‘It’s hard to over-emphasise the importance of language… Every time the BBC or a politician talks about “Islamist terrorists” they are doing immense harm.’
– David Cameron (emphasis added)
Fellow blogger Chris Paul forced a double take out of me this morning as he mocked David Cameron’s getting down with the Muslims and quoted Dave slamming the BBC for using the phrase ‘Islamic terrorists’.
Dave’s right that we should mind our language. Terrorism is a military tactic, the poor man’s shock and awe, and so ‘terrorist’ adds nothing to debate, save hysteria. But just as political correctness is a product of the right’s imagination, so is the bias of which Cameron accuses the BBC in his search for another empty headline. Following the July 7 bombings the BBC re-edited coverage written in haste to remove the word ‘terrorist’ and its governors outraged Tory commentators when they upheld that decision; it still rankles with Tory columnists today.
It will be interesting to see how long Cameron can continue to wind-up his right-wing and whether they’ll be able to sit on their hands all the way to the next election.