On Friday Tottenham Court Road was closed off for several hours after a man stormed into offices above Starbucks having strapped on a number of gas canisters. Michael Green was searching for “Abby” over a row about an HGV licence but when Abby told Green that “Abby” wasn’t in she was allowed to go free. If it was not for her quick thinking the incident could have ended tragically.
There followed a several hour siege by heavily armed police which, thankfully, had a bloodless conclusion. Central London was brought to a standstill as Green threw computers and other pieces of office equipment out of the window and police tried to work out whether there were hostages.
Green has now been charged with possession of a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid/gas or electrical incapacitating device; false imprisonment; making a bomb hoax; causing criminal damage and recklessly endangering life.
He will appear in Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The media were quick to say that Green was not political and that this was not a terrorist incident based, it appeared, solely on the fact that he was white skinned and beardless.
However, Michael Green received just over a thousand votes in Stevenage for the British National Party at the general election less than two years ago. Pictured in the Hertfordshire Mercury we can see this is the same Michael Green as seen on Sky TV on Friday being led from the building.
This is the second time in recent history that a supporter of the far-right British National Party has attempted a serious bomb attack in London.
In 1999 BNP member David Copeland planted three nail-bombs, one in Brixton, one in Brick Lane and one in Soho, in which three people died and around one hundred fifty people were seriously injured. Once again the media were keen to state that Copeland was an isolated individual despite the clear political motivation behind the bomb placements and the fact that he was proven to have stewarded BNP meetings.
Green seems to have been motivated by his own personal failures which he seemed willing to blame others for. It was a great relief that his attempted suicide bombing ended without deaths or injuries but we should be cautious of allowing the “lone nutter” theory to, once again, be used when it comes to far-right extremists. The press would be treating this incident very differently had the bomber been hirsute, sporting a tan, and with a name less familiar than Michael.