OK. Deep breath. Here goes.
Evil, murderous fascists.
There. I said it. Or wrote it. I wrote what I am really feeling about the perpetrators of the Paris attacks but shouldn’t really say.
Politicians should not get emotionally involved. Decisions should be taken based on evidence and long term strategy, not short term outrage and emotion. I certainly don’t want our foreign policy to be twisted by the actions of terrorists, because that means they are winning.
But sometimes you just have to say it as you feel it. And the attacks in Paris by so-called “Islamic State” terrorists have roused horror and fury in me and, I suspect, most decent people across the world.
IS are not Islamic and not a state. They are a fundamentalist, totalitarian and fascist organisation that seeks by violence to impose a totalitarian system devoid of humanity and devoid of freedom.
And all in the name of one of the world’s great religions that values brotherhood and humanitarianism as central themes.
IS must be defeated. There can be no negotiation with them. There is no common ground with IS. It remains a threat and what happened in Paris could just as easily happen in the UK or any democracy so hated by these fascists.
I am still not convinced that the UK bombing Syria is the answer and I am clear that there remains no public appetite at present for a ground war involving UK troops. Syria is entangled in a civil war, with five or six different warring factions and a leader, Bashar El-Assad, whom the UK wants rid of too, but who is a puppet of Russia’s President Putin and therefore protected by him. So we will have to deal with Putin to find common ground before we can take action.
The defeat of IS must be a truly international effort. It can’t just be left to NATO. Arab states must play a leading role too. And as well as a military defeat, we must defeat it ideologically too.
I cannot understand how people who grew up in this wonderful country of ours, can grow to hate it so much. But this is happening and we must press ahead with anti-radicalisation programmes.
We can have all the political arguments we like, but these terrorist atrocities will unite us in a way that IS will simply never understand. It is not going to be easy or quick, but we must emerge victorious from this dreadful struggle that we did not ask for.