More lame bombers

Not sure quite what’s going on today, but it’s even less impressive than last time.

They’re more like moths than anything else, aren’t they? Moderately annoying, almost entirely ineffectual, and on a quest to do themselves far more harm than others…

Sky News has a brilliant quote from an eyewitness who apparently saw a rucksack barely explode: "the man who was holding the rucksack looked extremely dismayed". I bet he did – no glorious martyrdom, just loads of prison time.

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Some links

Armando Iannucci suggests some new bills for Charles Clarke, including The Anti Anti-Terrorism Bill Bill. Speaking of Charles Clarke is something I try and avoid for the good of my sanity. Liberal Dissenter is a braver man than I.

This deal would annoy the French, which almost makes it worthwhile in itself (an amusing re-run of the Unocal takeover paranoia in the comments, too…). This thread is a transatlantic counterpart to Melanie Phillips Watch. And I’m glad I don’t work in an American university, otherwise I might get fired (rather than merely annoying my girlfriend with my alleged lack of taste) for posting pictures like this one:



Finally, why are the Guardian running Norm’s hackneyed pram-toy-throwing instead of something interesting from the UK blogworld?

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A good day for civilisation

Overall crime is down in the UK, including violent crime. And the gap between actual violent crime and recorded violent crime has diminished, as police and government efforts at getting people to report attacks that happen to them continue to pay off.

However, journalists are appalling. Given that nearly all the tabloid reports covering the latest crime figures have been outright lies, claiming – even though anyone with even the more perfunctory knowledge of the subject knows it to be false on the basis of both sets of figures released today – that violent crime has *risen*, it’s no fucking wonder that the public’s fear of violent crime is on the up.

This is sad. We’ve reached the stage where people are safe from criminals (unless you’re a male aged 16-30 who likes to go out at the weekend and get drunk, your chances of assault are pretty fucking minimal. Hell, I *am*, and I’ve not been assaulted in years), but now live in fear of imaginary ones. I’m not even sure what society can do about this, although the public execution of Paul Dacre. wouldn’t do any harm. More pretend coppers would be a start, I guess: they provide an apparent police presence to reassure silly people; they do about as much crime-stopping as bobbies on the beat (ie none); and they cost much less than a real policeman.

In vaguely related news, the criminalising-the-innocent imposition of curfew orders has been struck down by the courts. Good. Now cue a bunch of frightened reactionary idiots blithering on about out-of-touch judges…

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In his own words

"I hope that being an Islamist will in of itself – without necessarily having ties to violence – be grounds for keeping aliens out of the United States, much as being a communist was grounds for exclusion in an earlier era." – Daniel Pipes. Seriously, fuck him.

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Sooner him than me

A different John B (I’ll say that again for the benefit of the Decent Left: a different John B) has set up a blog that promises to keep an eye on the rabid missives of Melanie Phillips. Should you be suffering from low blood pressure or a lack of extreme rage, I recommend following it regularly. Right up to the point where the compiler is driven too insane to post.

Actually, even that disability hasn’t stopped Mel yet.

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Surpisingly in-Decent

There’s a rather good article by Marcus at Harry’s Place about the root causes of terror. He quotes the excellent William Dalrymple, a man who actually understands South Asian Islamic culture.

Marcus’s article does sadly miss the point that, although Muslim extremist groups that wanted to restore the caliphate existed long before the War on Terror, the West’s recent actions have certainly encouraged more people who would otherwise not have joined extremist caliphate-restoring groups to do so.

But that (fairly significant) point aside, good work. Unsurprisingly, he’s already being savaged in the comments by the Little Green Soccer Balls crowd…

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Tube thought

The Piccadilly line between King’s Cross and Russell Square isn’t going to be in use for some time. Neighbouring stations are likely to also be somewhat screwed by dust and smoke, so keeping them closed for now seems entirely reasonable.

However, it seems slightly strange to start the east-of-KX service as far east as Hyde Park Corner, and the north-of-KX Piccadilly service as far north as Arnos Grove. Running one stop further west into Green Park would allow people to actually change onto and off the Piccadilly from the Jubilee and Victoria lines, making life far easier for all concerned. Similarly, running a few stops further south to Finsbury Park would allow cross-platform Victoria line interchange, meaning that the Victoria line duplicated the missing Piccadilly section – and that journeys were therefore not significantly disrupted.

Anyone got any ideas why this isn’t happening? According to this plan, Arnos Grove has an extra reversing track which Finsbury Park doesn’t, which probably explains the northern decision. But Green Park and Hyde Park Corner stations have the same track layout as each other (making it equally easy or hard to reverse/terminate trains there). Why not capitalise on this?

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