LibLink: Tim Farron on Theresa May and counter-terrorism policy

Under the heading “Theresa May can’t be trusted to get it right on counter-terrorism policy” Tim Farron writes in the Guardian today:

Theresa May set out her position on Sunday, stating, “Enough is enough.” It was a highly political speech that set out the choices she intends to make that will affect all of us: our security, our freedoms and the way we live our lives. These are important choices with important consequences. But the real choice is between what works and what doesn’t.

Theresa May accused the police of crying wolf over the impact of cuts to their numbers, and their concerns that the public were being put in danger. However, the blunt reality is that the one decision she could take that would have the single biggest impact is to reverse those cuts.

Whilst acknowledging the challenges that the Internet brings he criticises her for wanting to control it:

If we turn the internet into a tool for censorship and surveillance, the terrorists will have won. We won’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.

And what about funding extremism?

When we lent our support to the government for extending air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria, one of the Liberal Democrats’ key demands was a report into foreign funding of extremism here in Britain. The then-prime minister, David Cameron, agreed to that demand. Theresa May now has a choice. Does she publish that report, or keep it hidden?

He links to Tom Brake’s demands to publish the report.

Tim concludes:

I trust our police and security services. Their lightning-quick response to Saturday’s atrocity shows they stand ready and prepared to protect us. They have some of the most extensive powers in any democracy anywhere in the world. However, politicians do them the greatest disservice when they offer tough rhetoric while hollowing out the very mechanisms they need to protect us.

In the choices we make, we should provide the resources necessary for those who keep us safe to do their jobs with the powers they have been given. We should also jealously guard the hard-won liberties that define us as a country. If we make the wrong choices, those who seek to change our way of life have won.

You can read the whole article here.


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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Paul Murray 5th Jun '17 - 1:12pm

    “Enough is enough”, “Brexit means Brexit”… whatever you might say about Theresa May, you can’t argue that she has a good grasp of tautology. The Lib Dems can assert a clear and distinctive identity on this issue – recognizing the need for action but defending the rights and liberties of all our citizens.

  • I’m hoping the repetition of “We won’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.” in the second quote isn’t from the original.

  • John Payne – editorial error, now corrected. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • David Blake 5th Jun '17 - 1:33pm

    Does anyone know if Tim’s Question Time programme is on tonight or tomorrow?

  • Ruth Bright 5th Jun '17 - 1:41pm

    9pm tonight apparently

    Met currently giving a briefing with the “whole spectrum of our communities present”. No women though.

  • Bill le Breton 5th Jun '17 - 1:43pm

    Yes, but at 8% in the polls there really was nothing to stop him going the whole hog. The PM is clearly not a fit and proper person to hold that office – she has contributed to increasing the risk to our citizens and to those who visit our shores on business, to learn or to enjoy our culture.

  • Once again Labour have shown what to do with the “Resign” call. Headlines are captured again, they are on the front foot. Their campaign has been a wizz. Credit where credit is due. Ours well as ineffective as 2015. We have a lot to learn.

  • When is Tim’s next appearance with Andrew Neal?

  • Manchester and London Bridge, instead of highlighting Theresa May’s failures, are being portrayed, even by some on LDV, as reasons for re-electing her….

    With an almost totally right wing media May is not being held to account foe her drastic reduction in police (including armed officers) numbers. Her suppression of Cameron’s report into funding of jihadi groups (almost certainly to avoid upsetting our ‘friends’ in the ME) and her avoidance of the censure of Donald Trump are equally ignored…

  • Lester Holloway 5th Jun '17 - 3:03pm

    Aside from Theresa May being responsible for cutting police numbers (and then adopting the slogan “enough is enough” which cops themselves used when protesting about the cuts), the former Home Secretary also needs to take responsibility for a lack of a national integration strategy. We urgently need a review of PREVENT to make counter-terrorism fit for purpose, but we also need to decouple integration and counter-terrorism, as the all-party Women and Equalities Select Committee (led by Conservative Maria Miller) recommended. The reason is simple – conflating the two areas actually harms the effectiveness of both aims – to get better integration and better counter-terrorism. These are all things that were not done under Mrs May’s own watch, in the Home Office and Downing Street.

    Stronger integration can make us as a society less likely to be divided in the face of extremism, but we have to remember that many British (‘British-born’) extremists were brought up in a very well-integrated environment. It is they themselves as a collection of individuals who have chosen to self-segregate, not the communities they are from. Terrorists are typically loners or people with behavioral or mental health difficulties, people who’ve moved from criminal activities to even worse in the form of extremism. While a counter-terrorism strategy can better identify these individuals, it is difficult to see how an integration strategy alone can prevent them from being the people they are. What we need is – to use an old phrase – joined-up government. Early interventions on specialist help, greater opportunities, better pathways from crime, better education, more local facilities.

  • Andrew McCaig 5th Jun '17 - 3:26pm


    You only get one appearance with Andrew Neal…

  • Andrew McCaig 5th Jun '17 - 3:34pm


    Labour never made a “resign call”. That was Steve Hilton

    As usual Corbyn was being interviewed and was asked if he supported the call… Pure serendipity… I feel fairly sure that if our Leader had been interviewed in those terms he would as well, but of course he does not get interviewed much unless it is to harass him on gay sex or things written about abortion 10 years ago

    The Labour campaign has been effective, but don’t big it up in ways it does not deserve, however much of an axe you have to grind about the Lib Dem campaign.

    At this stage I think it would be best for everyone to postpone the post-mortem until we see exactly how dead or alive we are on Friday

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Jun '17 - 3:47pm

    Too many people are blaming Theresa May for the terrorist attack. So much for “coming together”. Yes they blame the terrorists but then bang on about Theresa May. She’s done many things to try to stop this and it’s not fair to pin so much of the blame on her.

    Disagreements are fine, but blaming everything on the Tories will backfire. The real enemies within are the terrorists. The police stopped the suspects within eight minutes, more police officers won’t stop people hiring vans to run people over with.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 5th Jun '17 - 4:13pm

    Lester , as so much the norm, offers measured sense and sensible criticism, without resorting to the slogans and such , that some call for.

    If it is good electoral strategy to call for the Prime Minister’s resignation from a leader of the opposition with the questionable trajectory of the one we have, I stck to my going for both when they deserve it, or not, and today prefer Tim’s article which does the necessary strong chastiesment of May but minus the headline grabbing which I for one dislike .

  • Richard Underhill 5th Jun '17 - 5:48pm

    “they stand ready and prepared to protect us”. Yes, Central London is an obvious target.
    A pop music concert for youngsters in Manchester is less obvious.
    There will be armed police on the streets in Scotland because of these atrocities.
    We should be grateful to the other emergency services.

  • Bill le Breton 5th Jun '17 - 6:50pm

    Sorry Andrew Mc C – you don’t need to be interviewed. You put it on a piece of electronic paper and you press send.

    We are missing the most important campaign in a generation.


    Britain is not safe. You are not safe. Why? Because of the prime Minister.

    The Lib Dems lost their bottle and don’t know where to find it.

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Jun ’17 – 3:47pm…………. more police officers won’t stop people hiring vans to run people over with…………….

    Maybe not! But more police officers would enable ‘tip-offs’ and reports to be more vigorously investigated…
    One can only imagine your outrage had Corbyn been responsible for cutting almost 50,000 police officers…

  • @Bill le Breton
    I usually agree with most of what you say, but I just don’t believe it is May that has made Britain less safe. There is no evidence to show that any of the recent attacks would have been prevented without the cuts taking place (most of which took place under the coalition). The police have already stated that mass surveillance is not feasible or even advisable. This was not a case of not identifying those responsible, rather a case of not having any sanctions in place to deal with their activities until the incidents.

    I remember the Terrorism Act 2006 going through Parliament and whilst I understood the aversion to 90 day detention I never understood the fact that so many were against making glorification of terrorist acts an offence. Yes it needed tightening up, but one of the most recent attackers was a follower of Chaudary and had even been seen in a documentary.

    I believe that free speech comes with responsibilities and that hate speech and glorification of terrorism is a poison that needs stopping. We cannot wring our hands and pretend the right to free speech trumps the right to life. We need harsher penalties, possibly escalating for repeat offences. First offences should lead to real attempts at de-radicalisation and much resource should be targeted here, but for those who will never change their views we should be willing to enforce harsh sentences to protect our society. We need such people taken off our streets and out of their Mosques. This sounds horribly draconian, but we cannot allow the young, voulnerable or impressionable to be exposed to such hate. How many heads were turned by Choudary before he was imprisoned, and he will no doubt be released in mid 2018 to continue, and probably be considered a martyr. I would let his martyrdom last significantly longer.

    Yes it should be done inline with increasing support for communities, and yes we need to promote more understanding and integration of those of all faith and none. But when we try to do so with the perversely attractive, anti-establishment, faith distorting messages currently being allowed to propagate within some communities we stand no chance of success.

  • Apologies for the previous long post (although it may not make it out of moderation).
    I do acknowledge that I am not always the most measured of people when it comes to terrorism. Whilst serving in the forces I lost 10 friends in a single morning to an IRA bomb with another only surviving for a month. The sights, sounds and smells of that day will never leave me. I understand that the suspects (no one has ever been tried) were known to the authorities. I don’t know wherever it makes me more, or less objective. It does though give me an idea of what those affected are feeling now, what they will feel in the future, and what the real impact of not dealing with known extremists is.

  • Ruth Bright 6th Jun '17 - 1:06pm

    Adele Morris, one of the LD councillors for the affected area spoke very beautifully in a speech last night about the impact on her constituents. Perhaps LDV could put up the statement from the three ward councillors?

    Very moving to hear from Steve Way about the context to his comments.

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