The scourge of terrorism
I'll link to this via Harry's Place on the MI5 leader's speech assessing the strength of Islamistic terrorism in the UK. Let's just extract the figures, shall we?
The question is, where are they, and what are they doing?
Why should I ask? Well, let's look at the IRA, shall we? According to Wikipedia PIRA had 300 or so active terrorists and a full membership/netwoirk of around 750, in the early 1980's with the troubles and terrorist activity at its height. Less than half the numbers of alleged Al Qaeda members in the UK now - and they were concentrated in a tiny area in the North East of Ireland. These 300 people fought the British state to a standstill, were held back by some 18,000 British troops stationed in the Province - and were able to routinely murder opponents, and set off bombs.
Obviously, they had a hinterland to work in. We can roughly guage the size of that through the Sinn Fein - an explicit vote for the IRA. In 1983 Sinn Fein got 102,701 - that's soft support, but it ranges to such things as turning up for demonstrations, refusing to co-operate with police, giving money, giving shelter, etc. etc.
Given that 1 in 20 Muslims are alleged to be in support of terror, that gives Islamistic terrorists something like a hinterland of 82,000 - but with scope to increase into the wider 1.6 million strong Muslim community generally.
Now, where are the Islamic neighbourhoods controlled by terrorirsts? The IRA managed that much? OK, so Al Qaeda isn't the same kind of insurgency, but still, you'd think their aim would be to birfurcate and draw the wider Muslim community into the war on their side, and to establish themselves as the leadership of that community (as Sinn Fein have succesfully done).
I know, I know, Tony's loyal accolytes will tell us that Islamofascists are different from the PIRA, they're not rational, they're nihilists, they have no real strategy beyond hating us and our freedoms and our values.
Perhaps, though, perhaps they aren't, and we should examine them as we would any insurgency. In which case we have to ask, why haven't they achieved more, given they have roughly the same resources as PIRA had at it's terroristic height? Well, two answers spring to mind -
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they don't exist and are just a government conspiracy to fighten us into submission - but we do have to ask, why when the PIRA could do it can't AQ?