Our home grown authoritarians plan to inflict yet more absurd measures which have nothing to do with defending ourselves against terrorism. ID cards would not have stopped a single terrorist attack in the UK: they are a control measure designed to make taxing and regulating people’s economic activities easier, nothing more. Yet because there is a genuine threat from Islamic terrorists, the government keeps trying to conflate ID cards with ‘doing something about terrorism’. As it is so obviously untrue, this issue makes a rather good quick and easy litmus test to detect people who are either complete idiots or barefaced liars (or both).
Moreover the intend to make ‘glorifying terrorism’ illegal is not just bound to backfire, it is a terrible idea on every level. You would think people in the dismal halls of Westminster would have learned to leave well enough alone given the comical absurdity of past attempts to ban terrorists saying things in the UK, which lead to such farcical situations as having Sinn Fein/IRA’s Gerry Adams’ voice being dubbed by other people’s voices to get around attempts to stop him airing his views. We need people to actually say what they think and the more vile they are, the more important it is to hear what motivates them.
Moreover does anyone seriously think people are attracted to actively support terrorism because of what they read in a mainstream newspaper rather than opinions closer to their every day life? It is a bit more complex than that and again you would think the experience of Ulster would have shown that when terrorists gain the support of a section of a society, all stoping their spokesmen from talking in the media does is prevent everyone else from understanding what they really think.
The BBC and mainstream media generally has followed the government line that there is a large pool of moderate Muslim opinion which does not support or sympathise with radical and intolerant Islamic views. I too have assumed this to be the case, at least in some measure, and yet as time goes by the theory is starting to look rather threadbare as if there really is a majority of moderates out there, they are more than just silent, they are almost invisible. The organisers of the demonstration yesterday in Trafalgar Square carefully choreographed the event to show the world a moderate face of muslim opinion standing hand in hand with a few dhimmis like Ken Livingston and select useful idiots such as Pax Christi and former KGB front man Bruce Kent. Yet it took less than 24 hours for one of the people behind the demo to reveal his true colours.
But any attempt to shut these people up with the law will not stop them saying whatever they want amongst their own community, unless the government plans to have multi-lingual spies reporting on what gets said in every single mosque and Arabic/Turkish/Kurdish/Pakistani social club in Britain. The only people who will no longer know what these guys really think will be the rest of us. And given that anyone who trusts the what the state says to decide who is and is not ‘the bad guys’ is a credulous fool, that is not a good idea to say the least. Yet again we see why freedom of expression is not just important, it is essential if we are to know our enemies as well as our friends.