A genuine dilemma


So many issues in politics are clear-cut.  Things are either right or wrong, they meet our principles or they don’t.  But every so often something comes up that gives us real pause for thought.

London Mayor Boris Johnson recently called for tough new measure against “British Jihadists” — if “British Jihadist” is not a contradiction in terms. These people holding British passports are clearly “BINOs” — British in Name Only.  On their own admission, their first loyalty is to their “Islamic State”, their “Caliphate”, not to Britain.  In my view they are not British in any real sense.  They are simply fanatical Islamists who happen through a quirk of history to hold British passports.

Many of our fellow-citizens — many members of UKIP — will applaud Boris’s approach.  These terrorists represent a real risk to our security here at home, and surely the toughest measures against them are justified.

And yet, and yet…..   I have a problem with one of Boris’s proposals: to reverse the burden of proof, so that anyone returning from Iraq and Syria would be presumed to be a Jihadist unless they could prove otherwise.  He describes this as “a rebuttable presumption”.  It’s an appealing idea, but it represents a threat to one of the fundamental principles of English Common Law, one of the vital freedoms that British men and women have enjoyed for generations.

Here in the UK we cherish habeus corpus, trial by jury — and the presumption of innocence.  These are our fundamental rights.  Yet they are already under threat, nibbled away at by anti-terror legislation, and also by the intrusion of European law.  The European Arrest Warrant in particular drives a coach and horses through these principles, as far as those are concerned who are extradited under the EAW.

How can we on the one hand fight for the preservation of our traditional liberties, yet on the other hand give them up one by one in the face of external threats?  And we can hardly call Boris’s idea “the thin end of the wedge”, because it’s by no means the first attempt to blunt those liberties.  But it’s another step in the wrong direction.  We in UKIP cannot be party to the dilution of the very rights we strive to protect.

Does that mean we can be soft on terror?  Not at all.

What we should certainly be doing is withdrawing British passports from those who go on Jihad.  The bleeding-hearts like Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve will complain that by making these people stateless, we are in breach of international law.  But international law is not some obligatory code from a higher power — it is in effect a treaty or series of treaties into which we, as a sovereign nation, have chosen to enter into.  And if such treaties and agreements become inappropriate in new circumstances, we can simply withdraw from them (as we should withdraw from the EU treaties).

“Making them stateless” is particularly apt with regard to these Jihadists.  They have chosen of their own free will to transfer their allegiance from Britain (if indeed they ever owed Britain any allegiance) to their Islamic State, their Caliphate.  In their eyes, they are not stateless at all, but the first citizens of a ew Islamic state.  Very well.  Let them apply to that state for a passport, and see how they get on.  Poetic justice.  Making the punishment fit the crime, as W.S. Gilbert put it.  They can go to the war zone, but they should never come back.

We need to reintroduce control orders and proper surveillance of terrorist suspects who may represent a threat to the British public.

Our police and security authorities should be rigorous in investigating those who seek to go to Iraq, and any who seek to return.  We can — we must — be tough on terrorism and ruthless in dealing with it.  But we must do so without abrogating the fundamental freedoms we cherish.


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11 Responses to A genuine dilemma

  1. Richard111 says:

    As far as I understand, any and all followers of Islam are subject to orders from their local mullahs, not to the laws of the country they currently live in and off. When you consider the muslim population of the UK (3,000,000 plus and counting) and then note that there are more registered mosques than Christian churches on this country and that all mosques are off limits to police and council never mind non-muslims. This is a situation I find very disturbing to say the least.

  2. Philip Rock says:

    On Boris Johnson, I am now of the opinion that he is hardly any more trustworthy than David Cameron. I have his time as Mayor of London to thank for this insight to the true “Boris Johnson”.
    Now you write this article, relating Boris’s words on Jihadists and pointing out his blindness to the issue of Habeas Corpus, I am having it illustrated to my own eyes that Boris would make a very good Europhile: he is duplicitous, dishonest in ways that are disguised by smoke and bluster, and time and again shows no real respect for the individual person or nation. I think that in politics he is a dangerous man, and should never be trusted.
    I am sure that he probably really belongs in a circus.

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I thought proper surveillance existed…seems to exist in the High St’s etc. You mean a related database and so on I know. Just failed I believe and again is no surprise as regards Gov IT projects. Please pay here, no refunds….sorry!

    These folk disposed of all rights quite by themselves and did the same to innocents at their destination with weapons. Solution….a swift vacation into the Empty Quarter courtesy of a C130 and its loading ramp.Parachute not available.

    The ultimate solution should be from the society these people exist within.I don’t notice much of a responsibility in this respect. Bit of talk here and there? Importantly, no positive action.

    We then suffer internal atrocities and more talk about learning lessons. Up pops another level of governance and they just want to obstruct us on legal issues.

    So, prison they go and just what happens there knowing Gov wants them out ASAP, as with many before.

    Its all about contempt I’m afraid, no common sense at all.

    Where’s all the cheaper fruit/veg from Spain etc that Russia can’t have? Its in a large bin and accompanied by large payouts by the EU. It all obviously makes sense somewhere?

  4. David says:

    Hi Roger,

    I am not a lawyer, but your above piece seems better though out than the booris (sic) idea.
    I look forward to maybe seeing you at Doncaster.

  5. eddie coke says:

    An excellent piece, Roger! Thank you. For a little extra comprehension of the Common Law plus the other ‘fictional’ stuff, there’s a wonderful article here:


    The words are important, it seems. It pays to know them well.

  6. Ex-expat Colin says:

    The closing submissions for the planning inquiry into Dart Energy’s coalbed methane project at Airth – published:


    The title Professor and Doctor in the business of Environmental concern (Fracking Scotland) seems to have hit a large low. A pair of fools holding such titles have been uncovered.

    Will it appear in the press? Dellingpole won’t miss it.

  7. Nigel Cartet says:

    Should we use our ancient Quarantine laws and treat suspected cases of ebola and isil the same…potentially deadly until proven otherwise?

  8. Tony says:

    It seems to me that these Jihadists are committing crimes in Iraq and Syria. So surely our first and proper response is to ensure that they are dealt with by the governments there. Extraditing them to face charges where appropriate.

  9. Jane Davies says:

    Totally agree Roger…they must not be allowed back. As for the comment made by Richard 111 that there are more registered mosques than Christian churches, then the mosques must be pulled down to equalise with the number of Christian churches that are allowed in Islamic countries. If the UK government allows this situation to continue then the population will overrun then it will be too late to do anything.

    • Richard111 says:

      Sadly, a lot of those mosques WERE Christian churches! There is one right on the high street of my local town, Milford Haven. It is in the block next to the police station.
      There are not that many purpose built mosques in the UK. It seems they can declare any useful building as a mosque and then re-arrange the internal structure without recourse to council planning. They are trying very hard to get that monster one built in the centre of London. They will be successful if the leftists increase their majority in the coming election. Once that happens I predict a muslim mayor of London shortly after and a muslim PM in due course.

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