I haven’t commented so far on the events in France, partly because there has been so much comment elsewhere, on every angle, and partly because the atrocities were so horrible that it’s difficult to find the words. But I should like at least to commend the French people for their steadfast commitment to free speech and a free press — something that I hope that David Cameron bore in mind when he attended the Paris March on January 11th.
I believe that the majority of Muslims in the UK are decent folk who will be as outraged by the French atrocities as anyone else — perhaps more so, because they will be concerned about a possible back-lash. But the fact remains — we know from reports by the security services — that there are at least several hundred British Muslims (mostly young, mostly male), and perhaps more, who support Islamist Jihad and Islamist terrorism.
Nigel Farage attracted some criticism recently when he referred to these people as “a Fifth Column in our society”. This is a fair topic for debate. But it’s not a debate about the external reality — broadly speaking, we know what that is. It’s a semantic debate about how we choose to use the term “Fifth Column”. My view, for what it’s worth, is that Nigel’s use of the term was perfectly fair and reasonable.