Last night's edition of BBC2's The Conspiracy Files was a fine piece of television. It examined the conspiracy theories surrounding the bombings of July 7 2005 and if you haven't seen it, watch it again right now.
At first I thought it was going to be another piece of gratuitous "what if?" television. But it was so much better than that. By taking the conspiracy theories surrounding the atrocities at face value, the programme makers gave the loons enough rope with which to hang themeslves. The theory that Israelis were somehow warned of the attacks in advance was forensically dismantled and the idea that the bombs were planted under the carriages of the trains shown to be nonsens. One of the most prominent conspiracy theorists was than unmasked as a Holocaust denier and another as a dangerous fantasist with a messiah complex.
The film showed showed that the naive and the politically extreme can sometimes form a terrifyingly toxic aliance. There was a pitiful scene, for example, where the well-meaning but ultimately pathetic Bristol-based journailst Tony Gosling and the chairman of Birmingham mosque Mohammed Naseem met to organise a public meeting. I have no doubt that poor Gosling thinks he is a seeker after truth, but Dr Naseem is an Islamist with an ideological mission, who appears to believe that the bombings could not have been carried out by British Muslims.
Rachel North, the 7/7 survivor and campaigner who appeared on the programme to denounce the conspiracies is now my hero. Her demands for a public inquiry into the events of that terrible day grow all the more powerful as the conspiracy theories proliferate.