Today, the Spectator published a new opinion poll on the "war" on terror. The poll is available here (pdf). Some of the results are startling.
69% of those questioned believe that the police should be allowed to detain suspects for 90 days without charge. Yeah, and in order to save the village, we had to destroy the village.
On the global "war" on terror, the poll asked this question and got these responses:
Do you think that the West is in a global war against Islamic terrorists who threaten our way of life, or do you think that Islamic terrorism is a regional problem that poses no real threat to the West?Can you say leading question? Good grief. In truth, I couldn't supply an answer to that question because I can't agree with either of the two options offered. This is classic black and white thinking, exactly the sort of stuff which has already proved to be so useless when dealing with terrorism. Nuance is, it seems, dead.
- We are in a world war against Islamic terrorists who threaten the West's way of life - 73%
- Islamic terrorism is a regional problem that holds no real threat to the West - 8%
- Don’t know - 19%
Nevertheless, the fact that 73% of those questioned were prepared to agree with the prompt that we are in a "world war against Islamic terrorists" is troubling.
More troubling still is the response to the question on the direction of British foreign policy:
Should Britain change its foreign policy in response to the terrorist threat?That'll be another hideously leading question then. Who wants to be more conciliatory to terrorists? No-one, obviously, but the question misses the point entirely. Again, the public are herded, sheep like, into giving the "correct" response in large numbers. 53% believe our foreign policy should be more aggressive. Is that more aggressive than invading countries which had nothing to do with the "war" on terror? Yikes.
- Yes – it should be softer/ more conciliatory - 12%
- Yes – it should be tougher/ more aggressive - 53%
- No, it should not change - 24%
- Don’t know - 11%
55% of those questioned would like to see 'passenger profiling' introduced at airports whereby passengers are selected based on their background or appearance. I was going to write a separate post on this, probably still will, but the key here is to understand that there's a difference between short term advantage and a long term strategy. Passenger profiling as a long term strategy is bullet/foot stuff. And there's very little, if any, evidence to suggest that it even offers a short term advantage. In counter-terrorism, as in so many things, it is better to do what is right than what is cheap and easy.
But the public don't care about any of that because they've been fed crap like this. What next? Separate check-in for Muslims, special travel permits, yellow badges, walled off Muslim ghettos?
And 28% of those questioned believe that most British Muslims are not moderate. Although not directly comparable, I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone that Blair's mandate to essentially rule by decree was delivered by 22% of the British electorate.
This government, as well as the Conservatives and the supporting cast in the media, appear determined to create a monster in order to fight their "war" on terror. The problem with monsters, of course, is that once created, they tend to have a mind of their own. If the Muslim demoniser slips its leash, it'll do a lot more damage to our society than a rag tag bunch of terrorist extremists ever could.
Tags: News, Politics, Terrorism