After coming to terms with the shock that another terrorist attack on British streets we often ask the question why. There will always be a blame game. Someone will say that the government and security services are at fault, others will say that allowing so many ‘non-British’ people into the UK has caused terrorism. If only things were that a simple then life would be much easier.
I was born in Durham, England. I grew up near Newcastle and then moved to Chester-le-Street in 1976. I attended the local comprehensive school and had many friends during my youth. I became a part of a local church and associated youth group, and that’s where I met my closest friends, people who have been a part of my life for over thirty years.
My parents never divorced, although I begged them to, but on the whole I was brought up in stable environment surround by decent friends. I did a lot of voluntary work in my teens and eventually went off to university gaining a degree in Religion and Sociology.
If you haven’t known an environment where you are supported, and you don’t have a positive network around you, then you are open to someone else coming in taking their place.
To someone who has no perceived prospects and belonging, joining a group such as ISIS can seem attractive. You can see this trend that takes place when young men and women join groups that are bordering on criminal. Unstable family environments, poor employment prospects, lack of education all contribute to radicalisation.
A simplistic view of cutting out all immigration or pandering to fear isn’t the solution to radicalisation. You need resources and education on ground levels. You need to give people, whatever their background, the chance to get qualifications and experience to join the world of work. Preparation and training, for those disaffected, so they can contribute to society rather than feeling they should battle against it.
Mrs Thatcher once said ‘There is no such things as society’. In my opinion she was talking bollocks. Mrs Thatcher was interested in self-serving individuals, who were there to make money and use enterprise to better themselves. I am no communist and I have never voted Labour, but Thatcher was deluded and wrong. We ALL have a part to play, whether you are in the government or whether you are working class and ‘just about managing’.
We all have responsibility to make sure that others don’t get sucked in to extremism and poisonous ideology. Challenging views that are not compatible with freedom and democracy. If you are a Muslim and brought up in a home in the Islamic religion and you recognise that someone is in danger of radicalisation you should have the balls to stop it. I would do the same if I thought someone who I knew was planning to harm or murder someone else. Burying your head in the sand or looking on with a pacifist gaze isn’t an option.