So we know now: the terrorists set off from various parts of Leeds, some unfamiliar, some familiar to me. This depressed me so much I couldn't really be bothered to blog about it, but we may as well let it slither out in the open. Leeds was always very different to Bradford; it wasn't in Leeds that copies of The Satanic Verses were burned or where I was chased towards a police dog squad by the mob during the 2001 race riot. Partly, I suppose, this was just the divisions being lubricated by money, as Leeds even at worst was always richer than its twin city. Not, though, that there weren't really nasty districts like Gipton or Chapeltown (a few years ago). But it wasn't from there that the killers came. Another argument is that unlike Bradford, Leeds had a long and honourable tradition of accepting migrants (the Kindertransport kids being exhibit A, followed by the immediate post-war West Indians). But that shouldn't be overstated - Bradford's history includes very considerable German influence starting in the 19th century. We don't boast about it, but Bradford even produced its own Nazi, Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, führer of the Nazi Party's Germans Overseas Organisation and intimate of Rudolf Hess. Now that's what I call multiculturalism.
But it happened. I fear that whatever real unity or tolerance existed is now under serious threat. I also suspect that it existed far less than we boasted of it. We may recall that, to take an iconic Yorkshire example, West Yorkshire's Pakistanis formed their own cricket league, the Quaid-e-Azam League, named for Mohammed Ali Jinnah. You might think, and I did, and no doubt I was taught to think, that this was a fine local institution. But the reason for its existence was simply because its founders couldn't join the horde of existing league cricket clubs. It was 1992 before anyone not born in Yorkshire could play for Yorkshire; although one of the first new recruits was Sachin Tendulkar, no less, I can't think of anyone from Muslim Yorkshire who's got very far at Headingley. In my own sport, Rugby League, I can think of only two: Ikram Butt of Featherstone Rovers and England, and a scrum-half from Leigh (in Lancashire, of course), Sarfraz Patel, who bamboozled the Keighley defence all afternoon as the Leigh fan directly behind me jeered him until he was warned to shut up by the stewards. One of the killers was a cricket fanatic.
Yes, I know it's a slightly frivolous example, but I think it illustrates the point. Only at best was Yorkshire in the 1980s and 90s "multicultural". At worst, it was a ramshackle coalition of interests, as Lord Curzon belittled the Indian Congress; just a collection of mutually uninterested, rather than necessarily hostile, groups inhabiting the same space without making contact. And the best and the worst were simultaneous. Bradford could burn while Keighley was peaceful, so it was always possible to point out the good in response to the bad. Or vice versa: see the American blowhards falling over themselves to denounce Britain and laud France, when on Wednesday, July 6th, Tony Blair was a saint to them and Jacques Chirac on a par with Saddam Hussein. And see the BNP busily spreading the poison. Nosemonkey of Europhobia was the first, I think, to point out that their targeting of Dewsbury might have contributed to the killers' recruitment. Well, I'm really pleased to see that the BNP's challenge in the Barking council election has tanked. After the "bus-bomb" leaflet, they got just what they deserved. And this is serious. According to Juan Cole, a key goal in al-Qa'ida thinking is to turn western societies fascist. Terror will lead to repression, repression to radicalisation, radicalisation to more terror.
This is an interestingly Western insight: it is, of course, Hegelian logic, the dialectic, hacked out like a chunk of code and wired into the ideology of jihad. Interestingly, every totalitarian movement has at some point found this doctrine useful: it was at the very foundation of communism, fascists enshrined it as the Backlash Strategy, now the jihadis have grabbed it. In itself, it is a powerful explaining force, but in the version they us it is disgusting. (It's also anti-Hegelian - after all, the conflict of thesis and antithesis brings forth synthesis, but these people certainly do not want to incorporate any of the values of the detested enemy.) So, let us get this completely clear: people who argue for measures of revenge against broad groups ("Muslims", "immigrants" - you provide the rest) are traitors. They are doing the enemy's work.
Oh, by the way, Richard Garcia: I'm glad you are taking such a heroic anti-terrorist stance - 12,000 miles away in Japan, according to your IP address. Fascist expats piss me off deeply, because you give me a bad reputation when I have to visit places you live. (You can probably guess that, no, I'm not a social worker.) When you've finished reciting the Scum's editorials, I'd advise you to consider the relative levels of terrorist threat we are subject to, then fuck off.