Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tory scaremongering about conference

This is a crock of shit. The sole named source for the story's central claim, that Irish terrorists are targetting the Conservative Party conference in October, is Patrick Mercer MP. Mercer has form for spreading paranoia and for credulously recycling bogus claims. This is what Mercer says:

"They want to kill by the end of August in order to get themselves poised for whatever operations they can mount in September leading up to the Tory party conference in early October. There are doubts over whether they have the capability, but the aspiration is certainly there and West Midlands police would be crazy not to take the threat seriously."

Sadly, the West Midlands police say they are unaware of any threat to target the Tory conference. This fact is buried rather deep down inside the article, beneath a number of reaction statements from Conservative spokespersons on Northern Ireland which tacitly demonstrate that they are unaware of any threat either. This is not the first time that there has been scaremongering, in content-free news articles, about Irish 'terrorists' coming to bomb 'the mainland'. For example, unnamed "sources" warn variously that "the terrorists are plotting to smuggle in a lorry bomb ... they may try to hit a high-profile target such as Canary Wharf or the Tory party conference ... the Continuity IRA are close to perfecting their bomb-making technology..." etc etc.

What we can gather from this, I suggest, is that elements in the state want people to believe that there is a threat from Irish Republicans resuming the armed struggle. There is a minority of the movement that is angry about the inadequacies of the peace settlement, but these are a hopeless fringe, probably penetrated by moles from top to bottom, and I doubt they could pull off a john in a bus shelter much less an attack on one of the most heavily secured annual political events. Secondly, we can gather that Patrick Mercer and possibly some allies in the security forces want us to believe that the Conservative Party conference is a target and that the West Midlands police must ratchet up security to terror alert levels, despite no demonstrable threat. Now, why might this be? I don't suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that one of the first major signs of resistance to the Tories' unprecedented attack on the welfare state will be a national demonstration outside the conference on 3rd October?