Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sir Ian Blair's Scare Tactics Must Not Be Allowed to Work

In their latest attempt to scare the living daylights out of the British people John Reid and Sir Ian Blair tell us that the prospect of an attempted terrorist attack is "ever present, of an unparalleld nature and growing." Sir Ian adds for good measure "it is a far graver threat in terms of civilians than either the Cold War or the Second World War." Come again? The entire civilian population was at risk from nuclear attack in the Cold War and civilian casualties in London during World War II amounted to tens of thousands. Sir Ian should know that careless talk costs lives. Language like this is pathetic and smacks of crying wolf.

The government operates a system of alerts on terrorist threats and it has been set at SEVERE since July 2005. I am beginning to question why this is. It is appalling to accuse the government of trying to scare the population into accepting yet more draconian anti-terror legislation, but that's what appears to be happening. We mustn't let them succeed.

44 comments:

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its trying to justify Tony Blairs war, that increased the security problems in the first place.

Will the Tories get rid of Ian Blair when they get in.

Iain why do we not hear these things from the Tory Party.

Even the shadow home secretary ls looking laid back about it all.

Neil Craig said...

"It is appalling to accuse the government of trying to scare the population"

All governments do this, always have, always will. The difference is, as you point out, that bin Laden (& I believe global warming) are particularly weak reeds with which to scare us. There must be a lot of civil servants who really miss the USSR.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if you're just talking about threats to civilians, the Second World War was far worse than the bombings in Britain - take a look at Dresden, or even Hiroshima.

ChaunceyGardener said...

Well said Iain. There are plenty of people across the political spectrum who would agree with you on this but the big question is what do we do about it?

This government has become scarily authoritarian with scant regard for historic civil liberties the scary thing is that I suspect most don't think voting Tory would change things as the political parties compete to see who can be the toughest on the terrorists. The Tories silence on all this is deafening.

Richard Reed said...

When Sir Ian Blair talks of a 'far graver threat', he refers to the likelihood of an attack happening rather than the magnitude of the potential casualties. London and the blitz aside, the risk to the civilian population when viewed in this context was small during both periods. Even if one does not agree with government policies on terror legislation, let us at least not distort the intended meaning of such statements.

Vlad the Impala said...

Calling David Cameron and David Davies...where are you? The greatest enemy of liberty is silence in the face of oppression.

bt said...

How many British civilians died in the cold war?

Can't recall any - unless Georgie Markov had received citizenship.

As usual, he's talking a load of self-serving, self-justifying bollocks. Sometimes, in my cups, I think that they actually want a few outrages to allow them to institute a permanent State of Emergency and rule by dictat.

Meanwhile, more people probably die resulting from the rationing system they've introduced into the NHS than in all the terrorist attacks in this country over the last century.

One possible positive future development - it might persuade the beeb to allow the word 'terrorist' to pass its newsreader's lips.

David Lindsay said...

And what are the Tories doing to stop this? On the contrary, they are egging it on, and would even be backing ID cards if right-wing journalists and bloggers hadn't forced them not to.

Anonymous said...

You seem to overlook the possibility that the threat genuinely is SEVERE and that the government is using it as an excuse to impose "yet more draconian anti-terror legislation".

Little Black Sambo said...

Bad news is good news for control freaks.

mitch said...

I dont belive a word that doc reid says about anything.and that threat warning is laughable just drive by a military base and look in the gate if theres one or two spotty herberts in camo then no threat.This isnt a government its chicken licken.

f.r. said...

One sentence from Cameron saying threat is exaggerated. One small bomb. Result: Tories out of power for another generation.

bt said...

anon 12:52

Yes, there is a threat; the 'severity' of which depends largely on one's definition of severe- something neither of the Blairs seem keen on clarifying.

"Keep 'em in the dark, talk up the threat, keep 'em scared" seems to be the policy, but as a string of 'plots' have been shown to be magnified out of all proportion, one of the real dangers is that a constant crying of "Wolf!" is counter-productive, at least so far as public safety is concerned. Of course, if there is also a supplementary agenda.....

In the tale the wolf eventually turned up, but after so many false or mischievious alarms that the genuine warning was ignored. If Plod Blair is none too sure of his historical facts and figures, at least he ought to understand basic psychology and keep his trap shut until he has something substantive to say.

So far as the Home Office is concerned, nobody believes anything that comes out of there and haven't for some time. A Ministry of Truth, indeed.

Does anyone know of any political system, no matter how repressive, where terrorists don't have their successes? Experience and observation tend to show just the opposite - the more repressive, the more active their opponents. So what makes this lot think that to regiment us, bar-code us, surveille us in our every action through every day is the road to peaceful harmony?

Sabretache said...

Anonymous 2:52

The threat of an 'attack' occuring may or may not be severe. What is clearly NOT severe (nor ever was or is likely to be), is the risk to the average Joe of being killed or injured in any such attack. Terrorist related deaths on UK soil since 2000 - maybe 60; Road deaths for the same period - 20,000 plus. I know which I'm more wary of.

But as someone has already said, a fearful population is a compliant population. If there were NO such threat the interests of a government mistrustful of its population and intent on controlling it would be best served by manufacturing one - and to a large extent, that is EXACTLY what is happening right now in my opinion.

Agreed, the Tories aren't much (if any better) either: Silent on this issue; Useless on Iraq; craven when it comes to subjugating the law of the Land to the demands of a brutal foreign power over a large weapons order; tepid and unconvincing on ID cards; Regulatory Powers Bill ? - who the hell even remembers what it is just a few months later?

tom_r said...

The terrorist threat level is going to stay high so long as we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That way, Labour can always say that there is an enemy that must be fought which is why we must stay on alert - they can't possibly drop the terror level when we have our troops occupying foreign countries because that would undermine the reasons why they're still there.

Simple but distressing logic.

ChaunceyGardener said...

Trouble is after the dodgy dossier, when the government misled the British public in order to justify the Iraq invasion, nobody believes a word this government utters on this or just about any other thing. Our government has been shown itself capable of exagerating the national security threat in the past so why should we believe them now. To fall for it twice they must either think we have very short memories or are really stupid. Cameron's embrace of spin or marketing is not going to restore faith in electoral politics either.

Anonymous said...

I think the job of the government is to reassure. Can you imagine if Churchill had gone around the country in 1940 "Frankly I must tell you now in all candour that an invasion is imminent and that we will suffer grievous losses etc...." Lord Halifax would have been running a Vichy style government within weeks. They should be saying there is a threat, but we are working hard to combat it. And we need the help of the whole nation to root out the terror gangs who seek to kill and main in the name of their twisted interpretation of ideology. But not a bit of the old bulldog spirit from our current "leaders". These warnings are little more than those arse covering disclaimers you see in second hand cars.

I do fear however that Blair and Reid are on the money here. Let us make no mistake there is a fifth column in our society intent on terrorism. I think some people on here need to wake up to just how easy it is to make a crude bomb. Instructions can be downloaded in seconds from the web. But what if these nuts get nukes - either dirty or fission - then a large number of people may be killed. Unlikely?

Are we sure that Iran, for example, would not be tempted to give a militant group a suitcase nuke? The very state that according to the excellent Con Coughlin in the Telegraph is grooming Osama bin Laden's sons to take over Terror Inc from Daddy. The same rogue state that is busily developing "peaceful" nuclear weapons, oops sorry, energy. The same state with a long record of state sponsored terrorism. Equally, aren't we bothered that seizures of smuggled radioactive material capable of making a “dirty" have doubled in the past four years?

Of course we smugly thought that 7/7 was not possible before it happened. We were wrong. And I suspect it was not a one off.

Merry Christmas.

Links for those interested:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/12/22/do2202.xml

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/14/wiran114.xml

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,29389-2391574.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W54

JD said...

There's a lot of chatter on American blogs about how it will be a 'miracle' if there's no attack on London over the Christmas period. The histrionics stem from this report:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/12/exclusive_al_qa.html

Meanwhile over here, nobody gives a toss!

joe bonanno said...

This was so risible a comment that it further illustrates how completely inadequate Ian Blair is.

Anonymous said...

I hope it is a load of bollocks but if it isn't consider this: the leader of the opposition would have been warned of the chance of something really awful over the Christmas period wouldn't he?
Let's hope the cynics are right.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I think Ian Blair is a self-serving careerist, what on earth makes you think you know the real terrorist threat level?

Have any of you armchair bullshitters ever served in the police or forces?

Gammarama said...

"Sir Ian should know that careless talk costs lives."

In this context, how so?

Coleridge said...

" In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly"

The Casual Observer.. said...

On this issue, and many others, the government will cry wolf once to many times leaving the us all to doubt the integrity of our leaders. Is Cameron any better I ask!

rallies said...

Really it is the greatest threat to this countries government since WW2. Every time they speak out about this supposed threat, they make the public turn of. Mostly because the Government let the terrorists in and preachers to recruit. And of course let killers escape by wearing the vale.

People die, and are going to continue to die because of terrorism. Its a fact of life when we have religion, with its god given right people claim that their god is the only one, or have a claim to land given by their god.

Palestine for the Palestinians? fine, then England for the English.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Sir Ian Blair is a bloated puff-ball. All this bumbling scaremongering is completely counterproductive.

He doesn't really have the faintest idea of the actual level of threat - no one does. But he knows a jolly good wheeze for extracting more taxpayers cash whilst exerting ever increasing control.

The sooner he goes the better. He's a devious git.

javelin said...

Knowing I used to worry about a nuclear war is all that seems to keep my from weeping afer Tony Blair's self destruct foreign policy.

verity said...

johnny norfolk says, "Its sic trying to justify Tony Blairs sic war that increased the security problems in the first place."

No, it isn't.

This current wave of global jihad began in 1979 with the seizure of the US embassy and its personnel in Teheran. This was followed by the cowardly bombing at night of the US Marines' base in Lebanon, killing over 100 Marines as they slept.

And the seizing of the Achille Lauro. And the first attempt on the WTC. And the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. The hijacking of various aircraft. The "successful" assault on the WTC in which over 3,000 souls never went home again. All years befor the war in Iraq.

When the US embassy in Teheran was seized, Blair was a self-righteous young prick marching for the CND.

The bombing of the nightclub in Bali, the railway station in Madrid, London Transport and other mass murders has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq. They are a continuation of the global jihad. People like you, johnny norfolk, need to keep your eye on the ball and stop fantasizing events to suit your personal prejudices.

This is all about trying to reestablish the Caliphate.

Ian Deans said...

The threat, gentlemen, is real. The government must warn the population so they can prepare appropriately and the government must legislate to assist in preventing an incident and to assist in arresting those responsible after an incident.

This is something which both conservative and liberal governments are pursuing around the world and I suggest the Tories would be doing too.

Opposition for opposition's sake will only make it harder to reclaim the Treasury benches.

Perdix said...

Ian Deans: "The Government must warn the population so that they can prepare appropriately....."
How should we be preparing?

Anonymous said...

the druid

Churchill told the House of Commons, and thus the world, to expect "hard and heavy tidings" even as Operation Dynamo (Dunkirk) was in full swing. So he was honest to the point of being misplacedly pessimistic.

Frankly I don't buy conspiract theories and there are plenty of Islamist nutters out there.

james higham said...

It is so clear it's startling. I mean, there's not the least pretence of concealing the push to curtail freedoms. There are people like us who recognize this but have little voice in the matter and then there is you, Iain. I'm not sure the way to go forward next. Clearly, just words will achieve nothing. Nor will direct action, as that puts us into the insurgent category.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the tories in parliament will fall behind your view, sir.

Our civil freedoms must be preserved.

Voyager said...

They are covering themselves when the next terror attack comes - one they cannot prevent.

The platitudes following the next attack will be how splendid our Muslim friends are and how they should be showered with gratitude for deigning to live in such a country

Then will follow the need to tattoo everyone with an identity number to discourage tax avoidance

After than there will be a conference of Hamas and leading Muslim fanatics in London to discuss whether hot-cross buns are provocative

Later Tony Blair's new book will come out revealing that he and his wife have converted to the Bahai faith in memory of Dr David Kelly

This will be the Counter-Terrorism police of the British Govt

Anonymous said...

Gateway Pundit has this little item

http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/12/chunnel-is-target-of-christmas-terror.html#links

just to cheer everybody up

Sabretache said...

Ian Deans reminds me of that flower seller outside Stockwell Tube Station who, when asked her opinion about civil liberties following the de Menezes shooting, replied that she was happy to "sacrifice liberty for freedom". Her reply was considered, serious and made without a trace or irony or humour. She clearly thought it rather profound. I actually burst out laughing when I first saw it; then I thought 'maybe it's a send-up' - but no, it was genine.

Sacrifice what we are (supposed to be???) fighting for to defeat what we are fighting against is the order of the day. Orwell's 'doublethink' has finally become the standard mindest of a fearful and compliant 21st century Britain - and that fear must be maintained. Trust Big Brother; he will look after you. And at Privy Council (Big Brother) level, there's barely a fag-paper between the main political parties on any of this.

Anonymous said...

Yes Anon 9:12 Churchill was honest. But he realised the importance of rallying the nation. I seem to recall something about our "finest hour" even when the night seemed darkest. After the war the great man put it so well himself: "The nation had the lion's heart. I had the luck to give the roar."

By comparison our current masters are like the cast of Dad's Army. Iain Blair as Cpl Jones shouting "Don't Panic!" and John Reid is Pte Fraser "We're doomed, all doomed". I suppose its a bit unfair to expect a bunch of former bed-sit militants to rise to Churchillian levels, but this nu Labour lot are hopeless.

What can be done? Well to begin with educate the population to spot terrorists. In Israel the government issues advice leaflets to help people spot suicide bombers. By contrast our government's "Preparing for Emergencies" website doesn't even mention it. Instead, in tones of "Protect and Survive" we are advised to "Go in, stay in, tune in". Bugger all use on the Tube.

Indigo said...

Does no one else remember that the day before (I think) the London bombs of 7 July 2005, Sir Ian Blair was on BBC Radio 4 "Today" preening himself on how other European countries admired our security precautions, blah, intelligence about terrorist cells, blah?

I remember thinking, while he was yet speaking, Please don't tempt Fortune. He appears to have decided to err on other side, now.

Anonymous said...

Churchill ordered the construction of a pillbox just outside No. 10

He frequently stated that if the Germans got that far, he would be there with his Thompson submachine gun , fighting to the last.

Was that defeatist?

Sabretache said...

Anon: 3:48

"He frequently stated that if the Germans got that far, he would be there with his Thompson submachine gun , fighting to the last."

And I have no doubt he would have said exactly the same had it been an Arab army intent on 'making the world safe for...' Baathism, Islam or whatever.

So it should come as no surprise when so called 'insurgents' in Irag behave in like manner. In fact they would find Sir Winston, the prospective 'insurgent', quite an inspiration and will no doubt continue to fight the invaders until we finally learn to mind our own business.

Tim Montgomerie said...

The combination of the evil men who have always existed with the increasingly portable and devastating weapons technology of our time means that, unfortunately, Ian Blair is more right than you Iain.

Anonymous said...

If it really is a threat comparable with WWII, why is Sir Ian not calling for the measures that accompanied WWII or the Cold War such as
1)internment of all potentially hostile civilians
2)the death penalty for treason
3) the testing of public sirens and building/maintenance of shelters, and a method of signalling on motorways?

The gov as ex-'bed-sit militants' -it's so true. Numpties the lot of them.

Ever Ready said...

"The government operates a system of alerts on terrorist threats and it has been set at SEVERE since July 2005."

I agree. The Govt won't ever lower this threat level again becuase of the critcism they faced just after 7th July becasue the threat level decreased the day before?

Anonymous said...

Ever heard of the 'Home Office, Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group'? Me neither until today. And when I came across it I assumed it had something to do with the neighbourhood watch scheme. That's until I noticed that the Home Office, Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group are inviting tenders for 12,000 "Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear personal protective ensembles, that can be safely donned in under 5 minutes over regular uniform shirt and trousers, and worn for up to 12 hours with minimal physiological stress." They also need 372 "public communication systems that allow for the delivery of self-help and instructional information to the public at or within a Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear cordoned area."

You're right about Sir Ian Blair and his worrying habit of playing to the gallery. As for the terrorist threat: I suspect it's very real.