THIS IS A WAKE-UP CALL FOR SCOTLAND.
TERROR TARGET SCOTLAND
We have grown accustomed to terrorism being someone else's problem while believing that our country was a safe haven .. this illusion is now shattered forever.
IT MIGHT have been called global terrorism but Scotland always assumed that didn't mean us.
The attack on Glasgow Airport has hammered the terrorist threat home.
It was a stark reminder that we have been wrong to see Scotland as immune.
While England has endured terrorist atrocities for decades, the most recent incident to affect Scotland was Lockerbie which was nearly 20 years ago.
Since then, the nearest Scots have come to the threat has been watching it on TV from their armchairs.
Now it's on our doorstep. Being a small country made us think we were too insignificant for the militants to trifle with.
But Scotland was not small enough to slip under the terrorists' radar.
If anything, the fact that we have had so little experience of direct attacks has made us a soft target.
There was no reason why terrorists would not perceive us as legitimate a target as any other western country.
We have been dangerously apathetic to the seriousness of the threat.
The timing of the attack is a reflection of our nation's increasing profile.
Gordon Brown's appointment brings to Westminster the first Prime Minister from a Scottish constituency since 1963.
While the bomb plot is a message that a change of leader won't appease the militants, it doesn't mean Brown's Scottish roots haven't been noted.
The plot also coincided with the opening of the Scottish parliament by the Queen and the knowledge that security resources would have been focused on Edinburgh.
It was the start of the Scottish school holidays, which saw Glasgow Airport packed to the gunnels.
MAXIMUM impact is an even greater priority to the Islamic extremists than geography.
Geography was crucial in the conflict in Northern Ireland, with Scotland escaping any attack from either the IRA or the Loyalists.
Irish terrorists viewed the Scots as Celtic brothers, with a perceived camaraderie between small nations.
While London and other English cities were being blasted with bombs, Scotland was left in peace. As a result, we have grown accustomed to terrorism being someone else's problem, England's specifically.
Perhaps Scotland assumed that its fervent opposition to the war in Iraq would win favour with the militants.
But terrorists don't care how many of us take to the streets in protest against Iraq.
They have no respect for democratic movements.
While the anti-war activists mobilised against the war, Scotland's soldiers were at the forefront of the fighting.
Only last week, two Black Watch privates from Gordon Brown's Fife constituency lost their lives in a car bomb attack in Basra. Eight Black Watch soldiers have died in the last four years, among the highest number of fatalities for any infantry regiment which has served in Iraq.
Scotland is embroiled in the conflict whether it likes it or not.
It is reassuring that the bombers were not Scots. It would be more depressing if our attackers were home-grown.
Scotland has always been proud of it's good race relations and, as a consequence, we have not considered Islamic extremism to be our problem.
But terrorism doesn't recognise borders, militants travel. Islamist fanatics don't care that Scotland's Muslims have been happily integrated in to the country.
Our nation has welcomed diversity and, on the whole, there has been tolerance and understanding between communities.
Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Great Britain says there has "not been a peep of extremism in Scotland to date".
There has certainly been little evidence that any of Scotland's imams or mosques have been preaching hatred or extremism.
Th general message from our Muslim community continues to be one of moderation. There has been some evidence of a problem of Islamic militancy in Scotland, albeit small.
MI5 sent a regional intelligence squad north to monitor Muslim extremism here.
There have been reports of militants recruiting in our universities, with Muslim activists in Dundee causing the greatest concern.
Extremist groups Al-Muhajiroun and Hizbut-Tahrir have a presence in Glasgow and Dundee.
But Scotland has seen nowhere near the level of militant activity present south of the Border.
Scotland's Muslims are as horrified by the attacks as the wider community and terrified of reprisals.
First Minister Alex Salmond was correct to emphasise that individuals, not communities, were responsible for their actions.
VICTIMISING Scotland's minority communities would be morally reprehensible and playing into the hands of the fanatics.
We should be grateful that Scotland escaped relatively unhurt from Saturday's attack.
It could have been so much worse.
Scotland has woken up to the reality that it is a target and it can no longer afford to be complacent.
The police and airport staff were rightly commended for their swift action at the scene of the bomb attack.
But Scotland was caught off guard.
There are suggestions that US intelligence agencies warned of a potential attack against Britain's aircraft or airports.
The police and MI5 say they had no specific intelligence warning of a plan to attack Scotland.
But there had been two failed car bombs in London and yet Scotland had not significantly increased security at its airports.
The terror threat warning is now critical but, as the First Minister has suggested, it is important that we remain calm.
If life stops in Scotland, it will be a victory for the militants.
But that is not to say we can delude ourselves.
We should consider the Glasgow attack to be a narrow escape and a warning that Scotland is now a target.
Terrorism has travelled north and we have to be vigilant.
The illusion that Scotland is a safe haven has been shattered forever.