Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Countering A Homegrown Threat

A series of failed terror attacks on London's transport network yesterday followed by a series of arrests of suspects today has reminded us suddenly that the terrorists will not simply back off into the mountains of Tora Bora after every infrequent attack. The people who want to destroy our way of life are here, living and working in our own society. And they will be here, their activities gone unabated until the next attack, and the next attack, and the next attack.

In order to deal with our homegrown terrorists, we need to have a strategy; a clear plan of action to counter a truly dangerous and unparalleled threat to our peace.

Our security services have a clear knowledge of who those individuals are who pose the greatest threat to our safety here in Britain. If I am wrong and they don't, they are guilty of criminal negligence. But if, as I am confident, they do, then the police should be unrepentant in catching them instantly, before we lose trace of them and before they are allowed to plan and perpetrate their acts under a shroud of darkness. Those terror suspects whom we do catch should have serious limits imposed on their 'human rights', no matter what the lawyers like Cherie Booth, with their vested interests at stake, have to say. This should include, as it does in France, the interrogation of suspects without a lawyer present, lengthy pre-trial imprisonments and the use of evidence acquired in questionable circumstances. This might include too the extradition of wanted operatives to countries we would otherwise find it morally difficult to do business with. The security services too should have no fear of developing a stronger presence in those trouble spots where Islamic fanaticism have their roots.

However, any anti-terrorist strategy must not be allowed to mutate into a campaign to tear away the rights and liberties of the law-abiding majority. That is why I am still wholly opposed to the introduction of identity cards. And it is why I am still wholly opposed to the idea that the political Home Secretary should have the same powers in these matters as a judge or a jury.

More importantly in the long run than these simple initiatives is to tackle the roots; to address the 'causes' of homegrown terrorism (even though I am reluctant to use the word 'causes', considering its political history). We must note that young Muslims are being drawn into the snare of wild but cowardly masters; clowns like Abu Hamza who preach filth but expect the young and foolish to do their bidding. We must address those factors in the lives of young Muslims which push them over the edge and into terrorism. The poverty and the lack of opportunity, and the despair which are a fact of life in those places where today's arrests took place are surely not just coincidental. They are often a root cause in pushing the homegrown villains over the edge.

But that is no excuse for perpetrating terror on the rest of us. There is poverty of all kinds throughout Britain. But if the rest of us used that as an excuse to leave bombs on buses, we'd all be dead by now. The fact is that young Muslims in Britain can not claim to feel any sense of belonging in British society, precisely because it means very little these days to be British. That is not, as the racists would say, because of the Muslims and the other cultures in our society. That is because we have given up on feeling any love for our country. The British should not be afraid to show patriotism and to cherish everything about Britain that is great. That is why Liam Fox is right to say the Union Jack should be flown outside schools. That is why Trevor Phillips was right last April to say the conventional multiculturalist policies of the political elites are misguided. If young Muslims were encourage to integrate more into a society which is at ease with itself, not apologetic about itself, then there would be no opportunity for anyone to fall into the grip of the extremists. This does not mean that the 'native Britons' (whoever they are) have to go out of their way to accomodate an alien people. Rather, it means that we acknowledge all the good that immigrant cultures can bring, but at the same time hold dear our own traditions, institutions and our pride in ourselves, and what's more, we should teach all our young the importance of all of this.

We can still capture the hearts and minds of those young men who are on the brink of the abyss, with the evil of terrorism in front of them. We mustn't feel, however, that all that is left to fight them with is the bullet and the bomb. We can yet, and we must, capture their souls for deliverance.


At 3:50 am, Blogger David Stewart said...

I can't see an easy way out of this problem, it goes right down the roots of society and that can't be changed for years. All we can do is use common sense policies to prevent people as much as we can from carrying out their hateful aspirations, but as for the aspirations themselves they will only go when we fix whatever problems in society are causing this. And there are many opinions on what those problems are.

At 11:28 am, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

You're absolutely right about everything there. The common sense policies that you talk of are probably all that's left. I feel like we're back in the early stages of the Cold War, when talk of 'victory' was silly and when both sides were trying to find new and evermore frightening ways of heightening tensions between each other, with their space and arms races.

Of course, the fight against terrorism is much different for obvious reasons, but it does have similarities. One of the similarities is that we all want to win and destroy the danger we face. Even if we do manage to reform society so much that the homegrown threat disappears, the threat from outsiders is still a giant challenge to our peace.

Put simply, we're well and truly stuck. I want to win, but I don't know how!

At 10:11 pm, Blogger Derek said...

I guess we will never eliminate terrorism of one kind or another. they are all perpetrated by people who are not in their right mind for one reason or another.

But we can reduce the risks by deporting any foreign nationals who come here to preach hatred. they should be on the next plane back to where they came from and if they meet a sticky end that's too bad. If international laws prevent it we should extricate ourselves from them.


Post a Comment

<< Home