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23 May 2017, 11:22 | Updated: 23 May 2017, 11:32
In this blog, David Mellor says the only fitting response to the Manchester outrage is a proper war on terror.
Words almost fail even me, to find a suitable way of condemning the Manchester Arena outrage, given that the bombers must have known the audience would be predominantly teenagers. Even words like barbaric are barely strong enough to cover it.
But I want to move on to more practical things. To condemn is easy; to do something about it, more difficult. As well as outrage, we need some clear thinking.
As someone who spent almost five years as a Home Office Minister in the 80s, when the IRA were at their height, let me make a few practical points.
“A war on terror” is unlikely to succeed unless it is a war on those who foment terrorism, and pollute vulnerable minds, and not just on the bombers themselves.
God speed to the police in catching those responsible for planning this outrage and planting the bomb. The bomber himself seems to have died in the explosion, but I bet there is more to it than one individual acting alone.
The chances are those involved will be people already known to the authorities to be involved in Jihadi and fringe extremist activities.
We keep being told there are hundreds, maybe a couple of thousand, Jihadi sympathisers, known to the authorities, who operate on the fringes of the law, spreading their poison.
And, at the very least, hoping someone will do something dreadful, like that pathetic creature, whose life of crime ended on Westminster Bridge and in the Houses of Parliament 2 months ago.
Too many people who advocate terrorism, and who prepare the minds of potential terrorists to behave as they do, have escaped the consequences of their actions.
Many of them have come to this country as refugees, and been given asylum. Many more have been given unlimited leave to remain, and abuse our hospitality by promoting extremism. Quite a few have been given British Citizenship.
We will we only win the war against terrorism when they too are made responsible for what they do.
If we mean business in the “war against terror”, why not strip them of their passports, why not remove their status as political refugees, why not terminate their unlimited right to remain, and deport the lot of them.
Only then will there be a “war against terror” worthy of the name. And all these proposals are proportionate to the threat we face, now made plain even to the wilfully blind by last night’s Manchester outrage.
And what about those returning ISIS terrorists, allowed to drift back from Syria into British society, with none of the powers available to detain them, being used. What if it’s one of them? I shouldn’t care to be in the Home Secretary’s shoes if that is the case.
A final point, if I may. There will be plenty of people who will say this has nothing to do with the General Election. But of course, it has everything to do with who is Prime Minister, and which party is in government.
Can you imagine Prime Minister Corbyn, an IRA sympathiser, an apologist for terrorists, a man who puts the legitimate anti-terror activities of “the British State” on the same level as the terrorist acts of the IRA. Can you imagine him being put in charge of rooting out Islamic terror? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
And what about Home Secretary Diane Abbott? Do you want that confused woman in charge of the “war against terror”. I don’t think much of the present Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, but she is a veritable Boadicea compared to the Hackney Shambles.
Sensible voters, when they go to the polls next month, will bear in mind a wise old saying; “Cling on to nurse, for fear of something worse”.