Last night, a truly heinous attack occurred on London’s quiet streets. In a lovely affluent area of central London a woman died from a stab wound and five injured. The Met-Police counter-terrorism unit is helping the investigation, the BBC is running a ‘live latest’ on the brutality and the Mayor of London has called for calm and abruptly cut short his holiday to effectively manage the crisis.
This horrific attack is following an Islamic State terror pattern as it comes just three days after a radical Islamist who attempted to behead a Tube goer in East London with a rusty knife was jailed for life at the Old Bailey.
And all this is less than 24 hours after the police showcased their new hi-tech weaponry in the fight against terror and, thankfully, deployed many more armed officers to routinely patrol Britain’s streets to keep people safe.
And yet. Despite the scaremongering and reassurance that is going on here, it is all complete bullshit.
Yes, a woman has been stabbed to death and that is terrible for her and her family, but can someone please get some perspective on all this. Every year, around two people are murdered every day whilst there are over 70 knife attacks on average in any given 24 hour period – almost all of which you will never hear about.
On top of this, despite the likes of the Daily Mail and other media outlets ready to whip the story up into a fear grabbing headline of “Woman killed five people injured terrorist knife attack central London”, it appears that the 19 year old suspected of the attack was a bit bonkers and had ‘mental health issues’.
There is no terror threat in this case. It is a tragedy and almost certainly another poor individual murdered because the creaking mental health system was unable to stop another deranged and unhinged individual from slipping through the safety net. The pattern isn’t with Islamic State terrorists stabbing people – it is with deeply screwed up people failing to get the treatment they need before they commit a barbaric cry for help and blame it on something they have recently heard about.
I was in court at the Old Bailey when Muhiddin Mire, the Leytonstone Tube attempted beheader, was sentenced. Reading the papers you would read about a would be terrorist hellbent on embarking on a raging Islamic State inspired killing spree. Sat in court I heard a judge describe a sad schizophrenic who had smoked far too much powerful weed and become so paranoid that he believed he needed to lash out before MI6 killed him. He used bombing Syria as his excuse for his crime, but, as the judge pointed out in court following testimony from three doctors, he could have used anything violent and topical for his reasoning to attempt to kill. He had been in the mental health system and sectioned once before, but released and then slipped off the grid only to pop up at this east London underground station. He wasn’t a terrorist. He was mentally unsound. But you don’t read about that – it doesn’t fit the narrative that we are all meant to believe.
Perhaps it is also no coincidence that this story, aside from being a typical August silly season offering where desperate editors are hoping that the story will run and run, it comes just a day after the Met show off their scary boys in grey. The Met need to justify this outlay and quickly – especially after the daftness of buying three water cannons that were unable to be used on the British mainland because it is illegal and to start their begging bowl case for more money in the next round of public sector spending rounds.
Happily a case like this can be used in spin operations by PC Plod which are always very effective. It helps justify the pointlessness of adding more guns on the streets of Britain and gets more traction with politicians for needing more cash.
Yet putting more guns on the streets always fails to make people safer. France routinely arms their police but that hasn’t stopped the numerous recent attacks on their soil. Germany gives her police guns, but terrorists still attack. As they did in Spain or India or Belgium or Russia or America. Or or or…
If there is an armed copper at St Pancras Station then the terrorist would go to King Cross. If there is one at Kings Cross then he would go to the Tube. If there is an armed copper at every underground platform then the attacker would get on the Tube train. If there were an armed policeman on that carriage he would get on another. If there were an armed guard on every carriage he would attack on a bus. Or on a street corner. Or a train. Deploying more armed police doesn’t work. And I don’t know about you but I sure as hell feel less safe seeing pictures of the police hiding behind masks and brandishing such weaponry. But it does help the police case, when the first iterations of what 2017/18 public sector budgets are currently being discussed, in their bid to get more money from us as taxpayers.
Here’s the nub. There is a bunch of people wanting you to feel scared and believe terrorism will affect you. The newspapers and the broadcasters need to fill airtime, sell advertising and make a profit and it can only do that by jazzing up a story that would otherwise read ‘woman stabbed in London’ – very much a dog bites man headline. The new Labour Muslim Mayor of London needs to be seen as tough on Islamic terror even more so than any other British politician who has ever wielded some degree of influence or power. Even if by calling for calm he instigates more concern and panic than there actually was or needed to be, or if it was utterly pointless that he cut short his holibobs, he needs to be seen to be doing something. Meanwhile, the police have to scream terror in order to demonstrate that they need more money and justify the use of overzealous tactics.
A world of established figures all purporting to have your best interests at heart, all feeding your anxieties and all doing it to justify their own existence. Don’t believe the hype. It is all a terrifying illusion created for their own benefit – not yours.