Thursday, July 14, 2005

Well, is anybody going to say it?

We have a Prime Minister who sees himself as a colossus bestriding the world, solving everyone’s problems. It fools some people, particularly some journalists.

We have a Home Secretary, whose immediate instinct after the terrorist attacks last week is to chair an EU Council of Ministers of Justice, to discuss legislation that would impose the duty on all internet providers and servers, all businesses and organizations to retain e-mail and telephone data for months. This would cost billions of pounds, seriously hamper work and would not help the police at all, as there would be too much information.

Plans are being made and demanded by the Foreign Secretary and, for some reason, the Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce EU-wide optometric documents that are far beyond anything in use anywhere in the world.

Tough legislation is promised and more powers to the police but, above all, EU-wide anti-terrorist laws are going to be enacted.

And somewhere amidst it all, there is Her Majesty’s Opposition that appears to have no opinions on the subject at all.

Of course, given that the simplest government IT system breaks down constantly, none of this is likely to work but all of it will make ordinary people’s lives difficult.

Yet, what precisely is the reason for all this EU-wide activity, apart from the desire to integrate as much as possible?

There is the probability that the explosives were brought into the country through European countries. If this is so, the matter is for the police forces of the various countries to sort out by official and unofficial co-operation.

It is entirely possible that the recruiter and organizer(s) of the attack came in from another counry and has (have) fled. Again, this is a matter for police co-operation, perhaps beyond the boundaries of the European Union.

At the heart of the horror is the fact that the first apparent suicide bombers on European soil are British born, British reared, reasonably privileged young men, who got up one day, said good-bye to their families, strapped on rucksacks full of explosive, travelled down to London and separated in order to blow up themselves and four different vehicles full of people.

This is a serious domestic crisis. There are people in this country, who, having lived all their lives here, feel that they want to do this to other people in the same country.

How can further European integration solve the problem?

And should not our ministers be concerned with the domestic crisis instead of rushing round the world or negotiating with their colleagues in Brussels?

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