With massive pressure on the government, and on Jacqui Smith in particular, I can tell you what will happen next. The government will play the terrorism card, just as it did last weekend.
The Great Manchester Easter Bomb Plot was a bit of a damp squib. It is only a week ago, but it seems an age, since Gordon Brown told us he had foiled “a very big terror plot” and we had dramatic police swoops and the arrests of twelve “Islamic Extremists” in the North West. Eleven of them are still held without charge.
But the Great Easter Bomb Plot lacked any bombs. Or firearms. Or detonators. They have found some photographs of Manchester and a small quantity of sugar, which we have been assured can be a component of an explosive.
The police will be under huge pressure now to come up with something else. Household bleach would be good. Or even better a confession from one of the teenagers held without charge and interrogated for over a week now, who may be persuaded to turn evidence against the others.
Expect an announcement this weekend, to move the news agenda on from Ian Tomlinson. And expect a statement from Jacqui Smith by Monday at the latest. It will go like this:
Grave terrorist threat foiled – could have been massive atrocity – imminent threat – constant vigilance – reliable intelligence indicates – communication intercepts – photographs of potential targets – possible explosive ingredients – bollocks – bullshit – bollocks.
Then expect all the “opposition” MPs to rally round and sing the national anthem, and Jacqui Smith to be saved until David Blunkett comes back in the summer reshuffle.