by Martin Odoni

Yesterday was a shock, eh?

Perhaps it should have been otherwise. The polls for the Labour Party have been dire since last year’s ‘Chicken Coup‘, while Theresa May is still very much in her ‘Honeymoon period’ as Prime Minister, when everything that goes wrong is blamed on the previous incumbent at Number 10. The Liberal Democrats under Tim Farron remain a pale, error-prone shadow of what they were in the days of the late Charles Kennedy. The Green Party’s support is too thinly distributed to pick up more than a couple of seats at best. The UK Independence Party is tottering on the brink of bankruptcy, and in any event it has exhausted its purpose-of-being, while also suffering the same problem of a thinly scattered support base. The Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Ulster parties are too narrowly focused on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively to pick up anywhere near enough seats at the UK level.

Furthermore, the real pain of leaving the European Union is not yet being felt, but will be before 2020, at which point it could seriously injure the Conservative Party’s re-election hopes.

Perhaps the most significant reason though, one that is not getting much mention in our ever-Tory-friendly media, is the Tory Election Fraud scandal. You know, the one Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC insists was just a few ‘mistakes’; –

Laura Kuenssberg is a disgrace to objective journalism.

Laura Kuenssberg continues to be the Tories’ most shameless spin-doctor-with-press-pass.

May must be keenly aware of the slightness of the Parliamentary majority she inherited from David Cameron. It currently stands at just seventeen seats, and it puts her at the mercy of the lunatic fringe on the hard-right of the Conservative Party. She must also be aware of how serious the legal difficulty her party is in, and how results in all the seats disputed over the fraud could potentially be reversed. It is perhaps an extreme scenario, but if that were to happen in all cases, it could lead to a Hung Parliament, for the second time in less than ten years. The political fall-out would again be very damaging to the Tories in the medium term. This makes it a prime reason to get the next General Election out of the way now, while the going is still less bumpy; any reversed results will be meaningless, as the 2015 result will be superseded before mid-June.

All these reasons are far likelier explanations than May’s barely-defined talk of giving the country strong leadership during the ‘Brexit’ process. Given the election will take two months of precious negotiation time away from that process, her claim is laughable. It also took little time for the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act of 2011 to be undermined.

An increased majority for the Tories is likely. That will be unpleasant of course, but it would still be better than what we have now, as it would free May from the will of the lunatic fringe. It is a ludicrous reflection on the current shape of the British political landscape that a party that has already been slapped with the biggest fine for fraud in electoral history, and is under continuing investigation for further corruption, is in such unbeatable shape. Part of the reason for that is the media turning a blind eye to the fraud, or playing it down. (Certainly, there has been nothing like the clamour over this as there has been over the – largely-fictitious – antisemitism-in-Labour furore.)

But also, the Labour Party has made a complete pig’s-ear of the last eighteen months, wasting an enormous membership groundswell that arrived with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader, and has repeatedly fallen into infighting when the opportunity to attack the Tories has been available. Corbyn has taken almost all of the blame for that; and to be fair, he does deserve some criticism for not being ruthless enough with those who have undermined him, and for not taking the initiative or being vocal enough within party circles when focused strategising was required. But the reality is that it is the backstabbers in the Parliamentary Party who have done most of the damage by far, as much with their (perhaps deliberate) poor timing as with their disloyalty. Labour should have controlled the narrative from the start of July last year, with the Tories leaderless and torn apart by the EU Referendum. It was the perfect opportunity to attack them and make their transition to a new Prime Minister an absolute torment.

Instead, at that exact moment, the PLP turned on their own leader and forced a new leadership election that they were bound to lose, and let the Conservative Party off the hook completely. By the time Corbyn had hammered Owen Smith to kingdom-come, the Tories had regrouped and had a new leader of their own in place. Also, with the February by-elections in Copeland and Stoke-On-Trent, the timing would have been a lot smarter – or less insidious – if Labour had not contrived to hold them just two weeks after the Brexit vote in the House of Commons; it was a vote in which Corbyn was in a no-win situation. Support the Bill to allow May to activate Article-50 and he looks obsequious; oppose it and he looks anti-democratic. That was bound to have knock-on bad effects on by-elections held so soon afterwards.

Now, the PLP across-the-board has failed to make anything of the Tory Election Fraud.

It is almost as if Labour MPs are more terrified of winning with a (relatively) left-wing leader than they are of being supposedly ‘unelectable’ with one. Whatever one might think of Corbyn, and regardless of whether the repeated bad timing is stupidity or cynicism, the Parliamentary Labour Party, quite simply, does not deserve to win a General Election. It is either too stupid collectively, or too dishonest collectively.

It is Labour as a whole, far more than Corbyn, that is unelectable. That is why May calling a snap election now should have been entirely predictable and even obvious.

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by Martin Odoni

What is more painful; the stupidity or the pointless offensiveness?

Given this weekend is the anniversary of the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster, you would think that Kelvin MacKenzie and the Sun ‘newspaper’ would tread carefully at this one time of the year over the subject of Merseyside. They were, after all, responsible for the nadir of British journalism just a few days later, when they published an article titled ‘The Truth‘, which propagated only lies.

Kelvin MacKenzie and Exhibit A against him

Even by Kelvin MacKenzie’s standards, this smear article in April 1989 was a horrible low. The original title he had in mind for the article was ‘You Scum’.

The city of Liverpool has never forgiven or forgotten, and the Sun, which through the late-1980’s had sold over fifty-five thousand copies per day on Merseyside, nowadays struggles to sell more than twelve thousand per day there. The Sun has repeatedly offered half-hearted, unconvincing apologies of the “We’re-sorry-we-were-fooled” variety, instead of the “We’re-sorry-we-were-malicious” variety. Hardly surprisingly, they have all been rejected. If the Sun truly holds out hope of recovering sales on Merseyside, it has to behave differently from its average conduct in future. It also has to be very careful indeed in the way it treats Liverpool. This should be so suffocatingly obvious by now, it should not need pointing out.

So Kelvin MacKenzie’s column in the Sun yesterday was as stupid as it was offensive, and I am still trying to decide whether my sense of aesthetics or my intelligence is more hurt by it. MacKenzie was Chief Editor at the time of the notorious hatchet job on Liverpool supporters, and he was the one personally responsible for the headline ‘The Truth‘.

Yesterday’s article was about an Everton footballer, local boy Ross Barkley, and the column demonstrated how MacKenzie is as dominated by crude prejudices as ever he was. Now, to be honest, I am no fan of Barkley, whose behaviour on a football pitch is frequently thuggish and foolish. But MacKenzie’s article was not a critique of that, it was just published abuse.

MacKenzie described Barkley as,

One of our dimmest footballers… thick“.

Of seeing Barkley’s eyes, MacKenzie argued that he is,

Certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home.

He then added a particularly unfortunate insult when writing,

I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo“. (Emphasis mine.)

This particular slur has caused considerable anger, as of course ape-references are popular among racists when making derogatory remarks about black people. Barkley himself is not black, but he is mixed race due to a black Nigerian grandfather. To make matters worse, the article was even titled, ‘Here’s why they go ape at Ross‘.

In his own defence, MacKenzie insisted the reference was not racial, and that he had been unaware of Barkley’s background. Just for the record, I do believe him on that. Barkley’s grandparentage is not that widely known, and in the context of the article, MacKenzie just seems to be referring to thuggish behaviour in an individual, instead of trying to imply his bad behaviour is due to his ‘racial extraction’.

But I do not see that as much of a defence really. For while MacKenzie did not use race as grounds for insults, elsewhere in the article he wrote that Barkley is,

an attractive catch in the Liverpool area where the only men with similar pay packets are drug dealers, and therefore not at nightclubs, as they are often guests of Her Majesty“.

This is what is so cheap and offensive, and it demonstrates that MacKenzie’s past attempts to apologise for what he did in 1989 were insincere. He is still propagating horrible stereotypes in his crude writing, and having spent the previous few lines describing Barkley in Neanderthal terms, he then insults much of the city of Liverpool by arguing that if a male is rich there, he must be a drug dealer.

This is not exactly a racist stereotype, but it is a geographical stereotype. It still condemns people for the condition of their birth, a fact over which they have no control and which will not decisively govern their character either. There may be a technical difference, but frankly, I struggle to see how geographical slurs are morally any better than racial slurs. On a moral and effectual level, it might just as well be racism. And MacKenzie actually wrote all this on the Hillsborough Anniversary weekend! Never mind Barkley’s intelligence, how stupid is MacKenzie?

The Sun has suspended MacKenzie and removed the article from its website. But the mask has already slipped. As I pointed out recently, responding to a very unconvincing article in the Spectator defending the Sun, the behaviour of the Red-Top has not changed. Once again, we have ignorant, careless editorial oversight at the Sun. Once again we have a lazy, prejudicial, hate-spreading smear article aimed at Merseyside, complete with inflaming title. Once again, MacKenzie shows wildly generalised and barely-informed contempt for the entire city of Liverpool. Once again, he has been burned for it.

The scale is different, but MacKenzie does not learn. If he does not learn, he does not change. The Sun continues its careless love of letting smears be printed on its pages. No matter who staffs it, it does not learn either. So it does not change either.

MacKenzie got away with outright sectarian prejudice last year when attacking Channel 4 News for appointing Muslim reporter Fatima Manji to cover the Nice Attack. He was following the childish logic that a Muslim was to blame for the attack, therefore all Muslims are to blame. Here, he argues that if a Scouser can become rich by becoming a drug dealer, most of them will do it the same way. (Everton FC have responded by at last joining Liverpool FC in banning the Sun from its grounds.)

Kelvin MacKenzie remains the prejudiced blot on British morality he has always been. The Sun remains the ritual abuse-of-journalism it has always been. Journalism is there to hold power to account on behalf of ordinary people. The Sun and MacKenzie are there to hold down ordinary people on behalf of power.

by Martin Odoni

Following on from what I wrote last night, and today’s alarming knee-jerk reaction of the US President Donald Trump to Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun; I am increasingly convinced that Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, has been wrongly accused once more. I feel no personal sympathy for him, given some of the dreadful crimes his regime has committed over the years, but the practical reality is that the Tomahawk missile strikes on Syria are benefiting the likelier culprits.

Now I must stress that I am not being definitive here. Until a full investigation of the chemical attack has been completed, no one can say for sure who was the perpetrator. But the more I look at the details, the less convinced I am that Assad could have been behind it. Here is why; –

Both history and present circumstances suggest that a chemical attack by Assad makes little sense. As I mentioned yesterday, he was wrongly blamed for the chemical attack on Damascus in 2013, even though his forces had more or less retaken control of Eastern Ghouta by the time it happened. In reality, the attack was almost certainly the handiwork of the al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of so-called ‘al-Qaeda’. But it is telling that, in getting the blame, Assad saw the strength of international opposition to military use of chemical agents. He must surely have realised then that he could not risk such a move in future.

Over the next couple of years, he went as far as scrapping his stockpile of chemical weapons, under political pressure from Russia and the USA – a task that was completed last year – and while it is possible he obtained new weapons since then, it does raise a substantial doubt as to whether the regime even has the capability for this sort of attack anymore.

By contrast, it is quite apparent that al-Nusra has a supply-line for chemical agents, most likely tapping the late Colonel Ghaddafi’s old stockpile in Libya. Just as telling, look at the timing of the Khan Sheikhoun attack; it happened just five days after the Trump administration publicly ruled out deposing the Assad regime.

Whether the whole incident was a theatrical set-up by the rebels, or a genuine case of an air-strike releasing chemicals by accident, I am as yet unsure. A British journalist in Syria called Tom Duggan seems fairly certain it is the latter (although the fact he appears to work for the paranoid 21st Century Wire says nothing for his credentials), but either way, when I add two and two, I find the number four to be distinctly al-Nusra-shaped. The weapons were probably theirs, not Assad’s.

As for the Tomahawk strikes on al-Shayrat Airbase, Trump has disproven once and for all the claims of his apologists that he would be ‘less warlike’ than Hillary Clinton. The destabilising effects of his reckless command have been two-fold; one, it has boosted the position of Daesh as it attempts to take Homs. Two, it has seriously endangered relations with Russia.

Meanwhile, Britain has yet again shown itself to be the spineless sycophant of US expansionism, expressing its usual unstinting support for heavy explosive American violence. Thankfully, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the man the media are always telling us is ‘insane’, has once again dared to be a rare insight on the world as it really is, pointing out how the missile strikes are liable only to make matters worse. With the Syrian media claiming that four children were killed by the missile strikes, it could well be argued that they have already done precisely that.

by Martin Odoni

McCarthyism remains alive and well, it would seem.

After the horrific chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, this week, the finger of blame has been pointed squarely at the regime of Bashar al-Assad. There was a similar attack in Damascus in August 2013 of course, and there was a very similar leap-to-conclusions in the public discourse in the weeks that followed.

Accusations against Assad then were reckless, irresponsible, and opportunistic. Accusations against Assad this week are similarly premature. I must stress that it is entirely possible that Assad is behind Tuesday’s attack, and I am certainly not trying to say he is not a brutal or oppressive leader. But there are reasons to be cautious before we assume this atrocity must be his handiwork.

Firstly, the chemical attack in 2013 did not establish a precedent for this behaviour from the Assad regime against its own population, as it does not appear to have been Assad’s doing. Lengthy investigations by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded by early-2016 that the Damascus attack was likely committed by one of the Radical Islamist factions opposing the regime in the Syrian Civil War* – probably al-Nusra.

Secondly, as the same investigation points out, it is quite evident that rebel factions in Syria have some kind of supply line, probably from Libya, for chemical agents, whereas, as best we can tell, Assad actually disposed of his stockpile of chemical weapons under pressure from the US and Russian Governments during 2015. It is not beyond the realm of possibility of course that Assad faked the disposal in some way, or obtained a new supply of chemical agents, but even so, there is a significant enough doubt over his guilt that we should at least wait until an investigation is carried out before we draw any conclusions.

Some public remarks the likes of US President Donald Trump and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have hurled around the world since the attack are not only short on evidence, they are mired in hypocrisy. While Trump sheds crocodile tears over the deaths of “innocent children, innocent babies, little babies,” he quietly suppresses the fact that he has repeatedly tried to block these babies from escaping from the war to, say, the United States of America with his prejudicial travel-bans. Apparently, these same babies he currently mourns for are people he also imagines constitute a serious terrorism threat. Trump also keeps skating over the matter of the US Air Force and its allies, at his instruction, killing over a thousand innocents in Syria and Iraq through the month of March, while other beloved ‘friends’ such as Saudi Arabia use weapons and aircraft provided by Britain and the USA to butcher the people of Yemen.

Somehow, all these atrocities count as ‘less severe’ than what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, and indeed, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, sees them as a good reason to socialise with the House of al-Saud. But hey, she refused to wear a head-scarf! That taught them a lesson, right?

As for ‘BoJob’ Johnson and his obnoxious claims that “all evidence suggests” Assad is behind the attack, I would be very interested to know precisely what evidence he has seen that others have not, as what is in the public domain at the moment is ambiguous. Jets that were apparently part of the Syrian Air Force carried out the attack that released the chemical agents, but as Russian diplomats have pointed out, it is just possible that there were chemical weapons in the buildings that were struck, and they may have been released by proximity to the explosions. (As Sarin is easily destroyed by combustion, there are reasons to question that, but the chemicals might still have been released without being caught in the eye of the explosions.)

Yes, Assad is a very obvious suspect, and it is too early to say he must be innocent. But it is also too early to say with snarling confidence that the attack was his doing. Given how confident we can be of who is committing some of the other crimes in the Middle East at the moment, the self-righteousness of the accusation makes it sound like a diversion more than a moral stand.

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POSTSCRIPT:

At the risk of saying, “I told you so!” I argued in the weeks after the Damascus attack that there were aspects of the story blaming Assad that did not add up; –

A) A ballistic rocket launch from a Government silo was detected on the morning of the attack, but it was about an hour-and-a-half later that the warheads struck. How could rockets require an hour-and-a-half just to reach Damascus from about seventy miles away? Even a car travels faster than that, and moving at that speed the missiles would not have been able to get off the ground.

B) Why did Assad wait until Eastern Ghouta, the area of Damascus that was targeted, had pretty much been brought back under Government control before dropping chemical weapons on it? Surely if he was prepared to use them, he would have deployed them earlier in the battle, while the rebels were well dug in there? Is it not likelier that rebel factions, realising that they were losing the territory, would use chemical weapons at the stage it happened as an act of desperation, instead of Assad risking wiping out his own troops with them?

C) The chemical used was a low-grade nerve agent known derisively as ‘Kitchen Sarin’. Why would Assad bother using ‘Kitchen Sarin’ when he had a confirmed supply of warheads armed with the more effective ‘Industrial Sarin’?

by Martin Odoni

The bellicose blundering of the modern Conservative Party never runs out of ways to amaze and appal me. We are, at the time of writing, a mere four days on from the activation of Article-50, starting the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Developments over the last few days have made certain that our hapless Prime Minister, Theresa May, will be conducting negotiations from a position of weakness. You would imagine, therefore, that everyone connected to the British Government would realise that what is needed now, in relations with other EU countries, is absolutely seamless, pitch-perfect diplomacy.

What we have seen from Michael Howard, former Conservative leader, now Lord Howard, over the subject of Gibraltar, does not fit the bill. ‘The Rock’, occupied by the English/British since the War Of The Spanish Succession in the early 18th Century, has long been a bone-of-contention between Britain and Spain. With the onset of ‘Brexit’, the issue of Gibraltar’s sovereignty was inevitably going to be raised once more. Howard, this morning, decided to throw his tiny-fraction-of-a-ha’penny’s-worth into the discussion by comparing the scenario to the Falklands War of 1982. He said,

Thirty-five years ago this week, another woman Prime Minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country, and I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.

The current Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, also had something to say about it.

We’re going to look after Gibraltar. Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty cannot be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar.

In response, a former Ministry of Defence Operational Director, Rear-Admiral Chris Parry, helpfully suggested,

If the Government wants to talk big over Gibraltar… they have to invest appropriately in the military capacity to back that up… We could cripple Spain in the medium term and I think the Americans would probably support us too. Spain should learn from history that it is never worth taking us on and that we could still singe the King of Spain’s beard.

I have one or two questions about these three masters of diplomacy. The first is as follows; –

What in blazes do these idiots think they are doing?

Another one is, why are the imbeciles even saying stuff like this?

What are they trying to accomplish? They are actually talking about using military force to cripple a fellow EU and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country, all over who controls a confounded tax-haven! At any time, that would be crass stupidity. But they are doing it just days after Article-50 was triggered. This is a time when the UK needs the most careful and skilled diplomatic manoeuvres the country has perhaps ever displayed, or it will face the prospect of an awful severance package, or even no deal at all.

It is like the whole of the UK Government and armed forces have been taken over by a gang of Donald Rumsfelds. Just threatening another country in this  macho-juvenile-on-steroids fashion borders on violating International Law. But more important, the UK is still presently part of the EU and so are the Spaniards. Still more important, both countries are members of NATO. The mutual defence nature of the Treaty means that, were the UK really to take military action against Spain, the rest of NATO would be compelled to intervene, vastly outmatching the British forces. NATO might also choose to expel the UK for attacking a fellow signatory within the alliance, meaning the country would lose the shared military protection it presently enjoys.

Comparisons with the Falklands War are therefore not only offensive (“Spain speaks Spanish, the Argentine Junta spoke Spanish, so obviously they’re all just the same,” seems to be the near-racist reasoning) but downright inaccurate. Argentina was not a member of NATO in 1982 – never has been in fact – nor a member of the EU, for obvious reasons. Spain is both. The implications of a war with Spain today are therefore totally different from those of a war with Leopoldo Galtieri’s Argentina in the 1980s.

For these reasons, an actual war is very unlikely to follow; both the British and Spanish Governments would be too frightened of the high price of being the aggressor. But the inept dearth of political skill or diplomatic instinct in the British making public statements like these at such a delicate time is thoroughly startling. Insensitive and obsolete reminders about the 16th Century terrorism of Sir Francis Drake lends a really yobbish quality to Parry’s remarks. But we can at least give him the benefit of the doubt, given he is not a politician. Howard and Fallon do not have that excuse, and their macho posturing, harking back to the Falklands War, have doubtless left many on Britain’s negotiating team in Brussels slamming their heads on their desks.

With every other move, the British Government seems determined to provoke the EU into hardening its stance on Brexit negotiations, inviting a less and less favourable deal. Is that deliberate, so the British have a way of blaming the EU if-and-when negotiations fail? Maybe, but that prize is far less valuable than getting a good deal in the first place. It is the better prize that the Conservatives seem determined to spurn. It may sound sneaky, but it certainly does not sound intelligent.

With Donald Trump in the White House and the Bullingdon Set all over the British Government, crass anti-intellectualism dominates international relations.

On the subject of Trump, imagine what everyone would be saying right now if he had made remarks like these. Everyone would be right too.

The British should not get away with it either.

by Martin Odoni

This is a full-detail update on the legal action that the gallant Christopher Whittle has informed me he is taking against me over reviews I have published of his book, With Hope In Your Heart: A Hillsborough Survivor’s Story, The Denial Of Justice & A Personal Battle With PTSD. Without any further preamble, here is a full, no-holds-barred rundown and factual analysis of everything that Whittle and his solicitors have done so far, and all of the desperate counter-measures I have been forced to undertake in response; –

NOTHING TO REPORT.

Please feel free to get in touch asking for clarification if you lost track halfway through.

Christopher Whittle; big on noise, short on deeds.

Christopher Whittle blusters that he’s going to take legal action against me. Over a month on, I’m hearing crickets.

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by Martin Odoni

So, the likely identity of yesterday’s attacker at Westminster has been unveiled. He was a man going by the name of Khalid Masood.

“Well what more evidence do we need?” cry the foam-at-the-mouth racist brigade. “With a name like that he must be a Muslim from the Middle East! He must be an immigrant! A refugee from Syria! Let’s close the borders now…!”

One problem, and it is a very familiar one. Yes, he was a Muslim, I will grant you that. But the thing is, he was not from Syria. Nor from Yemen, nor from Saudi Arabia, nor from the wider Middle East. Come to that, he was not even from abroad.

Khalid Masood was in fact born in the rolling desert wastelands of sun-scorched… Kent. He was living in the mighty, oil-rich Arabian Sheikdom of the West Midlands at the time of his death. He had a record of non-political crimes as long as the average elephant trunk, and that record arguably raises doubts about how appropriate it is even to call the attack yesterday ‘terrorism’. He may just have been a very unstable man who lost control of himself. In truth, terrorism has a very broad definition, and his crime of killing five people, while horrific, is not noticeably worse than, say, Thomas Hamilton at Dunblane, or Derrick Bird‘s rampage in Cumbria. Neither of those atrocities are seen as ‘terrorism’, even though they took more lives.

The reason I call Masood’s nationality ‘a very familiar problem’, by the way, is the historical pattern of terrorist attacks in the name of Radical Islam. Even if we are to assume that this was indeed Masood’s motivation – and we have yet to see any firm evidence that it was – that history shows that Radical Islamic terror, quite simply, does not cross borders all that much. The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC may give the impression otherwise, but in practice, the majority of atrocities are committed by people who originated in the country where the attack is taking place. These include most (though not all) attacks in Europe. The Paris Attacks of November 2015, for instance, were not carried out by Syrian refugees, but by French and Belgian nationals. As another example, the London Bombings of 2005 were carried out by a group of radicalised and foolish young men from Yorkshire.

This pattern is cardinal, as many people misunderstand the plural nature of Radical Islam. It is not a single, coherent organisation, or even two or three organisations. There are hundreds of very small military groups, and while they share an ideology – based on the Wahhabist ideas of an Egyptian academic called Said Qutb – they have little to do with each other on any practical level. Most of these groups’ goals are very localised, and can even contradict each other’s. (Where the goals are international, they are more about trying to intimidate Western countries against interfering in ‘The Holy Land’ than trying to destroy the West.) So when an attack happens in Europe or the USA, it is far likelier to be by someone from Europe or the USA in the first place, than by someone from the Middle East.

This is why I have argued, and will continue to argue, that the constant, self-absorbed and paranoid hysteria in the media and the wider British public against refugees, is as much futile as it is deceitful, hyperbolic, and cruel. Closing borders to refugees altogether – and let us not forget while the Radical Right bemoan our largely-mythical ‘open borders’ just how few refugees Britain has taken in during the post-‘Arab Spring’ crisis – will have very little positive effect, and considerable negative effect. It is very unlikely indeed to stop terrorists getting into the UK, because any terrorists we are at risk of facing are probably already here, and have probably lived here all their lives. Far from protecting anybody, all it is likely to achieve is increased stigma felt by many desperate people, and thus raise the chances of them becoming radicalised too. Turning away refugees is like trying to heal a broken bone by kicking it.

It does not matter what Nigel Farage or Katie Hopkins want viewers of Fox News Channel to think about this. Khalid Masood was not a refugee, and what happened in London yesterday does not add any weight at all to the case for banning refugees (such as there is one).

One only-loosely-related note to end on; the Islamophobic accusations have extended to attacking a by-stander in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack. A hooded woman was photographed apparently walking past one of the victims, ignoring him as she fooled about with her cellphone, apparently full of ‘Muslim indifference’ to his suffering. In fact, the woman was a nurse, and the below picture takes an example of this attempt to smear her and explains the real reason she had a phone in her hand; –

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