Thursday, October 19, 2006

Now the Home Boy is breaking ranks

Yesterday the Independent reported that even John Reid has realised that his back is up against the wall (a situation sorely familiar to him from his days as enforcer for his comrades in Glasgow I’m sure). A huge about turn is occurring out there and I take my hat off to General Sir Richard Dannat for sticking his neck, and his job, on the line and adding much needed fuel to the fire:

‘Sir Richard said the presence of British troops in Iraq was exacerbating the security situation. On Monday night, the Home Secretary, John Reid also broke ranks by admitting for the first time at a private meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that foreign policy was contributing to the radicalisation of young Muslims in Britain.’

We tried and tried, at our meeting with Dr Reid , to persuade him to accept the contribution of British foreign policy towards the ever increasing threat of terrorism in this land:

“The question of the influence of Iraq came up and was, again, dismissed. 4 terrorist attacks have been prevented in this country in the last 15 months, he told us. I asked him how many had been uncovered prior to 7th July. I was hoping for it to be less and that giving me an opening to ask him why he thought that was. He was one step ahead though (that is why he is Home Secretary and I am not) and didn’t answer. Instead he told us that the first al Qaeda plot to be foiled in this country was in 2000 in Birmingham. He kept doing that, throwing in facts that we were bound to not know thus tripping us up on our way. In his opinion the first war in Iraq had a greater radicalising affect than this one. ‘Jermaine Lindsay, at the time was 4’, someone helpfully pointed out ‘I doubt he was radicalised by it at that age, do you?’”

We tried, without success, and yet he too is now beginning to accept that it is undeniable.

Today we are told by the front page of the Guardian that , according to anti terror chiefs Britain is now the No 1 al-Qaida target in the world.

I may have been tempted, some months ago, to dismiss this as propaganda and scare mongering, but now I’m afraid that I believe it, and I am scared. Scared, not really for myself, as we who have been involved in incidents of terrorism before are statistically the safest people in the country, but scared for others. The thought of the lives that could so needlessly be lost and destroyed fills me with fear and despair. I cannot bear the prospect of watching what we have been through being replayed in front of my eyes with others as the victims. It hapens every day in Iraq and God forbid it should happen again here too.

One senior counter-terrorism source sums up the threat in a terrifyingly simplistic way. "It's like the old game of Space Invaders," he said "When you clear one screen of potential attackers, another simply appears to take its place."

Where are all these Space Invaders coming from? What is the cause of their radicalisation and the endless supply? We have been so busy throwing our men into Iraq that we have taken our eyes off the ball. Al Qaeda have been free to replenish and create a more formidable structure than ever. According to the Guardian report today they are now a group united by far more than just ‘an idea’, they are becoming an organisation as formidable and professional as the IRA was in its heyday.

I am suddenly willing Tony Blair to stay on, the tide is beginning to change so fast now, he may have to finally admit that mistakes were made. I don’t think he should be allowed to escape from this, he should stand up and apologise to his country. For he, who is ultimately charged with ensuring our safety, is putting our lives at risk.