Apparently there are 200 suicide bombers planning attacks in the UK – so best not to go out, then.
A senior intelligence source has revealed that the figure is a “conservative” estimate of the threat facing the country from UK-based Islamist suicide bombers.
The would-be killers are among 2,000 extremists who the security services have said are based in Britain and actively planning terrorist activity of some kind.
Yes, well, given that the EDL is now regarded as a right wind extremist organisation – indeed, anyone who does not fit into the leftist consensus of normal is so described – there’s a potential terrorist under every bed these days.
Getting things into proportion here, this country has dealt with a real terrorist threat. During the Irish troubles we had an efficient guerilla army making successful attacks on the UK mainland. Compared to them, the Islamists are mere amateurs. Their successes so far have been limited. The biggest outrage in 2005 killed fifty-odd people. So, given a population of 60 million the odds are fairly favourable that we won’t be killed by one of these people. I also suspect that the figures are being massaged up a bit to make them look more scary than they are. After all, is that not the riason d’être of the security services? To find spooks under our beds?
I don’t doubt for one minute that there are some deranged lunatics planning an outrage. But, then, there always will be. There will always be the disaffected sociopaths who think that their way is best and that the rest of us should be persuaded through force to comply with that way. Some will go into politics, others go into the civil service and yet more join the third sector. A few turn to terrorism.
The reality here is that even if the figures are accurate – that there are 2,000 people on the watch list – most of them will be harmless and the risk is, in fact, low. Indeed, just being seen at an anti-government demonstration can get you onto a watch list. History tends to bear me out. If there were really that many dangerous lunatics planning bomb attacks, some of them would have tried it by now. Those that have, largely, have been incompetent and amateurish. Or, indeed, weren’t actually terrorist attacks at all.
And even if the security services are spot on and all those people are actually dangerous and do, indeed, carry out attacks, the appropriate response is to carry on as normal, not to run around in a state of panic clamping down on civil liberties or treating everyone as a suspect. However, so soft have we become that the two finger salute effectively given by Margaret Thatcher in the wake of the Brighton bombing has been consigned to the dustbin of history. No longer are we defiant in the face of adversity, we cow and quiver while we wait for government to protect us from the bogeyman. And, so, stepping into the breach are the security services with their vested interests and their 2,000 dangerous suspects…