When I heard of the London explosions last Thursday — I was rung shortly before leaving to catch a train to London, which I had to abandon — my first thought was, why did it take them so long? We knew the manpower was here, either coming in as bogus asylum-seekers or by using false passports, easily accomplished since the government gave up preventing entry. Whether the bombers came from their ranks or are brainwashed, resentful Muslim youths born here — and at the time of writing it appears they were born here — only the investigation will reveal. I assumed the reason bombs hadn’t been used before was not the lack of people who were willing to do it but the difficulty of finding or bringing in explosives, a problem they’ve now clearly solved.
Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, who was himself paralysed from the waist down after being shot by Muslim fanatics in Saudi Arabia, told a subdued Start the Week on Radio Four on Monday that he knew of four major attacks on Britain that had been foiled; he’s seen some of the evidence. Until last Thursday he’d been accused of scaremongering when he spoke of these threats. Americans needed no convincing, but the British had become blasé about it.
An Arabic speaker, he had noticed in the Arab media a debate about the terrorism of the last week and he thought that many Arabs who might have supported an attack on the British government wouldn’t now because members of the public who were the victims didn’t necessarily support the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. He found it strange that the Edgware Road area was chosen for one of the bombs as it seems that Arabs love it.