Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Having strayed far and wide, it is time for me to return to the theme of this blog - the thought experiment. So here it is. What will happen when there is another major terrorist attack on London? Let us say it is worse than 7/7 and as bad as 9/11, possibly worse if a nuclear device is used. This is plainly at the almost unspoken heart of our politics at the moment. Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller's alarming speech and Tony Blair's commitment to security - the word was continually used in the Queen's Speech - are both, I think, genuine. It is thought there is an attack coming and it may well be a big one. For David Cameron such an attack would be a disaster. He has been leading the Tories away from its old paranoid ways and has thus been underplaying such threats. In the event of an attack, he would, as a result, not be seen as the man for the job when confronting terrorism. Blair, too, would suffer, since many would blame the attack on an Iraq adventure. Gordon Brown, in short, would be the clear winner. Meanwhile, there would be street attacks on Muslims, particularly veiled women as they are the most visible emblems of difference. These would be made worse by the current opportunist campaigns by the vile Ken Livingstone as these will be seen as encouraging Muslim separation and, therefore, extremism. If Livingstone wants to do any good, he should be quietly persuading the so far inept gang of Muslim talking heads - is there any more stupid, self-serving title than 'community leader'? - to do a better job of distancing themselves from extremism. Internationally, our position will be unimaginably complex. Even a small nuclear warhead - obviously, a stolen Russian tactical device - would immediately project us into a new and unfamiliar world. Would we at once withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan or would we send yet more troops? Both responses have their rationale. I would be interested to hear the thoughts of, among other CaptainB and Dark Heart. In recent days, I have found that, almost unconsciously, I have been bracing myself for this horror.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:06 am