The New Labour government is desperate to avoid a connection between its policies and actions and the fact that Britain is now a prime target for terror attacks. Muslim leaders published an open letter on Saturday suggesting that British foreign policy had helped radical Islamic groups in their recruitment drive. Within hours, ministers were queuing up to denounce the very idea. The Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett told the BBC that drawing a link between government policy and the terror threat would be the 'gravest possible error'. She said such suggestions were 'part of a distorted view of the world, a distorted view of life. Let's put the blame where it belongs: with people who wantonly want to take innocent lives.'
Of course, terrorists have to take responsibility for their actions. And you can't excuse or justify the killing of innocent people by reference to a political grievance, however legitimate that may be. But only a blinkered fool - and New Labour is stuffed full of them - would try to deny the connection between their actions and the terror response. The fact is, Britain was not threatened by Islamic-inspired terrorism until recently, even while it was being practised in other countries. So what is the reason for the change? You only have to visit any web discussion site to find out what people think. The overwhelming view is that New Labour's policies and actions have helped to drive more people towards terrorism. As for the state's response, well shutting down airports and filling the streets with armed police doesn't make anyone feel safer. But it certainly creates the impression of a state of siege. Which is just what this discredited government wants.
Paul Feldman, communications editor