Three days ago, Home Secretary Alan Johnson warned a terrorist attack was 'highly likely' in the UK, and raised the UK terrorist threat level from 'substantial' to 'severe'. Apparently, we're meant to 'remain vigilant' and 'report suspicious events to the proper authorities'. And if I could just quote a slightly larger passage:
So, my question is, what exactly is it that we're meant to be on the lookout for? What examples of terrorist activity have we been subject to, that could help us (the general public) in identifying 'suspicious events'?
And, in truth, the only examples that we have to hand - the only examples the media has presented us with - is of men in turbans carrying big rucksacks. And I'll be damned if I look at every man in a turban with a big rucksack as a potential threat.
Furthermore, Lord Carlile's argument is practically worthless. If Mr Smith is, unfortunately, going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and be victim to some terror attack, there is nothing he can do about it. Telling us that the threat is 'severe' does nothing but make us more paranoid.
So, if I could please translate: if you don't tell the public to be suspicious, they're not going to be suspicious. And again, I, for one, do not want to walk the streets of London being suspicious of my fellow Londoners.
Perhaps this post isn't as short (but it's definitely as sour) as I first intended it to be...
Finally, just watch this Newswipe edition to see what I mean. Long live Charlie Brooker.