Thursday, August 10, 2006

High alert

This morning's news will have put everyone on 'high alert' and not least the potential terrorists. Any news about terrorism, whether at home or abroad, always brings back emotions relating to 7th July for me.

As I listened to my radio through my duvet and my slumber (nursing a sore head from Bumblebee's leaving party!) it all sounded somewhat unreal. We know that the threat of terror is increasing, and we all know why, although the government refuses to admit it. That the terrorists are not targeting flights between London and France, for instance, must be some sort of a clue. It comforts me that plots are being foiled. After the de Menzes shooting and the Forest Gate fiasco they need to do something right.

There is a little alarm bell ringing inside my foggy head, though, and the fact that they 'need to do something right' might be at the root of it. Why is this particular raid such a big deal. There were the 'fertiliser bombers' who are currently on trial in the Old Bailey. They were, allegedly, targeting a London nightclub. I don't remember quite such overbearing drama about this arrest in the media, or increased security in west end clubs. Apparently the suspected plot was not planned for today. Better safe than sorry, I know, but why such phenomenally heightened security measures at airports today? They didn't just bust these guys last night out of the blue. I am certain they knew just as much yesterday as they do today. In order to arrest 21 people, a serious operation must have been in place for many months. I am not sure I understand why arresting them last night makes the chances of an attack so much higher today than it was yesterday.

John Reid has recently undertaken to announce when the security status in this country is increased, for our own safety, he says (or their own protection from criticism we may wonder?). I sense a whiff of 'the politics of fear' creeping in here. Things could not be worse in the middle east, international support for the stance of the UK & US on the conflict in Lebanon is at an all time low. Forest Gate has created ravines between the Muslim community and the rest of the population. What better diversion than a 'we told you so' plot suddenly emerging. 'Stop giving us a hard time and be afraid, be very afraid' seems to be the message coming through today. And why now?

Call me a cynic if you must (but god forbid ‘a conspiracy theorist). There is something fishy in the air today, if I am not mistaken there is more politics and spin at the heart of this story than public safety. I will, however, be delighted to be proven wrong.