Have you heard of any serious, practical steps that the British government is going to take following the streams of information that continue to be reported? That:
- One quarter of foreign jihadists in ISIS are British?
- Around half of them have come back to the UK already?
- We have sat on our hands for years while this stuff has been bubbling beneath the surface of our ‘multicultural’ society?
These are just yesterday’s headlines – relatively tame in comparison to some of the other information that has been drip fed to government and the public while the war rages on in Iraq.
By this point it is surely not a question as to whether or not the ISIS stuff matters to us.
It matters more than Libya did. It matters more than Saddam did. It matters more than all the humanitarian intervention lark, more than the Middle East Peace Process, more than climate change, more than social cohesion, more than Scotland’s quixotic independence aims.
Bombs may start exploding in London at any moment, and I don’t want that to happen before our elected officials start pulling their fingers out.
Of course mostly they’re still on holiday, which is the fault of the prime minister. This is a domestic, national security crisis. And yet we haven’t heard a practical peep from our government, which is tasked with keeping us safe, firstly and foremostly.
Sources inside the Conservative Party tell me that everyone as far as they are concerned is in “election mode”. Tory Party conference is coming up, so people are prepping their livers and girding their loins for boring speeches and baseless slogans. Then there’s the Scottish referendum too.
All these things are non-events in comparison to what might happen if ‘the current strategy’ (as it is known) is followed to its logical end.
The British government cut the funding of the counter-extremism PREVENT programme. Our borders are more porous than ever. And the most significant terror threat to the West continues to run roughshod over a country that our troops occupied not ten years ago. This, by no small stretch of the imagination, is a major catastrophe.
And for all those worried about the ‘blood and treasure’ we might expend by becoming involved in fighting ISIS on the front lines, here’s the deal: let’s save £30bn a year by leaving the European Union, and then we’ll have a little more cash to play with. We could equip and pay our troops better, get a couple of destroyers, maybe an aircraft carrier for Syria’s littoral. We could fund our security services better and get our counter-extremism programme fully funded. Heck, we could probably even pay off young, radicalised, British Muslims. Here’s a nice car (with a GPS tracker, ahem). Please don’t blow us up.
But we’ve yet to hear any ideas. And I don’t buy that things are going on behind the scenes either. The British government is more leaky than the ARA General Belgrano. So the question has got to be asked – if they’re not going to protect us? Who is?