Dress Down Friday

Retiring Militants

A 72 year old woman has been charged with five offences under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act for sending suspicious packages to Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family.

According to The Telegraph :(Shirley Rita Freed) is also accused of sending letters containing white powder to Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, and Ann Clwyd MP.

Ann Clwyd? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I think you are (and you are probably right too.)

This case has me wondering why more “freedom fighters” do not make use of the elderly. Think of all the advantages: They have not got long to live anyway; absolutely nobody feels threatened by an 80 year old with a handbag (even if it is secretly stuffed full of semtex) absolutely anyone (including a policeman) will help to manoeuvre them wherever they want to go; and nobody will bat an eyelid when they use the house of commons loo 15 times in an hour as they struggle to prime the fuses on their home-made zimmer-bomb.

And even if it doesn’t go off they can plead senility and claim that the noxious chemicals found in their shopping bag were something that the doctor gave them for their “problems” .

History, unfortunately, does not furnish us with too many examples of the geriatric nihilist, although The Guardian does give us the truly scary figure of 65 year old ex Barclays bank manager, Anne Gwynne who’s main contribution to civilized society was to say:

I really, really understand the martyrs [suicide bombers]. I am very good friends with the family of the two who went on the mission to Tel Aviv. One saw the other explode, and then he walked away and blew himself up. They are such lovely families and very proud of their sons.

Charming. I expect the families of the twenty-three people who died in the explosions will be extremely sad that they did not get the chance to meet the bombers socially.

I suppose we could consider the assorted loonies who chain themselves to Greenham common and suchlike and mumble manically about the thin end of a conspiracy when the local beat bobby shouts into their hearing aid that the Cruise missiles have not been there since 1991….

But like Mrs Freed, they are really just old-style English eccentrics doing what such people have always done and always will do: fighting the “injustices” of the world from the comfort of angst-ridden English suburbia, seeking meaning for a life of comfortable boredom in the very real miseries of others.

Not “terrorists.”

I still think that “insurgent” groups are missing a trick however. Why do you think they are not using this prime asset in the never-ending battle against imperialism? Just think how much sarin that you could fit into a colostomy bag – a method which even has the advantage of its own built in means of propulsion….