THE much-trumpeted 'War On Terror' launched by George Bush and Tony Blair in the wake of 'Nine-Eleven' isn't working, well not if the horrifying events in Bali are a barometer of success and failure.

True, the Taliban were smashed in Afghanistan, but the al-Qaida network of Islamic extremists, fostered and funded by Osama bin Laden, is proving as difficult to locate and eradicate as its benefactor.

Rather like a nest of cockroaches driven from one house to another, they seem to be scuttling all over the Middle East and South-east Asia, allegedly planting bombs and driving explosive-laden boats into a giant oil tanker.

One never considered for a moment they would target Bali and a club packed with hundreds of young people, doing nothing more than enjoying a typical night out of eating, drinking and dancing.

Exactly what al-Qaida meant to achieve by slaughtering 180 or so innocent tourists is impossible to predict. Can they hate so vehemently? Clearly they can. And just as clearly they cannot, nor will not, differentiate between civilian and military targets.

Among the many thousands of words expended on the Bali outrage, one section caught my attention and led to all manner of bizarre mental images.

The author was trying to gauge the effect on tourism the Bali bombing would have and how an industry still struggling to recover from the attacks on New York would cope with this latest setback.

It's an ill wind that blows no one any good, the saying goes, so one must conclude that people due for a holiday may now be tempted to stay in the UK for their vacation, thus boosting the hotel and boarding houses in places like Blackpool, Clacton, Torquay, Bournemouth, Morecambe even, which have been in terminal decline since the Brits discovered Majorca and package holidays, aeons ago.

Are we then to suspect that armies of blue-rinse landladies have links with Jemaah Islamiya and al-Qaida, the groups allegedly behind the Bali bombing? Obviously not -- but the clear inference is that tourists anywhere are now at risk and no matter how many assurances that the war on terror will continue, George Dubya and Saint Anthony can't guarantee they will win that war. Who could?

There is another, equally sinister fall-out to the current campaign by the Islamic extremists. Anyone with deep-seated racial bigotry will be using the New York and Bali attacks as an excuse to fuel anti-Moslem feelings. Staff at the National Lottery Community Fund, which gave a grant of £340,000 to the organisation campaigning for asylum-seekers, have already received death threats.

There are people in the UK who can't, or won't, look at an emigre cab driver, takeaway owner, fuel station worker or DSS staff person without seeing a terrorist or someone secretly working for Islam in pursuit of global domination.

These are not happy times. And I'm due a break from work. Morecambe is looking increasingly attractive.