Tories will stop funds to rad­i­cals

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY MARTIN BRIGHT

A CON­SER­VA­TIVE gov­ern­ment would stop all fund­ing to groups that pro­mote rad­i­cal Is­lamic ide­ol­ogy and tar­get money at or­gan­i­sa­tions with a record of bring­ing Bri­tain’s di­verse com­mu­ni­ties to­gether.

In an in­ter­view with the JC, Shadow Home Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling said Labour's pol­icy risked cre­at­ing ghet­toes.

He re­vealed that the Tories were plan­ning an im­me­di­ate re­view of the Pre­vent anti-ex­trem­ism strat­egy, which he ac­cused of chan­nelling money to rad­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The change would rep­re­sent a shift away from the mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism pol­icy which crit­ics charge with cre­at­ing seg­re­gated re­li­gious and eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties iso­lated from main­stream so­ci­ety.

“I very strongly be­lieve the re­sources we do have avail­able in dif­fi­cult times — un­less there is a com­pelling se­cu­rity rea­son for the spending of that money — should be aimed at those groups that break down the di­vides rather than ac­cen­tu­ate them.”

His speech at next week’s Con­ser­va­tive Party will "send a strong mes­sage that we will not tol­er­ate vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism in this coun­try. And we will not hes­i­tate to move against groups or in­di­vid­u­als who en­cour­age it.”

He is fu­ri­ous that stronger action was not taken in March against pro­test­ers in Lu­ton who bar­racked Bri­tish troops .

CHRIS GRAYLING is a cool cus­tomer. He has a rep­u­ta­tion as a Tory at­tack dog, a ruth­less op­po­si­tion politi­cian who can put the squeeze on any gov­ern­ment min­is­ter un­for­tu­nate enough to cross his path. He has al­ready seen off one Home Sec­re­tary dur­ing his short time in the shadow post and is build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a wor­thy ad­ver­sary to the cur­rent in­cum­bent, Alan John­son.

He has the de­meanour of an es­tab­lish­ment man — crisp pink shirt, Tory blue tie, House of Com­mons cuff­links — and speaks with the au­thor­ity of some­one head­ing for the Cab­i­net. But he is wise to the risks of act­ing like a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter be­fore the elec­tion.

This ex­plains, he says, why he has not been overly vo­cal on the sub­ject of ex­trem­ism and counter-ter­ror­ism pol­icy. How­ever, he points to the is­sue of “con­trol or­ders” (vir­tual house ar­rest for ter­ror­ist sub­jects), where he has raised se­ri­ous con­cerns that the le­gal regime is un­rav­el­ling.

“The is­sue of ter­ror is so sen­si­tive and im­por­tant that you re­ally need to get it right. There­fore you have to ac­cept the lim­i­ta­tions of what you can do in op­po­si­tion. I do not have ac­cess to the le­gal ex­per­tise, the team of peo­ple I would need to re­ally over­haul the con­trol or­der sys­tem and to work out what works and what doesn’t. I see lit­tle point… in do­ing a half-baked job.”

Just be­fore the in­ter­view, I bumped into Tory ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Michael Gove — who has his own firm views on ter­ror­ism — and asked why the Con­ser­va­tives had been rel­a­tively quiet on the is­sue in re­cent months. He ex­plained that Chris Grayling was a politi­cian who in­sisted on get­ting his head com­pletely around a sub­ject be­fore mak­ing a pro­nounce­ment.

Now Mr Grayling i s ready. He is likely to use next week’s Tory Party con­fer­ence to make i t clear that a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment would take im­me­di­ate action against ex­trem­ist groups or in­di­vid­u­als call­ing for vi­o­lence, even if there was no ev­i­dence they were plan­ning to use it. He is out­raged that more dras­tic action was not taken against those protest­ing against Bri­tish troops in Lu­ton, or who called for in­fi­dels to be killed dur­ing the Dan­ish car­toons row.

“I think the gov­ern­ment has to make it ab­so­lutely clear that any­one in our coun­try who es­pouses vi­o­lence is not go­ing to be able to do busi­ness with the gov­ern­ment of the day and in many cir­cum­stances will be putting them­selves in dan­ger of prose­cu­tion,” he says. “I will be send­ing a strong mes­sage that we will not tol­er­ate vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism in this coun­try. And we will not hes­i­tate to move against groups or in­di­vid­u­als who en­cour­age it.”

Asked whether gov­ern­ment money should reach the Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tain, whose web­site pub­lished claims about New York rab­bis trad­ing in the body parts of Al­ge­rian chil­dren, Mr Grayling was adamant. “No or­gan­i­sa­tion that makes base­less ac­cu­sa­tions about rab­bis har­vest­ing the or­gans of Mus­lim chil­dren can ex­pect to work closely with gov­ern­ment or to re­ceive fund­ing from gov­ern­ment.”

He con­firmed that a Tory ad­min­is­tra­tion would set up an im­me­di­ate re­view of con­trol or­ders and of the con­tro­ver­sial anti-ex­trem­ist Pre­vent pro­gramme. Mr Grayling shares the con­cerns of the Tax­pay­ers’ Al­liance, and re­ported by the JC, that money is be­ing used to fund du­bi­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“I have some se­ri­ous mis­giv­ings about the way in which Pre­vent money is be­ing used. I think there are plenty of in­di­ca­tors that it is be­ing chan­nelled in a way that is ac­tu­ally in the


end fund­ing ex­trem­ism rather than re­duc­ing ex­trem­ism.”

Mr Grayling em­pha­sised that there would be a fun­da­men­tal shift of com­mu­nity pol­icy un­der a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment. The­o­ries of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism that sug­gested that com­mu­ni­ties should be per­mit­ted to live side-by-side without in­te­gra­tion had some­times cre­ated cul­tural and re­li­gious ghet­toes. “My view is that the role of gov­ern­ment is to sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions that break down com­mu­nity di­vi­sions. It is not the job of gov­ern­ment to ac­cel­er­ate the ghet­toi­sa­tion of our so­ci­ety.”

Pressed for specifics, he adds: “Pub­lic money should not be sup­port­ing the Brad­ford Mus­lim foot­ball league or the Leeds Jewish foot­ball league. It should be sup­port­ing the York­shire Boys’ foot­ball league. It should be seek­ing to bring dif­fer­ent groups to­gether and foster un­der­stand­ing rather than ac­cen­tu­at­ing di­vides.” Bri­tish Jews, like ev­ery other mi­nor­ity com­mu­nity, needed to guard against be­com­ing iso­lated from main­stream Bri­tish so­ci­ety. “The Jewish com­mu­nity of this coun­try has been here for a very long time. It is a very dis­tinc­tive com­mu­nity. It has its own val­ues and prin­ci­ples. But I would be hor­ri­fied if the Jewish com­mu­nity lived in ‘x’ square miles of north Lon­don and nowhere else and had no in­ter­change with any­body else.” He quickly makes clear that he does not be­lieve the sce­nario he out­lined to be the case at present.

Mr Grayling is not happy talk­ing in ar­eas where he has not con­ducted detailed re­search and party staff had asked me not to “stitch him up” on for­eign pol­icy. But he was happy to dis­cuss his stance on the Is­rael-Pales­tinian con­flict, which, if not so­phis­ti­cated, is ut­terly rea­son­able: “My po­si­tion has al­ways been that Bri­tain should seek to be an hon­est bro­ker oth­er­wise we have no role to play. Frankly if we are seen to be fiercely par­ti­san in the Mid­dle East, then our abil­ity to make any dif­fer­ence there at all dis­ap­pears.”

I ask how the Tories would tackle the rise of the ex­treme right and he voices what has be­come a fa­mil­iar re­frain on the bro­ken so­ci­ety. “You break down the cul­ture of wel­fare de­pen­dency, you deal with the prob­lem fam­i­lies, you ad­dress the is­sue of ed­u­ca­tional fail­ure, you deal with the prob­lem of un­der­age al­cio­hol sales. You make sure there are con­se­quences for anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.”

As for a BNP pres­ence on Ques­tion Time, he sup­ports the cross-party con­sen­sus that once BNP rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­pear in the main­stream, politi­cians have to ex­pose them as big­ots.

With the in­ter­view near­ing its end, we re­turn to the sub­ject of Pre­vent. I am keen to know if there is al­ready a for­mal re­view of the pol­icy within the Con­ser­va­tive Party. “There isn’t now, but there will be af­ter the elec­tion if we are suc­cess­ful,” he says. “There will be a re­view of Pre­vent and where the money has been spent.

“It is a dif­fi­cult fi­nan­cial cli­mate any­way. But I will want to be very clearly per­suaded that the money is be­ing used in the right ways. What above all it must not do is be spent in a way which ac­tu­ally con­tin­ues to cre­ate a cli­mate of ex­trem­ism. I want us to break down com­mu­nity bar­ri­ers, not to ghet­toise so­ci­ety.”

If Chris Grayling hasn’t made much of a noise in this pol­icy area be­fore, he cer­tainly has now.

Chris Grayling: “The role of gov­ern­ment is to sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties that break


down com­mu­nity di­vi­sions”

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