“Oh dear but”

Tim Hames makes some important points in his column in The Times today:

The breadth of the coalition of “Oh dear, but . . . ” in this instance is astonishing. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, who can normally be relied on for controversy, has declined to condemn either the specifics of this event or the shoot-to-kill strategy behind it. The Liberal Democrats, whose purpose in life, surely, is to defend civil rights in difficult times, are similarly reticent. Muslim Labour MPs, such as Khalid Mahmood have urged caution. Even Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, has given warning against a “rush to judgment”. It has been left to the Brazilian Government to express anger about the manner in which Mr Menezes died.

It should not be angry alone. I am a hardliner on the War on Terror and remain a hawk on the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. But if al-Qaeda has created an atmosphere in which an ordinary person can have five bullets pumped into him by the police, and society shrugs its shoulders, then the terrorists have already won a modest victory.