Protempore – Issue 118

Posted by in July's Magazine

As I write this, there are two days to go until the general election takes place. It will be one of the most important elections in recent history and that it will take place against a background of an increased terror threat, makes it all the more significant. It would be easy to think that the attacks in Manchester and London would serve to put the election and the result into some sort of perspective but they have had the opposite effect. People are, rightly, looking to the main parties for reassurance and hope in an atmosphere of increasing uncertainty and desperation. And the responses from the main parties couldn’t be any more different.

In the aftermath of the attack in Manchester in which twenty-three adults and children were killed and 119 people injured, Jeremy Corbyn related the atrocity to British foreign policy in the Middle East. Despite the red-faced and wrong-headed reaction of much of the broadcast media, he did not seek to exonerate the sad and psychotic individual who carried out the bombing. But as Simon Jenkins in the Guardian pointed out, whenever Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron struggled to explain why British blood and finance had to go on toppling regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, they were explicit: it was “to prevent terrorism in the streets of Britain”. The reason was given over and over again: to suppress militant Islam.


When that policy clearly leads to an increase in Islamist terrorism, it is difficult not to agree with Corbyn that it has “simply failed”. Regimes in the Middle East were indeed toppled. Hundreds of thousands died, many of them civilians every bit as innocent as Manchester’s victims. But terrorism has not stopped. Whenever al-Qaida or so-called Islamic State seek to explain their atrocities, reference is usually made to British intervention and the military killing of innocent Muslims. It is simply ridiculous to try to sanitise our overheated and jingoistic response to domestic terrorism by pretending that it is unrelated to British foreign policy.

But let’s be clear, as Jeremy Corbyn did, none of this exonerates anyone. There are fanatical Muslim extremists who do not operate in the name of Islam but are simply seeking to destroy our culture and our values in pursuit of their perverted death cult. But as long as military jets with Union Flags on their wings drop bombs which will inevitably kill and maim innocent civilians, the terrorists will seek to use this as a recruiting tool and many simple, lost and deluded individuals will take up the cause. Anyone who thinks that the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 has nothing to do with the current wave of terror across Europe is similarly deluded.

Following the attacks in London in which seven people were killed and 48 people were injured, Theresa May stood outside 10 Downing Street and stated that, “enough is enough”. She said, somewhat bizarrely, that Britain was too tolerant of extremism and that pluralistic British values had to be established as “superior”. Forgive me for asking but do these values include joining forces with the USA and illegally invading a sovereign nation?

Do these values include providing the repugnant Saudi Arabian regime with the jets and bombs they require to murder innocent civilians in Yemen?

And what is her plan to tackle the terrorist threat? Regulate the internet, that’s what.

The Conservative manifesto pledged further regulation of the internet, including forcing internet providers to participate in counter-extremism drives. She argued that introducing new rules for cyberspace would “deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online” and that technology firms were not currently doing enough. What she fails to understand is that introducing further regulation will only result in determined fanatics slinking off into the “dark web” where it is nigh on impossible to locate their activities. It is also slightly naïve when you think that terrorists were carrying out attacks long before the internet or mobile phones even existed.

I’m not foolish enough to believe that there is an easy solution to the increased terror threat that we now face. However, I’m certain that we are entering an era where politicians who fail to acknowledge uncomfortable truths will be held to account by a public who demand that hard choices be made in pursuit of their safety and security. For my money, Corbyn’s ahead of the game on that front.

If you need perspective, one of the victims of the Manchester attack was 14- year old Eilidh MacLeod. When she was laid to rest on Barra, her great-uncle said: “In contrast to the hate that took her life, Eilidh’s life was and now stands as a testament forever of the world of love, innocence, goodness, kindness and faith. We will look after each other, we will chase our dreams, we will love one another.”

2 responses to “Protempore – Issue 118”

  1. imgrum says:

    Thank you for sharing the post. Love the last words. We will look after each other, we will chase our dreams, we will love one another. No one to blame for, everyone has their reason to do something. But it's so sad.

  2. imgoon says:

    Thank you for sharing!! You have so many products of W7. Gonna give this brand a try soon.

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