New British PM a Welcome Respite from Blair's "Apocalyptic View of Terrorism"
New Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown's milder approach to the terror threat appears to be more up Cowell's alley, judging by his favorable "news analysis" on Brown Wednesday: "Brown's Reaction to Terrorist Threat, So Different From Blair's, Reassures Many."
"Before Gordon Brown took power as Britain's new prime minister, there was much talk about whether the electorate would warm to the dour, methodical and detail-driven Scot, particularly after so many years of soaring oratory from his predecessor, Tony Blair
"The answer came more quickly than anyone thought, with the foiled terrorist attacks in London on Friday and at Glasgow Airport on Saturday, just days after Mr. Brown took office.
"For his admirers, it seemed, Mr. Brown's very dourness offered an antidote to the theatrical Mr. Blair.
"In a somewhat wooden address to the nation on Saturday and in an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Mr. Brown played down the threat, treating the episodes as a crime rather than a threat to civilization. Yet, his minimalist approach seemed to strike a reassuring chord with Britons, many of whom had expressed fatigue with Mr. Blair's apocalyptic view of terrorism."
The text box read: "Some Britons seem to have tired of Blair's apocalyptic view."
"'Gordon Brown has got off to a flying start as prime minister,' Peter Riddell, a political columnist for The Times of London, wrote Tuesday, saying Mr. Brown's poll ratings for strength and leadership were 'soaring' after the thwarted attacks.
"He received high marks from civil rights groups as well. 'So far, at least, Mr. Brown has passed the first test of his administration,' Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said Sunday. 'He has not played politics with the terror threat, and has treated this weekend's events as an operational rather than a political matter.'
Cowell didn't mention an apparentexample of political correctness in the new administration. An article in Britain's Daily Express newspaperreported the Browngovernment has banned the use of the term "Muslim" when discussing the terrorist plots: "Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word 'Muslim' in connection with the terrorism crisis. The Prime Minister has also instructed his team - including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith - that the phrase 'war on -terror' is to be dropped. The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more 'consensual' tone than existed under Tony Blair."
Yet Cowell lamented Brown has not gone far enough: "In some ways, Mr. Brown has not shed the past. Part of his first response to the foiled attacks of recent days was to blame Al Qaeda, even though security officials shied from that depiction.
"Ultimately, too, he will be under pressure, as Mr. Blair was, to balance civil liberties against more draconian security measures."
This isn't the first time Cowell has warned of "draconian" security measures to combat terrorism.
"In practical terms, that means Mr. Brown must decide whether to press for an extension of the permissible period of detention without charge for terrorism suspects to 90 days from 28, and new legislation to permit the use of evidence from wiretaps in court cases.
"But he has raised expectations among supporters that the shift in tone will also mean a shift in substance.
To support his theory, Cowell offered the views of a left-wing newspaper columnist: "Jackie Ashley, a columnist in The Guardian newspaper, said there had been 'no amateur dramatics, no histrionics, nothing silly' in Mr. Brown's muted response to the foiled attacks.
"'With his sober assessment of the danger and warnings of the inconvenience we will have to face, he made it clear that knee-jerk responses to atrocities will be a thing of the past,' Ms. Ashley wrote Monday."