Our columnist says freeing Alan Johnston was no good deed
How do you like your jihadi? Is yours the avenging physician sort; self-immolating practitioner of weird medicine outside nightclubs and airport terminals who hopes to take hundreds of innocents with him on his journey to Paradise?
Or do you prefer the voice of sweet reason, the heroic freedom fighter turned politician, who magnanimously leaps into a hostage drama and helps to free your innocent journalist from his captors?
Not difficult, is it?
We've had an exercise in good-cop, bad-cop with our Islamist friends in the past week. In London and Glasgow, the nutters – the scale of their murderous ambition matched only by their ineptitude with a car a mobile phone and a tankful of petrol – tried the explosive, take-no-prisoners approach to persuading the West to do their bidding Over in Gaza, they're a bit more sophisticated. They've figured out that, at least when it comes to Europeans rather than Israelis, the direct approach is less effective than the power of high-profile good deeds. Hamas prefers the take-prisoners-and-then-generously-let-them-go approach.