Last week’s events in London raised a recurrent dilemma for journalists, including me. It is a huge story when a terrorist kills four people then is shot down in Palace Yard, Westminster. Yet dare we say how fortunate we are that since 9/11 Muslim terrorists have proved incapable of mounting an attack remotely as lethal as that on the Twin Towers? An intelligence officer told me recently that he worries far more about Russia than about Muslim suicidalists, and this must be the rational assessment. The public needs awakening to the menace posed by Vladimir Putin’s adventurism. Meanwhile, Khalid Masood’s dreadful deed reflects the flailings of a death cult. These will cause us regular surges of distress, but — to contradict David Cameron’s silly words — Muslim fanaticism does not constitute an ‘existential threat’. Last week nonetheless seemed the wrong time to suggest counting our blessings.
This is an extract from Max Hastings’ Diary, which appears in this week’s Spectator