As always, after reading an inflammatory post somewhere like the BBC or the Times, reading through the comments is even more entertaining, if equally infuriating. It shows that while there are significant number of people who realise the implications of the policies (i.e. they agree with me, that’s all I ask … 😀 ), there are a lot live up to the life rather than liberty mantra. As always the tried and tested “If it keeps us safe it is good” routines are brought out with sickening regularity.
Take this little chestnut from “Don Roberts, London” for example:
We live in world full of people who are determined to destroy our way of life and impose their own set of values, prejudices and beliefs on us not to mention kill as many of us as possible. I just wonder how those who freely oppose tough legislation would like to live under such people. Any law abiding citizen of this country should have nothing to fear from such legislation. If the price of our freedom is a little inconvenience, that has to be preferable to mass murder on our streets.
Where do I start with this… The first sentence is just a statement of the (apparently) obvious and bears little or no relation to what comes next. If this is true, it is true with or without the proposed legislation. The next sentence is funny. It is saying the poster wonders how those who oppose draconian, authoritarian states would like to live under a draconian, authoritarian state. Madness.
Long rant – not really atheist if you want to skip it!
Today’s headlines on the BBC news page are a touch disconcerting, even though they are pretty predictable. At the moment, the lead article is headlined “Brown plans new anti-terror laws” which shows that Gordon Brown is intending to take the reins of government with a firm hand. Sadly, this firm hand seems unconcerned with what is good for the nation, society or pretty much anything other than stealing the Conservatives thunder on the “Tough on Crime” issues.
Terrorism is a wonderful bugbear for UK political parties. We have lived with the constant spectre of terrorist attacks for longer than I have been alive now – I remember from my youth regular news items about bombings in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Guildford and the like. Every Christmas there was a new IRA terror campaign aimed at scaring people away from the shops. Litter bins were removed from public places. The troubles across the water in Northern Ireland were an order of magnitude greater, to the point at which attacks which only killed a few people were two routine to mention on the news.
During the years of the troubles (probably counted as late 1960s to the end of the millennium), all the UK political parties thought they knew how best to deal with the terrorist threat. There were more than just the IRA though, numerous Marxist, socialist, or other crackpot groups with some form of agenda had a go – the IRA (or Provisional IRA to be more accurate) were just better at it and got more publicity. Many methods were tried – increased military presence in Northern Ireland, decreased military presence, negotiations, “tough tactics” and even internment with out trial. Generally, most were unsuccessful and what seems to have been the most historically successful tactic seems to have been public acceptance. When the terrorists stopped getting media coverage they had to resort to more “spectacular” outrages, this had the knock on effect of removing the grass roots support they had in the past and eventually they began to run out of steam. Obviously, the US deciding to declare War on Terror probably played a large part, but by 2001 it was nearly over.