The explosion of two novelty grenades outside the British Consulate this morning has all of New York wondering: Why would anyone bomb the British? I mean, they’re so nice, Coldplay rocks, and “The Office” is really funny!
But, dear Watson, it turns out we have more suspects than the British road network has roundabouts.
First, there’s the anti-war crowd. Upset that Tony Blair could prevail in today’s election despite apparently having lied about the rationale for invading Iraq, they might have decided to strike a blow at the heart of the U.K. military-political establishment: the office at 845 Third Avenue.
And you can never discount the Irish Republicans. Sure, the IRA has obeyed a ceasefire for years now, but there are plenty of splinter groups (the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, the Roth IRA, etc.). After all, hundreds of years of oppression leave bitter tastes, you know. And if we’re going to put the Irish in a line-up, we might as well add the Scottish Nationalists, too.
For that matter, the Indians and Pakistanis could also have a legitimate beef. As bad as the Empire was when it existed, the way the Brits left things on the subcontinent wasn’t exactly hunky-dory either. The way they partitioned Kashmir, for example, has left both sides slightly miffed and led to all sorts of wars, artillery exchanges, and related unpleasantness.
And as long as we’re recalling the days when the sun never set on British property, we should not ignore the possibility that the grenades were placed by disgruntled nationals from Lesotho, Botswana, British Togoland, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Guyana, Belize, Canada, Falkland Islands, West Indies, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, South Georgia, Aden, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaya, Maldives, Palestine, Nepal, North Borneo, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Transjordan, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Malta, Australia, British New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, or Tonga.
But it’s always a mistake to look reflexively overseas for culprits in a thing like this (e.g. the case of Tim McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and Person(s) Unknown). There’s a lot for Britons themselves to be pissed off about. Anti-royalists might be upset that their country is still nominally ruled by a figurehead queen. Rabid monarchists might be upset that their country is only nominally ruled by a figurehead queen. Pro-European types might be eager for the pound to make way for the euro, while anti-continentalists are still peeved that Britain even considers itself part of that dreadful landmass next door.
And, of course, there’s Pete Best.