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Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

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Many thanks for your understanding.

The scene in London following the terror attacks

Yesterday saw the biggest terrorist attack on London in many years, as four bombs killed dozens and injured hundreds. Television schedules were cleared as an apparent power surge on the London Underground turned into something much more sinister, and the roof was blown off a double-decker bus. The contrast between the mood in London today, and the mood 24 hours ago is palpable even to me, 200 miles away.

The BMA’s building in Tavistock Square was left spattered with blood. An institution founded on the principle of helping the most needy made unclean in the name of a loving, caring religion. The G8, meeting to discuss action to be taken against many of the injustices Muslims try to fight, disrupted. Innocent bystanders killed, as specifically forbidden in the Koran. Is any further proof needed that ‘religious extremist’ is a misnomer? These people couldn’t be further removed from the very religious principles they claim to defend. They aren’t ‘religious extremists’ – they’re amoral murders who sully the good name of the religion they claim to defend.

Yet to fight a ‘war on terror’ and actively engage in combat with these people is not helpful. To do so gives them a true cause to battle against. By simply defending ourselves from their attacks, and recovering as quickly as possible when they manage to strike, we stop pro-actively providing them with reasons to attack, and make their job of recruitment much harder. Curbing our own civil liberties through ill-thought-out legislation and restrictions on our daily lives only serves to give these people hope, and a sense of achievement, to further invigorate their disturbed cause.

Dozens of people have been unexpectedly – and almost inexplicably – bereaved in this attack, and my thoughts are with them. But it is crucial that these poor people hold firm, and stand united with the rest of London against the people who committed these atrocities; and however hard it is, that means not seeking vengeance against the religion or people they claim to represent, as these are as innocent as their loved ones.

Our government must also respond properly, with correct measure, and should not try and restrict our freedoms further. As high as is the human cost of this terrible tragedy, is freedom not worth so much more? This country has certainly paid a price many times higher on many occasions during our history. Of course we should defend our country, but not at any cost. To do so simply increases the perceived success of these terrorists.

Image taken from heute.de

This 664th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 30th November 2016)

Bad Medicine (published 18th January 2005)

Photo-a-day 329: Bassetti (published 25th November 2012)

The forgotten astronaut of Apollo 11 (published 15th November 2013)

Birthday Happiness (published 25th June 2004)


Comments and responses

Comment from Emanue Goldstein


by Emanue Goldstein

Comment posted at 20:51 on 8th July 2005.

How many of these bombs attacks were prevented by all of the security cameras festooning every street corner, and every nook and cranny of the underground system, and policemen carrying automatic weapons on the streets of inner London?

How many of these bomb attacks would have been prevented if the perpetrators had been carrying identity cards?

The answer is neither — only top quality intelligence gathering, in other words manpower and legwork, and local pro-active policing, can prevent these types of atrocities.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 21:56 on 8th July 2005.

all of the security cameras festooning … every nook and cranny of the underground system

Except, of course, the trains themselves, which may well present some difficulty in the ongoing investigation. Not to mention the fact that I don’t think you can ‘festoon’ anywhere with security cameras.

The idea of ‘pro-active policing’ just scares me.


Comment from Engelbert Goldenburg


by Engelbert Goldenburg

Comment posted at 20:08 on 9th July 2005.

You obviously do not know how many surveillance cameras there are in central London. There are 4 MILLION surveillance cameras in the UK of GB & NI, of which 6 THOUSAND are on the London Underground system

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5942513

There is absolutely no reason why there cannot be surveillance cameras on London Underground cars — after all there are surveillance cameras on buses, trams, and even trains eg Merseyrail trains.

As for pro-active policing, you just have no concept of neighborhood policemen on the beat out on the street, getting to know people and the district in which they work. That is far more effective than anonymous police officers riding around in pairs in their patrol cars totally cut off from reality.

The simple fact of the matter is that England, and Greater London in particular has for years been a breeding and training ground for militants who have been sent to militia camps in Afghanistan and Lebanon/Palestine/Syria for indoctrination and military training in urban warfare. Yet what action has been taken by the security agencies to infiltrate and neutralize these organisations?

Instead you prefer platitudes and meaningless propaganda from the lips of the Dear Leader, who should do the honorable thing, and resign, that he allowed these events to take place on his watch.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 08:58 on 10th July 2005.

I don’t know which bit of my response indicated a lack of understanding of the numbers of CCTV cameras, and I’m not sure why you thought that I felt there was some reason the underground trains could not have such cameras – whilst they could have them, the fact is, they don’t.

My problem with ‘pro-active’ policing was more with the lack of definition. I agree fully with community police officers, but ‘pro-active policing’ could equally have meant that you expected officers to be stopping random people going about their business, and asking them to explain themselves. There is a great deal of community policing in this country, despite what certain sections of the media may tell you. I can certainly tell you the name of my local police officer (PC Carter, if you’re particularly interested), as could many in the local community thanks to his continued involvement in local events, visits to local schools, and the like.

I don’t know what action has been taken to ‘infiltrate and neutralize’ militant groups in Greater London, which is perhaps a sign that they’re doing their job of covert operations rather well. And if you suggest that every ‘dear Leader’ should resign at each terrorist strike, then we’d have been through quite a few by now, particularly throughout the IRA bombings of the last few decades. Surely ousting the leader in response to terrorist attacks only provides the perpetrators of such attacks with a political success? Not to mention a lack of continuity of leadership at a time of potential (and actual) national crisis?

I think it’s perfectly clear that I’m not Tony’s biggest fan, and think that he should have resigned some time ago, but even I wouldn’t call for his resignation over this.


Comment from Engelburt Goldenburg


by Engelburt Goldenburg

Comment posted at 10:12 on 10th July 2005.

“I’m not sure why you thought that I felt there was some reason the underground trains could not have such cameras”

because of what is now obviously a misinterpretation of your comment

“Except, of course, the trains themselves”

“Not to mention a lack of continuity of leadership”

Why would you want a leadership to continue which has failed its duty to protect its citizens, and presided over an intelligence failure?


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 12:00 on 10th July 2005.

Why would you want a leadership to continue which has failed its duty to protect its citizens, and presided over an intelligence failure?

Becuase experience shows that in times of crisis, the PM actually makes very few decisions and does very little, as predrawn plans and policies (many of which have been in place for decades) are simply followed. His role is almost entirely symbolic in the immediate aftermath, and it is crucial to the mood of the nation that a symbolic leader exists. For both a major crisis and the resignation of the ‘dear’ leader to happen in one day would severely damage the public mood.

In the longer term, the PM has not ‘presided’ over an intelligence failure, as he has no direct command over the intelligence services, which is why the Dodgy Dossier was such a groundshaking political mistake.


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