Anorak News | Home & Away

Home & Away

by | 12th, August 2005

‘SINCE everything is about the war on terror, at least in the papers’ minds, let’s consider today’s news as a whole. Tony Blair goes away and the following things occur:

‘Dear guys, wish you could all be here, but the villa’s not big enough, and we need you to carry on as normal’

1. Robin Cook, that smug, gnome-like former foreign secretary, the standard bearer of Labour’s “ethical foreign policy”, dies while up a large hill in a remote part of Scotland.

Tony is shocked, saddened and choked up that such a powerful force in politics has died. But even so, as the Mail reports, Tony will not be breaking off his summer hols in the Caribbean to attend a memorial service for Cook at Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral.

2. Perhaps Tony could not come back even if he wanted to. The front page of the Mirror screams: “NO FLY ZONE”.

The story is that with Tony and Cherie aboard a boat (see the Sun’s snap of Cherie clambering aboard a speedboat with all the grace you’d expected from a woman in her position: arse up, hands grasping, head down), Heathrow airport is “crippled”.

A catering row at British Airways has led to the suspension of all the firm’s flights to and from the UK. The Mirror says that the chaos is set to continue and could spread to other airports.

(Airport staff are supporting the 800 workers sacked by catering firm Gate Gourmet, who mounted picket lines at Heathrow with the backing of the T&G union. Baggage handlers, aircraft loaders and airport bus drivers noticed the good weather, saw their brothers in need and thought it a favourable day to strike.)

3. At the time of the airport strike, Omar Bakri, the Sun’s favourite mad mullah, was being arrested in Lebanon. The Sun says that last night Bakri was sleeping in a 4ft by 6ft cell, no bigger than his own Ford Galaxy.

4. In the front-page story “NAILED” – horribly fitting given the contents of the failed bombers’ rucksacks – the Sun says that as well as Bakri, nine other fanatics have been rounded up by the police.

“The circumstances of our national security has changed,” says home Secretary Charles Clarke. “It is vital we act against those who threaten it.”

And act we will? We will look tough and say tough things. The script demands it. But how will we back it up?

The Mail asks: “Will they really be thrown out?” The paper says the nine extremists held in the UK can expect to stay for some years, while they appeal against any moves to have them deported.

And then there’s Bakri, who tells the Mail that incarcerated or not, he only ever intended to return to the UK as a visitor or a tourist.

But these are dangerous times. The British authorities are taking no chances – Bakri failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions that he was leaving the country so his £43.30 per week disability allowance has been cancelled for the duration of this trip.

You want tough, Bakri. The British Government will give you tough.

And instantly you see that these incidents are no random events, rather parts of the larger war on terror.

You might think Tony’s having a laugh in the sun, that we don’t know how to deal with the extremists, that horrible, plasticated airplane food is not worth fighting over and that Dr David Kelly could never happen again, but the news suggests otherwise.

There’s a war going on and the forces detailed to protect us are acting in mysterious ways…’

Posted: 12th, August 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink