After 11th September 2001, the world suffered a collective failure of common and declared war on an abstract noun: "terrorism". The British Government joined in this intellectual insult and decided to do the terrorists job for them by introducing a range of counter-terrorism measures available from the "you couldn't make it up" shelf.
One of my personal favourites was detention on the grounds of being foreign. This one went down particularly well with the residents of Surrey, who had been asking for it for years. Unfortunately for Little Bookham, the Law Lords decided locking up people because you didn't like the colour of their skin was a bat-shit fucking loco move. The government took this advice on board, tied it to a chair, and beat it into a bloody, messy pulp until it resembled something new, called control orders.
Control orders are about as an effective weapon against terrorism as prayer and seem to rely on the government trusting that those under them won't break the terms of the order - except of course a truly hardened terrorist probably won't care too much about what he legally can and can't do and will fuck off quicker than you can say "jihad". To date, seven people under control orders have gone on the run, suggesting the other eleven either aren't terrorists, or are so dumb that we shouldn't worry about the threat they pose as any bomb they construct is likely to be made out of Mentos and Diet Coke.
The message the Government seems to be sending out is clear: if you are Muslim (or even slightly brown skinned) you're probably better off back where you came from - of course, if where you came from was Bradford, then you're screwed. Saying that, if you were living in Bradford, life was probably already pretty dire for you anyway.
The anti-terrorism laws are so obviously open to abuse and so the police tend to do silly things like carting off 82-year-old Holocaust survivors for daring to heckle Jack Straw and shooting Brazilians seven times... in the head... with bullets designed to kill with a single shot.
Another unfortunate of upshot of this crackdown on terrorism is that evolutionary throwbacks like John Reid are allowed into the Home Office to argue the case for locking someone up for 90 days without charge and say things like
"We may have to modify some of our freedoms in the short-term in order to prevent their misuse and abuse by those who oppose our fundamental values and would destroy our freedoms and values in the long-term."
Thankfully John Reid left the government right around the time Gorilla Kingdom opened at London Zoo.
All in all, the counter-terrorism laws in this country have been ineffective, serving only as a recruitment tool for extremism and objects of derision for everyone. It seems we've learned the sum equivalent of bugger all from the Troubles and are just repeating the same mistakes (thankfully without Gerry Adams banging on about how Sinn Fein is a "legitimate political party").