Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
21 April 2017, 11:50
The Paris police shooter was on the radar of the French authorities. All very sad, says David Mellor - but also reassuring.
The assassin of the Champs Elysees turns out to be 39 year old Karim Cheurfi, who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill police officers in 2001, and released early as a result of action by a French appeal court. Let’s hope those judges are given an uncomfortable time today.
All very sad, but, in a strange sort of way, also reassuring. Why would I say something as apparently stupid as that? Well, here’s the reason.
A terrible event occurred last night in Paris’s best known tourist street. The assailant, now dead, turns out to be a well known extremist. Bad enough, of course, but what would be more troubling is if he was either someone not on anybody’s radar, or who had come in from nowhere.
This follows a pattern. All of the lorry/car killers, including our own Westminster Bridge one, were well known to the authorities. The authorities had merely taken the view that they were not dangerous, and had let them slip off the radar. Anyway, let’s be frank, keeping tabs on several hundred known extremists isn’t easy, takes a huge amount of time and manpower, and there’s always the risk that the predictability assessment is wrong.
So, here’s the deal. We have to expect a further attack in the UK. The chances are that attack will come from someone already known to the police or MI5.
So why not pre-empt that. If a known, potentially dangerous, radical who has entered this country either as a refugee, or has been given citizenship, or leave to remain, is engaged in radical religious/political/terrorist activities, why do we have to wait for him/her to commit a crime before we move them out?
Being given British Citizenship is a privilege not a right. Being granted asylum used to mean you could not engage in political activity. That went by the board ages ago. But maybe it should come back.
In short, what I am saying is that in order to protect the British people, we should no longer give the benefit of the doubt to extremists we have let in to what was once known as Londonistan, because there are so many of them. We need to ensure they can no longer operate freely in our country, doing things that are ant-isocial, and against the public interest, yet allowed to remain here, because they haven’t actually committed a criminal offence.
There are hundreds of people in this category who are, day in day out, violating our hospitality, polluting young minds with dangerous ideas, and doubtless hoping those people go off and do dreadful things, whilst these guys remain above and beyond the reach of the law.
No longer. If this government really meant business to prevent acts of terror, they would start deporting anyone with a known history of radical behaviour. Why do we have to tolerate them? In this case, tolerance is not a virtue, but a vice.
The sooner we start chucking them out, the safer we will all be.