We have all been shocked and sickened by the terrible news on Alan Henning, and I am sure most decent people will send their hearts out to his family. However, the whole episode prompts so many questions in our heads, not necessarily of the whys and wherefores of how it arrived at this, but of “where do we go from here?”
The Prime Minister’s (yes, I will call him that on this occasion) assurances that “we” will hunt down and bring to justice the perpetrators would be re-assuring if we had faith in his ability to carry through his promises. Clearly, information that the security services have on the location of “Jihadi John” and his cowardly associates, safely ensconced well behind the fighting line, in order to carry out both barbaric acts and propaganda displays, is secret. However, a serious attempt to apprehend these people will involve “boots on the ground”, possibly in Syria, even if only special forces. Has he the courage to authorise such a mission?
He has just come back from a quick “PR” trip to Afghanistan, where he told “our boys” they were in a generational struggle. But, with him ring fencing NHS and Foreign Aid spending, with pensions effectively ring-fenced, and promising to chop £25Bn a year from the government budget, would he be able (if elected again as PM) to NOT reduce defence spending?
And are our aid agencies and charities still going to send people out there, given the risks? Frankly, without armed protection, they would be most unwise to do so.
More questions can be asked of Muslims in Britain. One has to say it is refreshing to see representatives of the Muslim Council of Britain on BBC lunchtime News, condemning the murder, and the 3 earlier massacres too. The BBC showed a recorded interview with Sir Iqbal Sacranie, and had a spokesman, Talha Ahmed, interviewed live on the 1PM broadcast. He said:
IS are a murderous, ruthless, killing machine
He also was at pains to stress that, in the Council’s belief, while British Muslims should condemn the act, they should also deny IS the oxygen of publicity.
However (there’s always a however before a question here), unlike western religions, Islam is not organised hierarchically. If the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury sets a policy, it will generally filter down through the organisation, without protest. There not even being a formal system of ordination for Imams and Preachers, there is no such hierarchy in Islam. What is more important than denouncements from the Muslim Council, is that a denouncement is made in every mosque. How is that going to be achieved?
Staying with Islam, I have seen references in news articles to Alan Henning having been given safe passage by other Muslims, which should have given him “immunity” from IS. Today is also the Muslim festival of Eid, and IS have chosen to hijack the day with his murder, clearly timed for their perverse propaganda purposes. While I am not going to get into discussions on what the Quran’s teachings urge its followers to do, or not to do, it is a fact that the vast majority of Muslims (the same as other peoples in the world) just want to lead peaceful lives, bringing up their families, and are not going to go on the rampage alongside IS. But, have they the courage to expose those in their midst who would actively support IS, which some commentators estimate to be several percent, while could mean getting on for a 100,000 Muslims in Britain?
There is little doubt that the tide is turning against the concept of multiculturalism. A BBC poll showed 95% of its viewers think it’s failed. However, what measures need to be taken to induce a greater degree of integration amongst the immigrant community? No politicians seem to have the answer on this one… yet.
We can also ask questions of the government about our border security. How secure are we against fighters coming back? Is the Border Force going to arrest them on arrival? What will be done with them? Will any be returned to where they came from? Will the Human Rights Industry swing into action to “protect their rights”? Again, Cameron has made promises. Can he keep them? Most UKIPpers and many voters do not think so.
There are also questions about coastal and airspace security. Some may choose not to return by scheduled flights, but to come ashore in small boats, or land in private aircraft. I spent 10 minutes in Southend today talking to a gentleman from the National Coastwatch Institution, who have set up volunteer lookout posts on our coast, manned mostly at weekends, mainly to keep an eye on leisure users of the sea. However, if they saw suspicious landings they would report them to the Coast Guard – whose nearest stations to Southend-on-Sea are Walton-on-the-Naze and Dover, which sounds wholly inadequate to me.
Are there any plans to beef up our Coast Guard? Do our Air Traffic systems challenge ALL incoming flights to the UK, however small the aircraft, especially where they are NOT heading for International airports?
A hundred and one more questions occur to me, but I think I’ve reached UKIP Daily’s word limit, so I’ll stop. If you’ve got more questions, please place them in a comment below, and if you think you have any answers… well, give it a shot.