“No single template to condemn, punish, prevent and understand terrorism at the same time…”

Just putting this from Rafael Behr here

Just as there is no one model that explains the terrorist’s motive, there is no single template that enables a society to condemn, punish, prevent and understand terrorism all at the same time.

There is no elegant solution to the paradoxes of tolerant societies harbouring enemies of tolerance, and the defence of freedom sometimes demanding illiberal measures. It is because no one person can get it right that we have rival parties in politics lobbying for different positions, placing the emphasis different ways.

We put our faith not in a specific leader to give us the answers but in the democratic process to muddle its way to a compromise.

Our politicians might not always behave in ways that dignify and enrich that system, but at times of national trauma and emergency they tend to step up. They have done so this week with displays of composure and compassion across party lines.

The challenge is to retain that civility in a resumed election campaign. It is right that there was a pause for reflection and unity. But it is also vital that the competition between different ideas is pursued with unbowed vigour. Unity does not mean unanimity.

We can unite around the idea of managing our divisions civilly, peacefully. Politics must not be treated as a distraction from the defence against terrorism. It is our defence against terrorism.

  • Neonlights

    I’m feeling rather uneasy when I read him say “[Politics] is our defense against terrorism.” There is a lot of truth in what he says, leadership can drown out the voices of hate. I wish we had leadership in Northern Ireland.

  • ted hagan

    I’m afraid we’re stuck in the Paul Nuttall stage of political leadership and development.

  • whatif1984true

    We need to ask is why do these people become candidates?

    What in political parties leads to selection of these type of candidates.

    My answer is RYANAIR.

    The way people hated Ryanair but still it grew exponentially similarly SF and DUP grew because that is what the people want, they may protest but that is what they choose. Their reasons for doing so are the true revelations.

  • chrisjones2

    That good?

  • Smithborough

    This is a quote from a Forbes article comparing Trump to Marion Barry, in many ways it encapsulates the leadership problems in NI too:

    “Find communities burdened with corrupt leaders like Jim Traficant, William Hale Thompson, or Marion Barry, and you’ll find communities that feel culturally isolated and politically embattled. Ask voters why they back figures who loot their communities and destroy public institutions and you’ll hear semi-coherent rants about a lack of choices and a need to “stick together.” If their racial or ethnic champion is corrupt, they will resist outside efforts to bring that figure to justice out of a sense of community self-defense. A community that perceives itself under assault will consistently choose a strong leader over a good leader, regardless how oppressive or self-serving he may be.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2017/01/27/trump-is-the-white-marion-barry/#36e173194bd2

  • Nevin

    “Politics must not be treated as a distraction from the defence against terrorism. It is our defence against terrorism.”

    Politics can also fuel terrorism.

  • Kevin Breslin

    “No single template to condemn, punish, prevent and understand terrorism at the same time…”

    … Would have thought anti-terrorism was all these four things rolled into one?

    Good thing we don’t have to rely on politicians to be the anti-terrorists … at least not these days.

  • Jag

    ” there is no single template that enables a society to condemn, punish, prevent and understand terrorism all at the same time”

    It’s like that Kubler Ross template for dealing with grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. The template for dealing with attacks like that in Manchester is wallowing in emotion, security response, understanding versus anger, political solution.

    Jeremy Corbyn is today going to speak about the political solution (in a nutshell, don’t destabilise countries and hope there won’t be any repercussion, like the UK did with Libya, Iraq and increasingly, Syria)

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Kevin Breslin

    I think that says more about us than it does about them. Politics is not really competitive here, it’s utterly combative.

    Even 2 years ago the DUP and Sinn Féin were much better parties.

  • Pang

    Freedom only works if people use it properly. Forcing people to act properly limits freedom. And who gets to decide what is ‘proper’ anyway? That society functions as well as it does is a miracle.

  • woodkerne

    In Tuesday’s edition of the Radcliffe & Marconi show on Radio 6, Mark Radcliffe (as proud a Manc as one can imagine), played the Specials ‘Doesn’t it Alright’, the words of which (by Jerry Dammers) bear repeating at this time:

    Just because you’re nobody
    It doesn’t mean that you’re no good
    Just because there’s a reason
    It doesn’t mean it’s understood

    It doesn’t make it alright
    It doesn’t make it alright
    It’s the worst excuse in the world
    And it, it doesn’t make it alright

    Some people think they’re really clever
    To smash your head against the wall
    Then they say “you got it my way”
    They really think they know it all

    Just because you’re a black boy
    Just because you’re a white
    It doesn’t mean you’ve got to hate him
    It doesn’t mean you’ve got to fight

    And it, it doesn’t make it alright
    Just because you’re nobody

    Equally, to be clear, Britain’s (or more exactly the British government’s) gung-ho interventions of recent years clearly has contributed to the correpponding rise of so-called ‘homegrown’ jihadis. In this connection, for further context, see

  • Jim M

    Haven’t heard that in years. Top tune and very appropriate.

  • whatif1984true

    I always thought the curse of IRA/UVF etc in communities (at least) during the ‘troubles’ was close to the the ‘STOCKHOLM’ effect with a leavening of ‘defence’ gratitude.