Saturday, July 23, 2005



During a press conference yesterday, Sir Ian Blair head of the Metropolitan Police said something like

‘I know that several rumours (about the bombings) have been sweeping across London and I just want to say this. Listen to the facts as they come out. Judge the situation by the facts’

Given the shocking quality and inconsistency of the ‘facts’ that have come out so far and the fact that Blair is so concerned about these rumours he’s telling people to discount them, I would just love to know what these rumours are. They may have swept across London but they haven’t reached me yet. I’ve heard plenty of speculation but few, if any, full blown rumours.

Can anyone help? I really want to hear them

The Mayor of London’s blog isn’t any help or fun at all and it currently includes a huge list of ‘conspiracy theories’ that will not be permitted on the site. It makes interesting reading, particularly as whoever compiled the list is so sure that the items are so self-evidently nonsense they don’t need refuting.

It’s also curious to see what does and doesn’t get classed as a conspiracy theory these days. The notion of Al Qaeda as a James Bond style global terror network, complete with underground bases and shadowy masterminds is conspicuously absent from the list.

It’s a shame Charles Gray is dead. He would have made an excellent, if somewhat camp and chubby, Osama Bin Laden.


It’s so difficult to find out what normal people really think about the attacks on London. It’s easy enough to pick up on people’s mood but their thoughts are not so clear. Suppression of open discussion about the events of the last few weeks is strong. Be it in the mainstream media or elsewhere.

A small example …

I hang around several photograph rating and critique sites on Flickr. Yesterday someone posted a Photoshopped picture of a London Underground sign with the London Eye in the background. The name of the station had been replaced with the words ‘You Will Fail’. I took exception to the banal message, the notion that the London Eye somehow represents Londoners and the fact that it was a rubbish picture anyway. Given that it was posted to a photo critique site, I felt entitled to leave a comment to that effect. This was followed up by a much more strongly worded comment from a Flickr buddy, David …

I think all this "we are not afraid" "you will fail" is just total complacent bullshit. We should be fuckin' afraid. What if "we" are wrong? What if "our way" of doing things ain't cool? What if bombing the living shit out of a country for profit and dominance, keeping countries tied up in slavery so we can sweat shop 'em, keeping whole continents in debt, lending them money to buy last years model back from us at massively high interest rates and generating more wealth and growth for ourselves is just bad, bad form?

I saw "Downfall". What struck me most about it was that in their minds, the Nazi's were the good guys.

When that paradigm starts to shift, then what?

When people get angry, really, really angry, we should be scared of what the comeback might be.

I'm not too headstrong to admit that I am scared, and that's what they want me to be, and so they haven't failed.

No rating. I'll tell you what I think though, I think that images like this are truly propagandist.

Right. I'm off to pack for my flight from Stansted tomorrow morning. I'll be travelling to Stansted with my family on a train. Then I'll be flying to Dinard. Fingers crossed.

I have to confess, I agreed with David 100%. The guy who posted the original picture clearly didn’t, as he erased our comments, preferring to retain the purity of the ‘Yay, right on’ crap that previous commentators had left. No thoughtful discussion or debate there.

If you'd like to see the quality of the ‘You Will Not Fail’, ‘We are not afraid’ stuff currently being produced, check out the schmaltz being slapped up here

It sure is reassuring to know that people in Valparaiso, Knoxville and Auckland who know how to use the 'Text' option in MS Paint are unafraid of bombs on the London Underground system.

as someone commented on Xymphora’s blog – ‘I can see (this stuff) selling like hotcakes on Oxford Street next to postcards of Lady Di and the Queen on a horse’

And no, I am not being mean spirited and denigrating people who are trying to do what little they can to deal with the situation. As with the anti poverty bracelets this year or those ludicrous anti bullying bracelets last year, this nonsense serves as a distraction from the real issues. It’s five year old stuff and I am not fucking five years old. It also represents tacit support for the policies of a government I fear and despise.

My single biggest problem with all this photoshopping is that, in all conscience and after much thought, I’m not even sure that these messages are being addressed to the right people. Sure, they are deliberately ambivalent but everyone ‘knows’ who they are aimed at.

I’ll let you into a secret. People ARE afraid and pretending that they’re not is pure bullshit. Our trains and buses are exploding. Police are holding people down and blowing their faces off in public. You’d have to have a screw loose not to be a little concerned by stuff like that.

That’s not to say anyone’s going to give in. Aside from the fact that I’m not sure how we would – what? run up a white flag over the Houses of Parliament – the fact is that we’re just as angry as we are afraid.

It’s OK to be angry. It’s also OK to contemplate shooting people in the head or joining a mob that beats people to death with clubs. The tricky part is making sure you’re thinking about beating the right people to death. Personally, I’m not taking any pointers from Tony Blair or Rupert Murdoch. They have a strong vested interest in pointing in the wrong direction.

And who are people kidding when they say ‘You will fail’. The terrorists have succeeded already. The politicians and people in the ‘security’ industry are already planning where to buy their holiday homes based on the loot they’ll be making. My part of the South Bank of the Thames is looking more like the West Bank of the Jordan every day.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Tony Blair deny any connection between the London Bombings and the attack on Iraq this week. Not only did they have no connection but Tony went on to brilliantly point out that ‘we can’t withdraw from Iraq as that would demonstrate that we allow terrorism to affect our foreign policy’. Sheer genius. I thought terrorism was the reason why we attacked the fucking country in the first place.

You will fail, my arse.

In some respects, they’ve already won.


Anonymous said...

yeah, but the thing is 'they've falied already', whether we're shitting ourselves doesn't matter (personally I'm not, cos I don't live in London. I honestly think I'd have more chance of being cut down by some twat on a bike in Charing cross there's somebody who needs to be shot!). Where do they go next carpet bomb London and Birmingham?.
Terrorism never gets it's goal, the same way as all this 'war on terrorism' bollocks will never work.

Stef said...

You are, or course, correct. In the sense you're talking about, no they can't win - what are we supposed to do? Surrender?

but... :)

Terrorism is all about goading a disproportionate response out of people and I'd say they've got that. So, in that respect, that's what I mean by 'they've won'.

Anonymous said...

yes I agree Stef, talking from a distance of 3 weeks or so since it started, but I think you're underestimating people. Unless this goes on day after day then people will forget about it, Terror is a passing emotion. They actually said on the TV the other day that terrorists would make a big mistake by bombing every week, as people would get used to it. Sounds complete bollocks I know, but, there is an element of truth in it. As far as possible (and going by the few things we do know about 'their' aims are), every thing they do is counter productive, they've fucked themselves!. Blair is stronger, Joe blogs can't vote for another party for several years (and when they do, all the parties will do the same thing, given the same pathetic 'intelligence'). Londoners (whoever they are these days) will survive, London will always survive, and War and terrorism will continue...but do so little. They're not 'lions of Islam', they're fucking fools, and they just don't see it. 300,000 people died after that tidal wave, can you remember much about it?

As you can see, I'm in 'don't agree with Stef' mode, sorry mate. I've said it before, but it's far far too soon to say anything concrete about these things.

I'm not saying you're wrong mate, and hell it's your blog, I just don't see the same way....I'm off to write we're not afraid on everyone of my photos ;)


Anonymous said...

So the coppers shot the wrong man, twats!!!...arm commuters I say!!!


Stef said...

@andy: Not agree mode is cool with me.

I've no doubt that people will forget. Have I said that they won't? But what won't change is the laws that are made, the countries we occupy and the idea that machinegun toting police or having to top people on the Underground is somehow normal. I'm hearing from all directions that this War on Terror may take decades to fight. Or do you believe that 'this won't change the way we live' BS?

I lived in this city throughout the IRA bombing campaign and saw nothing like the crap that's being laid down on us right now

@anonymous: do you know how many backpackers travelling on the underground at rushhour will be shot if we start arming commuters? Not because anybody would think they're carrying bombs but just because they could

Anonymous said...

er I am 'anonymous' :) was joke mate (dear god can you think of all the loonies in the tube with guns?...they'd delay all the trains ;)).
Sounds more and more that these weren't 'normal' coppers...more like SAS or some new gun totting cowboys..nice one lads, that'll reasure everyone.


Rules of War for American Forces in Iraq;
'It is illegal to maim, mutilate or shoot a dead body'

'Jee guys, let's shoot some live ones!'


Stef said...

haha - but I was joking too!!!

you obviously haven't had to travel on a crowded rush hour tube for half an hour being repeatedly smacked in the face by some goon with a bright orange, external frame backpack.


this isn't a joke

read this?

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005," police said on Saturday. "For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."

I'd say 'satisfied' is a pretty inappropriate word to use in the circunstances