Threat from terrorists

Whilst the threat to all of us in the UK from terrorist attacks may have massively increased from today, please remember that it still remains a fraction of risk we all face from every day things like driving.

Maybe I do need protection from some terrorists as defined by the law - I can see one person who seems to be threatening serious violence and serious damage to property by means of airstrikes to advance political cause and influence a government. Have I misread the definition?

Section 1 of Terrorism Act 2000

1 Terrorism: interpretation.

(1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—

(a) the action falls within subsection (2),

(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it—

(a) involves serious violence against a person,

(b) involves serious damage to property,

(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,

(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.


  1. I suspect that the issue may be that section (1)(b) isn't considered to be brought into play as Daesh are not considered to be either a government, or an international governmental organisation, and all of section 1 has to be fulfilled for the interpretation to kick in.

    Therefore, airstrikes (as proposed) would not be considered to be a terrorist activity.

    1. Ah, you may be right - but is this not a play to influence the "government" of Syria in some way? I am shit at international politics, honest.

    2. Would they not fit into the "section of the public" category in that case?

  2. You've completely missed the concepts of Crown Immunity and Royal Prerogative. There's an interesting paper here http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06667.pdf around the legality of arming terrorist groups in Syria

    1. No, I have really not missed the point - you are saying they are above the law, and would be terrorists by any definition if not because of that.

    2. Both those principles are within the law. If they didn't exist then the legislation would have been written differently.

  3. Personally I don't think the air strikes in Syria make us any more or less safe. We were already bombing IS targets in Iraq, so they already hate the UK. And it won't actually improve anything either, because plenty of other countries were already bombing Syria (and then there's the argument about whether bombing does any good at all).

    1. At best they make no difference, which is a reason not to bother.

    2. 'At best' they do make a positive difference. It's whether or not that's likely to be the outcome which is under debate.


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