Just over a year ago, the media went into a frenzy over the so-called
"Birmingham "terror" plot".
The story was that some people were alleged to be planning a kidnapping
and (it was rumoured) a beheading. With nothing more substantial
to go on than allegations and rumours (and government spin), ITN
ran a headline story which took up most of its 30-minute 10.30pm
Every conceivable fear-raising device was used – old archive
footage of terrorists and terrorist beheadings, gratuitous ruminations
on the effects of such terrorist attacks becoming widespread in
Britain, alarming but baseless speculations, more footage of terrorist
executioners standing behind their blindfolded victims, wielding
instruments suitable for decapitation, etc.
At one point a commentator stated that the terrorists didn't
need to successfully carry out their plans – that their
goals were accomplished simply by bringing fear to the country.
He said this without any hint of irony in a "news" report
which seemed to accomplish precisely this goal.
Another "scare" which seemed to vanish like a bad dream
once the public had been sufficiently frightened by it. Cue opinion
poll: "Would you rather be fingerprinted for ID cards
or beheaded by terrorists who have run amok in your home town".
terror trial man speaks out