Victor’s right. Thanks to the IRA, the British have the best counter-terrorism police in the western world. However, for that very reason, they’re looking at it through an obsolete template. MI5, the Special Branch and all the rest think it’s the 1970s all over again – that the bad stuff can be held down to what Her Majesty’s Government used to call, somewhat cynically, “an acceptable level of violence” – ie, every so often a few people will be blown to pieces in railway stations and shopping centers, and it’s awfully bad luck if you happen to be one of them, old chap, but for everyone else the problem will be small and containable.
The difference is the shifting facts on the ground – the demographic weakness that leads to elderly Englishmen receiving geriatric care from Iraqi doctors straight out of Baghdad Medical School. The IRA’s campaign took place among a largely static population. One could make generally safe extrapolations about the likelihood of holding things down to an “acceptable level”. But in the same three decades as Northern Ireland’s “Troubles”, hitherto moderate Muslim populations in south Asia and elsewhere were radicalized by the Wahhabist export drive; and Islam became the principal source of population growth in every major English city.
The Arabization of Islam and the Islamization of Europe provide an ever bigger comfort zone for the bad guys to operate in. Substantial numbers of British Muslims share the same goals as the terrorists: they wish one day to live under Islamic law in the United Kingdom. The Gordon Browns of this world will huff and puff that they’ll never give in to the “men of violence”, while incrementally making the very same concessions to the men of non-violence.
If you’re American, Happy Independence Day. If you’re British, Happy Indenial Day.