Peter Taylor – Talking to Terrorists
Big turnout for BBC journalist Pater Taylor promoting his new book ‘Talking to Terrorists’. No doubting his long experience but I’m not sure that he told us much that we didn’t know already. His portrait of Martin McGuiness was fascinating but there was no real psychological insight or revelations about terrorism or terrorists.
‘Paradise’ as a driver for Islamic suicide bombers, is torture counterproductive, state terror, virtual terrorism – there’s dozens of interesting topics to be unpacked but all we got were some anecdotal descriptions of his BBC interviews.
It was, nevertheless, an interesting evening if only for the probing questions that came from the Brighton audience. One questioned his lack of reference to religion in Northern Ireland. In fact, his claim that ‘religion’ played no part on Northern Ireland’s ‘troubles’ seemed downright naive. Both Protestant and Catholic clergy played significant roles in the troubles (paisley et al), and the segregated schools lie at the root of the problem. Another brought up the interesting point of gender politics in terrorism – Peter’s reply was wishy-washy. Yet another brought up the Hamas Fatah agreement – something Peter hadn’t touched upon. Brighton audiences can be quite feisty and it would have been great to have continued with the audience participation stuff. We should be allowed to tweet questions prior to the session or the chair pick up tweets during the session.
Peter Taylor is a reporter not an analyst. That’s fine, but it doesn’t give us that deeper insight. A BBC card can get you interviews almost anywhere in the world, it takes more than reports to get to the truth. I’d much rather have had someone like Louise Richardson who has written an in-depth, scholarly book on the subject, or a terrorist – there’s plenty of ex-IRA guys around.