We live in fraught times. Since the 2008 crash this country has felt increasing tension between the super rich and the rest, between North and South, between the composite countries of the union and between religious communities. Two rival visions cross all of these lines, competing for ownership of the greatest asset we possess as a society – our future. One seeks to bridge them, the other seeks to divide.
The terror attacks of the last two weeks, the worst in over a decade, have shaken and stirred the country. What can we do to combat extremism and prevent the loss of innocent life, and the corruption of those who would use death and despair as a political bludgeon? A total rethink of our terms of engagement is needed: we must challenge terrorism at source, create room for positive community engagement, widen opportunity to include the disenfranchised, and radically improve our approach to educating young people and enlightening the young. A peaceful future lies in a better connected world and the innovations and opportunities for community that will result — not in regulation, snooping and limiting freedom.
The Labour manifesto, in its bid to rebuild communities, mend the wounds of globalisation and afford opportunities to those at all ends of the socio-economic scale represents a vast step in the right direction. Beyond a firm and unflinching commitment to maintain and boost traditional counter-terrorism and our police forces, they will root out this sickness at source — cutting off arms sales to Saudi Arabia, who actively fund the Wahhabist school and preachers that poison the well of moderate Islam in the UK and offering a lifeline to our communities such that the rot of homegrown, white British terrorism and nationalism shall not be fed by disenfranchisement.