red rag to a bull

August 13, 2006

I am baffled by the Government’s attempts to rebuff the argument that Britain’s Middle East policy has increased the threat of terrorist attacks.

Ministers put forward four arguments yesterday:

1. terrorists had targeted countries with a range of foreign policies.

on the scale of the threat to the UK?

2. No government worth its salt should allow its foreign policy to be dictated to under the threat of terrorism

Does that mean you ignore the consequences of your foreign policy? You can still stick to a policy (however misguided) while recognising the impact it has had.

3. ‘Let’s put the blame where it belongs: with people who wantonly want to take innocent lives.

Obviously, blame and ultimate responsibility rests there. No one disputes that. But that doesn’t alter the fact that the policy is encouraging the violence.

4.We should always remember that the terrorism affecting the West today has blighted Muslim countries for several decades.’

Yes, but not the UK- that’s what we are talking about.

The Government’s response seems to me like waving a red rag and claiming that has no effect on the bull. Ministers are, in fact, saying:

1. Bulls have annoyed people who don’t wave red flags
2. I’m not going to stop waving the flag to please the bull
3. It’s the bull’s fault
4. Bulls have been agressive in different places for many years.


6 Responses to “red rag to a bull”

  1. britgirl Says:

    No, what the government is saying is that foreign policy, whether you like it or hate it, will not be decided on the basis of terrorists threatening to blow people up. Whichever minority group they belong to.

  2. Rodintheforest Says:

    So why don’t they admit that the policy is stirring up a hornets’ nest? You can refuse to change the policy but you have to recognize the obvious impact it has. The mistake of the Muslim leaders was to appear to be suggesting that UK foreign policy should be changed because of the threat of terrorism. What they are saying is whether we have a foreign policy that Muslims don’t like or not, the threat level would be the same and I for one don’t buy that.

  3. buster Says:

    The FCO lists as its very first strategic international priority:

    * Making the world safer from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction

    The difference between this and ‘not allowing foreign policy to be dictated to under the threat of terrorism’ is simply spin.

  4. Edinkent Says:

    britgirl has a point. The authorities should look urgently at all the minority groups planning to blow up airliners- I suspect the East Kent pigeon fanciers for one.

  5. britgirl Says:

    Why would they admit to what they do not believe? And actually, they don’t “have to recognize” anything if they don’t want to. And the Muslim leader weren’t appearing to suggest what you have indicated, they were in fact implying that the attacks will continue unless UK foreign policy is changed. In other words they were saying that UK foreign policy should be changed so that the terrorists wouldn’t bomb us. Big mistake. Because, even if there is a causal link, that is never the way to have it acknowledged. It shows a real lack of judgement on the Muslim leaders part, and they’ve lost any credibility they may have had before.

  6. tomeemayeepa Says:

    Some pertinent comments. Sure, the Government don’t have to recognise it just as they don’t have to admit the planets travel round the sun. I’m not suggesting there is a direct causal link or that the Government should change its policy every time someone who doesn’t like it threatens to blow something up. I just wonder why there aren’t dozens of Muslim terrorist cells in France, say, planning to blow up planes bound for Germany.

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