Opinion: The media have failed the public over the Woolwich atrocity

At least two brutal and disturbing hate crimes have been carried out this month. Each of the two I will draw your attention to left an apparently innocent man dead from knife wounds. And each victim was apparently selected on the basis of what they were wearing (a Help for Heroes t-shirt) or what they looked like.

These attacks differed in only one important feature, in that one of the attackers had something to say and sought help from passers by in order to communicate his message to as many people as possible.

Without the assistance of others, the ambitions at terrorism in Woolwich would have failed. I am not suggesting that members of the public should not have accepted requests to film the murderers (It would have been dangerous for them to refuse the requests of a man waving a meat cleaver at them). But once the attackers were apprehended by the police, the amateur film-makers should have made a point of handing their footage to the police in full view and earshot. The phrase “Your message of hate will only be heard as evidence against you” might have been appropriate.

I saw apparent experts on the television describing this murder as “easy terrorism” or something similar that it would be “impossible to prevent”, and drawing parallels with Al Qaeda. All coverage of this sort is granting these men a status among their extremist peers that they could have easily been denied. It cements the attack as an example of “successful” terrorism and tells their peers that terrorism is “easy”.

The heroic public act is to refuse to spread their message; to deprive them the oxygen of publicity. The responsible course of action in the media is to refuse all footage of proselytising hate criminals and all pictures of perpetrators beyond their pitiful mugshots.

But instead the media have failed the British people abysmally in this instance. Special mention has to go to ITV for being first to show the attacker’s speech. But for the BBC News Channel to follow clearly stating “ITV showed this first” was cowardly in the extreme.

I hope in the coming weeks that the Government issues new anti-terrorism guidance. I hope guidance is all that is necessary to stop the public and media turning despicable hate criminals into blueprints for successful terrorism. If guidance isn’t successful then we have to ask ourselves whether in the digital age the man who passes mobile phone footage to the press rather than the police is aiding and abetting an act of terror.

Imagine how sick these men would feel if they had to trawl the papers for any tiny mention of their actions. Next time – and the media have almost certainly ensured there will be a next time – let’s make sure they suffer a lifetime in prison regretting the futility of their murderous deeds.

* Ewan Hoyle is the founder of Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform and member of the Scottish Liberal Democrat policy committee.

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51 Comments

  • Paul in Twickenham 23rd May '13 - 4:21pm

    Your proposal is censorship?

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 4:28pm

    It was an unspeakable tragedy, but it was for the best that the video showing the man’s motives was broadcast. Only with understanding will this problem be resolved. The UK’s contribution towards this should not be censored.

  • My proposal is asking the public not to accede to the demands of wannabe terrorists by sharing their hateful message.

    Unless you want the lesson from this to be “I wish to address the nation this evening. I now know I can do this by decapitating someone in public.”

  • Sadie Smith 23rd May '13 - 4:34pm

    If media had rules about when and what they will accept and use from the public it would be helpful. The image of the arrested man can itself be helpful for identification and for picking up any links that need following.
    Members of the public did also try to help and deserve credit for being prepared to get involved when they thought someone needed help.
    I am much more cross with supposed experts who specuated fairly wildly, as did reporters and commentators.
    And I do wish. 24hr news could cover a lot of stories, not just one wall to wall.

  • You say that the question “If guidance isn’t successful then we have to ask ourselves whether in the digital age the man who passes mobile phone footage to the press rather than the police is aiding and abetting an act of terror.”

    The answer to that should be an emphatic NO. Disseminating video of a factual event is very unwise but is is in no way “aiding and abetting an act of terror”.
    You have ruined an otherwise excellent article with your penultimate paragraph.

    I think we should heed JFK’s words from his 1961 speech ‘the president and the press:
    “I have no intention of establishing a new Office of War Information to govern the flow of news. I am not suggesting any new forms of censorship or new types of security classifications. I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I have posed, and would not seek to impose it if I had one. But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.”

  • This article is a bit ludicrous in my opinion.

    You can not seriously expect the media to black out and refuse to report this type of event.

    I think it was unnecessary and irresponsible for the media to show the terrorist holding the knives and hands covered in blood ( mainly because the trauma that this will cause to the soldiers family & Friends) they will now be haunted by those images and it is grossly unfair to them.

    I can not begin to imagine how members of the public stood there and videoed these events on their phones (personally I would not have been so brave and would have ran for the hills)
    But for those members of the public who tried to comfort the dead soldier and pray for him, I admire their spirit, compassion and bravery.

    I do not think people should be (paid) by the media for exclusive footage taken by members of the public on their telephones and I hope this would not be the case that the media would pay for this kind of footage.

    If these kind of atrocities took place on our streets and the media refused to report them, it would do nothing to prevent future terrorism and the media would be behaving irresponsibly by not keeping the public informed of the threats and dangers to the communities.

    What has happened is tragic and my heart goes out to the soldier, his family & friends, his regiment, and the community for which he served.

  • There were heroic members of the public yes. It has been proposed on twitter that the words of the cub scout leader ‘It is only you versus many people, you are going to lose.’ would have made a much better -and more responsible – headline. Many of the headlines and images instead will have terrorised the nation still further.

  • Andrew Emmerson 23rd May '13 - 4:43pm

    So if i’m not mistaken – what you’re suggesting is that the press don’t give them oxygen. Which essentially means not reporting these things that happen. Surely that same thing can be applied roughly to any crime, that if we report a rape, it gives a blueprint on how to further carry out rapes.

    I don’t think censorship is the answer though In the US the way that these stories have been reported has completely changed it wasn’t government that did it. It was concerted effort from academia, civil society and concerned citizens
    Think back to the shooting outside the Dark Knight Rises and the reporting then for instance. Almost no coverage of the killer himself. Still reported it, but without all the triggers that can create the danger of copycats

  • Matt.

    To be fair to Ewan I don’t think he is calling for a news blackout but for the news broadcasters to show some restraint and not to have broadcast the video. I agree it should not have been broadcast, but there should be no suggestion of censorship. Especially as the threat from terrorism is far from being an existential one.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 23rd May '13 - 4:52pm

    Do you think Ajmal would write for us, Lester?

  • The only censorship that should have occurred, should have been Blurring out the image of the terrorist from the neck down, so as to spare the family from those haunting images.

    It was right in my opinion to show the face and the voice of the terrorist,. That would have been vital information for members of the public who may have recognized (the most up to date image) of this person, rather than a old mugshot and possibly even recognized the voice. Those members of the public would then be able to come forward and provide valuable information to the police.

  • Lucas, I accept that your answer to the question is an emphatic NO, but I believe the government have at least a duty to inform the public and the media that acceding to the wishes of terrorists in such a manner is morally reprehensible at best. The individuals involved yesterday basically became the communication arm of a small terrorist organisation and did exactly what the murderer wanted. The ITV journalists should have known better. I hope we can create an environment where members of the public will know better in future.

    Matt, no I don’t expect a complete media blackout. But I don’t expect the media to dance to the terrorist’s tune either. Government and media (and psychologists and psychiatrists) need to get together to discuss where the boundary should be correctly set so as to balance informing the public and irresponsibly terrorising them and encouraging further terrorism.

    The examination of the responsible reporting of major crimes is long overdue. Perhaps the first witness could be the forensic psychiatrist at the end of this Newswipe clip from a few years ago. Watch from 1:29 if you don’t want too much Charlie Brooker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PezlFNTGWv4

  • Lester I think you underestimate how essential media coverage was to their likely plan. If they had known that media coverage would have been absolutely non-existent, would they even have carried out the attack? Certainly they wouldn’t have behaved in the same way.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 5:44pm

    Ewan, if they knew press coverage was going to be absolutely non existent for this attack they would have came up with a much larger plan, one so big that the public could not ignore it.

    Suppressing freedom of speech and expression will only lead to more violence. People turn to violence because they feel as though they are not being heard. A lot of the time anyway.

    The video would have educated the public and I have faith that it has acted as more of deterrent against getting involved in the Islamic extremism than an advertisement.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 5:45pm

    I do, however, agree that showing the blooded hands and weapons was not in good taste. And I think I have noticed this problem getting worse over the years.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd May '13 - 6:36pm

    Eddie: “if they knew press coverage was going to be absolutely non existent for this attack they would have came up with a much larger plan” — I think Ewan’s point is that these are people with very few resources to carry out a big attack, and giving so much detailed publicity to them shows that you don’t need to have resources to make a splash. Those who can pull off big attacks will attempt to do so, anyway; what the media approach here does is provide an EasyJet route to publicity for wannabe terrorists with no friends.

    I’m inclined to doubt that this genie can ever be stuffed back into the bottle; and any attempt at legislating over it would almost certainly be a cure worse than the disease; but it’s worth making the argument, in the hope that at least the major news outlets will hear and rethink the nature of their coverage. (I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the basic facts of the story shouldn’t be reported.)

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 6:46pm

    Thanks Malcolm, I think the point about taste should be made but I don’t think the one about not giving them air is a good one.

  • Peter Hayes 23rd May '13 - 7:05pm

    If the publicity provoked a similar copy cat attack is that OK because of freedom of speech or should there be restraint from broadcasters? We have recently seen court cases because intelligence has stopped a ‘spectacular’ but it is getting harder to stop smaller ‘clean skin’ attacks as the alternative. There is no way all the loner attacks can be stopped by intelligence there is just too much Internet traffic to differentiate between those interested and those actively planning.

  • Ewan,

    I think you are making a grave mistake in ascribing any rationality or planning to this muder. The killing of this soldier was no more logic to it than the beheading of the 60 year old grandmother in Tenerife last year by a crazed 28 year old Bulgarian man. Horrific crimes will inevitably gardner widespread media and internet coverage, particularly shootings and murders by unbalanced individuals that have no rhyme or reason to them.

    Just because one of the attackers regurgitates some rhetoric about Muslim lands does not mean that there is any cause or motive for the murders. These babblings demonstrate no more rationality than the Son of Sam explaning that his neighbours dog told him to carry out a series of killings,

    Regrettably, there are thousands more like these two fanatics that have inserted themselves into the Syrian conflict, slaughtering non-combatants – unarmed men, women and children- because they are Sunnis or Alawaites or Christians or of someother sect, ethnicity or political persuasion.

    They are adherents to a pathogenic cult of murderous violence that exalts death, destruction and the subordination of women. As with all fascist or cult movements, they reject rationality or critical thought. They cannot be reasoned with by fellow muslims or anyone else. There is no political outcome or compromise that can satiate their bloodlust. They seek confontation and glorification in a self-proclaimed martyrdom for a non-existent cause.

    As to your hope that the Government issues new anti-terrorism guidance in the coming weeks , that may well now come in the form of the draft communications bill.

  • Stuart Mitchell 23rd May '13 - 7:27pm

    Excellent article, Ewan. It’s a grim situation where any preacher of hate knows that he can guarantee himself a prime-time spot on ITV by killing a stranger in the street. Reports of “reprisals” against the Muslim community are already widespread. This appalling editorial decision will likely increase the chances of more people ending up like Mohammed Saleem.

    Some baffling comments from people claiming that Ewan called for these events not to be reported. What’s the point of responding to an article if you’re going to totally misrepresent what the OP said?

    Matt: “The only censorship that should have occurred, should have been Blurring out the image of the terrorist from the neck down, so as to spare the family from those haunting images.”

    But it was OK to broadcast the alleged killer justifying the killing, and unblurred images of the victim’s dead body in the road? You don’t think those sounds and images might not haunt the family too? And for what purpose? A good journalist would have been able to convey the full horror of this incident without the need for those images.

  • jenny barnes 23rd May '13 - 7:55pm

    It was a hate crime. There are unfortunately many hate crimes every year – why did this one get wall to wall coverage? Does the government want people terrorised? So that they support anti-terror legislation like secret courts?

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 7:58pm

    Stuart, terrorism will not be reduced by censoring its motives. We need to raise awareness and educate the public about what is going on and why it is happening. Only then will people be warned to stay away from radical Islamists rather than unknowingly fall into their trap. Yesterday was not a good advertisement for Islam, never mind radical Islam.

    The public now knows what can happen if you seemingly start near unprovoked wars in foreign lands. Our youth watching are our future leaders and voters of tomorrow and they need to be educated about what has happened over the past 12 years and why it has happened. I am not laying blame at anyone besides the individual, but the motives need to be known.

    All the individuals wanted was peace and now we are having a debate that there is a better way to go about it through peaceful protest and democracy.

    Yes yesterday’s footage might have motivated some more individuals to become radicalised however I believe it has prevented many more. We must have faith in freedom, transparency and human nature. We need to help humans flourish whilst accepting the risks, rather than take away freedom and never have the chance to create a happier society.

    Having faith in a free and open society is what our party should be about. I am worried about all the calls censorship.

  • Jonathan Hunt 23rd May '13 - 7:59pm

    By any standards this was an horrific, disgusting and repulsive crime. But is it any more than that?

    An act ofattempted terrorism, certainly. But there is no evidence that it is part of a planned series of attacks on members of the armed services. Or that there is a cell of evil men planning to terrify the public into believing that it is unsafe to venture out.

    Those more likely to achieve this are members of the BNP and so-called English Defence League who plan to take to the streets of London on Saturday. We as Liberal Democrats should also demonstrate that there is no taste or scope for fascists of any kind, let alone those attacking people of a different religion.

    And it is worrying that the Conservatives should attempt to make political capital out of one isolated incident, as terible as it is, to deflect media attention from their own problems with swivel-eyed loons joining the Ukippers.

    It may have been possible for government in 1936 to impose a news blackout on the intentions of Edward VI to abdicate. But it would be impossible today with the rise of social media and instant broadcast of anything and everything. It may be amateur, untrained and irresponsible. But it exists and is all-but impossible to gag.

  • @Stuart Mitchell

    I believe I was explicit in my post and clearly said that I believe some of the images where unnecessary and should have been censored for the sake of family members. I did not identify “every single ” image I thought that this should have applied to as that was not necessary.

    With regards to the voice of the terrorist, it is my opinion it was right to broadcast that. As I said in previous post, members of the public could have identified that voice with the image.
    What that vile terrorist had to say gave no “justification” for his evil crime and 99.999999% of the population would not Identify with any part of his “justification”
    People who are Islamic radicalized in these extreme form of terrorism would not be “inspired” by what this sick individual had to say, People who are radicalized have already been done so via training camps, Preaching and online.

    When these men stand trial, his words would be played back to the courts as evidence so would be in the public domain anyway, the same If there is a public inquiry,

    But as I have said, those haunting images should have been censored to a degree in my opinion purely for the sake of his family and their future well being. They should have been granted with the respect not to have haven to seen those awful images.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd May '13 - 8:41pm

    Eddie, I have seen no calls for censorship. All Ewan’s article calls for is self-restraint (at least that’s how I read it) and reconsideration of approach by independent actors.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 8:57pm

    ” The responsible course of action in the media is to refuse all footage of proselytising hate criminals and all pictures of perpetrators beyond their pitiful mugshots.”

    This isn’t asking for restraint, it is asking for the media to hide things from the public.

    We should not be afraid of education because of the bad things that some may do with it. We should not be afraid of freedom because of the bad things that some may do with it.

    I don’t even call myself a liberal, favouring freedom and education is just a basic requirement for a good society.

    I’m honestly shocked that people in our party, of all parties, can be afraid of freedom.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 9:07pm

    I am not exaggerating either, when you educate someone you empower them and we cannot be afraid that people will use their freedom to do the wrong thing.

  • George Eaton has written an excellent piece for the Staggers about this topic, worth looking up.

  • The news outlets absolutely love this kind of thing, especially 24hr news channels. So do politicians with an fearmongering agenda. Given what happened in Mumbai, news outlets should show restraint in how fast they show content that allows coordination of spectacular attacks. They should also tell the family of the victim before they show this. News outlets dont do self restraint, so yes, we need a little censorship.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 10:02pm

    OK so going by your theory Alistair of showing restraint in how fast they show content, if I am heading downtown and a killing spree is underway, should I find out as soon as possible or should the press have to wait before they report it?

    If you want to take away people’s freedom it means you have lost faith in humanity to do the right thing through their own free will. It will end up with people restricting your own freedom because they don’t trust you to do the right thing either.

    We must have faith in humanity. I think it’s a seriously negative mindset once you think that the majority are using their freedom to do bad things. It is also dangerous because as mentioned above if you begin to take away other people’s freedoms they will respond by taking away your freedoms too.

  • Stuart Mitchell 23rd May '13 - 10:21pm

    Jenny, the government does not run the news media. You must be able to recognise that the events of yesterday had several highly unusual and dramatic features which made them pretty unique, so the saturation coverage is easy to explain.

    (Incidentally, I really dislike the term “hate crime”. What sort of brutal murder is NOT a “hate crime”?)

    Eddie, of course it is right that people are fully educated as to what went on yesterday. Does that justify the airing of a speech glorfying murder by a man with bloodied hands standing in front of a dead body? Not in my opinion. It was unjustified and unnecessary. People did not need to see this video to be “educated” about the horror of what happened, any more than TV viewers needed to see the photo Stuart Hazell took of Tia Sharp’s body (do you think that should have been shown, too?) to be educated about the evils of child murder. Sometimes the bare facts are horrific enough, and restraint is appropriate.

    “The public now knows what can happen if you seemingly start near unprovoked wars in foreign lands. Our youth watching are our future leaders and voters of tomorrow and they need to be educated about what has happened over the past 12 years and why it has happened.”

    Your chronology is a bit dubious there. Note that 9/11 happened before Afghanistan and Iraq. People will always find an excuse to kill others. Dozens of people were killed in Iraq the other day as part of a sectarian conflict that has its roots in a dynastic squabble back in the 7th century AD.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 10:53pm

    Stuart I believe showing a local man, distressed and mentally ill, explaining why he had just killed someone so that perhaps one day we can all live in peace gives an important insight into human nature and criminal psychology. These are not savage animals who enjoyed inflicting pain, as is so often reported by opinion pieces and politicians condemning; they were just people who had become lost in their desire for happiness. This can only be seen from the footage.

    It was absolutely wrong what he did and he must be punished severely so that justice can be done, but without understanding and empathy where it is seemingly impossible we will never learn to live in peace.

    I’m someone who favoured secret courts so I am certainly not a radical liberal, but I think this is about education and I don’t think it should be robbed from people’s minds.

    I can’t really say anymore about this, I must just trust others to use their freedom to do the right thing, even if I disagree with it, and trust that society will always be OK. On the whole.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 10:56pm

    I just think people watching it will be more put off radical Islam than attracted to it. I suppose this is probably where the fundamental disagreement comes from, but it is based on a bigger trust in human nature, which I’ve tried to explain.

  • Eddie Sammon 23rd May '13 - 11:11pm

    You said my chronology is dubious, yes I know these problems go back way before 9/11 and before the creation of Israel after WW2.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th May '13 - 12:08am

    I’ve just read The New Statesman piece saying don’t give the killers the microphone they crave; however if you don’t let someone express themselves through speech they will turn to violence.

    The killer spoke for a lot of angry radicalised muslims when he spoke last night and now maybe some of those radicalised muslims no longer feel the need to commit terrible crimes because their views have been expressed. Those feelings are too dangerous to bottle up.

    I wish I could have expressed my views in fewer words, but I just wanted to defend freedom of speech against all arguments.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th May '13 - 12:08am

    I’ve just read The New Statesman piece saying don’t give the killers the microphone they crave; however if you don’t let someone express themselves through speech they will turn to violence.

    The killer spoke for a lot of angry radicalised muslims when he spoke last night and now maybe some of those radicalised muslims no longer feel the need to commit terrible crimes because their views have been expressed. Those feelings are too dangerous to bottle up.

    I wish I could have expressed my views in fewer words, but I just wanted to defend freedom of speech against all arguments.

  • Your suggestion is wrong.
    Already racial ly based incidents are under reported.

    More of the same would only allow non judgemental liberals like yourself to continue to claim that race/religious tensions do not exist and all would be well if working class opposition could also be suppressed

    You represent the new breed of liberal authoritarian.

  • It’s not as simple as free speech or not. One of these guys was tracked for years exercising his free speech. What this case shows is you can get a massive platform for your views if you do something grotesque enough. As for going downtown, if everyone was put off going to London due to a stabbing or shooting then noone would ever go there. The media response was disproportionate.

  • I agree with Matt here about blurring, however censorship in the age of the internet unviable. That footage would inevitably have been uploaded unless the police seized everyones phones for evidence

  • jenny barnes 24th May '13 - 9:02am

    Stuart : Jenny, the government does not run the news media.

    No, it doesn’t. In fact, it’s more like the news media run the government. Whichever it is, the “waronterra” is a creature of the security state, which is supported by most of the government, and the news media.

    S: I really dislike the term “hate crime”. What sort of brutal murder is NOT a “hate crime”?)
    Hate crimes are those that are designed to intimidate a group of people – terrorism, if you like – and in this case they perps probably had no personal relationship with the victim, he was a soldier, and they killed him because of that. Any soldier would have done. Exactly the same sort of psychology applies to – say – attacking mosques, gay bashing, and other such hate crimes.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th May '13 - 10:02am

    Alistair, so what is your solution? Create a law that prevents the media from reporting terrorism cases in full?

    Do you not think it is good that the public find out why he did what he did, and they hear it from his mouth rather than someone else, who could simply make up whatever propaganda they want?

    Freedom has risks, but it is better than suppression.

  • While I am not in favour of state enforced censorship due to the obvious contradictions this has with my liberal beleifs, I do follow a self-imposed censorship on these kinds of videos/events.To my mind, despite certain exception such as those involved in the enactor’s trial, people watching these videos are being disrespectful to those poor victims involved by turning this tragedy into little more than a circus show; furthermore, by watching the videos, they will only serve to vindicate the beleifs of those enacting such evil by showing them that we will listen to them if they sacrifice people’s lives to gain our attention.

    We must report on these cases, but we do not need to spread messages of hate or watch a person be brutal murdered to report on these issues.

  • Melanie Harvey 24th May '13 - 5:01pm

    The only agency that failed is the security services.. (likewise as the US equivalent in respect Boston).. mmm I see an agenda here, whether it be that of the terrorists or others politically… What is going to happen is that parties such as UKIP and the far right Cons are going to use the situation to the fullest come next election.. how convenient ?! This the party must now work hard to counteract.

  • Melanie Harvey 24th May '13 - 5:10pm

    Stuart Michell.. secret courts and acts hidden is why these type of things happen. Exactly why secret courts should never come into being and the press and freedom of speech never curtailed.. It is because the “terrorists” are not being given access to mainstream press other than on the negative that such barbaric acts happen in order for them to be equally heard… this does beg the question whom really are the extremists and being denied freedom of opinion and speech.?

  • Melanie Harvey 24th May '13 - 5:23pm

    Alistair.. ask why do people have to go to such extremes to be heard.. because people (and not just terrorists) have been prevented from being heard and issues addressed fairly. This is why certain organisations/authorities fear the internet now it is well set into the media and populous, not because of extreme barbaric acts but fear of them being exposed for their own corrupt practices in the first instance and for which cause such things to occur… i.e why no Bush Blair et al not up on war crime charges ? Given how many died for a fake account of WMD (Dont forget Dr Kelly before he was about to blow the whistle) this type of grotesque act is both bound to happen and justifiable in the inflictors mind.. oh like Bush/Blair !!!

  • Paul Reynolds 25th May '13 - 4:27am

    Drawing conclusions from the melee which includes phone video footage, police and security service statements, and selected witness accounts is probably premature. For example, what organisations were involved in the alleged conversion to Islam? Why was there no mention of Islam in the ITV video (the suspect talked of ‘our people’ and wars but not Islam). How was the victim selected and why was he allegedly hit with a car first ? What is the nature of security service contact with the suspects, and did this inlude the ‘coaxing’ which is common these days ? How did the suspects get to know that the victim was a soldier who.had served in Afghanistan ? To draw conclusions without answers tto these questions seems sloppy. This also applies to those presenting these incidents as a justification for re-introducing the so-called ‘Snoopers Charter’.

  • A Social Liberal 25th May '13 - 7:08pm

    The airing of Michael Adebolajos rants, far from giving him ‘the oxygen of publlicity’ showed him for what he was – an extremist terrorist whos views were beyond reason. Trying to silence the political wing of Irish terrorists didn’t work in their earlier campaigns – it wouldn’t do anything with this present lot.

  • Michael Adebolajo was right about Cameron, he doesn’t seem to care. And Mr Clegg has hidden since this incident started. Tommy Robinson has been seen more than Clegg?

  • Perhaps if the media told the truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth without fear or favour, it would be better.

    The reality is that in many poorer town centres there are jihadi muslims promoting their agenda. The problem is that in the UK few people take them seriously because we have not experienced the conflicts which have led to conflict which have occurred in other countries. Russia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy , etc, etc have all experienced violent speech leading to physical violence and war.

    Part of the problem is that jihadi muslim groups have largely not had their arguments subject to criticism and ridicule. and therefore have become emboldened . When group leaders have been invited onto television they have been treated with kid gloves rather than the sort of forensic analysis offered by the Late Christopher Hitchens .
    Professor Monica Siddiqui of Glasgow Uni ( Believe this is correct ) has said people have pussyfooted around- she is correct. The reality is that nobody in the UK comes close to the late C Hitchens when it comes to shredding the arguments of those who would undermine western civilisation and democracy .

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    @Martin Tod "French GDP recovered to 2008 levels (in real terms) back in 2011. It is now 1.2% ahead of 2008 levels – and has...