Countering terrorism

Yesterday in the Commons we debated defence matters. The Secretary of State explained the actions UK aircraft are taking in Iraq, at the request of the Iraqi government. He raised the issue of whether the new Parliament would reconsider the position in Syria, and allow air strikes by UK aircraft there as well. Several of us advised against.

I share his revulsion at the actions of extreme groups in various parts of the Middle East. We all feel we want to take action to make an attack like that in Tunisia last week less likely. However, a mature well armed state needs to think carefully before committing to military action. It should always ask Is this a war we can win? If we win this war will there be a satisfactory peace that is better than the current situation? Can we win the war without doing unacceptable levels of damage to the place concerned, and without excessive loss of life, especially for non combatants?

The UK has had to counter domestic terrorist threats. The UK always sought to respond to terrorism at home under the rule of law. The authorities tried to locate terrorists, assemble evidence and prosecute them as criminals. This remains our approach to terrorists in the UK linked to Middle Eastern fanatical groups. In the Irish troubles the terrorists sought special political status. There were endless arguments about the use of force for self defence by the UK authorities and about the legal processes and the detention of prisoners.

To end the terrorist troubles in Northern Ireland successive UK governments, both Conservative and Labour, came to the conclusion that they needed to undertake a political process, engaging terrorist organisations in talks and finding a democratic answer to the conflicts within a troubled community. No political party in the UK ever advocated pursuing a war on terrorist organisations,authorising shooting or bombing by the state.

I raised the question of how the UK can contribute to a negotiated settlement in Iraq or Syria, and drew attention to the contrast between treating terrorism as a serious policing matter, and treating it as a war to be fought despite the terrorists being embedded in civilian communities of people who are not themselves killing others. The Minister reminded me that in the case of Iraq we have the request of the civilian authority and operate under that legal cover. In Syria we do not wish to be friends of the Assad regime, so there is no similar legal base for intervening in Syrian territory. The Minister implied that any intervention would be as a result of extending the remit from Iraq, chasing terrorists over the border who have been operating in Iraq itself.

I understand the frustration of many that we have not so far been able to stop some of the advances of terrorists in Iraq and Syria, though nor have we in Nigeria and other Middle Eastern countries where there is no UK wish to take military action.There are many other well armed powers in the region that can and do take action and know the local religion, culture and languages better than us.

The questions the government needs to ask are the ones in this piece. I do not see a way for the UK military to improve the situation in Syria by bombing. The UK should be neither on the side of the Sunni nor the Shia forces in this religious war. We should remember just how difficult it has proved to create a stable peace in Libya after taking military action. We should also remember our soldiers and air crews. Their tasks should be both feasible and legal.

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55 Comments

  1. Richard1
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    The UK has been selling arms to and training forces from various rich states in the Middle East for 50+ years. If we cannot now rely on such states to use these capabilities to destroy a local threat (apparently financed from within some of these states) what is the point of military cooperation and friendship with such states?

    • agricola
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      The point was the supposed securing of oil and gas supplies and then supporting our own arms industry with large supplementary orders from said Middle Eastern states. The fact that they might have been better sticking to camels rather than Tornadoes was never allowed to cloud a good arms deal.

    • Hope
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Hang on JR. Cameron gave away our taxes to provide weapons to the opposition of Assaad. They appear to turn out as ISIS. Then he wanted to bomb Syria. Now he wants to help Assad in ridding ISIS from Syria! Cameron has such poor judgement.

      This is the same man who cannot secure our borders, prevent serious criminals from the EU entering our country or is dong anything to prevent radicalisation in our schools or is doing anything to help vulnerable young girls being human trafficked in our country for sexual activity by predominantly Pakistani males, again reported in the papers with no substantive action being taken. Security of our citizens should be his first priority. When is he going to act? Snooping on our emails does not cut the mustard. Nor wasting billions of taxpayers’ money on overseas aid. What has he or is going to put in place to make us secure in our own country. I heard very little in your debate.

      • zorro
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        If you believe for one minute that Cameron has any intention to use air power against IS in Syria you are deluding yourself. IS has been able to INCREASE its size since the supposed allied air strikes against it in open desert in Iraq/Syria.

        How can an army/mob conquer the Middle East without air support. The answer is that they can’t…… So what’s smoking in reality? Open your minds….

        zorro

        • Hope
          Posted July 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          I do not believe Cameron at all. I suspect this will be an underhand way to get at Assaad. It strikes me he used a similar underhand method to help the capture and killing of Gaddafi. He still needs to be held to account for this and the mess he helped create in Lybia.

      • zorro
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        More with less…… LOL

        zorro

      • Ken Moore
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        A true fairy story..

        Mr Cameron having a wise and expensively educated head and clever media patter wanted to send arms to a peace loving and gentle pick up truck army of righteous and decent Syrians that wanted to build a peaceful and democratic country by overthrowing a wicked and despicable tyrant.
        To his Notting hill friends this all seemed like a jolly good idea and would mark him out as a man of great compassion and statesmanship.

        The BBC and the new modern Conservatives would then rejoice smiling down upon the great Arab Spring they had created..a grateful world would offer pleas of gratitude and salute the sainted Cameron for his greatness and wisdom..

        Can Mr Cameron be placed in a straightjacket the next time he wants to intervene in foreign policy…

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Good point.

      Tad

  2. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Yes its the next part of the never ending story of how Dave is out of his depth. How is sending a Tornado from Cyprus to bomb a couple of Landcruisers in the middle of the Syrian desert going to stop a maniac with an AK47 in Oxford St? The enemy is within and is most probably biding his time in a bedsit awaiting further instruction.

  3. Mark B
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I would just like to ask, what interets do we have in Iraq and Syria ? If none, then we have no business in their affairs.

  4. Pete
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    ISIS is a western creation. The interventions the callous and illegal bombing, subversion, invasion and slaughter across the Middle East going back to before WW1 has led to this situation. We are totally and completely responsible for it because we have allowed power crazed and immoral politicians to run riot. Time to stop the violence. Britain cannot and will not improve anything by more meddling or killing. We should remove all our troops, mind our own business and hope that what goes around does not come around to us.

    • zorro
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      ‘ISIS is a western creation’….. You don’t realise how true that statement is on so many levels.

      zorro

  5. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Terrorism…isn’t that what is happening at Calais? Disruption of supplies in/out of UK plus the criminal activities of migrants. French ATC waiting to put the boot in.

    Toyota closing production in Uk because supplies are not arriving..and they are not the only company affected. Many car manufacturers have logistics based in Belgium requiring overnight delivery of spares for repair of vehicles…Mazda for one.

    I expect refrigerated food on those vehicles is spoiled now including food that has to be dumped due to immigrants breaking into such vehicles.

    But still little is done by GovEU. No Cobra on ot…simply nothing?

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Well spoken Richard. I would have more faith in the government if they stopped Muslims entering the country. Thousands each year, many who actually wish us harm. When will the great and good recognise that the Koran is not a religion but a totalitarian political handbook.
    Let them join IS if that’s what they want and stop wasting resources stopping them.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      and then allowing them back into the UK.

    • zorro
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      It is no more so than other ‘holy books’. Have you read the Bible or some of the Jewish holy books. Have you seen what they advocate doing to ‘non chosen’ people? This is all to drive a wedge between people to try and gain more political and social control over everyone….. James Madison….. ‘If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy’.

      zorro

  7. formula57
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    What a disappointment it is that you were prevented from referring Secretary of State Farron to the Chilcot Report where he might have found some lessons well worth learning.

    Instead of musing on hazarding British interests and British lives though participating in adventures that may quite easily deliver outcomes wholly contrary to intentions, Mr Farron could be earnestly working on producing a reply to the letter you sent him when Energy Minister asking about energy policy all those years ago that disgracefully has still not been answered by the government.

  8. DaveM
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The only way Syria and Iraq can be sorted out, as you say, is by the local nations doing it. Unfortunately the Saudis and the Iranians – the two countries which have sufficient power to do so – hate each other. As we have seen before, the Iranians are usually willing to help the Shias in Iraq, but no Arab states want Persian interference in Arab lands. Add to that the fact that, as a default at this time, the west is supposedly friendly with the Saudis although the natural ally of the west (if IS is considered to be the enemy) is Iran. Bit messy really. Oh, and of course the Saudi army (despite the fact that it is well equipped and fairly large) couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag even if it was willing to do so. That’s why it has billions of dollars deposited in western banks ready to be released to uncle USA who will do it for them.

    As always, bombing solves nothing. It’s just an American way of doing something with minimum risk to their own people – fair enough I suppose.

    This country needs to protect itself though. I have faith in the police and the security service, but they can only do so much when their hands are tied by weak laws which say that – essentially – we have to wait until something happens before we do something. Prevention is always better than the cure. Until the govt takes a robust line we are going to be waiting for something bad to happen.

    You only mention Libya once. That is the source of so many problems at the minute, and certainly the crocodile nearest the boat, but no one will address it.

  9. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Extremely long legs is a physical attribute of too many British MPs. I saw the dabate.

    One young Tunisian man with one gun attacked and killed tens of unarmed people in Tunisia and thus it seems in just 30 minutes downs his country’s main industry for years, and sends shock waves throughout primarily the western world.

    The slow-motion knee-jerk reaction of one MP was to suggest the RAF should bomb and shoot air to ground missiles not at the guilty Tunisian, now dead. Not at other Tunisians. Not at Tunisia. But at unnamed and unknown people in Syria 1,678 miles away.
    Moscow is a mere 1,552.42 miles from London. and I dare say there is at least one Tunisian living there.
    Please do not tell the Secretary of State and the Minister of Defence a saving in aviation fuel costs could be made by flying 125.58 miles less in getting that Tunisian in Moscow.

    I have only worked out the mileage on a knee-jerk bombing and strafing mission by the RAF to Moscow one-way. We shall need many replacement aircraft and pilots.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      On the subject of Moscow,if I remember correctly,last time the West was considering bombing Syria -the part under President Assad’s control-didn’t the Russians obliquely threaten to shoot down any planes or missiles that were targeting their ally – and stationed a couple of guided missile ships off the Syrian coast to that end.If the government does go ahead,it had better be sure it has legimate targets and the missiles are precision guided.

    • zorro
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      The official story on the Tunis incident is still very cloudy and there are a lot of witnesses who said that there was more than one gunman and that they arrived in boats….. I am very suspicious of lone gunman narratives.

      zorro

  10. Horatio McSherry
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Morning John,

    It’s a shame that you have to write similar pieces on an almost yearly basis, setting out the same arguments against the same tired, bloodthirsty rhetoric from whoever is in government. Usually you could just replace the name of one Middle Eastern country with another, but the utter lunacy of the government’s approach to Syria means this time we’re talking about the same country but now supporting the side we wanted to bomb into oblivion just a matter of months ago.

    The further lunacy is that the government wants to jump into a far away war with no discernible outcome yet minces around the very same issue within our own country against the very same people who are already here.

  11. mick
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Yesterday in the Commons we debated defence matters
    Not doing a very good job are you Mr Redwood, today i read of a couple who without knowing bringing a stowaway into GB, then we have your Immigration minister James Brokenshire going to release 100`s of immigrants on to the roads of GB, so much for change only this time you cannot blame the lib/dem`s, something as got to change big time the Brit`s can only be pushed so far, god help your goverment if a Tunisia or 7/7 happens here

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Mick

      You make a valid point with regards to searching vehicles before leaving and after entry into the UK.

      We arrived back in the UK from France last week by car.

      Much time taken understandably by passport control to examine all passports (must get the paperwork right), but no caravan being towed by a car or camper vans/motor homes were searched or even opened and entered.

      I made comment at the time to my passengers that this seemed to be a rather simple error of judgement, given the many and varied attempts being made by people to get themselves into the UK.

      • sm
        Posted July 5, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes – and how are we securing our own borders!

  12. Liz
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I agree entirely with this position. ISIL will not be defeated by bombs and any such action by us would increase the already very high risk of terrorism here.

  13. agricola
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I am sure the UK security services are doing a great job in trying to keep the country safe. However I question whether they are being helped by other aspects of British government activity.

    The odds are stacked against them when you have a prime minister and various sycophantic supporters determined to retain our membership of the EU with all it’s open doors to terrorism. The situation is then exacerbated by the ECJ, the ECHR, and our own judiciary who fail to see the damage they cause.

    If you do not have the stomach for all out war on terrorism in selected areas of the Middle East then you must close the doors to terrorism at home. Conviction must lead to prison and then deportation. You need in my view to put an end to the way in which you have allowed some immigrant communities to set up their own education, dress code and parallel legal system. They must be left in no doubt that when they come to live in the UK they must leave their village mentality, with arranged marriage, FGM, and cousin marrying cousin behind them. If this is alien to them then what are they here for.

    A point to remember. When you have a net migration figure of 318,000 because 200,000 indigenous British have left, the real figure is 518,000 people alien to our way of life. The net figure is only the mathematical one, not the cultural one.

    The Blair government, the Coalition, and the current Conservative government have much to answer for in the destruction of British culture.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The Middle East terror situation is centuries old and based on tribal differences and competition . Outside intervention has never succeeded and is unlikely to solve the dilemma now . One of the root causes is the funding of the terrorists ; if this can be stopped it should create a halt to the war being fought .

    The measures we can take in this country to mitigate against terrorism are largely dependent on the capability of our security and the stamping out of the hate preachers . We have been far too lenient in the past and we must learn from the mistakes made . Much more has to be done in the absorption of the ethnic groups that now exist in our country ; as long as they believe they are a separated ,they will stick to their own beliefs and never integrate . We can’t turn our backs on the fact that they exist and are here now in considerable numbers ; integration is the only solution .

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Well, JR, I agree with you that we must always uphold the rule of the law, but as far as I’m concerned it is our national law as laid down by our national Parliament which is of paramount importance, not any form of so-called “international law”. It is just a pity that in the past our Parliament has turned a blind eye to blatant infringements of our national law approving the EU treaties when those treaties were breached.

    As far as Islamic State is concerned, you call it just “a terrorist organisation” but it calls itself a state and those who give it their allegiance do so on the basis that it is a newly emerged state with its own area of territory in the Middle East where its laws run, where it taxes the population and metes out its justice to those who offend, and in all respects behaves as a state albeit that it is still imperfectly organised and that parts of its territory are actively disputed by the previously established neighbouring states.

    We should stop pussy-footing around and acknowledge that reality and declare war on it, with the openly stated war aim of its total destruction, and if possible invoking the NATO treaty to bring in all those allies which are threatened by it and which in many cases have already been attacked by it.

    As for the British citizens who give it their allegiance, whether they travel to its claimed territory to assist it, or they stay in this country to support it, Parliament should pass any legislation which may be necessary to deal with them as they properly merit wherever in the world they may be found.

    I would only say that Parliament should be prepared to extend leniency to those who betray their country from youthful naivety and who later show genuine remorse, while not shrinking from treason trials, followed by deprivation of citizenship and deportation to the territory which is still under the control of the Islamic State for others. If the latter then meet their deaths on the battlefield, so be it.

    Reply It is not a recognised state and tries to control bits of other states. The problems with fighting it is you need to work out your relationship with the recognised state that is meant to be in charge, and cannot assume that the people who live in ISIL affected areas are willing supporters of ISIL

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 5, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      The recognised states which are supposed to be in control of the territory claimed by Islamic State are in various degrees of chaos and incapable to restoring their control, not least thanks to the past efforts of western powers to destabilise them in the name of establishing western-style democracy. Therefore it must fall to the same western powers to eradicate Islamic State in alliance with whatever local elements can be enlisted to assist with that task. As for so-called “Britons” who go to assist on the other side, they should cease to be “Britons” in the sense of legal citizenship, and if any of them then complain that this has left them stateless the answer is that they themselves have chosen their new alternative state by giving their allegiance to Islamic State. The possible exceptions being the young and naïve, as I have said if they show remorse for their treachery, indeed treason, then they could be treated more leniently.

  16. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Surely the lesson of the last 15 years is that we cannot solve the problems of the Arab world for them.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted July 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      The lesson is for all their faults many of the problems of the middle East (and ours) were solved by strong dictators. We should disapprove of their excesses but not try to impose our own far from imperfect systems.

      Our leaders need to be constantly reminded of the lessons of history as they are always forgotten.

      We should be afraid of vain, pious and self righteous politicians with a sort of breathtaking arrogance that leads them to make disastrous interfering decisions that always leave others picking up the pieces. Yes you Mr Cameron – what was it that you admired about Mr Blair ?.

  17. Stephen Berry
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Back in September 2001, the Global War on Terror was launched to ‘drain the swamp’ of terrorist networks around the world. In fact, there were scattered bands of jihadis globally and al-Qaeda had a couple of camps in Afghanistan and a sprinkling of supporters elsewhere. Today, in the wake of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and an air power intervention in Libya, after years of drone bombing campaigns across the Greater Middle East, jihadist groups are thriving in Yemen and Pakistan, spreading through Africa and ISIS has taken significant parts of Iraq and Syria right up to the Lebanese border and is still expanding murderously.

    It may have been that we were due for a rise of Islamic extremism whatever the West would have done, but it may also be that the various Western interventions served as a valuable recruiting tool for the terrorists. Government ministers are considering once more dropping bombs on Syria. Have they been told that this time they are wanting to bomb ‘the other side’? Do they not see how this will look to most people?

    Huge religious wars swept through Europe in the 15th and 16th century and intervention from a power outside Europe would not have stopped them. Major religious wars are now sweeping through the Middle East and there is absolutely nothing that the UK can do to change this. The government should limit its activity to monitoring migration to and from the conflict zones. That at least, would be useful.

  18. Tad Davison
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    This is a war of ideas and ideologies, and needs to be tackled at source.

    Being born a Roman Catholic, and having seen first-hand the double-standards that existed within the Roman Catholic faith, I am not a fan of that or any other religion. I reject the notion that we must conform to the rules, especial archaic rules, laid down by someone else, or our souls will be consigned to eternal damnation. People who subscribe to it, are lacking in something. I will even go as far as to say, when someone tells me they are a devout believer in any religion, I treat them with suspicion and keep them at arm’s length.

    We often hear people say, ‘ah but this or that religion is a peaceful religion’, but I make no distinction between them. They are a belief system, and my own view is whoever follows any one religion, needs to get a life. Their prescriptive edicts have caused more wars and human suffering throughout the ages, than any other cause. They have completely lost any credibility they once might have had.

    (Named e.g. Left out ed) My own view, is a simple and logical one. If anyone can be taken in by religion, they are capable of anything, and until we develop the minds of people where they can think for themselves and not be swayed by (belief ed) we’re not going to stop terrorists either now, or at any time in the future.

    Long live free thinkers!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      I too tend to treat them with suspicion and keep them at arm’s length. If they fall for one belief system, however innocuous, they surely have a greater tendency to be susceptible to more far dangerous beliefs.

      Catastrophic, runaway, global warming beliefs or the fighting totally pointless & counter productive wars in some imagined but idiotic cause.

  19. Mitchel
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I totally agree.The Americans have been bombing targets in Syria;If their firepower is insufficient to have effect what can we do?It’s just a rather pathetic knee-jerk response to last week’s tragedy.I would prefer the government concentrate its meagre resources on targets closer to home.

    • zorro
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      The U.S. has not been using its air power to a fraction of its effectiveness and capability. This plain to see for those with eyes…..

      zorro

  20. Atlas
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Agreed John. It is too easy to go ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ in a response to such atrocities.

  21. Mitchel
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Off topic but how nice it was to have it confirmed yesterday (not that any confirmation wasfreally necessary)that our closest ally wants us entombed in the European Superstate.

    Any comment from Wacky Dave?

  22. agricola
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Terrorist is too good a word to describe the depraved members of ISIL or whatever you have now decided to call them. They come into the same category as Pol Pot and the organisers of the Nazi death camps. They should be eliminated without recourse to the niceties of any legal system.

    You say “No political party in the UK ever advocated pursuing a war on terrorist organisations, authorising shooting or bombing by the state.” You may be technically correct but only because they did not wish to be seen to be getting their hands dirty. Such actions have occurred in just about every year since WW2. Deniable actions that a UK government finds more convenient.

    Even within the UK’s diminished capability it should be possible to take out Boku Haram in Nigeria. If you feel that this is beyond them then there is little point in having a defence budget. You should also be giving maximum support to the Kurds in Iraq and Syria in terms of weaponry and training. They are undeniably on our side in the fight against ISIL.

    • Tom William
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Boko Haram has virtually been defeated by a bunch of “elderly” white South African mercenaries, bush warfare specialists, who were secretly recruited earlier this year to train an elite group of Nigerian military. They were run by Colonel Eeben Barlow, a former commander in the South African Defence Force.
      Their formidable fighting skills – backed by their own helicopter pilots flying combat missions – have proved decisive in helping the military turn around its campaign against Boko Haram in its north-eastern strongholds.

  23. Kenneth
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    In my opinion we should not be fighting foreign wars unless there is no other option.

    We should be putting most of our armed forces’ effort into bolstering our borders to prevent dangerous people coming into the country.

    • zorro
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Have you seen the Home Office budget forecasts and staffing figures for the next few years?

      zorro

      • Ken Moore
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Still enough staff to grant British citizenship to 300,000 newcomers last year – 90% of which are non Eu.

        Saying that the process seems to have been made idiotically as easy as applying for a driving license or passport – just swot up on the official ladybird book of ‘British Citizenship’ and voila.

        https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test

        Being British means nothing anymore.. anyone can rock up with the right back story and have the same rights and entitlement to those that have been here since birth and paid into the system.

      • Ken Moore
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Another point is the citizenship test has just 24 questions and the pass mark is only 75%.

        ‘If you fail the test

        ‘You must wait 7 days before taking the test again, but you can take the test as many times as you need to. You’ll need to book and pay again each time’.

        Yes what sort of a patsy ‘test’ is one that can be repeated as many times as you like!.

        Then politicians ‘don’t get’ why the public are so worried about immigration….the door is still wide open..

        • zorro
          Posted July 4, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Obviously got that one from the EU….. Keep asking the same question until you get the right answer!! There are always staff to grant things for sure….. But never quite the same when looking to enforce decisions.

          zorro

        • Ken Moore
          Posted July 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Oh and there is a ‘Citizenship Ceremony’ also conveniently on the web so the details are available for all the world to see at the touch of a button. Just brilliant.

          Presumably potential citizens just need to remember Winston Churchill’s date of birth for the citizenship test and tick the box that says ‘I am not a terrorist’ to be successful.
          You couldn’t make this stuff up.

          David Cameron could take these web pages down tomorrow and insist all applicants write a letter to the home secretary requesting citizenship. That would slash the numbers drastically.

          https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/citizenship-ceremonies

          Then we wonder why thousands of young men are queuing up at Calais, after risking their lives, to take advantage of our feeble headedness.

          What party manifesto promised advertising of British Citizenship to all comers ?. The irony is this foolishness is literally costing lives.

          Why don’t we just put a large neon sign over London ‘All welcome here the streets are paved with gold’.

  24. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    In matters of defence and offence DC does not work alone. He has the advice of many. He may be out of his depth , but is everybody else? Now that is frightening if his advisors are also out of their depth.

  25. bluedog
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    The Israelis have it right on this one, Dr JR. Do absolutely nothing on the ground and let them all (sort ed) it out. The occasional drone strike based on signals intelligence, in order to take out the leadership of all jihadi combatants irrespective of identity, would do no harm.

    • zorro
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Is that. What the Israelis are doing? Really?

      zorro

  26. turbo terrier
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Thought provoking as usual John.

    I feel that it is a no win situation and as in the words of Bob Dylan everybody believes they have ” God on their side”. It all hinges on what part of your bible/koran you are reading.

    Yet another reason to take back full control of our borders.

    For those who want to harm us from within born as British citizens, treason is the only charge and when found guilty no appeal no nothing, just the long slow walk early in the morning to meet whichever supreme being you believe in.

  27. Mark
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    There is little point beyond a feeling of smugness in asking the warring factions in the religious battles in Syria and Iraq whether we could broker peace: they are fanatical and irreconcilable to each other – or us. Enforcing peace would take a massive, multinational commitment of forces for an extended period (decades at least), preferably including Russians and Chinese alongside NATO and tying up the forces of nearby nations as well. We lack the forces to do it ourselves, and the international agreement to do it otherwise. There is no point in lobbing a few extra grenades into the battles just to claim we’ve participated.

    There is rather more we could do to protect ourselves at home, by making it clear there is no future here for those who admire the Islamic State, and encouraging them to depart, and denying entry to those who support them. Positive action is required, not merely intelligence monitoring – which has proved adept at identifying potential troublemakers, but hopeless at containing them and their activities.

  28. forthurst
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    With regard to Syria, the intentions and loyalties of CMD and our other allies in the ME and elsewhere in respect to Da’ish is murky to say the least. It is not at all clear whether the objective is to destroy it or simply to encourage it to refocus its activities in Syria to overthrow the legitimate authority there. There is plenty of information coming out of Syria, totally unreported in the MSM, which paints a very different picture of what our self-identified allies in the region are up to; most of this points to our allies arming, training and providing logistical support to Da’ish: e.g. there is a photo on the web of a Da’ish terrorist holding a .300 AAC compact sniper system, which is not military issue anywhere, so could not have captured, etc ed

    We need a Prime Minister who puts the interests of the British people well before the interests of foreign powers to whom he may be treacherously devoted. It was not at all clear when Parliament authorised the bombing of Libya what the ultimate purpose was or what would be the lasting result; suffice it say, the armadas of asylum seekers heading for us have been facilitiated by the power vacuum in Libya and CMD could be contrued, consequently, as the people traffickers’ friend. Furthermore, Greece is being invaded by asylum seekers fleeing the conflict in Syria and elsewhere from conflicts initiated by CMD’s neocon chums at some point, so we must ask whether CMD has learned anything or is even gifted with that ability. The fact that he is trying again to get authority from parliament to attack another sovereign power which has not asked for our assistance and has not threatened us suggests not.

    • zorro
      Posted July 5, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Well said, most of these politicians in power tend to be compromised and easily manipulated, and those who are not will not get into power no matter how hard they try. Yout analysis is valid and correct in my eyes. Foreign policy is causing the migration crisis and the chickens are coming to roost as they cut budgets for border control without providing properly productive IT systems to improve productivity.

      zorro

  29. Ken Moore
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember it was those great minds of our age Tony Blair and John Major that pressed for the Northern Ireland peace agreement – but at what cost ?.
    The uncomfortable message this sent out was that we are soft and that violence pays. It was a betrayal of everyone that had been on the receiving end of IRA aggression.
    What message did all this send to the 9/11 murderers ?.

    We should have dealt with the IRA threat more robustly instead of the sort of softly softly Dixon of Dock green approach we used at the time . Instead of shaking hands we should have been building prisons and taking out the main players.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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