I don't know. When the 'BNP bomber' story first broke it sounded pretty sinister.
"what is believed to be a record haul of chemicals used in making home-made bombs was found in Colne ... The 22 chemical components recovered by police are believed to be the largest haul ever found at a house in this country ... She said a search of Jackson's home had uncovered rocket launchers, chemicals, BNP literature and a nuclear biological suit"
A week later, maybe less so.
Supt Smith added: "We are making inquiries in relation to what we have found at his address and to establish what offences he may have committed. He's not a terrorist and it's not a bomb factory but we are interested in what we have seized from his house. It will take expert advice to establish exactly what he has got."
Now I'm getting the distinct impression that Mr Comedy Cockup again triumphs over Mr Conspiracy. Our Junior Chemistry Set wasn't being monitored by the security services, but by a far more sinister organisation - the social services.
Kerena Cottage suffered mental health problems and told her social worker that her husband had several crossbows and chemicals stored in his home. She also revealed he wanted to shoot Mr Blair and local peer Lord Greaves, Miss Blackwell told the court. When police raided his house on 28 September 2006 they discovered 21 types of chemicals which, when combined, could form explosives. Miss Blackwell said they also uncovered a document called the Anarchy Cookbook, which detailed how to make different types of bombs.
I presume that's the Anarchist's Cookbook, put together thirty-plus years ago by some anarchist from the Orkneys, and in my youth available by mail-order from the Private Eye small ads. But what's happened to the rocket launcher, which seems to have turned into a bow and arrow ? And what of the 'largest haul' ? Was it largest in terms of the number of chemicals found ? Did it include rice and sugar ?
The court heard how Cottage was arrested and that 19 different chemicals and large amounts of rice and sugar were found during a search of the couple’s house on Talbot Street, Colne in September 2006.
A litre of hydrogen peroxide was also found at the house ... Ms Wilson conceded that seven of the chemicals found were either pointless or unnecessary for explosives, and one was a dietary supplement.
My chemistry tells me you need fuel and an oxidiser to make something go bang. One bottle of peroxide isn't going to set Lancashire ablaze. 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser sounds nearer the mark. By which token there must be a dozen farmers within a few miles of Mr Cottage with the wherewithal. I wouldn't ask how many of them would like to shoot Mr Blair.
Mr Cottage and the lovely Kerena don't sound like the most solidly reality-based members of the community. And his friend looks altogether too much like the Cure's Robert Smith for a staid man's sleep o'nights. But I'm not altogether sure we've prevented another 7/7 here - perhaps at most a mini-Waco ?
Mr Cottage does however seem likely to discover that a desire to make improvised explosive devices, when mixed with right-wing politics, can be extremely hazardous to your liberty.
UPDATE - I should point out that a desire to make improvised explosive devices has historically been common among British youth. About twenty-odd years ago UK sellers of sodium chlorate weedkiller started adding fire-depressant chemicals to it, in reponse to the small but persistent toll of dead or maimed children who would make bangs by mixing it with sugar.
UPDATE2 - according to an anonymous commenter, Mr Cottage had previously been a Tory party member for 30 years.
Cutbacks? What Cutbacks? Part 2587925
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