Photo credit: The Spectator
By Douglas Murray
Well at least we all know the form by now. This morning Islamist suicide-bombers struck one of the few European capitals they haven’t previously hit in a mass-casualty terrorist attack.
The standard response now goes as follows. First the body parts of innocent people are flung across airport check-ins or underground trains. Briefly there is some shock. On social media the sentimentalists await the arrival of this atrocity’s cutesy hashtag or motif and hope it will tide them over until the piano man arrives at the scene of the attack to sing ‘Imagine there’s no countries’. Meantime someone will hopefully have said something which a lot of people can condemn as ‘inappropriate’. I see that the Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson was this morning’s Twitter miscreant, foolish enough to say in the wake of the Brussels attack that the EU might not make us very safe. One may agree or disagree with this sentiment, but Ms Pearson should have known that the only acceptable thing to do after a suicide bomber detonates beside the European Commission is to acclaim the Commission as one of the few entities able to keep us safe.
We will shortly move to the next phase, which is to find a good news story amid the rubble. Anything will do, but best of all is a Muslim good news story. After Paris it was swiftly reported that one of the suicide bombers at Stade de France had been turned away by a brave Muslim security guard. The story whizzed around the world before anyone could check whether it was true. It wasn’t. But people needed it to be. Not because Muslims don’t do good deeds, but because in the wake of any Islamist terrorist attack people need people opposed to the bombers to be Muslim and the bombers themselves not to be Muslim. Then the good Muslim can represent Islam while the bad Muslims can be said to have nothing to do with it.
Soon we will move to the next phase, during which broadcast media will ask questions that address no major points. So in the UK the government’s Communications Data Bill will get quite a lot of mentions. We will probably also have another round of the old discussion about Control Orders versus TPIMs. This will most likely be first raised by a Labour politician hoping to look tough. Everywhere on the media people will start to talk of ‘radicalisation’ as though it is something you can get from the water, and experts will claim insight into the ‘paths to extremism’. Nicky Morgan will announce that the Prevent agenda should be extended to encompass pre-kindergarten. A year later she will close some Quaker-run nursery.
Meanwhile other people will change the subject over to the question of Belgium’s unacceptably interventionist foreign policy. Others will get onto Israel-Palestine. At around the same time the Corbynite-wing of the Labour party will get onto their favourite subject which is not dead bodies in airports but people who have been looked at meanly on a bus while wearing a headscarf. By at least tomorrow the story of a savage ‘backlash’ (consisting mainly of stares and horrible things written on social media) will be being talked-up by all mainstream Muslim leaders. By Thursday no one will be talking about the victims.