Theresa May’s swift return to politics after London Bridge attack | Letters

4 Jun

Theresa May’s commitment not to politicise the tragic events in London on Saturday didn’t even last as long as her first speech (Theresa May says ‘enough is enough’ after seven killed in London Bridge attack, theguardian.com, 4 June). Without providing any evidence, she claimed that there has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the UK. This is despite the fact that such attacks have been condemned by every community and every faith and is manifestly at odds with the resilient and humane response to terror attacks that Britain’s multicultural institutions and neighbourhoods have displayed. She then argued that we may need to rethink our anti-terror laws, despite the fact that the UK’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Max Hill, recently wrote that we need more resources, not more laws, to deal with the threat of terrorism.

We do, however, agree with her that there needs to be a new counter-terror strategy, but it needs to be one that avoids criminalising the entire Muslim population, which makes it harder to isolate a tiny violent minority; one that does not lend support to the funding of terror by selling arms to the Saudi regime; and one that does not contribute to the geopolitical instability in which terror thrives, such as the UK’s disastrous intervention in Libya.

Yes, we have had enough: enough of the cuts that have decimated our emergency services, enough of exploiting the memory of terror victims for political expediency, and enough of suppressing freedom under the banner of defending it. The way Theresa May has used these atrocities to try to divide us for cheap political gain is unforgivable.
Des Freedman Goldsmiths, University of London, Gholam Khiabany Goldsmiths, University of London, Aurelien Mondon University of Bath, Gavan Titley Maynooth University

All terrorist attacks are contemptible, but the recent spate of them in the UK are particularly so as the British have shown themselves to be among the most tolerant and peace-loving in the world ever since they led the worldwide protests against the 2003 Iraq war. London’s electing a Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, is destined to remain unprecedented for years to come.

This enormous national strength should be used by prime minister Theresa May, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Lib Dems’ Tim Farron to work together, immediately after the 8 June election, to fashion a strong national consensus to the terrorism scourge that transcends electoral politics. While such politics lie at the very heart of democracy, it is nevertheless a major constraint to finding remedies to terrorism challenge in particular. Terrorism poses a growing internal threat not just to the west and many other countries, but to already unravelling global amity as well. More of the same force-only policies that are now being advocated with even more vigour in the UK and the US have patently failed to contain, and indeed exacerbated, insecurity.

Anti-terrorism policies should be insulated to the greatest extent possible from electoral politics. Since Britain does not have a large Islamophobic fringe that exists in some European countries and the US, it is uniquely positioned to lead the world on this central global concern that threatens to destroy global amity.
Salim Lone
Princeton, New Jersey, USA

The edition of the Guardian published on the day of the London Bridge terrorist attack contained two interviews focused on how to respond to such events. Poet Tony Walsh ended his reading of This is the Place in Manchester with the urgent exhortation to “Choose love”. While Brendan Cox warned against expecting vague wishes for peace and love to make a difference, his own response is, in many ways, exactly that. To choose love meaningfully is a constant and challenging practice, permeating every aspect of our lives and our society. It means rejecting not only hate in the form of terrorism but all that feeds it and feeds off it, including Trump, neoliberalism, Murdoch, Farage, consumerism and Dacre, and celebrating and participating in small acts of generosity everywhere every day. Maybe then we will avoid Auden’s description of the 1930s, “a low dishonest decade”, fitting too well this time of ours also.
Dave Hunter
Bristol

Theresa May’s suggestion that “western values” or “British values” are superior implies that eastern values are somehow supportive of these murderous extremists. This is clearly wrong. It would be better to say that decent values are superior to extremist ones. Cultures may be different, but basic decent values of fairness, looking after your family, kindness, enterprise and honesty are supported all round the world. Better to avoid the “western values are superior” line, because it is (unnecessarily) polarising when it’s important for all decent people to stay united against these horrible acts.
Bill Stothart
Chester

What on earth does Theresa May think she means by “enough is enough”? Is there such a thing as enough terrorism? Any amount is too much. And there is little point in saying “enough is enough” unless you know how to stop it. When you say it to a child, it means you are now going to apply the final sanction. How does this translate in the current situation?
Cherry Weston
Wolverhampton

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