‘Enough is enough’

On the eve of a cru­cial elec­tion, Bri­tain must con­sider an ‘at­ti­tude ad­just­ment’

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

“Enough is enough,” says Bri­tain’s prime min­is­ter, Theresa May. With only hours to go be­fore the Bri­tish na­tional par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on Thurs­day, and with res­cue work­ers still look­ing for bod­ies from the lat­est ter­ror out­rage, Mrs. May has dis­cov­ered “Is­lamist ex­trem­ism.”

Like Hil­lary Clin­ton, Bernie San­ders and the Democrats in the Amer­i­can cam­paign last year, she can’t quite call the en­emy by its real name, “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism.” But she’s get­ting there, and maybe just in time. Bri­tain elects a new Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day and her once for­mi­da­ble polling lead has shrunk dra­mat­i­cally.

Her La­bor Party op­po­nent, Jeremy Cor­byn, still seems to think rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism can be re­solved with fur­ther ex­pan­sion of a cozy wel­fare state and im­prov­ing the morale of po­lice­men. He has de­cried cuts in the num­ber of po­lice­men and prom­ises if elected to give them all a raise.

All hands agree that the cops have been heroic in the wake of the Lon­don Bridge mas­sacre, fol­low­ing ear­lier mas­sacres at West­min­ster and Manch­ester, and there just aren’t enough of them, but voices are raised at last that enough, in­deed, is enough. What Bri­tain needs in ad­di­tion to more con­sta­bles is an at­ti­tude ad­just­ment.

“Bri­tain is a soft tar­get for ter­ror­ism be­cause we Bri­tons are just too nice,” columnist Tim Stan­ley writes in Lon­don’s Daily Tele­graph, the bi­ble of the Tory es­tab­lish­ment. “This isn’t a crit­i­cism: it’s what makes the coun­try such a won­der­ful place to live. But we are cul­tur­ally ill-equipped to deal with con­spir­a­cies and ex­trem­ists. The prob­lem is that the only way to beat ter­ror­ists is to change our way of life — but that is ex­actly what the bug­gers want. So we do as lit­tle as pos­si­ble. And be­ing Bri­tish, we re­gard do­ing as lit­tle as pos­si­ble as a sort of vic­tory.”

Ter­ror by bomb and bul­let is not new to the streets of Old Blighty. The king­dom en­dured and then de­feated (for now, any­way) “the Trou­bles,” as the Bri­tish call the ter­ror­ism of the Ir­ish Re­pub­li­can Army, the IRA. Jeremy Cor­byn has had to deal with well-founded sus­pi­cions that he had “as­so­ci­a­tions” with the IRA in the past, and he may be within strik­ing dis­tance of win­ning the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on Thurs­day (though still trail­ing by 1, 6 or 9 points, pick your poll).

Bri­tain, like the United States, has a le­gal sys­tem that since the Magna Carta has slowly, some­times al­most im­per­cep­ti­bly, trans­ferred power from the state to the in­di­vid­ual per­son, and this has ac­corded ar­riv­ing evil­do­ers a re­mark­able ad­van­tage to do their harm. Due process is un­known in many places, par­tic­u­larly in the Mid­dle East where the imam, how­ever cor­rupt and prim­i­tive, is the law. Im­mi­grants of­ten ar­rive with poi­son.

Bri­tain has ab­sorbed so many new­com­ers from what was once its em­pire, many of them Mus­lims, that ear­lier gen­er­a­tions of Bri­tons would hardly rec­og­nize it. The Bri­tish, be­ing the nice and po­lite folk they are (which is why Don­ald Trump is an even greater puz­zle in Bri­tain than he is at home), would not dream of telling th­ese new­com­ers to “be Bri­tish,” or even how to do it.

“The Trou­bles,” writes Tim Stan­ley, “ended not be­cause, as Jeremy Cor­byn sug­gests, we sat down to the tea with the IRA but be­cause the Bri­tish state sup­pressed it — and with meth­ods that defy our cozy as­sump­tion that Bri­tish­ness is ul­ti­mately about leav­ing oth­ers be. No one wants to go through that again. But you don’t fight a war without the ex­pec­ta­tion that your way of life will change. If we want to win, it must.”

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