Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 19 March 2009


It is always a tragedy when one of our brave young servicemen is killed in Afghanistan. Because it is such an alien environment, so far away, and the enemy so hard to see, it is worth reminding ourselves why they are out there.

When the twin towers in New York were brought down in September 2001 by Al Quaeda terrorists, killing 3,000 people, it was quickly discovered that the terrorists were being harboured by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The Taliban are brutal Islamic extremists. To prevent further large scale atrocities it was necessary to go after Al Quaeda and to do so we had to remove the regime that was sheltering them. So coalition forces, led by the USA, went into Afghanistan.

Once the military action was over in 2002 we have stayed there to help this historically unstable country become a viable democracy, to keep the Taliban from returning, so that it would not be used again as a base to attack the west. The threat from global terrorists operating with all of the apparatus of a state behind them is greatly magnified compared to now, where they are operating out of some caves in North West Pakistan

It is true therefore to argue that our forces are fighting terrorism on the front line, rather than us facing a much greater threat of attack over here if we allow Afghanistan to fall.

Which brings me to the disgraceful protests at the homecoming parade in Luton last week, a sight that left me splitting blood for hours. The people behind that shameful protest are apparently a well known group of extremists whose tactics are to stir up hatred against all Muslims so that more young men are radicalised and will join them in their crusade to force their perverted brand of Islam upon us.

How should we respond? First, we must not play into their hands and agitate against all British Muslims most of whom are law abiding and pleased to be British. Second our police and courts must become more robust in using our anti-hate laws to arrest these extremists and deal with them using the full force of the law. In the UK all of our citizens are free to protest, but we now have laws that prevent us from whipping up hate. Those laws should be used. I never want to see our soldiers abused in that way again.

What do you think?

posted by Gary @ 10:58