Murder vs Terrorism

As politicians from all sides condemn the brutal killings in Northern Ireland, one word seems conspicuously absent from their comments: “terrorism”.

As politicians from all sides condemn the brutal killings in Northern Ireland, one word seems conspicuously absent from their comments: terrorism.  Gordon Brown seemed particularly careful to label the perpetrators “murderers”.

I am reminded of a Matthew Parris column from two-and-a-half years ago, comparing the British Government’s approach to violence in Northern Ireland, and the radical Islamist threat:

Let’s treat the plotters as common criminals, not soldiers in a global war

It is clear why this distinction is made.  Labelling the attacks “murders” suggests that these are isolated incidents, divorced from ideology.  Meanwhile “terrorism” would point to a Second Troubles.  No-one but the Real IRA wants that.  If/when we fall victim to another Islamist terror attack, it will be interesting to note what language the Government uses then, especially now that the “War on Terror” has fallen out of vogue.

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