Britain is in uproar today after the discovery of what is alleged to be the largest ever suburban home-made explosives factory in a suburban Lancashire house, and the charging of a member of an extremist group with a variety of offences.

Whoops, sorry, no it’s not. Because the extremist group in question was not Islamic, it was the British National Party, and the former member, Robert Cottage, is a white Anglo-Saxon.

Nothing could better indicate the degree to which the “war on terror” is about anything else other than actual risk to life and limb than the treatment of this story. If the police are right, then Cottage was further along the way towards creating actual mayhem than the various Muslims who have been arrested or detained without trial for preaching violence and hate.

Indeed, the arrest would seem to indicate the racist nature of “branded” crimes such as anti-terror laws, since Cottage has merely been charged with offences under the Explosives Act.

Right-wing nutter terrorists tend to be angry loners: they’re sort of celebrity bloggers with access to fertiliser. Thus there is usually no terrorist conspiracy, because they have no-one to conspire with.

Yet the last London mad-bomber – neo-Nazi David Copeland, who nail-bombed the Admiral Duncan and two other pubs in 1999 – caused far more genuine fear than all these alleged Islamist plots in the alleged “pre-planning” (ie coffee-shop bullsh-t) stage.

Copeland “only” killed three people (and maimed about a dozen more) but not for want of trying – the blast of the last bomb he placed was blocked by a pillar. Targeting places where gay, black and Asian people hang out – ie inner-city pubs with good music and food – he was charged simply with murder. As he should have been. There’s absolutely no reason to have the word “terrorism” appear in the criminal code at all – murder, or conspiracy to commit is perfectly adequate to cover all such events, unless your purpose is political rather than legal.

Should there be the tragedy of another neo-Nazi bombing sometime in the future, one good result of it will be a refocusing on the real roots of current terrorism of all stripes: modern western anomie, attaching itself to a political cause.

Meanwhile see tomorrow’s Australian for an exclusive on al-Qaeda’s plan to attack the quarter final of the Footscray-Newport Trugo league – a game in which both men and women brazenly wave their rear ends at each other, while hitting rubber discs with a mallet, and by which Osama himself has been greatly angered, according to a man the Oz’s news team met in a pub car park, while buying cheap speakers from the back of a van. It’s just another in the wave of suicide attacks being perpetrated by The Australian on its own credibility.

Peter Fray

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