We're still trying to digest yesterday's warning that al-Qaida wants to have a pop at the UK with a nuclear weapon:
British intelligence officials believe that al-Qaida is determined to attack the UK with a nuclear weapon, it emerged yesterday. The announcement, from an officially organised Foreign Office counter-terrorism briefing for the media, was the latest in a series of bleak assessments by senior officials and ministers about the terrorist threat facing Britain. UK officials have detected "an awful lot of chatter" on jihadi websites expressing the desire to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.
So is this 'chatter' any more realistic than the stuff that floats about on any other website? Over on Metafilter yesterday someone asked Can you stuff 1,000,000 shrivelled corpses into a coal-fired power plant furnace and generate electricity with it? Was that as serious a question as to how to nuke London? (That's a pretty good end of the world thread, while we're on the subject.)
The Foreign Office are taking it all very seriously:
"We know the aspiration is there, we know the attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology is there."
Whether Gordon Brown prioritising his time in Tony's shoes to stamp out terror will send a message of fear back to the individuals who chat about sourcing this stuff is debatable. The American answer to such a threat seems to be to make bad television about it. Hopefully we got that out of our system with great television like Threads and When the Wind Blows.
We know that being attacked isn't a lot of fun. Maybe what we need next rather than a constant reminder that people want to do us harm is an unflinching look at why people may want to do us harm.
If we can work that out maybe we can find a way to avoid reinforcing such views. Not fucking about in places like Iraq may be a good start.