(I should stress that I knew nothing about it, as I’m slightly concerned that the bomb-makers seem to be following me. I arrived in the UK last year in the middle of the 7/7 bombings, and discovered that some of the bombs may have been manufactured near my old home in the Hyde Park area of Leeds. Now it turns out one of the properties raided last night was very close to my last home, on Forest Road in Walthamstow. Anti-terror squad take note: next time I move, keep a close eye on the Clifton area of Bristol.)
Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson of Scotland Yard said, “We cannot stress too highly the severity that this plot represented.” Naturally, the prevention of mass murder is welcomed. But I say again: this threat definitely can be stressed too much. I’m reminded of a Fry & Laurie sketch where Hugh Laurie asks of something or other, “Is too much bad for you?” Stephen Fry’s withering reply is, “Of course too much is bad for you, you twit! That’s what ‘too much’ means. Too much water is bad for you!”
Of course we’ll have to let the politicians have their moment, their chance to appear as if they’re actually serving some useful purpose. Little George W. Bush remains stuck in Power Through Scare Tactics 101:
The American people need to know we live in a dangerous world, but our government will do everything we can to protect our people from those dangers.
What’s scary, of course, is that many will swallow it whole.
It is fascinating, however, how poetically the vulgar throes of the world move. The inevitable dwindling of fossil fuels arrives, maybe a little too late for those supposedly omniscient “market signals” to respond to climate change, but certainly in time for us to pull back from total disaster, if we choose. Similarly, with the prospect of planned new efficiency measures in aviation being outstripped, in carbon emissions terms, by increased demand for flights, perhaps we can discern a silver lining to this particular terrorist threat, overblown or not.
So I say: be afraid. Be very afraid. Buy every fear-mongering lie the politicians and media throw at you. I welcome draconian security measures at airports. Let’s have full luggage and body inspections for everyone on every flight. Intensive screening interviews for anyone not known personally by airport security staff. Let’s stick everything in luggage: only naked people allowed on board.
If we can’t get this monstrously destructive aviation monkey off our back with some simple good sense and restraint, maybe this manufactured hysterical fear thing will do the trick.
Long live Bush and Blair! May their reign of fear never cease!