Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why Is This News?

"UK Still A Target, Warns Met Chief"

Well, I'm glad that one's cleared up then. I mean, really? You mean those Islamic fundamentalists haven't just sat down around a table, decided that they're being a bit nasty, aren't they, and that they should just give up their struggle to subjugate the rest of the world under Islamic rule and enjoy a nice cup of tea instead? I'm so glad that one's cleared up.

It's such a bloody obvious statement of fact - and yet it is there on the front page, the lead item, on the BBC website. The only reason for that can be unnecessary scare-mongering to try and bully the public into supporting measures that will erode their freedom. They might make the police's life a bit easier, heck, they might even stop a couple of terrorist attacks if we're very lucky, but ultimately, the trade-off that makes with the quality of life simply isn't acceptable.

What annoys me even more is that Ian Blair is inconsistent even within sentences. Take this, from the linked report:

Britain remains a target of the highest possible priority to al-Qaeda and its affiliates; we are in a new reality.

Remain suggests a level of constancy - that we are still under threat from al-Qaeda and suicide bombers and God knows what else. Then, apparently, we are in a "new reality". If we remain the same priority for al-Qaeda? How does a man like this get such an important and sensitive job?

I don't envy the police the job of keeping us safe. Then again, I don't envy the poor sods who've been wrongly banged up as a result of at best, police incompetence, and at worst, deliberate manufacturing of evidence to get the "result" desired. And I'm certainly not convinced that giving police sweeping powers of detention is the best way of safeguarding the liberties of the British people in any way, shape or form - whether through misuse of the law so it isn't applied against terrorists, or building up the resentment of the disaffected who would be detained.

But, if there is a case to be made, then make the case. Don't appeal to scare-mongering, don't try and draw on the emotive images of the July 7th bombings - make a clear, rational case for why an extension of power is necessary. Why the media are so complicit in helping an erosion of civil liberties is beyond me.