The British government's response to the London bombings sought to make the terror of that day foreign, even though it appeared largely domestic. This helped construct it as unusual, contingent, part of the uncontrollable ‘otherness’ of the ‘foreign’. However, it also drew the response into the arena of British foreign policy, where the ‘failing state’ has been the dominant conceptualisation of insecurity and terrorism, especially since September 11th. When the bombings are examined through the ‘failing state’ disturbing and important problems are uncovered. Primarily, the ‘failing state’ discourse deconstructs under the influence of the terrorism in London, revealing that Britain itself is a ‘failing state’ by its own description and producing a generalisation of state ‘failure’. It thereby reveals several possible sites for responding to and resisting the government's representation.