Bastille Day Terrorist Attack In Nice – The Enemy Which We Refuse To Name Strikes Again

Nice Attack - Truck - Terrorism - France

As #PrayForNice trends on Twitter and another European city is plunged into terror and tragedy, what action have we taken to name, confront and defeat the evil which threatens us?

The news and images coming from the French city of Nice on what should be the most celebratory of days for the French people – Bastille Day – are awful, and heartbreaking, and wearily familiar.

As of this time, 77 people are confirmed dead, mown down on the Promenade des Anglais by a truck driven at high speed and containing an arsenal of weapons and explosives. This is clearly an act of terror – the numerous bullet holes in the windshield of the blood stained truck a testament to the amount of force it took the security services to stop the vehicle. And of course this is the third time in nineteen months that the French have suffered a grievous, high profile terrorist attack on their soil – first Charlie Hebdo, then the Bataclan, both in Paris, and now the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.

To this we can add the Brussels terrorist attacks in March this year and, looking beyond Europe, numerous deadly attacks in Turkey as well as the terrorist shootings in San Bernadino and Orlando.

This is the future. This is the kind of terrorism which we are now going to face – not truly grand attacks on the level of 9/11, where casualties run into the thousands, but a long, slow grind of relentless medium-sized attacks, often on lower-value targets or in second tier, provincial cities. Often their planning and execution may turn out to be quite crude – this is not the age of the cunning master plan coordinated from a supervillain’s lair, but of “quick and dirty” plots hatched by autonomous cells and all the more unsettling precisely because they do not strike where we expect.

Now, murder comes to the airport entrance before the security checkpoints, or to an unremarkable concert venue, or a nondescript office or the main strip of a seaside town. Places which with the best will in the world are impossible to defend 24/7.

Radical Islamist terror has moved firmly into the age of the lone wolf, or the quasi-autonomous sleeper cell.

Why? Think of it like WiFi. Terrorist networks can no longer safely rely on coordinating large scale attacks in the West from a remote location with a reasonable degree of confidence that they will go undetected. Therefore, if ISIS and other fundamentalist Islamist organisations cannot physically cooordinate logistics and dispatch operatives to conduct attacks in Western cities, they must resort to other, remote means.

When the traditional methods of internet, telephone and even face-to-face communication are at risk of being intercepted by the security services, proponents of fundamentalist Islamist ideology must instead rely on transmitting their ideology and broad objectives through more general means, including YouTube and social media, targeted at the right susceptible population – usually disaffected and alienated young Muslim men who do not feel connected to or fully invested in society. The leaders of this death cult then rely on some of their indoctrinated targets possessing sufficient initiative to become their own mini terrorist masterminds.

We saw this approach in San Bernadino last winter, and again in Orlando last month. As more facts emerge, it may become clear that the Nice attack followed this pattern. Alternatively, it may be that Europe’s porous border and chaotic influx of migrants allowed foreign terrorists to slip through the net and aid in the planning or execution of the attack (press reports currently indicate that ID found on the truck driver suggest that he is a 31-year-old with dual French-Tunisian nationality, but this ID could well be fake or stolen).

But what is already crystal clear is the stark, uncomfortable fact that since Paris and Brussels (or Madrid and London, if you want to cast back a decade) our leaders have done nothing – nothing at all – to meaningfully grapple with this scourge of Islamist terrorism. So terrified are they of being accused of intolerance or racism that all we hear is the furious insistence that these atrocities have “nothing to do with Islam“.

And it’s just false. Of course the barbarity in Nice has absolutely nothing to do with the peaceful, moderate Islam practise by millions of adherents in the West and elsewhere. But it cannot be denied that those who do commit mass murdering acts of terrorism often explicitly reference Islam as their inspiration and justification – and do so from a very literal reading of certain Islamic texts. Moderate Islam does not inspire terrorist attacks, clearly. But fundamentalist, radical Islam often does, and we need to admit as much, for if we cannot even name the threat which we face what chance do we have of overcoming it?

As Douglas Murray rightly pointed out in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

Contra the political leaders, the Charlie Hebdo murderers were not lunatics without motive, but highly motivated extremists intent on enforcing Islamic blasphemy laws in 21st-century Europe. If you do not know the ideology — perverted or plausible though it may be — you can neither understand nor prevent such attacks. Nor, without knowing some Islamic history, could you understand why — whether in Mumbai or Paris — the Islamists always target the Jews.

[..] We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follow a far more radical version. The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is.

The cost of this furious pretence that Islam is totally unconnected to the “so called” Islamic State and the terror attacks committed in its name can now be measured in a growing toll of human lives. And the slickness with which we now mourn these events, with standardised tributes and modes of behaviour, only serves to emphasise our utter lack of coordination in preventing their recurrence.

As this blog commented after the recent Brussels attacks in March, charting the inevitability of the public grieving followed by zero meaningful action:

Impromptu shrines appear in a major square of the afflicted city, with candles, chalk drawings and sometimes a bit of impromptu John Lennon.

And the day closes with Europe and America’s major landmarks illuminated to resemble the national flag of the afflicted nation. They’re getting really good at that part now.

Fast forward a day, and plans are well afoot to grant even more powers to the well-meaning but overstretched security services – who were unable to make use of their current extensive powers to thwart the attack – and generally at the expense of our civil liberties. Particularly our rights to privacy and free speech.

Fast forward a month, and we have all moved on. Domestic political concerns, celebrity scandals and daily life have reasserted themselves.

I think we can all agree that we’ve got the public grief, cathartic expressions of solidarity and stern faced authoritarianism down to a fine art at this point.

When are we going to start acknowledging – and maybe even tackling – the root causes?

Unless our leaders can openly and unequivocally acknowledge that the terrorist scourge which sees murder brought to the streets of Europe on a near-monthly basis has its roots in a fundamentalist, literalist and militant strain of Islam, how are we ever to really get to grips with the issues of radicalisation and non-assimilation?

If the deaths of eighty slain people in Nice have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam then how do we hope to save young and impressionable Muslim schoolgirls in London from stealing away to Syria to join ISIS, or young and impressionable Muslim boys from falling under the seductive spell of jihadist recruiters?

If we cannot openly and comfortably name the enemy which we face – not an entire religion, but certainly a very real and present strain of Islam – then how do we even begin to formulate policies which will meaningfully reduce this threat over time?

The answer is that we cannot. We can clamp down further on our precious civil liberties, bartering away even more of our freedoms in the hope of purchasing additional security (and letting the terrorists win, since they count as a victory anything which diminishes our liberal democratic way of life). We can ramp up the surveillance state and clamp down on freedom of speech to make it look like we are doing something purposeful, even though the costs of such draconian measures far exceed the benefits. But none of these measures will stop two radicalised guys and a truck from repeating the horrors of Nice in Camden Town or Edinburgh.

It is impossible to create the perfectly secure country, and the closer one tries to get to this ideal, greater and greater are the liberties which must be traded away in exchange. Therefore, the only way to stop more Nice attacks from happening is to approach the problem from the other end and seek to tackle the radical, fundamentalist Islamist extremism.

And this is the one thing which our leaders, in their tragic fear of giving offence, shamefully refuse to do.

 

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Top Image: Guardian

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The National Security Implications Of Failing To Support The Steel Industry

Save Our Steel - Tata Steel - National Security

With so many other glaring weaknesses in Britain’s national security infrastructure, does the loss of domestic steel production really matter?

While everybody rends their garments about the threatened closure of Tata plants and other steelworks around the country, many commentators – from both ends of the political spectrum – are touching on the national security implications of failing to support our steel industry.

Arguing in favour of government intervention to support the British steel industry, the Daily Mirror quotes Labour MP Dan Jarvis:

The steel sector crisis rocking Britain could put our national security at risk, a top Labour MP has warned.

In a boost for the Daily Mirror’s Save Our Steel campaign, Dan Jarvis will tell the annual State of the North conference of the dangers of closing major plants.

“It undermines our freedom and our influence if we become overly reliant on other countries for essential resources that we will need in the future,” he will say.

“Deciding whether we preserve some of the best coke ovens and the largest blast furnaces in our country has implications for our national security as well as our future prosperity.”

While from the other side, Allister Heath writes in the Telegraph:

Then there are the strategic and military dimensions. There may one day be another major war, or a large emerging nation could go rogue. But we cannot run Britain on a war footing. The Government should engage in contingency planning: it could stockpile steel, or even set up a couple of mothballed plants. None of this is any justification for nationalising unviable businesses.

But how much of a hammer blow to Britain’s independent warmaking (or defensive) capability would the closure of our remaining steel plants actually be?

The argument in favour of retaining significant steelmaking capacity is that we might need it in case of urgent re-armament or replenishment of lost military hardware. But the lead time for the construction of a Type 45 destroyer is 3 years – compared to one year for the groundbreaking HMS Dreadnought in 1906 and thirteen months for the famous HMS Belfast in 1938. While the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible was built in seven years during the 1970s, HMS Queen Elizabeth – first of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – will have been in production and trials for eleven years before finally becoming operationally ready in 2020.

If we found ourselves facing a dire security or military threat requiring additional naval ships, besides directing our ire at David Cameron – who has presided over a shameful degradation of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet – Britain would have little choice but to attempt to buy the requisite ships from a foreign navy (who may or may not be willing to sell to us). The lead time for commissioning a modern advanced warship is now so long that most conflagrations would be over by the time new ships were completed. And all the time they were under construction, the shipyards – and steelworks, and any other supporting industry – building them would be vulnerable to sabotage from within and aerial attack from without.

In other words, the days when we could melt down iron railings and salvage bits of scrap material to aid the war effort or rush produce a battleship in eleven months are over (to the limited extent that they existed at all). In any future major war, Britain will effectively go to war with the hardware it has available at the time, with little prospect of rapid re-armament – which is why we should all be concerned about this supposedly Conservative government’s failure to prioritise defence spending.

And it’s not just steel. Britain has almost no domestic supply of the rare earth minerals which are needed to manufacture the computer components which go into everything from vehicles, weapons and medical equipment. Sure, the government could keep stockpiles – though our government is too woefully inept to do so. But where does it end? When so many goods are the product of a disaggregated global supply chain, what do you insist is produced locally?

These are not easy questions to answer. But in answering them, policymakers have an obligation to delve deeper than the very two-dimensional “steelwork closures will mean that Britain is no longer a military power” level of debate we are getting so far. And they have an obligation – not that they are likely to fulfil it – to be honest with the public about the trade-offs which guide such decisions.

As it happens, this blog would like to see more critical national security infrastructure brought back under British control – energy independence for a start, and a strengthened military with a Royal Navy befitting a powerful island trading nation. But so far, I have yet to be convinced by anyone that the loss of domestic steel production weakens us as a country any more than the many other inevitable global interdependencies which undergird our ability to make war – never mind the Conservative government’s reckless vandalism of the armed forces, which was utterly avoidable.

And so I put this out there to those with strong opinions backed up by detailed knowledge: from a national security standpoint, with so many other glaring (and often recently self-inflicted) weaknesses in our national security infrastructure, does the potential loss of our remaining domestic steel production capacity really matter?

 

Postscript:

This is not to say there should not be some type of government intervention to delay the steelworks closures or mitigate their effects. Surely one of the lessons learned from Thatcherism is that no matter how essential industrial and economic realignment may be for long-term success, simply expecting people (particularly a coddled British population used to being helped by the government) to brush themselves off and start lucrative new careers after being made redundant is callous and wildly overoptimistic. The word “Tory” is still utterly toxic in some communities, over thirty years later, and we must avoid making it even worse.

People have no right to demand that the state (i.e. their taxpaying neighbours) permanently subsidise the loss-making industry which gives them employment, but we should provide those affected with transitional support through re-training and educational grants to equip workers with more lucrative skills. Failing to do so, either out of bumbling incompetence (David Cameron and Sajid Javid) or rigid ideology will only create more negative consequences of social deprivation and regional dereliction, which is morally wrong as well as more expensive in the long term.

This piece in Conservative Home explains the consequences of failing to provide such transitional support, and the advantages of doing so.

 

Tata Steel

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The EU’s Model Of Supranational Harmonisation Does Not Keep Us Safe

EU - European Union - Security Defence Policy

On national security as with trade and social affairs, the case for Brexit hinges on the conflict between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism

In his latest Telegraph column, Christopher Booker joins this blog in refuting the baseless, scaremongering claims by the Remain camp that being in the EU in any way protects Britain from the risk of terrorist attack.

Booker writes:

It was unfortunate timing for our not very convincing Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, when he used the Brussels terrorist attacks to claim that they only confirm how disastrous it would be for Britain to leave the EU. “The fact is,” he said, that “across Europe we do have these mechanisms now” for “sharing intelligence about terrorists’ movements” that enable “all intelligence services across Europe to pool their efforts”.

Do those “mechanisms” for sharing intelligence include the Parliament, Court of Justice, Commission, the supranational elements by which the European Union undermines nation states and seeks to usurp their role on the world stage? Of course not – these are all explicitly political institutions. All of the collaboration which actually helps to combat terrorism in Europe occurs on an intergovernmental, not a supranational basis, mostly outside of European Union structures.

When sovereign governments are free to co-operate on mutually important issues, they can often do so well. But when a busybody supranational regime seeks to take on ever more responsibilities from the nation state, vesting them in inappropriate and unproven institutions, that’s when things can easily fall through the cracks, as this blog explained yesterday.

Booker rightly goes on to argue:

In fact, there is here a much wider point, which highlights one of the most common misunderstandings about the EU, whose supporters try to persuade us that without it, international cooperation could not exist. In fact, over a whole range of issues, countries have long evolved extremely effective systems of inter‑governmental cooperation, such as on air-traffic control, Interpol, the international postal union, the European Space Agency and dozens more (not to mention Nato).

All these, negotiated between national governments, regardless of whether or not they are in the EU, work very well. And not the least absurd feature of the EU’s attempt to make itself a “supranational government of Europe” is how often it has tried to absorb these examples of effective cooperation into its own clumsy bureaucratic empire: as when it launched its “Single European Sky” programme, or set up “Europol”, or issued directives on postal arrangements with which it then expected non-EU states to comply, or tried to take over the European space programme for its crazy Galileo satellite project.

If only more people appreciated the crucial difference between “inter‑governmental”, which works, and “supranational”, which doesn’t, how much more enlightening our debate might become.

Inter-governmental versus supranational. It is very much in the interests of the EU’s apologists and closet federalists for the general public not to realise the difference between these two important terms.

The former describes the healthy co-operation between friendly allied countries, sometimes bilaterally and other times facilitated by an organising body (like Interpol). The latter describes weak nation states outsourcing key responsibilities to a higher third party, a reckless and unproven approach only ever attempted by national politicians seeking to escape accountability to their own electorates.

If the Remain camp succeed in their effort to lay a thick fog of war over the EU referendum debate so that important terminologies and ideas are confused and muddled, they automatically win. If they can persuade people that the EU equals warm, fuzzy co-operation with our friends while Brexit equals snarling isolationism and being an international pariah, the Remain camp need to nothing else. And so far, they are succeeding.

In order to turn this around, the Leave campaign absolutely must succeed in educating the public on the difference between laudable and (ideally) transparent and accountable co-operation between European countries on one hand, and the outsourcing of core government competencies to undemocratic, unwanted and untested unified European institutions on the other.

This applies not only to national security, but economic and social affairs too. When the Leave campaign are able to cut through the fog of confusion and make people realise that leaving the EU would actually represent an affirmation and strengthening of the only kind of co-operation which actually delivers positive results (the inter-governmental kind), they are far more likely to embrace Brexit and realise how the EU actively harms healthy intergovernmentalism in its rabid pursuit of ever-closer union.

Can the Leave campaign this message across in less than three months between now and the referendum? Perhaps. But enlightenment will not spring from the mouths of deliberately ignorant “leaders” like Boris Johnson.

Those who can actually distinguish between the real issues and the cosmetic ones – which sadly excludes much of the British press corps – urgently need to find a way to amplify their message.

 

Intergovernmental vs Supranational - European Union - EU Referendum

Bottom Image: Cartoon by Wolfgang Ammer, published in Intergovernmentalism & Liberal Intergovernmentalism

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Labour’s EU ‘Remain’ Campaign Launches With Their Weakest Argument

Alan Johnson - Labour - In for Britain - EU Referendum - Brexit

Claims that Britain being in the EU “keeps us safe” are completely without basis. Nations are more than capable of co-operating on national security without dissolving into the same flawed political union

If the slavishly europhile “Remain” campaigns are putting their best feet forward and leading with their strongest arguments then perhaps there is hope for we eurosceptics after all.

Last month, the farcical launch of Britain Stronger in Europe was tarnished by the somewhat unwilling presence of Lord Stuart Rose as campaign chairman, and then rendered ridiculous by “youth ambassador” June Sarpong’s confused non-endorsement in the press.

And now, with today’s launch of Labour In for Britain, the Labour Party’s own pro-EU campaign group, the europhiles decided to lead with the weakest of all their weak arguments – that leaving the EU would somehow be injurious to Britain’s national security. And they are quite willing to exploit the recent shocking terrorist attacks in Paris to do so.

Alan Johnson, chairman of the Labour In for Britain campaign, writes in the Mail:

We should be in no doubt that these are dangerous times. 

The tragic events in Paris, and the government’s recent confirmation that seven terror plots have been foiled in the UK in recent months, have underlined the threat that violent extremism poses to us here at home.

For some, the answer to this is to withdraw from Europe and to try to combat the threats we face on our own. 

So no positive vision, then. Just a lot of scaremongering followed by the reassurance that we can avoid being blown up in our favourite clubs and restaurants for the low, low price of the surrender of our democracy, sovereignty and right to self-determination.

Of course, Johnson never explains why leaving the explicitly political construct known as the EU would mean that Britain has to withdraw from Europe the continent, or Europe the home of our friends and allies. But then it is very much in his interest to conflate all of these things and falsely imply that leaving a political union means cutting ourselves off and standing alone in the world.

From a man who is constantly lauded as one of the Labour Party’s finest assets, a fundamentally decent man of irreproachable morals, this is really dirty and opportunistic stuff from Alan Johnson. Apparently there is no moratorium on using a mass killing for political gain when the people taking advantage of our shock and grief are do-gooder left wing types who think they know best for us.

Johnson continues:

Our campaign will focus on the economic security of British workers – the millions of British jobs that are linked to trade with Europe, and the employment rights that are enshrined in EU law. 

But we will also be laying out the ways in which Europe protects British citizens and keeps us safe.

First, working with our European partners provides us the best way to stop would-be terrorists entering Europe [..]

Second, thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, pushed through in 2004 under a Labour government, we are able to more effectively bring would-be terrorists to justice [..]

Finally, it should not be forgotten that Islamist terrorism is not the only threat we face. At a time of deep instability on Europe’s borders, Britain benefits from its ability respond collectively.

The Brexit campaign group Vote Leave are also pushing the security aspect quite hard, so it is unsurprising that the pro-EU groups want to cut them off by claiming that it is their position which will keep Britain safe. Unsurprising, but wrong.

And Johnson concludes:

By sharing intelligence, pooling resources and working together, European countries add value to each others’ efforts to keep the peace. A Brexit would leave us all more vulnerable.

Damningly, it is never explained why all of this co-operation is dependent on Britain remaining part of an ever-tightening political union with its own parliament and courts and government.

Alan Johnson never explains why our intelligence and security services rely on our EU membership every day to protect us from terrorist attacks. Because they don’t. This co-operation – and any other matters of vital national security – would go on regardless of our future relationship with the EU, because that’s how mature democracies work. Europe will not simply go off in a sulk and stop sharing intelligence with us simply because we decide that we no longer want to be just a star on the EU’s flag, because they need our military support and intelligence capabilities far more than we need theirs.

Don’t forget – Britain’s closest military ally and intelligence sharing partner is not any one of the European Union countries, but rather the United States. We host US air bases on our territory, we embed our own armed forces with theirs (and vice versa) on active operations and we buy and sell weapons and equipment to America. On the intelligence front, GCHQ and the NSA work together hand in glove – sometimes too closely, to the extent that they conducted mass surveillance without our knowledge – and are indispensable partners.

The closest of military allies and vital partners in global intelligence sharing – somehow the UK and US are able to maintain this partnership without a joint legislature handing down laws to Congress and Parliament, a judiciary sitting above our own respective Supreme Courts, or a shadow government running a large and expensive bureaucracy on our behalf.

And yet the europhiles will declare with a straight face that we desperately need this cumbersome, irrelevant and antidemocratic sideshow just to be able to ensure military and intelligence sharing co-operation with a country separated from us by just twenty miles English Channel. What nonsense.

So, Alan Johnson: why is it that Britain is able to maintain our closest and most strategic partnership in the world with the United States without ourselves becoming the 51st state, while a lesser degree of co-operation with the other countries of Europe is somehow impossible unless we dissolve ourselves into the same ever-tightening political union with them?

Truly, the security aspect is the weakest of all the pro-EU arguments, and yet it is the one with which Labour chose to lead. And the only possible calculus for doing so must have been the belief that people were still so shocked and traumatised by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris that they would be susceptible to scaremongering tactics which openly suggested that a vote against the European Union is a vote for more Paris-style attacks on our own city streets.

That tells you a lot about the intellectual weakness and desperation of pro-EU case and the “Remain” campaign as a whole. But it tells you even more about today’s grasping, manipulative and utterly shameless Labour Party.

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The Daily Smackdown: Jeremy Corbyn’s Non-Clarification On ‘Shoot To Kill’

Jeremy Corbyn - Paris Attacks - Terrorism - Appeasement

Why is it so hard for Jeremy Corbyn to say that the police should kill terrorists in the process of committing a massacre?

Sensing the storm that was about to break over the Labour Party following his catastrophically weak  response to a simple question on the merits of shooting terrorists in the act of attacking innocent civilians, Jeremy Corbyn reluctantly scrambled to contain the damage.

Yesterday, on Corbyn’s Facebook page, the Labour leader took the opportunity to scold everyone for supposedly misinterpreting his remarks:

I am therefore disappointed that comments I made yesterday in regard to a “shoot to kill” policy have been taken out of context [..]

Nonetheless, I would like to clarify my position. As we have seen in the recent past, there are clear dangers to us all in any kind of shoot to kill policy. And we must ensure that terrorist attacks are not used to undermine the very freedoms and legal protections we are determined to defend.

But of course I support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force is required to save life in response to attacks of the kind we saw in Paris.

Here, Corbyn is trying to pull off a classic bait-and-switch. Yes, of course we must ensure that terrorist attacks are not exploited as an excuse to clamp down further on already-threatened civil liberties – this blog has consistently said the same thing, and did so again following the Paris attacks.

But that’s a side issue. People were not angry with Corbyn because he was taking a plucky stance in defence of civil liberties, they were simply incredulous that the Leader of the Opposition – when presented with a golden plated opportunity to come out on the side of human decency and rebut some of the criticism that he is soft on terror – point blank refused to countenance the shooting of armed terrorist gunmen actively engaged in committing a massacre.

Even in his so-called clarification, Jeremy Corbyn remains unable to force the words “kill” and “terrorist” from his lips in the same sentence, giving only the bland statement that he supports “proportionate and strictly necessary force”. This might be sufficient coming from another politician, but the trouble is that in Corbyn’s case, the public strongly suspects that his idea of a “proportionate and necessary” response to a terrorist massacre might mean sitting down with a cup of tea and talking about our feelings rather than eliminating a clear and present threat to the British public.

Look: nobody expects Jeremy Corbyn to be the man in the SWAT flak jacket kicking down doors, throwing flash-bang grenades and pulling the trigger in these situations. If Corbyn wants to follow his absolutist pacifism in his own private life, that’s fine. But it is not okay for the Leader of the Opposition, the holder of an important official constitutional position in our national life, to take such a fundamentalist stance when the security of our country and our citizens is at stake.

When the man seeking to become Britain’s next prime minister can’t even bring himself to utter the words “kill” and “terrorist” in the same sentence, it naturally raises questions as to what possible group of people – which vitally important constituent base – he is desperate to avoid offending by giving a more full-throated response. And as this blog noted yesterday, sadly there is only one plausible answer: the people Corbyn is unwilling to offend, is even willing to take a political hit in order to avoid offending, are those people who think that maybe Paris and the West had it coming on Friday the thirteenth.

But even putting this distasteful fact aside, Corbyn needs to learn that not every crisis or event needs to be a teaching moment for the British people in the ways of pacifism and non-violence. When Laura Kuenssberg asked Jeremy Corbyn yesterday if he would be happy for the police to take down an active terrorist, the answer should have been a simple “yes, of course”. Case closed.

But instead, the Labour leader – and the army of online Corbyn fanboys and fangirls blindly backing him up – decided instead to quibble sanctimoniously about whether “happy” was the right choice of word, bring up misleading comparisons like the mistaken shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes when no terrorist attack was underway, and generally refute the premise of the question.

That’s the kind of behaviour that would just about be tolerable from a smarmy sixth-former. It’s the kind of behaviour that has become eye-rollingly predictable from a far-left backbencher. But it is most definitely not the kind of behaviour acceptable from somebody who plans to stand before the British people and ask them to make him prime minister.

Jeremy Corbyn - Paris Attacks - Terrorism - BBC Interview

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