In the wake of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester the thrust of the election campaign has changed. The media are beating Theresa May over the head for her lack of foresight in cutting the numbers of police and re-examining Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on terrorism.
These attacks have made it clear how vital our police force is in dealing with terrorism, and the general consensus of opinion seems to be that we should increase their numbers as soon as possible.
What is less clear is what we should be doing to try to prevent these attacks in the first place. More of us are coming to believe that the policy of waging war in the Middle East is not working and is very likely exacerbating the situation. As the extremists are driven out of their bases they seem to be concentrating their focus on radicalising young people and persuading them to wage these attacks on their host countries. It is difficult if not impossible to completely prevent these attacks, although the security forces have done a sterling job in identifying and preventing a substantial number.
We should also see what we can do to change the reasons for terrorism.
In the first place, let’s re-examine our foreign policy. Since warfare isn’t working, maybe we should withdraw. Furthermore we should surely stop the supply of arms to the Middle East. The UK is the world’s second biggest arms dealer, and delivers its bombs and guns to 22 of the 30 countries on our government’s own human rights watch list. Time to stop. These weapons are being used against our own forces.
I know that many have expressed the view that it makes no difference to the terrorists. That they will hate us and want to exterminate our culture whatever we do, but common sense dictates that our policy of beating them into submission is unlikely to endear us to them. And what is the logical conclusion. Genocide? Do we go on bombing them until there are none left?
Hundreds of thousands of innocents are being killed in this tragedy. Let’s stop it now.
There is one other point. We know that warfare doesn’t work but we have very little evidence that anything else works either. The only case I can think of is that of the IRA, which was largely funded by America. When America was itself hit by terrorists, the funding dried up. We tried talking to the IRA instead of shooting and imprisoning them. The terrorism stopped.
Statistically one case is useless, but maybe it demonstrates that this approach is at least worth a try.
Please bear this is mind when you go to the polls on Thursday. And for God’s sake DO go to the polls. We need every vote we can get if our people are to be safe.
About Jenny Twist
Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
She has written three novels - Domingo’s Angel – a love story set in Franco’s Spain and harking back to the Spanish Civil War and beyond - and All in the Mind – a contemporary novel about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger and The Owl Goddess.
She has contributed short stories to many other anthologies, of which two – Doppelganger and Uncle Vernon have been released as short ebooks.
Other works include the Mantequero series: novellas about a Spanish mythological figure, and An Open Letter to Stephen King & Other Essays, a compilation of non-fiction essays and articles. Her latest novella, The Minstrel Boy, was published in the anthology Letters from Europe in 2016.