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, 15 January 2015


I have received many e-mails since the horrific terror attacks last week. Understandably constituents wish to express their anger and concern about similar attacks over here.

Our response has to be hard-headed and practical. There are people living in every European country who follow some perverted extremist ideology and who are prepared to attack and destroy our way of life. The question is how to stop them. Might I suggest the following approach?

1)    We have to recognise these acts for what they are: acts of barbaric criminality. We have to be swift and brutal in our response. We have to do our utmost, through security services to identify and monitor those who are planning such acts and descend like a ton of bricks upon them. If our laws are not sufficient, we should change them.

2)    At the same time we must put our arm around our Muslim community – who are as horrified as anybody else about these events – and ensure that they are made to feel welcome here. We must support freedom of religious expression in the UK. Some people appear to want to "send them all home." They are home and the vast majority love peace and tolerance like anybody else. If you are scared of Islam, it is probably because you do not know any Muslims. It has been gratifying to see the response of the French people, of all faiths and none, in demonstrating for freedom of expression and unity.

3)    We have to do more to prevent radicalisation in universities and prisons and elsewhere. Here we need the support of Muslim community leaders. Some great work is being done in this area, but we need more. We should recognise that throughout history young men have always been attracted to following others into conflict, especially if their own lives are empty. North Africa and the Middle East are full of potential candidates for radicalisation. Europe should not be. We have to be better at watching out for pockets of radicalisation and stamping hard on it.

This the government's approach.

I confess I loathe some of the more extreme satirical publications or so-called comedians – poking fun cynically at the Royal Family or aspects of Christianity or other Faiths. But I accept that in a liberal democratic world, we must give room for people to be rude and disrespectful. It is one of the prices we pay for our precious freedoms. It is worth it.

posted by Gary @ 13:07