An open letter to Allison Pearson: Don’t use terror attacks to justify Brexit

I read the following tweet by Allison Pearson yesterday in response to the terrorist attack in Brussels.

Here is my letter to her in response.

Dear Allison,

We all agree today’s events were terrible. However we have a choice as to how to react.

Even Nigel Farage managed to be restrained within the first hour of the attacks today. Today you have won the “who can make political capital out of a terror attack the quickest award”.

While Shengen may not be perfect, please remember that the UK is not in it, never has been and never will be. Even if we leave the EU, these individuals would not require a visa to visit the UK, so are you planning to add in that as a condition for Brexit ? Good luck telling Lord Lawson he needs a visa to go to his French home.

You also have forgotten that if it was not for the European Arrest Warrant, we would not have managed to extradite one of the 21/7 bombers back to the UK. As Conservative MP, Mark Field said:

One of the 21/7 bombers, Hussain Osman, fled to Italy to try and escape justice. He may have had in mind the example of Rachid Ramda, the mastermind of the 1995 Paris Metro bombings, who fled to the UK and avoided extradition to stand trial for his crimes for more than a decade. But thanks to the Arrest Warrant, which had come into force since then, we were able to bring Osman back to Britain in just 56 days. As the Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster, I am glad to see him behind bars, serving a minimum sentence of forty years, rather than still trying to evade justice.

Even if there were border controls across every land crossing in Europe, are you suggesting that every car, every train and every coach is searched? In the UK, we don’t search every vehicle coming in as it would make travel physically impossible.

And by the way, how about the UK starting with proper passport exit checks which even the French have when we Brits leave France. UK governments have done away with these physical checks in the interest of cost cutting at the Home Office.

I think it would be nice if you and others in the media started with a touch of sympathy with the victims, and condemnation of those who perpetrated this rather than immediately jumping on the usual Brexit bandwagon.

* Chris Key is dad of two girls, multilingual and internationalist. He is a Lib Dem member in Twickenham who likes holding the local council and MPs to account.

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  • “While Shengen may not be perfect, please remember that the UK is not in it, never has been and never will be. ”

    I do find it odd how EU supporters justify it on the basis that we’re not part of significant areas of it.

  • Unreasonable to blame BREXIT for the appalling events in Brussels. Fairer targets: Schengen (with an insecure external EU border), moral relativism/multiculturalism and Ms Merkel’s invitation to everyone South of Athens in the absence of any proper system of processing and controls.

  • Matthew Dodd 23rd Mar '16 - 7:22pm

    Well stated Chris. Frankly her comment is despicable and inaccurate. Using a major tragic event to pander to personal and party agendas is disgusting. If she had cared to do some research she would have found that the majority of suspects are home grown not part of the migratory mass making its way through Turkey and Greece. In addition, does she really think that re-introducing border controls amongst Schengen countries is going to deter well organised terrorists. Even if you build a massive wall between all Schengen countries and check all incoming / outgoing movements I doubt you would prevent all attacks to not mention home nurtured terrorists; besides think of the practical impossibility of doing this, the massive cost to economies that rely on high levels of trade between themselves and the fact that no government could in any case afford such an infrastructure even if desired. I highly suggest Mrs Pearson travels a bit more, takes an economics degree and maybe gets a little experience of the business world outside of politics before spurting irrelevant drivel….

  • The terror attacks and their cultural origins are very clear, despite your liberal desire to try to mask them, and Brexit is a logical response for safety and security. This deeply gullible ‘open arms’ welcoming into Europe, for a cohort of immigrants who’s culture is totally intolerant of western values is frankly becoming an increasing danger for civil society. It grieves me to say this but I’m coming to the unnerving conclusion that this rigid and abject naivety of liberal thinking (Europe wide), looks increasingly less like a mere political error of judgement, but moreover, has every indication of being a personality disorder.
    Thank heavens the intuition of voters have seen through this mad supine version of liberalism, and hopefully it is now in its well deserved decline. Further than that, I’m hoping that when it occurs to you that you are placing civil society in danger with your childish liberal thinking you will have the common decency to say sorry to voters?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Mar '16 - 8:52pm

    As a not pro or anti EU Liberal Democrat , who has yet to decide how to vote because it is an issue I genuinely see and feel for both in and out , and as someone who has been against Shengen and the Euro , as on the one hand dangerous , and the other disastrous, I nonetheless deplore the nonsense that Alison pearson is peddling !

    It is immoral to play politics after an atrocity .I criticise Corbyn and Mcdonnel for their associations , whether Hezbolla or IRA , and do so strongly .But the Tories who alluded to it yesterday in a debate on benefits , were a disgrace !

  • nigel hunter 23rd Mar '16 - 10:09pm

    Farage talks about Kalashnykoff’s he would put up the wall and make the UK a prison also has a Swedish car and likes to go on holiday in France! Lawson, a Brexiter has a home in France! Is this hypocrisy or not?

  • Mr J Dunn. Thanks for your comment. If Brexit is the answer to making us safe how many of the 7/7 culprits were from the EU. The only way to resolve the problem of extremism is to restore peace and stability in the Middle East. Syria previously saw Christians and muslims co exist peacefully for thousand of years. Power vaccums have been created due to misguided interventions in Iraq and Libya and the sooner these are fixed the quicker the refugee crisis will be solved.

    Many including Farage like using Cologne to cite why we have superior values. If we are so much better then why did the Daily Telegraph report one in three women having been subject to sexual assault on University campuses. A crime committed by white men who don’t understand no means no.

  • I should add that despite what Troika says I am not advocating Schengen nor saying it should continue. What I was stating was we have never been in Schengen and anyone coming to the UK is subject to checks on the way in and that even if we leave we cannot simply close down our borders despite what Farage claims even for visitors.

  • Ron Stafford 24th Mar '16 - 1:16pm

    J Dunn

  • Matthew Dodd 24th Mar '16 - 4:56pm

    My J Dunn if by liberal values you mean the acceptance of refugees because its a moral and legal obligation especially with half of the middle east either in conflict or close to it, then yes. Are you advocating that we should send back desperately fleeing people into the hands of ISIS and the Assad, if that is your solution (which by the way is impossible to enact entirely but this is a separate point) then I prefer to be a ‘childish liberal’ rather than a deluded and ‘fantasy land’ UKIPER…The real issue is how the international community can solve the root cause of this flow of refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries so that people don’t feel the desperate need to cross Turkey and reach Western Europe. Only then will there be a sustainable and long-term solution to this issue. Putting refuges in temporary camps is just what it says on the tin ‘temporary’.

    In the interim more effective border control and registering measures need to be put in place in Greece and the med as a whole (with the help and financial assistance of all EU countries), economic migrants should be separated from refugees and sent back to their home countries and Europe will need to adopt some kind of refuge sharing mechanism based on wealth and size of population. Lacking to implement any of this will just mean further long-term issues and a worsening of the current scenario. Building wall and fences will not solve anything in the longer-term both from a prevention and moral ground perspective. And with all due respect Brexit or no Brexit will not cure the issue per se….

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