Under other circumstances, the trial of Anders Breivick would be the biggest thing in the British newspapers. Its relegation to the middle of news sections because of the Abu Qatada deportation fiasco is entirely appropriate: Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo and Utoya, whereas Qatada and his fellow enablers of terrorism have caused the deaths of countless thousands in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa.
Don’t get me wrong: I think Breivick should hang alongside those who defend his methods. I haven’t met anybody who thinks differently. But the comment isn’t getting out there.
At some point the court-case will examine relations between Breivik and the English Defence League, and then the Sitzkrieg will end. Despite the fact that the EDL was sinned against rather than sinning, they will come after us.
The Telegraph will run with putative Breivick-EDL links in order to reassure its leadership that it remains aloof from anything identifiable as working-class – and the Guardian hates blue-collar Britain even more (unlike the Daily Mirror, which merely hates whom Labour tells it to). The Sun and Times will run with it in order try deflect attention from Murdoch’s hacking travails, and the Mail will run with it…well, because it’s the Mail. The Coalition will welcome the diversion from their dogs’ dinner of a deportation attempt, while Tony Blair and Jack Straw will embrace any relief from enquiries into just how hard Labour tried to deport him.
We need to be filling this period with comment about the English Defence League’s commitment to protesting peacefully and upholding human rights, and the difference between possibly talking to somebody on a chatboard and supplying them with weapons of war. And, while underlining our sympathy for Breivik’s victims, we need also to keep the focus on every politician who has failed to deport Qatada.