This is not such a time.
As responsible citizens, we know that there are other occasions, occasions when we must take leave of our senses and to fly into paroxysms of blind terror, panicking and soiling ourselves with fear. In such times, it is only right that we should immediately abandon all reason and place our faith in rumour and hearsay.
In uncertain times such as these, we must allow our leaders to take whatever action they see fit to combat the terrorists in our midst, whatever the cost to our freedom. In light of this latest threat from international terror, I say we shall gladly spend the rest of our lives with our hands in the air, if it will save but one life.
So we await the judgement of the national media, which will faithfully inform us of exactly how afraid we should be, no matter whether the threat level should inspire mere gibbering dread or claw-your-own-eyes-out-rather-than-witness-your-horrendous-death terroraclypse.
We should not allow ourselves to fall prey to the cynicism of London liberal types, who might point out the woeful record of the police in catching actual terrorists - around one in every hundred-plus persons arrested to date - nor should we muse on the fact that, just yesterday, John Reid delivered a keynote speech on the need to sacrifice liberty for security.
If we allow ourselves such thoughts, the terrorists have already won.
Nor should we speculate on the recent calamities that have befallen our noble War on Terror, or the fervent calls from the architects of that war for western action against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. To do so would be to play into the hands of Bin Laden himself.
No, we must do as our grandparents before us did in the last great war against fascism - silently line up to be fingerprinted and photographed, then return to the shopping centres from whence we came, therein to purchase aspirational consumer products and holidays on the Mediterranean.
For this war will not be won by citizens fighting together against a common foe, nor by the bravery of our armed forces. This war will only be won if we unite as one and say unto our enemies with one voice, clearly and firmly -
"Okay, we're now so pantshittingly petrified that we've finally given up the ghost on democracy - this is Mr. Cheney. He's the big dog now. Sorry about your kids."
It is a sad reality of our age, but as we are all aware, 9/11 changed everything.
Except for the part about consumer products, we'll still buy them.
Update: Newsnight has just announced that the plan to blow up planes over the Atlantic involved these items -
Mark these tools of terrorism well, brothers and sisters, and be ready to beat to death with sticks those who carry such badges of fascism.
Update II: It's now official - news is the new satire.