About me

Get new posts by email.

About me

Respond carefully to this abhorrent attack

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

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 post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Recently published posts

Weeknotes 2022.03 / 23 January 2022

Weeknotes 2022.02 / 16 January 2022

Weeknotes 2022.01 / 09 January 2022

Five links worth clicking / 07 January 2022

31 things I learned in December 2020 / 31 December 2021

What I’ve been reading this month / 27 December 2021

Random posts from the archive

Comments and responses

Comment from Emanue Goldstein

    20.51, 08/07/2005

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)

    21.56, 08/07/2005

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

    20.08, 09/07/2005

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


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)

    08.58, 10/07/2005

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

    10.12, 10/07/2005

“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)

    12.00, 10/07/2005

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.

Compose a new comment

I'm not taking comments on my blog any more, so I'm afraid the opportunity to add to this discussion has passed.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. Information about cookies and the handling of emails submitted for the 'new posts by email' service can be found in the privacy policy. This site uses affiliate links: if you buy something via a link on this site, I might get a small percentage in commission. Here's hoping.