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Jul 7, 2005 1:25 pm

London Bombs and Politicians' Rhetoric

This is exactly what I’d expect Anthony Charles Lynton Blair to say but it’s still disappointing.

“It is important that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world.

“Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world.”

Fine sentiments, perhaps, but it doesn’t demonstrate much understanding of what “those engaged in terrorism” are about.

Then, in self-referential remarks so typical of Blair, he notes: “It is particularly barbaric this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa and the long term problems of climate change and the environment.”

Leftist London Mayor Ken Livingstone commented that: “This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers. It was aimed at ordinary working class people.”

Yes and no. Yes, the bombers did not seek to attack the G8 meeting at the Gleneagles hotel in Scotland. That would not have succeeded because Tony Blair had surrounded himself with enough army and police to thwart such an attack. So in consequence they struck at vulnerable public spaces (streets and subways) in London. But, no, it was not aimed at working class people per se, just anyone—venture capitalists and shop assistants—who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Livingstone added: “They seek to turn Londoners against each other . . . London will not be divided by this.” I guess this is a reference to Moslem minorities in London but I doubt the bombers particularly sought to foment ethnic and religious strife in the capital.

Personally, I much prefer what the Queen had to say. She was “deeply shocked” and sent sympathy to those affected. Amen.

Update: This post is now cross-posted at

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