Fanatical fools trying to blow us all up? They're the least of our problems...
Long ago I annoyed a prominent Irish republican. When we were mistakenly left alone together in the same hospitality room in a TV studio, he raged at me, white with fury, accusing me of being paid to persecute him.
It crossed my mind that I might be a terrorist target as a result. I pondered for a while, and concluded there wasn't much I could do about it.
Too bad. My father had spent long months on the Russian convoys in the Second World War, harried by appalling weather, U-boats, German surface raiders and the Luftwaffe, with half an inch of steel between him and a sea so cold that it would kill you in seconds.
A glimpse of the futureThe American wife of marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Katherine Russell, leaving the house where he lived
Compared to that, my danger was tiny and barely worth worrying about. My only sorrow was that my minor risk was all in vain. Not long afterwards, the British State cravenly surrendered to the Provisional IRA, and called it 'peace'.
This has made me more scornful, ever after, of the ludicrous spasms we go into when criminal bombers strike at us. In the end these people are just immoral zealots who have turned to crime because they have an exaggerated idea of their own goodness.
In many cases they save us the trouble of killing them by doing it themselves. But if they survive, they deserve a fair trial and then a swift vertical journey through a trap door with a rope round their necks.
Yet instead, we do exactly what they hope we will do. We act as if they are important. We turn our countries upside down to take useless precautions against them. We give the police special powers. We make travel into a silly palaver of searches and checks of obviously harmless people. We destroy half our ancient liberties as we tramp and stamp about. Then, later on, we give in to the terrorists anyway.
None of these precautions works. They are as futile as the toy golf-ball detector which a cunning fraud successfully sold as an explosives scanner, and they work on the same principle. The client is so scared that he has stopped thinking, and will gullibly accept almost anything he is told.
If some fanatical cretin wants to bomb a marathon, how on earth can you stop him? We know that the American authorities had been warned about this particular cretin, but, short of locking him up without charge, what could they realistically have done?
'Our culture is already noticeably scared of Islam and gives it a great deal of leeway. My own view is that this will end in the slow Islamisation of this country'
Just before the July 7 outrages in London in 2005, our vaunted, boastful security organs were completely unaware that anything was going to happen (and, worse, our emergency services were sadly unprepared).
They have been trying to justify their enormous budgets ever since by rounding up groups of bearded, incompetent but talkative fantasists, and slinging them into prison for very long periods. They also periodically let it be known that they have saved us from lots of other nameless perils that they can't speak about. Well, perhaps.
Meanwhile we continue the hilarious pursuit of some furry-faced Muslim cleric, who seems to have been invented to demonstrate that we no longer control our own borders. The Government's legal bill must be enormous. What we won't even consider doing is leaving the EU and the Human Rights convention, the two actions that would free us to act as we wish.
Meanwhile, the real Islamic problem grows unnoticed – the quiet spread of Sharia law, female subjugation and polygamy in our country, mainly the result of the uncontrolled mass immigration that would have been a good deal easier to tackle than 'terrorism' ever was.
In the end, who knows where this may lead? Our culture is already noticeably scared of Islam and gives it a great deal of leeway. My own view is that this will end in the slow Islamisation of this country.
If you don't think we will wear this, look at the fascinating picture of Katherine Russell, widow of the unlamented Boston murderer Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an all-American girl, brought up in freedom, yet now shrouded in the submissive garb of the Muslim wife. I shouldn't think she thought that would happen to her, either. She is a metaphor for all of us.
1997: A vintage year for shifty crooks
I have lived in the same place, off and on, for nearly 50 years. In that time I have seen the police vanish from its streets. I have seen the local courts issue feebler and feebler sentences. I have seen the appearance of open drug-taking, severe drunkenness, epidemic shoplifting, menacing begging, random late-night violence, unchecked graffiti and vandalism.
I read or hear horrible stories of knifings and beatings that would have been national scandals in 1963 (and would also have led to the deaths of their victims, these days often saved by brilliant surgeons and paramedics). Nowadays they pass in a few seconds on the local news.
(File picture) Local courts have issued feebler and feebler sentences for crimes
Everything has been in one direction. Nothing at all has happened to suggest that this long-term trend has stopped, let alone reversed.
So how do we explain the extraordinary figures published last week in something called the UK Peace Index, much trumpeted by the BBC and its scrupulously neutral Home Editor, whose name I forget (but he won't mind because he's so modest)? It suggests that we are becoming a more peaceful country.
On page 19 of this wondrous document is a series of graphs. Each shows more or less the same thing: burglary, fraud and forgery, violent crime, robbery and sex offences were all shooting upwards nearly vertically. Then, in about 1997, they all dropped almost as steeply as they had been rising.
Now, I know all kinds of grand people who scold me for saying this, but can any intelligent, grown-up take these figures seriously?
Here's one alternative explanation. The great drop in all these crimes took place very close to 1997, the year in which the most dishonest and unscrupulous government in modern history took office. Weapons of Mass Subtraction, anybody?
I never thought of myself this way before, but I am now officially ‘frivolous’. That mighty quango Ofcom has used this word to dismiss my complaint against the BBC.
I objected to the fact that, in referring to one of my columns here, a Radio 4 programme edited out some words to change the meaning.
They then criticised me for saying what I hadn’t in fact said. Well, if it’s frivolous to complain about that, or think it unfair, I’m proud to be so.
I often warn here of how a demoralised and gutless establishment have given up trying to control the spread of dangerous illegal drugs.
Now the Prison Governors Association has joined the liberalisation campaign. How shameful. These people are paid and trusted to enforce the law of the land.
If they don't believe in the law, they should find other jobs. And if they carry on in this vein, some of us might wonder if there is any connection between their craven opinions and the fact that our jails are full of drugs.
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