- buying stuff for barbecues from a DIY store (this is doubly suspicious because the weather is so bad at the moment)
- looking for articles on the Internet critical of the Bush-Brown policies towards Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Chechnya etc
- being overheard in a supermarket discussing the background to terrorist attacks
- suggesting in a public place that British foreign policy may well have contributed to the threat of terror attacks
- failing to greet a member of the police force as a friend and a person who would never knowingly abuse a member of a minority community
- declining to support England at football, cricket or rugby
- a refusal to integrate by, for example, insisting on cooking curries or living next door to nice, white, middle-class folk (who, of course, are not required to integrate with anyone)
- not engaging in serious and sustained binge drinking along with the majority population
- carrying large parcels or backpacks
- acting in a manner that could generally cause alarm amongst a fearful population.
There are no doubt many other aspects of strange behaviour that people ought to be on the look out for because, as West told us, the war on terror will last at least 15 years. So in approximately 2022 we will all be allowed to return to life as we once knew it – but only if we snoop and snitch. This is, of course, New Labour fantasy land, made more dubious by Brown’s love-in with military figures like West, who bypass party membership to join the government. This same team brought you the Iraq war and the occupation of Afghanistan – and what great success stories they have turned out to be. Iraq is in ruins and the Taleban are making a comeback in Afghanistan.
Although it is true that Islamic-inspired terrorism has a long history, the British people themselves have become a terror target principally because of these imperial policies. Blind terror is, of course, reactionary to the core and has to be condemned. But finding a way forward will require at the minimum progressive, alternative policies at all levels – social, economic, political, military. Yet today, David Miliband, the new foreign secretary, attacked Iran and stoked up the pressure on Teheran about its nuclear programme. So we’re left with the admiral’s plan to alert the authorities about suspicious Muslims. In the end, of course, the Stasi played a major part in the disintegration of the very state they were supposed to protect. Hopefully, New Labour is set on a similar course.
Paul Feldman, communications editor