Wednesday, 20 October 2010

‘We are the radicals now’

Today, radical extremists launched an unprecedented series of  unprovoked, devastating, co-ordinated attacks on British jobs and public services. Almost as stunning as the attacks themselves, was the shock realization that the enemy isn’t an overseas power, or foreign terrorist group, but a close-knit cell of homegrown extremists, with strong links to the British establishment.

The attacks have stirred fears that elite British universities have become a breeding ground for extremists who operate through private networks and campus dining societies rather than high-profile university political societies.

Why did the ringleaders, David Cameron, Gideon Osborne and Nick Clegg, three enormously wealthy, college-educated young men with a bright future ahead of them, allow themselves to be lured into such a destructive plot?

The new radical ideology seems to be an elite phenomenon, based on money and contacts made at exclusive schools like Eton, St Pauls and Westminster, rather than a product of the presumed grievances of the downtrodden.

There is evidence to suggest that Cameron and Osborne were radicalized while still students at Oxford and that conditions at Oxford at that time were conducive to such radicalization. Despite persistent rumours that he joined the Cambridge University Conservative Association between 1986 and 1987, the third plotter, Clegg, seems to have been a more naïve individual, only recently drawn into the extremist ideology of waging jihad against public services. But by the spring of 2010, all of them were burning with excitement to strike at the heart of British society.

At University, Cameron and Clegg were both keen tennis players, while the pudgy-faced Osborne struck contemporaries as being entirely unremarkable, if well spoken and affable. Former fellow students have professed astonishment at the three’s involvement in the October 20th incident, although some have seen Cameron and Osborne’s membership of the secretive, restaurant-trashing Bullingdon Club as a chilling warning of their appetite for destruction.

According to our security correspondent, Nick Robinson, Cameron, Osborne and Clegg held meetings with their militant followers this September and October in order to make final preparations for today’s attack.

In their propaganda, the extremists have sought to place the responsibility for waging an ideological jihad against the public sector upon the British public themselves. In a time of austerity, this is seen as more cost-effective than having mujahideen come from other parts of the world to attack the UK.

Over the next decade, the influence that such extremists are able to bear on the rest of society is likely to increase greatly. Without setting off one explosive device or spilling a drop of blood, extremists are able to disrupt the life of a nation and its citizens in ways that few of us can yet imagine.