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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

They Got Me Started

Last night's TV schedules included 'Don't Get me Started', a polemical and self-consciously controversial slot on Five, formerly Channel 5. (For non-British readers this station is the UK home of CSI etc and the final terrestrial broadcaster to be established, around a brief of buying in entertainment-based shows.)

The programme was fronted by David Aaronovitch, professional ex-Stalinist* and brother of the Doctor Who writer Ben**. Other guests included Alan Johnson, erstwhile Trotskyist turned 'decent left' campaigner. The argument was simple - those claiming that British foreign policy means we were 'asking for it' on 7/7 and in any future attacks are plain wrong.

Aaronovitch and friends have a point. London bombers claiming to act for all Muslims are kidding themselves. I'm against the "war on terror", not least because it denies nations their sovereignty and is driven by domestic politics. But my views wouldn't make it okay for me to burn down the local post office or shoot up a primary school, even "on behalf of Iraq". The old arguments against "individual terrorism", which the show's contributors may recall from their days on the far left, hold up surprisingly well. (That said, the easily exploited stupidities of the anti-war movement does not mean that the war itself should be supported.)

One would hope that those featured in the documentary didn't watch it live. After all, Tuesdays are usually a training night for the Territorial Army, where these pro-war journalists should be preparing to back up their words with deeds.




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