Understandably, after terrorist atrocity, we view the world through a fog of anger. So, leaders who ‘talk tough’ and want to roll back rights become appealing. Theresa May’s response hints at new legislation and blaming Jeremy Corbyn. In 1989, the IRA’s bombing campaign saw Downing Street closed to the public. Today, London’s iconic bridges are fenced off because of terrorism. Terrorist attacks are changing our way of life. So far, all the responses have been reactionary. We need a new way to prevent terrorism instead of more restrictions on our civil liberties.
Terrorism, Security and Civil Liberties
More legislation that erodes our civil liberties is not the way to stop terrorism. Our civil liberties are the work of people who endured the horrors of the 1930s/40s. They knew the dangers of a charismatic leader who could spin immigration tales and exploit fear. So, our civil liberties are devised to protect us from the government.
Our terrorism laws already contain the broadest provisions that chip away at our civil liberties. With the passing of more than 10 Acts and around 100 statutory instruments concerning terrorism since 2000, clearly, legislation is not working.
Terrorism Security and Dialogue
Expert opinion believes that as ISIS is defeated, homegrown terrorism will grow. It seems that the only way to prevent it is to open dialogue with those who despise our way of life. Security experts like Professor Michael Clarke say only political dialogue is going to make a difference to reducing homegrown terrorism in the long term.
We have to speak to people and discover why they feel unable to integrate. So, we need a leader who can and will speak to communities on inclusiveness, belief and security. Otherwise, we cannot get to the root of homegrown terrorism.
Only by engaging the disaffected will we be able to remove their support for terrorist ideology. Prevention is better than cure, but that cannot happen unless we have a dialogue with people who reject our values.
Community policing can help to stop a terrorist attack. Officers build community cohesion and gather intelligence. But the police have seen the loss of 46,000 officers. That includes armed, community and regular police. It leads me to question who the party of law and order is?
Although, fewer officers will affect the service it is not enough just to increase police numbers. We need to stop people converting to extremism in the first place. Only political dialogue can achieve that.
Difficult & and Embarrassing Conversation
May’s same ol same ol rhetoric about ‘evil ideology’ and ‘values’ sound hollow and meaningless. We do need to have ‘difficult conversations’ as she says. But May missed the opportunity to discuss Wahhabism. Its links to terrorism are indisputable; al-Qaueda, Isis, and the Taliban practise it. Wahhabism is said to be funded, practised and promoted by Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is among the Gulf Arab autocrats that May’s government prostrate before. These countries spend billions on British arms. In return, the government ignore their human rights violations and funding of terrorism.
So, May’s sneering at Corbyn and erosion of civil liberties will not keep us safe. Dialogue, however, is likely to prevent terrorism. It will take a leader who can speak to the people. May has been too distant and critical to treat with the disaffected. It would also seem hypocritical given her government’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Yet, the experts agree that the only way to prevent terrorism is dialogue.
Remember that on June 08.
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Govt Suppress Report On Terrorist Funding
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 6, 2017