here is no such organisation as ‘Al Qaeda’. The spooks know this, Cabinet Ministers know this and so do the ‘security correspondents’ who so readily trot out the spooks’ point of view on our broadcasting networks.
Of course, there are terrorists, and there are also fantasists, fanatics, low-lifes and camp followers who plot and attempt horrible things. Some of them even call themselves ‘Al Qaeda’ these days because they have learned that this is a good way to scare us.
But, while they are a menace, they are not as big or as organised a menace as the Government likes to make out.
Former Home Secretary John Reid reeled out a boastful, alarmist statement about some
arrests of alleged terrorists
The State and the vainglorious bureaucrats of the ‘security’ services need to pretend that the terrorists are a tightly organised and terrifying threat, to make themselves look big as well – and to help them get hold of new powers to snoop on us and push us around.
Some of you may remember the rather squalid behaviour, back in the summer of 2006, by the then Home Secretary, the unrepentant ex-communist brute John Reid.
Lightly tossing aside the wise tradition that in free countries Ministers stay out of criminal justice matters, he reeled out a boastful, alarmist statement about some arrests of alleged terrorists, using words so preju-dicial that I will not reproduce them here.
When, two years later, a jury was unconvinced by many of the claims made by the authorities in this case, the same nastiness re-emerged in a different way.
Tame commentators were briefed to hint – baselessly – that the jury were stupid, inattentive or lazy, or even to blame the Americans for forcing our police to act before they were ready.
What is all this about? Remember, the authorities were tailing the alleged plotters from April to August. They had filmed them, recorded their conversations, searched their homes. If a real attempt had been made by the alleged plotters to blow up any planes, the police would have been able to prevent it.
But I suspect that someone, somewhere, wasn’t happy with that. What was wanted was not just the prevention of a potential outrage through diligent surveillance.
What was wanted was a nice big propaganda success, after which we would face another call for detention without trial, compulsory identity cards, and all the rest of the 1984 rubbish this Government wishes to impose on us.
Ill Kim Needs a Way in From the Cold War
Can it be a year since I was in North Korea, shamefully laying flowers at the feet of a giant image of the dead Great Leader, Kim Il Sung? Yes, it can.
I thought then, and I think now, that this bankrupt and hopeless country hasn’t got much longer to run.
The problem was and is that the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, hasn’t got anybody to surrender to. The South Koreans don’t want to pay for rebuilding the North, which would wipe out their economy.
George W. Bush, always scanning the horizon for someone to be afraid of, needs to pretend that North Korea is a terrible threat to the USA.
And Kim fears that if he just steps down, and admits that the weird godless religion of Kim-worship is a lie, he will probably be torn to pieces by the disillusioned, half-starved mob.
Is he dead? How would anybody know? In any case, being dead is not necessarily a disadvantage in North Korean politics. His father is dead, and is still the official ruler of the nation. Is he ill? I expect so.
He has not treated his body as a temple, and North Korean elite medicine (how can I put this?) relies rather too heavily on feeding the sick person the private parts of dogs.
I am more worried about how the North Koreans are. We, and especially the US, really should make it easier for them to rejoin the world.
It is cruel and pointless to continue the pretence that they are a menace to anyone but themselves.
When a Child’s Thoughts are a State Secret
A contributor to my blog reports as follows:
‘We found out last night from my nine-year-old daughter that in her nice new Year 5 class they will have an “emotional diary” in which they can write anything they want about their thoughts/feelings/problems etc. And they have been told quite clearly that their parents will never be able to look in this “diary”.’This makes my skin crawl. The theft of children from their parents by the State is now far advanced. Is your nine-year-old keeping a secret diary that you aren’t allowed to see?
True Confessions of the Tatler Tory Airheads
In normal times, the pictures of simpering airheaded Young Tories in Tatler, posing as if the world belongs to them by right, would have sunk the Conservatives for ever.
But these are not normal times and the boring hate cult directed against Gordon Brown (how many times can you kill a corpse?) has ended any rational political discussion.
Even so, I feel the need to record one or two things about David Cameron which emerge from the book written about him by the fashionable Dylan Jones.
One, Mr Cameron very nearly admits that he has been making political capital out of the sad disability of his son, Ivan. He repeatedly says that it is a ‘difficult balance’.
And he also says three times that he doesn’t mind if people criticise him for this, ending: ‘It’s a weird thing to say but I don’t mind if people attack me for it.’ So he won’t mind if I attack him for it, will he? It’s wrong.
Two, he describes himself as ‘the sort of person who’s quite open’, but alas this openness still doesn’t extend to his past drug-taking.
Even so, Mr Jones elicits the nearest we have yet got to a confession. It’s on Page 210 and takes the form of an admission that once he started trying to become an MP, he also started to ‘be more careful’ in order to protect his future career.
By the way, those of you still harbouring hopes that a Cameron government will be a change from New Labour should note that there were little love-letters to three Blairites – Andrew Adonis, Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers – in an interview that Shadow Chancellor George Osborne gave to an admiring Guardian newspaper last week.
How long before defections begin from New Labour to Blue Labour?
Have you noticed the new large blue metal markers on motorways, supposed to help the emergency services find you if you break down?
They are marked in kilometres, not miles, even though distances on all motorway signposts are still shown in miles.
Clearly the Government is preparing to introduce these unwanted measures by stealth, knowing it could never do so openly.