A Look At Some Of The Responses To The Paris Attack

by richardhutton

Isis operatives struck at the heart of Paris, late in the evening, on Friday 13th November. The responses to the Paris Attack were pretty varied. Many buildings were lit up in the red, white, and blue of the French flag; several in the blue, white, and red of the Dutch flag. Candles were lit, and moments of silent memorial were held. Muslim leaders condemned the violence. Muslim leaders were condemned for not condemning the violence, even though they had. Right-wing pundits blamed Muslims and left-wingers for what had happened. Left-wing pundits blamed Muslims and other left-wingers.

The media set to work – fearlessly reporting on the outrageous statements people had made on social media. Politicians spoke of ‘values’, through one side of their mouths, and the importance of ‘doing something’ through the other. Lines were drawn in the shifting intellectual sands; and demands were issued to choose a side. The owner of a beauty parlour in Bicester chose her side, refusing to serve any Muslim customers in future: hitting terrorists from the middle east where it will hurt them most – in the fake tan department. It’s also an open secret that many of Isis’ warriors refuse to leave home without their eyebrows looking their best.

Nothing quite compared to the newspapers, however. On the off-chance that the current apocalypse passes, a special credit needs to be paid to the commonsense outpourings of the media’s more fulsome columnists; whose ranks include those suggesting, variously, that the solution to this violence is to close the open border between France and North Africa – referred to by some as the Mediterranean sea – while demanding an intensification of all the things which haven’t worked during the last 14-years of the War On Terror.

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Terrorism, accompanied with a free television magazine. One with a new look.

Others were more fulminant still in their responses, talking of the need to uphold our way of life – which revolves around respecting individual liberty – while ascribing collective guilt to all 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet for the crimes of 8 people; and demanding respect for the principles which underpin our society, while importuning governments to abjure the democratic process and the rule of law wholesale.

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Terrorism, accompanied with a television magazine, and a free lego toy.

Most of this kind of makes sense, if you don’t think about it; but it does come across as a bit opportunistic. It’s hard not to imagine the people in question hearing a plate drop in a restaurant, or find that the only bottle of milk left on a supermarket shelf is past its sell-by-date, and immediately declare ‘this proves everything!’.

Terrorism with a television magazine, again.

Terrorism, with just an ordinary television magazine. But still.

Nonetheless, the noble ranks of Britain’s tabloids – on temporary leave from waging their guerrilla campaign against the PC Brigade’s War On Christmas – still found time to offer reassuring words, during Europe’s darkest hour; and this remains cause for comfort:

‘Europe has let its defences crumble. The only solution is to erect a paywall around it forthwith’ declared The Sun.

‘Evil triumphs when good men do nothing,’ began a measured editorial in the Daily Mail. ‘We must do something – withdrawing from the EU is something; therefore to defeat terrorism, we must withdraw from the EU’.

Terrorism, with a free food magazine.

Terrorism, with a free food magazine.

Funnily enough, one of the the EU’s representatives took their own cue on this. The President of the Czech republic, in an address to the nation, stressed his intention to ban takeaways, on the grounds that ‘kebabs are a well known cause of Islamitis’.

The campaign group Britun Furst had a similar idea, but suggested a different approach; pointing out that:

“Muslims are secretly afraid of cakes. If people wish to make a bold statement in defence of Western values, they should place hamper-baskets full of cakes outside of Mosques”.

Not to be outdone, Britain’s Prime Minister lead from the front, striking a more comradely note. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Vigorous, glossy, and unbending – statesmanship emitting from every orifice. Standing at his habitual podium, he stated, boldly:

“My message to the French people is simple: Voulez Vous Coucher avec moi, c’est soir”.

The Prime Minister went on to suggest that Isis would ultimately be defeated by the shared values of Britain and France. If terrorism could be successfully fought with an assembly of sandwiches, questionable personal hygiene, and slightly off-colour remarks about inclement weather, then we’d be home and dry. Or not, as it were. But, personally, I think a gesture of solidarity is the better course to take. To that end, it’s high-time for America to revert Freedom Fries back to their original name – as a mark of fraternity.

A gesture of solidarity from America to France (it's flag is on the left).

A gesture of solidarity from America to France – the French flag is on the left, next to the goalposts (some conspiracy theorists have suggested that a Dutch flag was used, and simply turned upside down, in its stead; but nobody has substantiated this rumour).

Perhaps the most poignant moment came, however, via the journalist Kay Burley; as she channeled the innermost thoughts of canines everywhere:

Kay-Burley-Tweet

As the leader of Golden Retrievers Against Terrorism explained afterwards:

“Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!”

Given the events of Friday, it was a sentiment which spoke for many.

Television presenter Ben Fogle was equally thought-provoking; asking: “Is that rain or is heaven crying today?”. It’s a slight tangent here, but I once asked a friend whether they were upset, because it looked like they had been crying. They replied that they’d just been chopping onions. It may seem a harsh criticism, given the circumstances, but personally I think Fogle should have considered this as a third possibility for the firmament.

Watford football club's mascot, Harry the Hornet, during the minute's silence for Paris. Sadness in his eyes.

Watford football club’s mascot, Harry the Hornet, during the minute’s silence for Paris. Sadness in his eyes.

I suppose the counterpart to celebrities would be the hacking group, Anonymous, who issued a collective declaration of war on Isis. This seems a good way to circumvent a lot of needless grief. After all, why martyr yourself for the sake of 70 virgins, when the 70 virgins will come to you?[1]

Showbiz strikes on Isis’ positions, however, were as nothing compared to patriotic media columnists rallying to the flag of common-sense, and duly preparing themselves for battle. Muscular comment-posters, the internet over, began flexing their index-fingers; and proposing right-thinking measures, which would sort this whole terrorism malarky out before the first month of Christmas was over.

Several print-heroes took the bold stance of calling terrorism ‘a bad thing’, before calling for ‘something to be done’; offering a few ideas of their own in the process, on how to solve matters in a firm but fair way – while deriding other peoples’ weak-mindedness in the face of danger:

‘Ban terrorism!’ suggested one columnist at the Daily Mail.

‘Ban feminism!’ demanded another columnist at the Daily Mail.

‘Ban Corbyn!’ proposed a contributor to The Sun. In fairness, The Sun were at least being consistent on this: it followed on from their coverage of Britain’s Remembrance day – which had seen a virtually identical furore erupt among the tabloids, because somebody supposedly hadn’t bowed properly – as the Sun carefully juxtaposed a picture of Jeremy Corbyn next to the Cenotaph, with an erotic photo of a glamour model. The intention presumably being to induce a fever-pitch of semi-erect outrage amongst its readers.

Guardian columnists differed, however – and simply advocated testing peoples’ belief in British values, by asking them how much they agreed with various statements, such as: “it’s important to take a common-sense approach to this whole shoot-to-kill policy: you can’t make an omelette without shooting the odd Brazilian chap”; or “after 14 years of constant British involvement in wars overseas, it’s essential that we all now denounce a pacifist organisation, who haven’t yet impeded a single act of warfare, let alone prevented one” for example.

Terrorism and a taste of Autumn.

Terrorism and a taste of Autumn.

If there was one consistent theme to these pieces, however, it was a steadfast demand to increase government surveillance of the internet. ‘Pass the snooper’s charter now!’ suggested the Telegraph. ‘If the intelligence services can’t find out what everybody’s favourite nudey pics are, then civilisation is as good as lost.’ Counterpoints to this typically resulted in people being chided ‘If you’ve got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ – but if my experience is anything to go by, that isn’t always true. I recall once teaching one of my grandfathers how to use the internet: I’d left the room to make a cup of tea, and when I came back I found he’d been looking up information on his problem with chronic rectal inflammation – on my computer. I think we all know how this will have played out in any file MI5 might be keeping on me. Also, for the record, it was my grandfather who was browsing the other day for ‘Mature Asian’…well, I’ve said too much as it is under my true name.

However, it’s often been considered that the most heroic reaction to terrorism is to defiantly do what you were already going to do [2]. Accordingly, the Chancellor of the Exchequer took the opportunity to reassure the public, by increasing the intelligence agencies’ budget by the same amount he had announced he would have done anyway, back in 2013. Cautioning Britain about the prospects of Isis launching a cyber-attack, he noted that they have not been able to use the internet “to kill people yet by attacking our infrastructure…they do not yet have that capability”. Personally, I’m quietly optimistic about this. In the 30 or so years of the internet’s existence, terrorists have not devised a way of using it to kill people; and I’m prepared to go out on a limb here, and presuppose that they won’t discover a method in the next 30 years either. If you could use the internet in such a fashion, then twitter feminists would probably have an average kill-score to their names, of about 300 gamergaters apiece.

The Eiffel Tower, illuminated in the wake of the Paris Attack. Sadness in its eyes.

The Eiffel Tower, illuminated in the wake of the Paris Attack. Sadness in its eyes.

Similarly heroic in responding to the Paris attack by doing exactly what they would normally have done regardless, were a number of individuals who began rattling their cyber-sabres, before the night was even out. It is to these staunch few fearless scribes that we now turn. When some people were lost for words, they had all the answers. Where others were left aghast, they had seen it all before – only too many times. They were resolute. They were stern. Caring nothing for self-preservation – sparing no second thought for their own personal safety – they brushed the crowd of quisling appeasers and admiring onlookers aside, rushed boldly forward, and fearlessly, heroically…pressed ‘post’. Only cowards think things through. Enter: the War Mice.

Operation Humblebrag

It was a time of chaos, and ruin. A time of fear. A new and deadly foe had emerged, seemingly from nowhere. In actuality, from a cul-de-sac in west Sussex. Mahd I’Sissy – a former graduate student from the polytechnic of Westham Villa, and charismatic sandwich artist, had assembled a fighting force like no other – a group of men, with weapons.

Guided by their most sacred tome – The Idiot’s Guide To Islam (second edition) – Cyst’Isis was born, around a poker table: the one form of decadence they didn’t despise (along with the consumption of hard liquor) railing against the dissoluteness of modern Britain – they were determined to establish a fundamentalist caliphate, called Little Islamistan, and live according to strict Halam principles; rejecting decadent Western imperialism and cultural degradation, through disallowing any foodstuff which wasn’t deemed kosher by their religion – not least of all, Mini Cheddars.

They plotted to undermine the British way of life by inserting typographical errors into foodstuff packaging, precipitating the eventual breakdown of society in its entirety, as one supermarket checkout after another failed to scan items correctly, and promptly malfunctioned. While people stood frozen in queues, they would then be surrounded by Cyst’Isis Jihadists, who had secreted explosive devices in their underwear – triggering them in a synchronized sacrifice of genitalia; thus avenging themselves upon a society they had grown to despise.

The very breakdown of civilisation seemed imminent. The black flag of Cyst’Isis had been raised. At first, only in its members bedrooms; but deploying the internet to its fullest potential, the imagery was soon beamed into the houses of friends, co-workers, and well-wishers – along with its inscription: ”Britain are not perfect’.

But all was not lost.

Cometh the hour, cometh the War Mice – a cracked-team of cyberwar veterans, specially assembled to defeat terrorism, by Britain’s most decorated military hero – and if his CV was anything to go by, recipient of 3 Pulitzer prizes: Field Marshal Duncan Smith. Perspiring heavily, Field Marshal Smith took to a podium, and scoured the men assembled before him, with the demeanor of a proud, atheist grandfather at a nativity play. He gave the roll-call:

Douglas Murray: a master of hastily assembled expertise, recruited for his off the cuff knowledge of Islamism-ism, and author of the best-selling book: ‘101 Ways to Stimulate the G-Hadi Spot’.

Oliver Kamm: a former cook and veteran aboard the notorious Swift Boat; who had misunderstood the purpose of battle-cruising, and – having said hello to one too many sailors – been reassigned for reasons of discretion.

Alex Massie: a broken man, on the mend – having believed cricket to be a type of fertility ritual, Massie had suffered a particularly unfortunate ‘leg before wicket’ injury; and now sought to regain his honour – and his manhood – on the battlefields of cyberspace.

Dan Hodges: a fully qualified first-aider, whose risk-averse approach to heroism was such stuff as dreams are made on; and who – solely due to his own efforts – had risen to the rank of private, as fast as the average person would attain the rank of corporal.

Simon Schama: the unit’s chaplain, who had been struck mute by a mysterious trauma. His fellow War Mice had spent weeks trying to discover the cause of Schama’s silence, in hopes of making the improved circumstance permanent. Alas, in vain. Despite regaining his voice, Schama was still perfectly willing to say nothing, and do it, as the occasion arose.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: who had spent a life-time specialising in the Douglas Haig approach to class warfare; and had now turned his inimitable skills to confronting terrorism.

John Rentoul: an immodest man, with much to be modest about – willing to do anything in his power to support military efforts, short of enlisting.

and finally Colonel Nick Cohen, who had seen it all, and done it twice – stray apostrophes, misused semi-colons, random words with all their letters capitalised – during his many tours of duty, in the battlefields of cyberspace.

These, then, were they – them: the War Mice. Disciplined beyond fault, trained to make unerring decisions in the heat of an internet flame-war; armed only with mobile armchairs and laptop computers – or in Massie’s case, a notepad and a packet of crayons.

Clearing his throat, Field Marshal Smith began to cough. Once the paroxysm had ended, he began his itinerary:

‘Men: today is a good to die. Naturally, I won’t be going with you on this mission, for reasons which I won’t go into at present. However, there are times – certain circumstances, if you will – when necessity compels the decent among us to step forward as one. I know this only too well, in fact – I once single-handedly rescued an entire battle-fleet, which had got into something of a rum scrape, simply because I believed I could. It was how I earned this medal on my left handkerchief pocket, in fact; while the one above it was awarded for boundless bravery, in an office setting, while seated. But I digress.

We all know why we are here today. Gentlemen, the moral alarm clock is ticking. As we speak Cyst’Isis have begun to establish their Man-cave of Little Islamistan – and to that end, have captured a small internet cafe called Hari’s Place, located on the border between Birmingham and Baghdad. Whether using the so-called internet to promote anti-Western messages, such as the belief that our political system is decadent and corrupt, or crossing the arctic on a special snow-bicycle – in order to sneak into Britain through the backdoor via Greenland – Cyst’Isis has no borders. These people are criminal masterminds, who will stop at nothing to destroy our way of life.

The world must unite against Cyst’Isis, so that we can cure ourselves of this scourge, once and for all. I am not afraid to say that, in my opinion, terrorism really is quite wrong; and – about it – something must be done. To defeat them, however, we must learn to think like them. Know your enemy, I say: this I’Sissy chap who leads the beggars is a breezy sort of blighter, and a thoroughly indecent sort of squire; with no concept of etiquette or good manners. The enemies of freedom are as indefatigable as they are unprincipled – but so are we. They didn’t learn to adopt our peaceful ways the first time we bombed them; perhaps the second time will teach them that violence doesn’t solve problems. No doubt naysayers would suggest that the last 14 years of employing this strategy has only made matters worse – but that is simply the glass half-empty point of view.

I believe that we have a responsibility – nay, duty – to act without considering the consequences. Only cowards think things through. Thinking is weakness – especially in the face of danger. Cyst’Isis are determined to destroy our country’s proudest tradition – namely, the taking of afternoon tea and crumpets – by having sundry gentlemen’s how’s-your-fathers exploding all around you, which really would be quite frightful. But we will not be cowed into a silent surrender, nor a not-going-about-one’s-business. If we concede a single sausage to the terrorists, then they have already won; and terrorism will not ruin breakfast – not on my watch.

It may endanger elevenses – but the most important meal of the day will be safe. We will have sharia law for breakfast – and if it all turns harum-scarum, we can simply give them a good stern talking to; or else frown at them from afar. And with that, gentlemen – I wish you well on your mission. I assure you, that you will be home before the first month of Christmas has ended. I dare say the mission is all but accomplished, as is’. The War Mice cheered as one; and as Smith dusted his epaulettes, they departed.

Unfortunately, it had all gone awry from the moment of departure. Rentoul had reluctantly informed the rest of his men that, unfortunately, he wouldn’t be able to join them on this mission, as it seemed he might be coming down with a cold. The sneezing could potentially be heard by Jihadist operatives specially trained in hearing, and might endanger the entire operation – so he had gallantly withdrawn, with the other men’s welfare in mind. Murray had lamentably tripped-over, and consequently suffered a dose of gout. The remaining War Mice were on their own.

Bad went to worse, however, as the hot air balloon carrying them to their destination had drifted off course – leaving them stranded 30 meters from the Hari’s Place internet cafe. Upon landing, Rees-Mogg had sought a public convenience, and become separated from the other War Mice; bravely surrendering at the first opportunity. The remaining men hunkered-down in a ditch – drawing straws over who should ask one of the numerous passers-by for directions to the building in front of them; before deciding unanimously that as no self-respecting man would ever do such a thing, nor should they.

‘So near, and yet so far’ Cohen mused. Massie, holding a stick in his hand, reached out towards the building ‘only another 29 meters to go’ he winced, leaning forward, before finally over-leaning his balance, and falling face down in the dirt. ‘It’s hopeless,’ cried Schama; ‘utterly, utterly hopeless’. ‘This is everyone else’s fault except ours’ added Hodges. ‘Shall I have another go with the stick?’ Massie enquired. It met with a stony silence. Though his courage was unbreakable, even in the most adverse circumstances, Cohen began to have doubts. He knew that the resolve of the others might weaken, if not break at any second. It would fall to him to provide leadership. So, he sat pensively, and listened to the other men talk.

‘If you ask me, somebody ought to do something about this terrorism lark – it’s not on, it isn’t, blowing things up’ Massie demurred. Murmurs of agreement followed. ‘And I’ll tell you another thing,’ he continued; ‘if these Cyst’Isis fellows were really smart, right, instead of using names which are a bit of a giveaway, like ‘Jihadi Jim’, they would use pseudonyms – like, you know, ‘non-Jihadi Jim, or something’. ‘That’s right’ rejoined Hodges. ‘The terrorists are evil – more than that we do not need to know’. ‘I reckon I could fight off 10, 12, maybe 15 Jihadists – easy,’ Kamm proclaimed.

Schama was more considered: ‘They don’t like it up ’em, you know. They really don’t’. Massie agreed ‘It seems to me, right, I mean, what I’m saying is, like, what I think is, you know, like, I mean…’ Listening in, Cohen nursed his temples. Schama took the ensuing moment of silence to unfurl a flag he had been keeping folded up in his jacket sleeve; hoisting it on an umbrella spoke beside him. It fluttered in the evening breeze – the words ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori’ clearly visible, despite the descending darkness. ‘What does that mean?’ Hodges enquired. Schama drew himself up to his full height, his patriotism throbbing vigorously, before giving a salute and crying ‘It’s time to kick arse!’ The War Mice cheered. ‘Quiet!’ hissed Cohen. ‘For all we know, Cyst-Isis operatives are patrolling this area. Besides, it’s late – you men get some sleep; I will stand sentry. The fate of us all depends upon my constant vigil’.

Meanwhile, as Colonel Cohen kept watch, so did the Jihadist captor of Jacob Rees-Mogg. Had Rees-Mogg’s hands been free, he would barely have hesitated to add another name to his list of enemies – just underneath the previously penciled-in references to women, and acne. Bound, though not gagged, Rees-Mogg looked the fellow up and down. The jihadist stood before him – tall, glowering, and naked. ‘We must be willing to do whatever it takes to stop them’ he thought, adjusting his pince-nez. Remembering his training, he knelt down, and thought of England.

The War Mice were awoken at the first light of dawn, by the sound of Cohen’s raised voice. Cohen had hold of a young foreign-looking sort of man by the collar. Possibly a local. He had unwittingly walked straight into the War Mice’s camp, while emptying the bins of the restaurant they were unknowingly stationed behind. An interrogation was underway. ‘Do you condemn terrorism?’ demanded Cohen. ‘What? Yes – of course!’ the man cried.  ‘It’s all very well condemning it,’ Cohen continued, ‘but will you denounce it?’. ‘Yes!’ the man cried again. Cohen’s voice softened. ‘What would you do about it then, you latte-sipping appeaser?’ he asked. ‘I don’t know – I don’t know what’s going on – I don’t know nothing about no terrorism’ the man replied. Cohen was impassive: ‘A likely tale. Just whose side are you on?’ ‘No one’s – I wasn’t doing nothing’ the man cried out, despairingly.

There was a moment of silence. ‘But evil triumphs when good men do nothing’ Cohen rejoined, looking into the man’s eyes. ‘So we can’t just do nothing, can we? That would be immoral’. The man shrugged. ‘I suppose not’ he murmured. ‘We have to do something. Right?’ Cohen asked. The man nodded vigorously. ‘Putting lipstick on pigs is doing something, isn’t it? ‘ Again, the man nodded, this time with a touch of uncertainty. ‘So,’ Cohen mused, ‘the only way we can defeat the terrorists is by rounding up a herd of Gloucestershire old spots, putting some lipstick upon them, and then…’. ‘Yes! Yes! Anything!’ the man cried. Cohen released his collar. He had succeeded – he had gained a new convert to the cause, and to his way of thinking. He reached into his pocket, to retrieve his stick of Brazen Harlot No. 1…but it was too late. The War Mice were surrounded.

‘Put that down!’ a Jihadist barked; his underwear ticking ominously. ‘I don’t want to know what you were doing with it – just put it down on the ground!’. Appraising the situation, Cohen did as he was told. He put the lipstick down. Biding his time, he stood silently as the Jihadists destroyed the War Mice’s laptops and mobile armchairs, one by one. ‘This is everyone else’s fault except ours’ Hodges whispered. Kamm agreed. Schama stayed silent. Massie slept on.

And so it was, the War Mice were face to face with Mahd I’Sissy, along with his Cyst’Isis, at last. The men were tied up, Rees-Mogg now among them; guarded by armed and glowering Jihadists. ‘The tide is turning against them’ Hodges suggested, wincing as the rope around his wrists began to smart. ‘Victory is imminent’ Kamm mumbled through his gag. ‘The mission has failed’ Cohen murmured despondently. ‘It is over’. Schama adjusted his posture, for cramp. Massie stirred.

I’Sissy was stood atop an upturned soapbox – a diminutive man, with conjunctivitis in one eye; and a copy of The Koran for Dummies held in front of him. He waited for silence, and then began:

‘Behold the unbelievers – ‘What in the kermit’s crumpets is going on?’ they ask. Well, let me explain – today we begin to establish a fundamentalist shebang, run on strictly non-decadent principles. As Allah’s text-messenger on earth would type, the best way to a caliphate is through its stomach: what I’m talking about here is vittles for the puritanically peckish. Little Islamistan will be run on strict Sharia whats-its: accordingly, therefore, the true Believer must only drink milk from a river, and never eat any root vegetable which has come into contact with soil, or been harvested using a bow and arrow. A truly Halam cucumber sandwich should consist of one breadstick and no cucumbers. Making a cup of tea is Halam, but drinking it is not. Coffee is acceptable, so long as it has no warmth; and ice cream is okay-ish, but you should err on the side of caution, by never consuming any until it has stopped being cold. Allah is indecisive on the point’.

The War Mice were uneasy. ‘He doesn’t sound like a criminal mastermind to me – I think he sounds a bit silly, actually’ murmured Schama. ‘Thinking is for traitors’ growled Cohen. ‘Even I’Sissy knows that – and look at how his followers hang on his every word’. It was true – in between adjusting the explosives secreted in their underwear, for reasons of comfort, their gaze never left the man on the soapbox before them. I’Sissy finished with a flourish: ‘If our Caliphate means owt, it is the right to avoid eating nowt what you don’t like’. Cohen found himself in agreement. Perhaps he had been too quick to judge the man. In a blood-chilling tone, the I’Sissies began to chant in unity: ‘Sod Mini Cheddars! Sod Mini Cheddars! Sod Mini Cheddars!. ‘Down with pork scratchings!’ cried one, to rousing, unanimous cheers. ‘This is a rum to-do, and no fooling’ Schama murmured. The remaining War Mice concurred, silently.

But suddenly, the room fell quiet. A woman, her Hijab only just noticeable above the crowd, was stood next to to the Jihadist leader, her arms folded morosely. She began to speak: ‘So this is where you are. I sent you out for milk – that was three hours ago’. I’Sissy glanced down at his Cyst’Isis. ‘Not in front of the men, love’ he whispered. ‘Don’t ‘not in front of the men, love’ me’ his wife snapped. ‘What is going on?’ I’Sissy thought a moment. ‘Nothing’. His wife was unimpressed. ‘I see. Nothing, is it? It’s that caliphate nonsense again’. I’Sissy hurried down from his soapbox, and drew his wife aside: ‘No. No it isn’t’. ‘So what is it then?’ she inquired. ‘Nothing. It’s Allah’s will at work’. ‘Allah’s will! This is because I wouldn’t let you impose Sharia in the house, isn’t it?’. I’Sissy stayed silent.

His wife surveyed the room, glancing at the Jihadists and their captive War Mice, before turning to I’Sissy again: ‘The problem with you Mahd-i, is that you think you’re someone special because you blurt out a few quotes from a book you haven’t even read – and succeed in getting half a dozen silly sods to follow you around, calling for the destruction of the junk-food industry; and so a lot of equally daft sorts think you’re a dangerous mastermind. But it’s not true, is it? Anyone with sense can see that it’s all a particularly seamy kind of pantomime act; and when they look at you, they don’t think ‘there goes Mahd I’Sissy – he might be an evil genius, but by gum he commands our respect’. No, what they’re doing is laughing inwardly, at how anyone could possibly think destroying Mini Cheddars will make the world a better place; let alone trying to achieve it with exploding underwear. And you keep mithering on about decadence and unbelievers – but who is it that really insists on inflating this type of cobblers with importance? Who is it that has beliefs so fragile they feel the need to rid the world of biscuits, or Worcester sauce as it was last time, or – Allah forbid – twiglets, as a test of faith?’.

Cyst’Isis and the War Mice looked on. A Jihadist stepped forward to intervene, but stopped dead in his tracks when the woman frowned at him. The woman continued undeterred: ‘Don’t get me wrong, the people you’re trying to wind-up are just as bad, with their huffing and puffing about ‘the moral and familial rearmament of Europe’; who think that the best way to make a gesture of solidarity against the rogue use of underwear, which you and your followers have pioneered, is to forego it wholesale. You can tell who goes along with their daftness, as soon as the weather turns wintry – they’re the ones who walk with a light gait, wincing all the while; maundering on about ‘no more yobs in their kids’ school’, and ‘no housing association tenants on their street’. Two sides of the same coin – both waving your tribal flags, when they were made by the exact same company, anyway. Now stop being silly, the lot of you. And did you even get the milk?’ ‘No, dear’ I’Sissy replied; exeunting forthwith.

The WarMice stayed silent for a while, thinking this over. Their jihadist guards looked at them – an awkward moment of silence passed. No one was willing to speak first.

Suddenly the internet cafe door was flung open, and Field Marshal Duncan Smith burst in – several gleaming new medals pinned to his trouser pockets: ‘Good news!’ he cried ‘The Prime Minister has decided Cyst’Isis are on our side now! They’re freedom fighters again! Medals for all!’. Cheers erupted. Colonel Cohen smiled. Somehow, this seemed right. It was time to put a different shade of lipstick on the pigs. He reached for his stick of Brazen Harlot No. 1. His mission accomplished”.

 

The world is a mad place sometimes. I don’t doubt that Isis enjoyed the spectacle of what they’d done in Paris; but I don’t see that they should have the last laugh.

 

Notes

[1] I am aware that virtually everybody has made variations of this joke. I would like to point out that I think Anonymous do fine work; and that their parents’ pocket-money is well spent. But seriously, they do fine work.

[2] In my case, it meant watching the football, and then taking my dog for a walk. I wouldn’t say that this was necessarily heroic, as such; but if other people wish to ascribe that quality to me, it would be churlish to object.

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