Reds under the bed

Anyone heard that radio advert for the Anti-Terrorism Hotline? I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like this:

"What’s the difference between someone buying a lot of something, and someone making a bomb? How can you tell someone who’s filming for a holiday video and someone preparing for a terrorist attack? You don’t have to know the difference – call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline and let the police figure it out for you."

Apart from the fact the advert might as well be worded "what’s the difference between that Asian-looking man filming Big Ben and a terrorist?" the whole thing makes me shudder. The scenarios they mention are so banal that if taken literally, we could all end up reporting half the people we know. There’s no encouragement to apply basic common sense, just suspect everyone! That guy next to you – he’s a terrorist! That woman asking for borax in the chemist – she’s a terrorist! That teenager making a mobile video of the National Gallery – he’s just a fucking tourist, deal with it.


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