I’ve been calling for the past three weeks for calm and commonsense over the London bombings. The fact is, whatever might have happened; however many scary photos of nail bombs might have been leaked by the American security services to the American media (you have to ask why did that happen – it wouldn’t be the US government wants to fuel the hysteria by any chance?); 52 people have died, less than a week’s death toll on British roads. (The average was 67 last year).
If someone reported a week of road tolls in the same detail what might happen? Possibly some good things – a ban on city 4WDs (SUVs), more restrictions on new drivers, lower speed limits on residential roads … etc etc. Oddly enough I’ve never heard a comprehensive set of calls like that.
But now the government, having already nibbled away at civil liberties throughout its terms, is planning to take huge more chunks out of them, as set out in The Guardian by one of the lawyers who has worked with Guantanamo Day detainees. (Who has good reason to know the damage done by the destruction of whatever limited rule of law the US possesses for non-citizens.)
It really is time to hose down the official hysteria – for a good slap around the chops, as traditionally delivered to hysterical women in bad movies – for Tony Blair et al.
… But there is hope … I’m listening now to The Now Show on Radio 4, which is running some wonderful jokes on the subject. I enjoyed the description of stranded commuters walking home as though they were a herd of wildebeest, with mini-cab drivers cutting out the stragglers …