Last night, Cathy S pointed out to me The Times’ coverage of the alleged Al Qaeda plot to poison Britain. She wasn’t particularly concerned about the plot itself, but more by the fact that the article failed to mention that Kamel Bourgass was arrested in 2003 – until the third page. The impression given by the article up until then was of a much more recent threat. Are there any newspapers left that aren’t rubbish?
What interests me slightly more about this is that he was prosecuted and convicted of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance “by the use of poisons or explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury”, which is a wonderful phrase in itself – but he was convicted. Go to jail, go directly to jail, don’t bother with a restraining order, or monitored surveillance or anything that Charles Clarke has been insisting is so critical to thwarting major terrorist attacks on our country. So, excuse me for asking, was this arrest and prosecution a failure in some way (beyond the execution of the raid itself)? Or perhaps this wasn’t a major threat? Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, doesn’t seem to think so: he said that the public had been “spared from a real and deadly threat”. Or maybe Charles Clarke is just wrong?
While we’re on the subject of The Times, could Ruth Gledhill, whose three year old child is suffering trauma as a result of Dr Who please stop letting her young, impressionable offspring watch television at that time of the day? The news is on earlier than Dr Who, and contains considerably more disturbing scenes. For that matter, Strictly Dance Fever is pretty terrifying in the first place.
My estimation of Alastair Campbell goes up, incidentally, after learning quite how much he hates The Daily Mail. Go, Alastair! (Oh, and look – Google’s first hit for “Alastair Campbell” is a page at the BBC.)