Fraser Nelson has some bad news for the wishfully thinking gifted crowd. He writes in The Spectator about the British spy icons MI5 and MI6. This section caught my eye:
...In the document, Islamic terrorism is explained in terms of social exclusion. ‘Most Muslims suffer high levels of disadvantage,’ it says — as if this were somehow a reason to blow yourself up on the London Underground. Amazingly, the Sure Start nursery scheme, Mr Brown’s pet project, is billed as a means of helping to defeat terrorism by promoting ‘cohesion in communities’. Of course, the biographies of the London bombers disproved the deprivation theory: they included university graduates, keen cricketers and teachers. One had been received in the House of Commons by an MP. Like the 9/11 bombers, they were not drawn from the underclass.Perhaps you need to read the entire thing. If you believe the American services are much better then perhaps at the end of the day, it will be the end of the day.
For more than a year, Mr Blair has known that his terrorism strategy is useless. Last autumn the No. 10 Delivery Unit handed him a confidential report based on an investigation into the way in which Project Contest was seen within Whitehall. Its findings were devastating. ‘The strategy is immature,’ the document said. ‘Forward planning is disjointed or has yet to occur. Accountability for delivery is weak. Real world impact is seldom measured.’ This is what intelligence officials — from Special Branch to the Ms and Qs of Whitehall — thought of their marching orders. Yet, staggeringly, Project Contest has survived for want of a better idea...
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Fiasco Royale: Labour’s ineptitude
Throughout their history, James Bond films have shown an eerie ability to predict national security threats. Dr No (1962) looked beyond the Cold War towards a new brand of international terrorism. In Goldfinger (1964) the menace was rogue nuclear weapons, and in Moonraker (1979), biological warfare. In Casino Royale, released this week, Bond fights terrorists by cutting off their sources of funding — precisely the mission which Gordon Brown has set himself in real life. The tragedy for Britain is that this time both 007 and the Chancellor have got it wrong.
The premise of the 21st Bond film is only marginally more fanciful than the Treasury’s. Both believe that extremism requires huge funds — and that it can be conquered by tracking down the terrorists’ banker (Bond) or shutting their bank accounts (Brown). Yet the intelligence community’s problem is that the terrorists cannot be tracked or controlled in such a way: as we have seen time and again, they require almost no resources, just the promise of untold bounty in Paradise. And the security service has lost years in this deadly race because the government has dithered for so long.
The fiasco of Tony Blair’s terror strategy has been one of the best-kept secrets in Whitehall. As a matter of principle, the Prime Minister never answers questions about MI5 or MI6 — although he enjoys flaunting what he claims is his close relationship with the ‘professionals’. Those affected by his years of indecision have tended to keep their counsel. But fractured pieces of information can be collated to form a wider picture of chaos, disharmony and a sense of betrayal. I wrote a brief item about this in a newspaper last weekend, and found the response remarkable. Since then, I have spoken to a range of sources who concur that the problem is grave and that much of the blame should be attributed to indecisive politicians...