All over the world, people must be baffled by the obsession of British politicians - government and opposition alike - with the question of whether or not the police should be concentrating their searches on members of ethnic minorities....
Everybody with an ounce of common sense must see that the police are duty-bound to focus in particular on those who look most likely to be carrying bombs.... that inevitably means stopping and searching a disproportionate number of men and women of Asian or African appearance who are carrying packages or wearing suspiciously bulky clothing. In the overwhelming majority of cases, of course, the person stopped and searched will turn out to be entirely innocent.
But no sensible commuter, of Asian or African extraction, could possibly feel insulted by being singled out in this way. On the contrary, he should feel comforted by the thought that the police are not wasting their time on searching white grandmothers.... An innocent young Asian carrying a rucksack is quite as much at risk from the fanatics as everybody else, after all.
Yet Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister in charge of anti-terrorism measures, tied herself up in politically correct knots yesterday, as she tried to pretend that elderly whites were just as likely as young Asians or Somalis to be al-Qa'eda terrorists. Asked on the BBC's Today programme if she accepted "racial profiling" by the police, she recoiled from the idea as if ordinary common sense were a thought-crime.
People all over the US, meanwhile, are wondering why Mayor Bloomburg has ordered the police not to racially profile commuters on the New York city subways. No doubt the friends and relations of those killed in the next attack will be comforted that their governing bodies did not stoop to racism, the ultimate unforgivable sin, in an effort to protect their loved ones.