I was wholly unsurprised to see on French TV that another Islamist terror attack had taken place in London last Friday night. As I have said before, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan was absolutely correct when he said such attacks were simply part and parcel of living in a big city. Especially cities where people like Sadiq Khan are in charge.
Coming so soon after the attack in Manchester, in fact so soon that they’d not even managed to hold the pointless tribute concert for the first lot of dead before the second lot were being stacked up, I sense the British public are getting mighty fed up with this. A few attacks ago it was mainly right-wingers who were getting angry, with the lefties all toeing the government line about it being nothing to do with Islam and even if it is it’s our fault and we should light candles instead of do something meaningful. But I noticed after Manchester that the anger is now becoming universal, with even moderate middle class lefties starting to understand that these attacks will become weekly events unless something changes.
Theresa May has obviously gotten wind of this as well, and with an eye on an election which some polls suggest will be closer than she thought and it ever should be, she came out with this:
We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important ways.
First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.
Possibly taking Donald Trump’s lead, May actually used the words “Islamist extremism”. To my knowledge, this is about as close as any western leader bar Trump has come to actually naming the problem. Unfortunately, she then undoes her own statement by saying:
It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.
Either Theresa May is an authority on Islam or she is simply parroting the same line every politician wheels out after an Islamist terror attack in the hope she won’t be called racist or upset “moderate” Muslims.
It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values – pluralistic British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.
And what values would they be, then? Freedom of speech? Freedom of association? Freedom to offend? Freedom from being totally fucked over by an incompetent state who considers itself infallible? If our own leaders – including Theresa May herself – work overtime to undermine these values, why would even moderate Muslims subscribe to them, let alone the headcases? As I said here:
If our leadership – and I use that term loosely – lacks the conviction to uphold the principles which supposedly define the West, why the hell should we expect Muslims to come out in support of them?
The ruling classes in the west have absolutely no confidence in their own culture, traditions, and institutions to the extent they are actively destroying them in the name of progress – yet they expect foreigners to abandon their own and adopt ours.
Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.
Ah right. This is where we get down to it. In order to get lunatic Islamists to adhere to British values we need to spy on the whole population. I expect a badly worded, draconian law will be rushed through parliament handing sweeping new powers to any state body that wants it on the grounds it will only be used in the most extreme cases, and within twelve months it’ll be used to jail a white man with tattoos for posting an offensive football chant on a fansite. If this is Theresa May’s answer to jihadist terror attacks, then she is very much part of the problem.
We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.
Cynics among us would say we’d be better off preventing jihadists from claiming asylum in Britain and allowing them to return to war zones to continue the fight.
Yes, that means taking military action to destroy Isis in Iraq and Syria.
Because military action has turned out so well in recent years, hasn’t it? How about we stop letting jihadists in, and deporting/jailing those we already have?
While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.
You could start by explaining why you did nothing about this as Home Secretary, and instead viewed the ordinary British population as the enemy to be contained. Or is that a bit too embarrassing? And stamping out extremism: that’ll mean more arrests for offensive tweets, then.
But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.
Insofar as I can see a split in the country it is between the ruling elites and everybody else. I repeat: May and her ilk are very much part of the problem.
So in light of what we are learning about the changing threat, we need to review Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need.
Which will be immediately used to keep ordinary people in line when the next wave of terrorist attacks occur. Does this woman think we’re completely stupid?
And if we need to increase the length of custodial sentences for terrorist-related offences – even apparently less serious offences – that is what we will do.
And the decision to make something a terrorist-related offence will fall to plod. Expect ordinary people to be threatened with twenty years inside for failing to show enough deference to costumed thugs. Meanwhile the jihadists will continue on their merry way.
Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would.
Except the ruling classes, who will double their security detail at taxpayers’ expense.
We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies.
Who’s we, paleface?
The ZMan had a good line on May’s speech:
What was revealed by this speech is that outside of the public eye, the people in charge of Britain have no emotional or moral attachment to the British people. As far as they are concerned, the people are just a burden, whether it is the hyper-violent oogily-boogily people that arrive over the channel or the native Brits.
The whole post is worth a read and, as is often the case with ZMan’s posts, there were several paragraphs I could have chosen to quote.
The bottom line is that, as I have been saying for a while now, the political classes might not be on the side of the jihadists exactly, but they are not on our side either. For all the talk about how we should be grateful to the police for responding to the attacks within 8 minutes and shooting the terrorists dead – and that is impressive – let’s not forget that they’d be just as enthusiastic in doing the same to us if our ruling classes demanded it. These are, after all, the same sort of people who sent a helicopter to a house where a song about Osama bin Laden was being played over a karaoke machine and arrested the occupants. Anyone who thinks police officers, or at least those who pay them, are on the side of the British public will delude themselves only until they step outside the guidelines of approved behaviour.
Theresa May reminds me in a way of George McClellan. The firm favourite of the ruling classes to lead the Union Army in the early stages of the American Civil War, he proved himself to be utterly useless except when it came to dithering and making excuses. Meanwhile the Confederate generals, who both knew how to fight and actually wanted to, ran rings around him. It took more than a year’s worth of defeats, blunders, and missed opportunities before Lincoln had had enough and fired him. Eventually the Union got its act together and employed the likes of William Sherman to ensure the South was not only defeated but utterly crushed, but it took them a while to get there. The point is people like Sherman, and the methods they employed, would never have been considered while the ruling classes preferred people like McClellan. It was only when events forced their hand did they change their minds.
At some point, May and the ruling classes will have to be removed and replaced by somebody willing to do the job of ridding the country of jihadist terror. It would be nice if this could be avoided by May & Co. actually doing the job, but it would also have been nice if McClellan won the war for the Union so people like Sherman didn’t need to get involved. The trouble is, in the case of McClellan there was little doubt that Lincoln wanted to win the war and was on the side of the Union. If only there was such clarity of position among our own ruling classes.
Nevertheless, May’s position is fast becoming untenable. The reason why she will win the election this week is because the position of the alternative candidates – and indeed all the ruling classes – are becoming untenable. Once May is PM next week it is only a matter of time before there is another attack. Cracking down on the internet will not prevent it, and nor will anything else that the ruling classes are threatening the general population with. May will have to answer to an increasingly angry population, and things might get so bad that even Brexit takes a back seat to vans full of jihadists mowing down pedestrians on London’s bridges. I doubt she will have the faintest idea of what to do other than to repeat what she said the other day.
The Americans showed signs of losing faith in their ruling classes by electing Trump, a household name but nevertheless a political outsider who promised to do things differently. Another few terror attacks in the UK and we might see the same over there. I have an inkling that the next prime minister, or perhaps the one after that, will be somebody who few today have ever heard of but won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Eventually, the population is going to insist their own Sherman is handed the task of stopping these attacks, the consequences be damned.