Politicians and media who play with our sensibilities are floored by the report in todays Guardian (21/08/2008) from MI5. It points out that there is no rule of thumb, but those who have been detained so far are not so likely to be foreign nationals or religious fundamentalists as people brought up in the U.K.
Liam Byrne, MP for Hodge Hill in Birmingham, has banged on about the need to instil “British values” in all of us (I tell you I failed the test which foreigners must take if they want to settle here!) When asked what those values were he fumbled around and came out with “cups of tea” and “fish and chips”.
The problem is that together media hype and political expediency has done untold damage to community relations by playing up widely held suppositions at home and abroad. But if you’re going to attack communities containing Muslims abroad then you’re going to have to try to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes at home.
On the basis of our suppositions highly controversial legislation has been forced through parliament curtailing all our rights. Legislation designed to combat terrorism is used in all sorts of petty ways to curtail hard one freedoms.
On the basis of intelligence one supposes the 2006 Terrorism Act says that the threat remains “Severe”. Interesting the way this is hammered home with “severe” meriting a capital letter. Kind of enters the world of “Dad’s Army”: “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring”!
This is not to joke or minimise the need for security, but of we’re off target with our suppositions in the first place, we’re unlikely to be looking in the right places for threats of terrorist activity. The MI5 Report suggests an urgent need for review.
Problem for politicians is that they will be forced to shut up or look for other means of political expediency and take away key ammunition for media stories of doom and destruction. What is played down is the role that politics has played in alienating people who already supposed themselves to be British. The harsh reality to be told that you don’t belong after all gives cause itself to start asking questions. When you see that deviousness and downright lies lead to the involvement in illegal wars that itself is incitement. Perhaps one or two of our leaders need to be given warnings under the 2006 Terrorism Act.
Tail piece. And MI5 don’t appear to have been doing nothing in the abuse of individuals accused of being terrorists!