London Blasts: Media Review
82: 27 September 2005
Realism - Business Joins
Satire Alert - Brown And
REALISM - BUSINESS JOINS
It was just a matter of
time. We have the general public, Chatham House, some leading
Conservatives, the Home Office and the Foreign Office, and
British intelligence in a variety of manifestations, all
agreeing that the war in Iraq is undermining national security
and fuelling domestic terrorism in the UK.
Now British capitalism
joins the national consensus.
survey of 64 leading businesses - conducted weeks before
the July attacks - found that '57 per cent of respondents
felt the threat from terrorism would in-crease over the
next 12 to 24 months'. This was down from the 83 per cent
that had expected the threat to rise the year before. Crucially,
'Some 83 per cent of
respondents felt the war with Iraq had increased
the terrorist threat'.
Admittedly, this is below
the 93 per cent figure found in 2004, but it still verges
on a consensus.
The survey was of 64 businesses
'half of which have yearly sales greater than $1bn (£565m).'
Rand Europe, the research
organisation that co-produced the survey with Janusian,
the security group, for the FT, said: "Perception
is everything and even though we had ever-encroaching
attacks in Istanbul in 2003 and Madrid in 2004, the UK
authorities had been pretty successful since 2001 in wrapping
up every terrorist cell."
Mr O'Brien said: "If you see
the security forces being successful you are not necessarily
worried about something coming up to bite you. And because
Iraq was such a cauldron, there was some belief
that those who wished to damage British interests were
being sucked into Iraq
In other words, there was growing complacency
based on the belief that potential terrorists were being
diverted to Iraq, rather than being made so angry and alienated
that they were willing to carry out similar attacks here
the media works: The headline (on page 7) is 'Business
relaxed on terrorism threat before July bombs'. The crucial
finding that 83 per cent of businesses surveyed felt Iraq
was increasing the terrorist threat is reserved for the
final sentence. This is how the free press works: you can
print the facts, but placement, tone and frequency of repetition
mean that the truth is effectively suppressed.
There is speculation that David Miliband,
a rising star in New Labour's firmament, is pioneering a
new theme for Blairite propaganda and 'initiatives'. Here
are some of his words from the Labour Party conference,
from the Independent (page
7 or paid-for
'David Miliband, the cabinet minister
responsible for promoting "respect", rejected
electoral reform, but said the Labour Party needed to
act to prevent voters turning to extremism.'
'He warned that Labour would suffer
at the ballot box if it ignored the sense of alienation
and "powerlessness" felt by voters across the
country in areas such as housing, antisocial behaviour
and local services. Pointing to recent BNP successes in
council elections in Burnley, Lancashire, he said: "It's
when people feel powerless, when they feel the system
doesn't work for them, they don't just get apathetic,
they get angry. When they turn to anger. When they turn
to anger, they turn to extremism." '
'Mr Miliband said: "Understanding
the needs of people is the first step towards victory.
People need to see we have the right vision, values and
policies. But the bottom line is that to stay in power
we have to release power. We
know that the new enemy is a sense of powerlessness."
' "I think this sense of powerlessness
is a very very profound thing for us to come to terms
with. Over the next 10 years the issue of power is going
to be the core of politics." '
'He set out a four-point plan for
securing a record fourth consecutive Labour election victory.
Party chiefs had to listen more closely to the messages
on the doorsteps, to convey more clearly Labour's principles,
highlight the success of its policies and the strength
of the economy and spell out the fundamental differences
with opposition parties.
(The first two paragraphs,
and the other material in italics, are in the paper version,
but not online, for some reason. The final paragraph is
online, but not in the paper version.)
This is a line of argument
found in the Home Office/Foreign Office Young
Muslims and Extremism report. It is entirely plausible.
Powerlessness in the face of the massive oppression of Muslims
around the world, and especially powerlessness in the face
of large-scale deaths at the hands of the US and British
governments, may well be the single most important component
of the rising threat of home-grown terrorism in the UK.
For white working class
communities, as Miliband remarks, powerlessness in the face
of community breakdown and government and market failure,
and an inability to stem the loss of race privileges, may
well be the single most important component of the rising
threat of home-grown fascism in the UK.
The solution is indeed
to deal with the roots of people's 'anger'. The solution
indeed is to move power away from the centre to grassroots
communities (while eliminating religious and racist bigotry).
But Mr Miliband and his colleagues will not 'release' their
power over foreign and domestic policy. The power will have
to be taken away from them.
Here's a four-point plan
for Mr Miliband:
lying. Stop lying about the neocolonial control
Washington and London hold over Iraq and Afghanistan,
the brutalities you've committed, and the real sources
of the insurgencies in those countries. Stop lying about
the connections between your wars abroad and the war beginning
here on our own soil.
out. Declare your intention to withdraw from both
Iraq and Afghanistan in stages, to a public timetable
of months. Urge the United States also to withdraw from
back. Support the Iraqi Government, the United
Nations, the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference, and any other credible bodies in developing
and rapidly introducing an international, unbiased third-party
security force able to offer as much security as is possible
for the Iraqi people, and for the reconstruction effort
in Iraq. Stop meddling in Iraqi politics, and support
a UN presence that can offer assistance in Iraq's political
transition. Pay as much as you were going to spend on
the war to fund these efforts, and pay as much again towards
the cost of reconstruction - without strings.
Apologise. Apologise for the invasion of Iraq.
Apologise for the occupation of Iraq. Apologise for delaying
democracy in Iraq. Apologise for invading Afghanistan.
Apologise for the occupation of Afghanistan. Apologise
for turning a blind eye to the massacre and torture of
peoples around the world, including Muslims in Chechnya,
Kashmir, Palestine, and so on.
And domestically? The
four-point plan probably includes something about reversing
Conservative trade union laws, reversing and forswearing
Public-Private-Partnerships and other forms of privatization,
restoring taxes to the levels of the Conservative Heath
Government and using those taxes to drag housing and local
services to a decent level, and ending the pandering to
white racism in immigration and asylum policies. Something
like that, anyway.
Robert Shrimsley of the
FT continues to provide
a top-notch diary (page 21). Here's the second item in his
War of words
On reflection, though,
one should not rush to see the chancellor's speech as
heralding a new summer of love. There was a fair bit of
verbal violence in what might be termed the personal manifesto
section of his speech.
That point about his
being raised by his parents "to tell the truth and
take responsibility" was naked aggression against
a prime minister whose word has - how can one put this?
- come to be regarded as slightly less than his bond.
(Although one wonders, after Mr Brown's weekend admission
that he would not meet his growth forecasts, whether than
passage might have read: "I learned to tell the truth,
though preferably while abroad when no-one is watching,
and to take responsibility for my actions unless I can
blame high oil prices.")
Then there was Mr Brown's
observation that the "renewal of New Labour is as
profound a challenge, as rigorous a task and as great
an achievement as the creation of New Labour."
This, loosely translated,
states that "salvaging our party from its reputation
for cynicism, incompetence and unprinciple leadership
will be as great an achievement as helping to forge that
reputation in the first place".
And, yes, Mr Brown did
help to forge that reputation. Boy, did he ever. We'll cast
an eye over his speech tomorrow when there's coverage of
the current leader's efforts to compare it with.
JNV welcomes feedback.
This page last updated 27 September 2005