Tag Archives: observer

LibLink: Paddy Ashdown: Britain’s best defence to the terror threat is international action

In today’s Observer, Paddy Ashdown cautions against knee-jerk reactions to the prospect of radicalised Jihadists returning to Britain and wreaking havoc on our streets:

He says, basically, that we’ve dealt with this before, in more difficult circumstances and we know how to do it:

On Friday, the government announced that the imminent danger of jihadi attack meant Britain’s threat level should be raised to “severe”. Then, from the prime minister downwards, Tory ministers took to every available airwave to tell us how frightened we should be and why this required a range of new powers for them to exercise. For the record, the threat level in Northern Ireland has been “severe” for the past four years – as it was in all Britain for many years in the 1980s and 1990s, when the IRA threat was at its greatest.

I say this not to deny the threat from returning jihadis – though as the former head of counter-terrorism for MI6, Richard Barrett said on Saturday, this should not be overestimated. But rather to make the point that this is not a new threat. It is one we have faced before and one we know how to deal with – effectively, without panic and without a whole new range of executive powers that could endanger our liberties. Indeed, when it comes to facing threats, it was surely far more difficult to cope with IRA terrorists slipping across the Irish Sea than it is to stop jihadis returning from Iraq?

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

The lessons we must learn for Nick Clegg’s next holiday

Nick Clegg’s two spells of holiday this Summer have been characterised by the Home Office in particular getting above itself in his absence. Both the party and Nick’s Special Advisers should have learned from the furore over the “Go home” poster vans. The Home Office pulled a fast one by implementing this pilot without telling the Liberal Democrats. The response from the Party was the right one – that they were “disproportionate, distasteful and ineffective” and Vince Cable saying a few days later that they were stupid and offensive. The problem was that the response came out by …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 31 Comments

Vince vs Danny and Osborne?

From the Observer:

Vince Cable is refusing to accept deep cuts to his departmental budget without a guarantee of billions in funding for job-creating capital projects, as arguments over this week’s spending review reached a new pitch.

With just three days before George Osborne is due to announce £11.5bn of cuts for 2015-16, the business secretary was said to be in no mood to back down in a dispute he regards as crucial to the government’s economic credibility.

Cable is arguing, in talks with Treasury ministers and officials, that the coalition must have “a strong story to

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Lynne Featherstone calls for Julie Burchill to be sacked for post attacking transgender people

As Equalities Minister, Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone put into place the Government’s Transgender Action Plan. She will be acutely aware of the issues facing transgender people, particularly in relation to violence and discrimination. Hate crime towards that community has been rising as the Independent reported.

Yesterday, the Observer published a piece by controversial writer Julie Burchill which was peppered with hate filled language. Had the target of Burchill’s invective been a particular ethnic group, and she had used similar language, then her piece would have found its way onto the editor’s spike and she would most likely have been …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 34 Comments



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  • User AvatarClive Sneddon 16th Sep - 1:30am
    Reading through the comments so far leaves me with the feeling my core idea has been missed – perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I want...
  • User AvatarT-J 16th Sep - 12:42am
    I'm not going to vote No, because that would send the minute signal that I am satisfied with the status quo. However anodyne the Yes...
  • User AvatarStephen Donnelly 16th Sep - 12:34am
    Good questions, but we have to live with the world as it is, and I don't think there is any practical possibility of the media...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 16th Sep - 12:33am
    @Mary Reid: “We’ll try to create an exception but in the meantime, perhaps you could refer to it as Wessx!!!” :-) Thanks Mary, I laughed...
  • User AvatarMaria Pretzler 16th Sep - 12:31am
    David Allen, The fact that there are various other problems we have isn't a reason not to tackle this. I am not a believer in...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 16th Sep - 12:25am
    paul barker 15th Sep '14 - 11:35pm You make a fair point about the time to arrange although that does make the event sound like...