Grantham MP Nick Boles: ‘It could have been us, which is why we need to act now’
It could have so easily have been us.
British rock fans in a concert venue in Nottingham, Bristol or London, their lives cut short by the brutality of monsters they had never met. British diners taking advantage of warm autumn nights to sit outside and share a few drinks on a Friday evening, never again to celebrate a birthday with friends or to toast the end of the working week.
It could have been us, and it may yet be us. The Prime Minister has confirmed that Isil terrorists have already plotted on seven different occasions to wreak murder and mayhem in our streets – only to be foiled by our intelligence services and police. Superb though our security services are, we cannot assume that we will always be so lucky.
So we must act. But act in a way that is consistent with our democratic values and with the very freedom that the terrorists want to destroy. We must act to give the security services necessary powers of surveillance, so that they can track online communications between those who want to do us harm – but we should do so in our way, after proper parliamentary scrutiny, and building in appropriate judicial checks.
We must act to give our special forces the weapons and funds they need to help our Kurdish allies challenge Isil forces on the ground in Syria, seize back territory and liberate the local people that they suppress with rape, torture and beheadings.
We must act to confront those in Britain, who preach extreme ideas to impressionable young minds in mosques and community centres, online and in schools.
And, yes, I believe that we must act to allow British pilots to take action in Syria, where Isil has its headquarters and where the attacks in Paris were conceived and planned. Britain has never believed in standing back, while others fight our battles for us. We should not do so now.
On Tuesday evening, we witnessed a scene that we will probably never see again: the sight of tens of thousands of English fans cheering our ancient foes, the French, and doing their best to sing their national anthem, the Marseillaise. Of all of the moments since that awful night on Friday 13th, it was the one that we should remember – and be inspired by. Two proud nations, who have fought together for freedom in the past, coming together once again, determined that freedom will never be vanquished on either country’s soil. Vive la Republique. Vive la France. God save the Queen.