After a few days respite, the Dacre doggies at the Daily Mail have gone back to doing what they know best - frightening the crap out of their readers by telling them that there are lots of Scary Muslims™ out there coming to get them. This has been married to another Mail favourite, the idea that people who the Mail says are guilty of a crime really are guilty, and therefore we should dispense with due process as a result.
Thus we have today’s front page screaming “Just 40 out of 400 British fanatics returning from Syria and Iraq have been prosecuted … JIHADIS FREE TO ROAM UK”. The supporting article continues the theme: “Only 40 of the 400 British jihadis who fought in Syria and Iraq have been prosecuted on their return home. At least 360 battle-hardened fanatics are being allowed to go free because there is too little evidence to convict them”.
Now colour me sceptical, because I am sceptical, but how do we know - and to an evidential standard - that these people are “jihadis”? What, other than the sure and certain knowledge that the Mail can get away with it, makes them “battle-hardened fanatics”?
But do go on. “The figures, disclosed by security minister Ben Wallace, will raise concerns over whether the authorities can keep track of all the dangerous extremists on our streets”. Again, how can the Mail conclude that the people it is discussing are “dangerous extremists”? The Northcliffe House inmates assume guilt as a given.
Take this gem: “Police chiefs have repeatedly warned of the severity of the terror threat facing Britain - particularly from those who have been radicalised by fighting abroad”. Is that sufficient evidence to throw someone in jail? Does including a photo of Anjem Choudary make them more or less guilty? What happened to due process of law?
The idea that someone being Not White With Malice Aforethought is enough to have them locked up should worry anyone and everyone, but one of those Here Today And Gone Tomorrow Politicians rather likes the idea, and it is, sadly, a Labour MP.
Yes, “John Woodcock, the Labour MP who had pressed for the release of the figures” has produced this gem: “It is an affront to our country that the difficulty of amassing admissible evidence means there is no comeuppance for people who went to aid an evil regime that wanted to slaughter British civilians”. We can’t pony up any evidence? Pah! We should just assume they “went to aid an evil regime” and “wanted to slaughter British civilians”.
Why someone would go all the way to the Middle East if they “wanted to slaughter British citizens” is a difficult one. But Woodcock is once again pandering to the Mail’s talking points: the readership must be kept frightened that there are lots of scary brown people out there, doing things like, er, making ends meet delivering takeaways.
That’s right, the Mail has found someone returning from Syria who is working as a delivery driver for a restaurant. Proper terrorism that is.
If the Mail, or indeed anyone else, has evidence of criminal wrongdoing, then they should take that to the Police. And if they don’t, then maybe give this idiocy a rest.
As for John Woodcock, I will say no more. That’s a matter for his local party.