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, 28 July 2011

It is important not to overreact to the horrific shootings in Norway, but it is important not to under react also. In the name of tolerance we have all accommodated too many fringe groups, extremists, anarchists and other dangerous people over the past few years, nowhere more so than in Britain. This has got to stop.
We read that Anders Behring Breivik had links with the English Defence League. We know that London is the home to many people with links to some of the nastiest terrorist groups in the world. We allow fanatical Islamists to preach hatred on our streets, jeer our soldiers and burn our flag. We allow judges to decide under so-called human rights legislation that foreign nationals who have committed appalling crimes here cannot be sent back to their countries of origin because they might be ill-treated. All of this offends decency and common sense.
And yet we are selectively intolerant. Respectable people wanting to wear a modest insignia around their neck at work, or offer a respectful prayer to a patient in pain have sometimes been hounded by their employers, just for demonstrating commitment to the faith that has shaped the heritage of this nation and upon which rock our greatness was built.
It is time for a rethink. Of course we must underpin free speech in this country, but we must be less tolerant of those who want to tear our nation down. Whether they are white or black, of ethnic origin or indigenous, left or right, religious or secular, fascist or anarchist, we should now take a much tougher line on these extremists. The Human Rights Act must be repealed and our judges free to act in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of our citizens.
Have you ever watched sparks flying off a grindstone onto grass? Mainly they land harmlessly into the ground and are extinguished. But occasionally when the conditions are right, when the grass is tinder-box dry, they will smoulder and catch fire. Forest fires are often started that way. It is not the sparks that are different, but the condition of the terrain into which they fall.
I sense that the British people have had enough of our timid over-tolerance and want the authorities to take a much tougher line with extremists who threaten our way of life. We may not get too many false alarms before some future spark sets of a raging inferno.

posted by Gary @ 19:17