THE shocking scenes from a Tunisian beach resort last week, coming close to the 10th anniversary of the London bombings, seems to have taken the nation by surprise.
Not surprise as in shock at such an attack happening – we have witnessed too many for such an atrocity not to have been inevitable somewhere in the world – but surprise as in no idea how to respond, as a country.
The only conclusion I can reach from the week’s political hand-wringing and institutional, hopeless angst, is that we are just going to put up with it. Pay the price in innocent people’s blood. Try to salve 30 families’ grief with a minute’s silence.
In Parliament, more time was taken arguing about whether the terrorists should be called Islamic State by the BBC, than what should be done about combating them.
Talk about debating what kind of bolts to use on the stable door, with Neddy already long disappeared across the pasture.
There seems to be a move, led by the French, to call Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) by the name ‘Daesh’, a possible reason being that the lunatics don’t like it.
Wow, that’s a better response than firing a bomb up the jacksy, isn’t it? Call them names they don’t like!
(And I wouldn’t mind, but apparently ‘Daesh’ is just an Arabic acronym for ISIL anyway. Big whoopees all round).
Anyway, Daesh was the terminology creeping into the House of Commons vernacular on Wednesday. I’m sure the evening campfires of jihadis across Syria and Iraq were a frenzy of insulted pride. Not.
We showed ‘em, lads! The dirty Daesh scoundrels!
All the while David Cameron and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond were busy making tub-thumping statements about standing firm and considering military responses and blah de blah de blah.
They might as well have just joined Home Secretary Theresa May and wiggled their toes in the bloodied sands of Sousse for all the good that did.
The brutal bottom line here is not only that IS isn’t going anywhere until someone makes it, but that with every passing month, there’s less and less that Britain at least can do.
Cameron and George Osborne have, via the spineless Hammond (who was Defence Secretary until being ‘promoted’ to the Foreign Office), are systematically running our military capabilities into the ground.
Hammond has meekly accepted budget cut after cut, to the point where our navy needs to borrow French aircraft carriers, while the preferred Tory strategy for tackling foreign terrorists and hostile governments is to ring-fence the overseas aid budget.
Who needs tanks when you can backhand Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian authority £130 million, much of which is used to ‘employ’ convicted terrorists?
In 2013 we handed out £1billion to 20 of the most corrupt countries in the world.
MEANWHILE, closer to home, the overwhelming condemnation by local Muslim leaders of the atrocities in Tunisia should be welcomed.
I was struck by the harsh tone of the religious and community leaders in the stories on page four today. That is an unequivocal attack on IS and when Muslim communities take such a steadfast position, our political leadership should take note.
Instead they spend more time fretting over causing imagined offence to the sensitivities of the UK’s Muslim community, than they do planning how to tackle the greatest threat to the world since Hitler.
As such, when religious leaders from the very same faith are outraged, it should be seized upon as permission – not that I consider they need it – to take all necessary steps to put IS in its place.
We’ve had war declared on us, and laying flowers on a Tunisian beach is about as meaningful as Neville Chamberlain waving his ‘peace in our time’ sheet of paper.
How many more innocents are we willing to sacrifice before we return fire?
A TIP for you. However much you like Leeds, there is one day of the year when you want to give it a wide berth – July 1st.
On July 1st Leeds turns into a scene from one of those disaster movies, where a million people are trying to evacuate a city in the 10 minutes before a comet, tsunami or alien spaceship arrives.
July 1st is when student tenancies start, and Leeds having more students than Dewsbury has people, that’s a lot of grubby and chaotically disorganised slobs being taxied around the city by their long-suffering parents.
Junior might be on course for a 1st in Rocket Science, but that doesn’t mean he’s mastered how to work a washing machine in the past nine months.
Wednesday was the hottest day since planet earth was last hit by a comet, if by some extraordinary chance you didn’t see or hear the news. I know it was. I spent half of it lugging bin liners and boxes up and down flights of stairs, and the other half sitting baking in crawling traffic.
The landlords aren’t daft. The students don’t start until mid- to late-September, and they’re finished pretty much by the end of May – but they’re paying a full 12 months’ rent, come what may.
I wouldn’t put the dog up in the hovel my son and four pals are being milked £1,500 a month for. And I suspect a lot of landlords are laughing all the way to the bank, because on Wednesday the Hyde Park area of Leeds looked and smelled like an African township.
THERE were plenty of pampered, middle class students among the throngs protesting against so-called ‘austerity’ in London a fortnight ago.
Left-wing media like the Mirror/Guardian/Indy got into a numbers frenzy ... there were 100,000, 150,000 no, 250,000 protestors! Britain is clearly outraged! No it isn’t. The numbers, as usual, were grossly overstated.
And again as usual there weren’t many impoverished people clamouring round Russell Brand and Charlotte Church, those famously poor people who struggle to put a loaf on the table. The protestors were all fashionably dressed and had their smartphones to record the jolly.
As for the ‘austerity’ victims whose very lives the left-wing loonies were pleading for – well, they couldn’t be arsed recording Jeremy Kyle and dragging their overweight backsides off the sofa, to go join the protest. The only ‘poverty’ in Britain is one of personal morality and of work ethic.
IF YOU like your holidays on the adventurous side, you need to book with Dewsbury Moor legend Neil ‘Todd’ Fox.
A few years ago we reported on one of Todd’s escapades when he almost became a Caribbean castaway. As British holidaymakers fled Tunisia in droves this week, Todd, who is in Sousse, simply took the opportunity to spread out a bit. And there’s plenty of Todd to spread, let me tell you.
He let friends back in Dewsbury know all was okay via Facebook. He wasn’t going to let the idiots from IS spoil his holiday.
I HAVE a message for those very many people who, having spent eight months complaining about the dreary, cold, wet British weather, got all the way to Wednesday dinner time before announcing: “It’s too warm, petal. Muggy. Too close, I’m sweating cobs. We could do with a right good thunderstorm to clear the air.”
Too warm? No it’s not. It wants to stay like this until about Christmas – and then warm up a bit. But it won’t.
Mind you, BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark clearly knows better. She declared that the soaring UK temperature was final proof of global warming. Who needs science when you have the Beeb?