Lee Rigby, a soldier from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was mown down by a car and hacked to death by two men in Woolwich, London two weeks ago. The public theatre of flowers in the street, weeping family press conference, and puzzled interviews of have-a-go heroes was still in progress when the right ‘response’ to the murders emerged as if from nowhere: ‘We must force Internet and mobile service providers to capture customer data and provide it to government agencies, no matter what the cost to democracy or in cold hard cash.’

What an utter non sequitur.

When an army family’s soldier is deployed, every call from an unknown number or ring on the doorbell is a cause for alarm. Last summer, when my husband’s battalion was in Helmand, I made the mistake of ringing a friend’s front doorbell instead of tapping on the back door, when I went round for coffee. I will never forget the look of pale horror on her face as she yanked back the door, heavily pregnant and with a child on her hip, to see at once who was outside. And how her face cracked into the silent movie version of happiness and relief to see it was only me, and not the welfare officer with news of the worst kind.
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