If you read the coverage of the fatal stabbing of MP Sir David Amess you’d think Twitter had picked up a knife and carried out the horrible killing itself.
It didn’t. It can be a cesspit of hate (and also a tool for good) but it’s words. Just words. They can be vile, they can be upsetting but to right-minded folk, they are not the sticks and stones that break our bones.
Terrorism takes lives. Like it took Jo Cox’s life in 2016.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s Islamic extremism or right-wing nut jobs. They are both two sides of the same coin.
The man suspected of murdering Southend’s MP was referred to the inept Prevent programme but was never a formal "subject of interest" for MI5.
However, scores of radicalised scumbags put through the scheme have gone on to commit hideous crimes.
After attendees tick all the boxes and assure concerned professionals that they’ve seen the light, they just disappear.
An inquiry has been launched but how many more Jos will there be before anything is done?
Unbelievably Prevent STILL hasn’t got face-to-face meetings with wannabe terrorists up and running again yet because of – yep, you guessed it – Covid. How mad is that? Popping to your local supermarket has been fine but de-radicalising a murderous loon? Nah, we’ll wait, ta.
Even worse, the co-author of a review into terrorism revealed the Home Office hasn’t even bothered getting back to him eight months after he delivered his recommendations.
And for those hand-wringing liberals who think it’d be safe to let all the Shamima Begums back because we’d "keep an eye on them" it’s not convincing.
So finally back to social media and the calls for anonymous accounts to be banned. A nice idea but it won’t make a blind bit of difference.
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Because one of the worst hate preachers online isn’t anonymous – Anjem Choudary rabble rouses using his own name. The vile killers of Trooper Lee Rigby were followers.
We are assured that Choudary is monitored, but if we were so keen to do that why was he released halfway through a five-year sentence for inciting terrorism?
Now, counter-terrorism expert, Nick Aldworth is warning that a "slowly developing wave of terrorism in Europe is starting to move towards the UK".
It’s not just our MPs at risk – we all are.
We cannot afford to be soft on terrorism any longer.
Prevent needs to do exactly what it says on the tin.