What would happen if this country became the target of an act of terrorism that far exceeded that of 9/11?...
1/1 Jihad Britain is a headline grabbing, political fiction title that has more basis in reality than most would care to acknowledge. The context surrounds the eventuality that Britain is made the target of acts of terrorism that, frankly, make 9/11 look like childís play. The country is celebrating New Years (hence the 1/1), when a series of huge explosions are set off across the nation; from a massive cruise liner entering harbour for the first time and their applauding spectators, to the devastating and total destruction of St Paulís Cathedral Ė the death toll is in excess of 20,000 and those injured are several multiples of that figure. Britain is thrown into a form of chaos, out of which an unobtrusive MP, Francis D Raike (yep, a rather bemusing pun of the Francis Drake) stakes his claim to No. 10 Downing Street and with it brings about a fundamental shift to Britain and what it means to be British.
In a society struggling to come to terms with the scale of terrorism enacted on its soil, Raike takes draconian action; declaring that Britain will no longer tolerate segregation. Immigrants who have no desire to integrate will be repatriated to their country of origin. Faith schools will cease to exist. Immigrants within the criminal system will be deported upon release. In order to remain transparent, the new government repeals the Human Rights Act and Britain frees itself from the EU. However, behind closed doors, a secret compound for Immigrant inmates unable to be deported is organised on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. And when a hurricane, the likes of which have never before seen our shores, hits Britain, not only does it cause devastation far beyond that of any terrorist act but also sees a handful of ex-inmates find their way to the mainland.
Interestingly, the authors provide us with the deeply contrasting perspectives and backgrounds of a range of characters. We see the emotional impact of a violent childhood on the future bombers; the self-serving opinions of the press and how they choose to deliver our news; and a manís struggle to walk the fine line between securing his country and being branded a racist. The end result is a well constructed internal debate on the truism that we are all essentially the same, regardless of skin colour, ethnic background or gender and focuses on the willingness of radicals to pervert their religious beliefs for their own ends. 1/1 Jihad Britain is shocking, troubling, thought-provoking and aimed to incense the politically correct. This compulsive novel poses its controversial political policies without preamble or excuse; whilst highlighting the potential for political radicalisation if fear takes over, it worryingly understates the unpleasant prospect of a British Guantanamo. The ending is satisfactory, if somewhat banal Ė the overwhelming sense of camaraderie and newfound reciprocal acceptance feel a tad contrived; but to be clear: from the off, this book is the opposite of racist in its approach. Indeed, the authors go to extraordinary lengths to dispel any notion that terrorism is purely about religious beliefs, and to establish that the ordinary God (or Allah) fearing Muslim can be proud of being British without their allegiance to the country they live in infracting on their religion.
As an aside, our review copy was a proof and therefore suffered with minor niggles in terms of omissions, occasional grammatical errors and the odd incident of poor syntax; but these were few and had little impact on the narrative overall.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012