Thursday, May 25, 2017

Those Convenient Conspiracies Strike Again

Well, that didn't take long, did it?  The conspiracy theories, I mean.  Most specifically, the conspiracy theories which have sprung up around Monday night's bomb attack in Manchester.  The surprising source of the main theory seems to have been someone who was once on the X Factor (as a contestant, he might even have won it, but I'm afraid I wouldn't know as I hate 'talent' shows), who, via social media, seemed to be implying that the whole incident was a 'false flag' operation, masterminded by the government to draw attention away from their recent poor performance in the General Election campaign. I have to say that, while the timing might seem convenient, it really is a bit of a stretch to claim that the government would be prepared to kill twenty two innocent victims, including several children, just because Labour had started closing the gap in some opinion polls and Theresa May had just had a nightmare of a televised interview with Andrew Neill. 

I can think of several terror incidents which appeared to be incredibly conveniently timed for those in power at the time.  The July 7 attacks on the London Tube spring to mind - just as the Blair government was encountering resistance in trying to push through more repressive security measures, including compulsory ID cards, along comes a major terror incident which would appear to justify their proposed policies.  Then there was 9/11 itself, which seemed conveniently timed for George W Bush, as it could be used to justify declaring war on Iraq.  But I think that we have to accept that these things are simply coincidences - the supposed linkage only seems apparent in retrospect.  Moreover, whilst Bush did succeed in using 9/11 to push forward his aggressive policies in Iraq, the fact is that if it hadn't been 9/11 then he would have seized upon something else as justification.  The invasion of Iraq was an inevitability from the moment Bush took office - 9/11 just allowed him to achieve it sooner rather than later.  In the case of Blair,let's not forget that, ultimately, he wasn't able to bring in all of his extreme security measures: in the end he still lost the argument on ID cards, which, thankfully, we still don't have in the UK.

The only one of these 'convenient conspiracies' I'm minded to give any credence to is the alleged attempted military coup in Turkey, which allowed President Erdogan to award himself more exedutive powers and repress critics in the press and politics.  That had no massacres of innocent civilians, instead it was based around Erdogan calling upon the public to oppose the supposed coup attempt, thereby making it look as if it was a populist victory.  He was then able to manipulate public anger to consolidate his position.  That said, I don't think that there is any proof that he orchestrated the whole saga.  It's just my unfounded suspicions.  But to get back to the issue in hand: the fact is that some politicians simply have the luck of the Devil, in that, when they are in trouble, something always comes along which they can exploit to try and dig themselves out of their hole.

And that's the key thing - their willingness to exploit disasters, wars and terror incident to their advantage, the ability to see these things as opportunities rather than tragedies.  I have no doubt that May will seek to use this to push her hardline security agenda, justifying more restrictions on civil liberties, more invasion of privacy, more monitoring of the web.  I'm sure she'll use it to ramp up the 'fear factor' in the last couple of weeks of the election campaigning - we've already got armed troops in evidence -which always tends to favour the ruling party, as a frightened electorate tends to stick with the status quo.  Better the devil they know.   None of which means that the government actually orchestrated the attack in Manchester.  They're too incompetent, for one thing.  But you can be sure that they'll exploit it to the hilt.

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