That terror stuff – my two cents

I’ve had enough of this terror crap. My reaction was one of instant contempt for people planning as unpleasant as what’s been reported. Although, like Ze, I agree that ‘unimaginable’ horror might have been an overstatement. It’s a great piece – if you haven’t watched it; do.

Unlike a lot of people (Doctor Vee has good links), however, my reaction hasn’t been one of immediate mistrust or anger at the government. I find that an unsustainable [sic] view: even though we have been misled in the past (the 40 minute claim, the Menezes shooting etc), we’re always going to be reliant on an institution to suport us in this kind of situation. If there’s a problem with the specific institution – MI5 etc – then those need reform.

As to the bigger question? The civil liberties issue is a complex one; but I think I maintain my Millsian perspective on this — the needs of the many… Appreciate that’s a massive oversimplification and it’s still an ‘alleged’ plot, but still. That said, that the government might use the atmosphere of fear to generate support for more, liberty restricting, ‘terrorism acts’ — whilst inevitable — is annoying.

For me, even if the threat on Thursday was massively overstated, I’d rather be inconvenienced than accept even a slim risk of lost lives and don’t think many would disagree. And we’re not speaking NewSpeak just yet… (although many of the politicians are, as you will see if you watch Ze’s show on the Israel/Lebanon situation).

Update: Chris has just written some great stuff about this too, highlighting the doubts he (and many others) are having. His last paragraph hits it on the head:

I’m not sure which situation I would prefer – to find out that the we’re in denial and we came perilously close to mass murder conducted by a sophisticated conspiracy, or that our government and security services don’t have a clue about whether such threats exist, let alone who or where they are.