X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Blogs

You’re going to lose. It is only you against many.

23 May 2013

1:15 PM

23 May 2013

1:15 PM

If, in the aftermath of an act of would-be terror, the people refuse to be terrorised does it still remain a terrorist act? Perhaps but there’s a sense, I think, in which we should not grant yesterday’s guilty men the title “terrorist”. Murderers, surely, will suffice? There is no need to grant them the war they so plainly desire.

This murder in Woolwich was an uncommon act of barbarity; the product too of a kind of mental illness. That does not excuse the act, far from it, and there’s no need to be sparing in our condemnation. But, appalled as we may be, it seems important to recognise and remember just how unusual these acts remain.

There will, quite properly, be consideration of whether the security service could have done more. Nevertheless it is foolish to suppose that MI5 and the police can predict, counter or foil every would-be assassin. Occasionally the bomber – or in this instance the machete-wielder, gets through. Nevertheless, this was the first successful jihadist murder in London since 2005. The 1970s and 1980s were much more dangerous times.

[Alt-Text]


That is not meant as a way of minimising or downplaying yesterday’s horrors, merely as a reminder that they should be put in some kind of context and considered in some kind of perspective.

The Prime Minister’s remarks this morning were well-judged. So too Paul Goodman’s article at ConservativeHome. By contrast there is an unpleasant undercurrent of I told you so nonsense coming from sections of both right and left. Ken Livingston and George Galloway, surely to no-one’s surprise, have lived down to already low expectations. As a general rule, anyone whose reaction to this kind of event is to use it as a supporting pillar for their own longstanding prejudices should probably not be trusted.

Far from being in denial, most sensible people – that is, most people who have ever considered the issue – have known that something like this could happen and, indeed, probably would occur at some point. But it seems sensible, surely, to contemplate these risks in a sober and restrained manner. Hysteria is counter-productive, not least since it grants lunatics what they want. There is no need to meet their declaration of “war” with one of our own.

That doesn’t mean ignoring them or the threat they pose. Of course not. But there is nothing to be gained from judging all muslims (or all muslim converts) by the actions of a deranged and unrepresentative minority. There is no such thing as collective guilt in circumstances such as these. It is utterly depressing, therefore, that, quite sensibly, comments have to be closed on posts such as this.

But, in general, the response to yesterday’s savagery has, I think, been impressively restrained. Ingrid Loyau-Kennett spoke for the country as a whole when she warned the killers: You’re going to lose. It is only you against many. As long as we remember that, we will prevail.

 

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close