followed by Freddie Mercury singing 'Days of our lives' and the family cine footage of Diana as a toddler. -- Oooh tears were streaming! and poor Rickie Gervais padding to 100+ million worldwide audience ..

    For once Sunday television was very good.

  84. At 11:44 PM on 01 Jul 2007, whisht wrote:

    Hi Fifi - sorry for all the bother!

    its my word smithying that's letting me down!
    Far too strong a word "crass". AND I didn't understand your point properly - massive apologies.

    You are quite right - some people with an agenda will pounce on any incident that will allow them to further that agenda - so some fools will indeed try to convince us that ID cards would somehow help.

    [Though the phrase "clean skins" appearing in the press from the Intel people might actually dismiss the ID card argument on those grounds.]

    I still think it is inconceivable that the government could have planted nail bombs or driven a jeep through an airport. As you say though, people will exploit situations (eg deploying the fullest range of security in a particular situation as with Heathrow tanks etc).

    Anyway, its very late and I would love a tipple as you so kindly offered. I won't go to the beach (must sleep) but as i tried to awkwardly say, I treat you as someone who I respect and like so I hope you bear me no hard feelings.



  85. At 11:19 AM on 02 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    ((((( Whisht )))))

    There, all forgotten.

    Fifi :o)

  86. At 02:05 PM on 02 Jul 2007, Kate Teesdale wrote:

    I passed through Heathrow for the first time in years this week and was astonished at the queues to get through passport control, security etc, but ... if it all helps avoid disasters then fine.
    However, on leaving the UK via Terminal 2, I was told I could only take one bag through Security, ie I had to put my handbag in my cabin suitcase, plus of course have my toiletries in the requisite transparent plastic bag. Having reached the x-ray machine production line, I was told to remove jacket and shoes. A woman in front of me was wearing a headscarf and full length coat buttoned from throat to floor. She had a suitcase, a handbag and toiletries in a leather bag. She was not asked to remove headscarf, full-length coat nor to amalgamate her luggage into one container, not to have her toiletries in a plastic bag. I complained to security staff, to be told "they hadn't seen her" (obviously doing their job well then) and then "it's not us that impose the rules, it's the government" (so why don't they carry them out. In light of events of the last couple of days, how is it that some people, presumably of a faith other than Christian, get away with security breaches like this?

  87. At 02:37 PM on 02 Jul 2007, Philip Armstrong wrote:

    With his total refusal to accept that events in Iraq and Afghanistan could have any possible link with the attempted car bombings in London or the Glasgow airport incendiary attack, Mr Brown merely fell back on the blank incomprehension that has become new Labour's trademark.

    He urged the public to continue "living their lives as normal" and pledged: "Everything is being done in our power ... to protect people's lives."

    Well, Mr Brown, that is pure, unadulterated cuckoo-land nonsense, as well you should know.

    The British public has regularly shown that it will carry on despite hostile circumstances, from the Blitz onwards.

    But to pretend that life in those circumstances is "normal" is just so much political humbug, unless you believe that having a government which invades and oppresses other countries at will, provoking attacks by any means that the oppressed and their supporters can dream up, is the normal, run-of-the-mill fabric of existence.

    But that abnormal state of events is rapidly becoming the norm in new Labour's Britain.

    And what else does Mr Brown offer us?

    "Irrespective of Iraq, irrespective of Afghanistan, irrespective of what is happening in different parts of the world, we have an international organisation trying to inflict the maximum damage on civilian life ..."

    Just what does this parliamentary fool think that "irrespective" means?

    it appears that our new Prime Minister has the same tenuous grasp on reality as his predecessor.

    If Mr Brown really wants to do everything in his power to protect people's lives, his first approach ought to have been, rather than attempting to imitate Tony Blair imitating Margaret Thatcher imitating Winston Churchill, to look at the real world that we live in and identify the source of the problem.

    That source is injustice. Injustice to the Palestinians, who are living in Gaza in what amounts to the largest concentration camp in the world, while this government supports the unbridled depradations of Israel, and economic boycott for the crime of having elected a government that the US didn't approve of.

    Injustice to the Iraqis, who have suffered invasion, blitzkrieg and mass murder for the crime of not having weapons of mass destruction and continue to suffer occupation for the sole reason that the US and Britain covet their oil.

    Injustice to the Afghans, who have suffered similarly for the crime of once having had aspirations to socialism, having the Taliban imposed on them and then removed, both as a result of CIA manipulation, and not accepting the rule of a US puppet.

    Remove those injustices, Mr Brown, and you will not have to come to the public mouthing Blairite platitudes about an unwinnable war on terror which you share the guilt of inspiring with your predecessor and the maniac in the White House. Remove those injustices and the phoney war with terror will become an unpleasant memory, not a present reality.

  88. At 02:51 PM on 02 Jul 2007, Trip-Trap wrote:

    I dont know Harry. But it's fun to see you guessing, whether right or wrong.

    >;) x

  89. At 03:02 PM on 02 Jul 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    This seemed the best place to put this:


  90. At 03:11 PM on 02 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Philip Armstrong (86),

    Well put. Very well put.

    Treat the cause rather than the symptom, get tough on the root causes of terrorism, tough on injustice and double-standards.


  91. At 03:22 PM on 02 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Witchi (88) : Good to see Hamas respecting Alan's own stated position, from the latest video, that they will harm him if anyone attempts to rescue him by force.

    Depressing. Worrying. Infuriating.


  92. At 03:25 PM on 02 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Trip-Trap @87, it's bad form to mock the afflicted. Tut. Leave poor Harry alone: s/he has a life to worry about.

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