THE BLOG

Katie Hopkins Is Wrong - The UK's Openness Will Conquer Isis

24/03/2017 10:45 GMT | Updated 24/03/2017 10:46 GMT
Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle via Getty Images

Yesterday, London and the rest of the UK were reminded of the appalling consequences of radical violent ideologies. Five people died and at least 20 have been injured in the first terrorist attack on British soil since Jo Cox's murder last June.

Theresa May, a woman I agree with on few things, struck the perfect tone in her speech to the House of Commons on Thursday morning. The "million acts of normality" which occurred following the attack, are the way we defeat terrorism said the Prime Minister.

And she is right.

Though understandable it may be, the knee-jerk reaction to events like these - to tighten the perimeters of our society and to cast suspicion on fellow citizens is the wrong one. This 'war' with Islamism is not one that is primarily being fought with weaponry but with ideas.

They hate us because of who we are, what we are, and what we stand for. If we compromise on the pillars of liberty, democracy, equality and all the other virtues we cherish then we consent to lose unwittingly.

Despite deliberately false framing from right-wing activists like Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, Londoners and Britons stand together in unshakable defiance. There was no atmosphere of fear, no cowering and no surrender - only the poignancy of courage. A city and a nation that refused to let an attack on its identity and very being leave any lingering damage.

The inflammatory remarks from Katie Hopkins that the UK has 'never been more divided' are not only factually incorrect but self-defeating. Right-wing populists of her ilk profess until they are blue in the face that they are patriots, who are willing to fight tooth and nail to protect the country and its people, but they don't.

Demonising people based on religion and conflating diversity with terrorism is mad. Small 'c' conservatives always seem to miss the irony that turning in on our liberal values and systems is exactly what Isis want. Harking to right-wing nativist claptrap will do more to invigorate Isis' recruitment drive than sticking up for our plural society which they loathe.

They try desperately to scramble scraps of information together to form a simplistic world view that there is one group of bad guys with a one-size fits all ideology that is destroying our world. She bemoans the multiculturalism I've been blessed to know all my life in Leicester for the actions of one scumbag from Kent.

She claims these people have brought animosity with them from their native lands - but conveniently forgets that political conflict and political violence has always abounded this island.

She contends that London is at war with the rest of the country, that 52% of us are more patriotic than the rest, and that 9 Muslims who have carried out terror attacks in the UK in the last 10 years somehow represent 2.7 million other Muslims in this country.

However, somewhat conveniently, the White British men who have committed or planned to commit similar atrocities are not afforded the same blanket condemnation.

She believes we should "believe in Britain" as it was before, yet Britain faced more terror attacks in the twenty years preceding 1997 than the twenty years following it. Britain has faced worse in the IRA and the Blitz, and has done so without betraying itself in the process.

All people like Katie Hopkins do is stoke mistrust, suspicion and segregation, all the conditions needed for terrorist ideology to thrive.

I scrolled through poignant artwork, reassuring quotes and fake Tube signs on Thursday morning and felt proud of the country's response to yesterday's attempt at terror - and their refusal to abide it.

Meanwhile, in a plush Central London office, Katie Hopkins lied as she played divide and rule in a futile attempt to make her world view the dominant one. Of course, it seems quick, it seems easy and it may even seem sensible to tighten Britain's open nature for greater safety. But as history has often taught us - the simple answer is often the wrong one - to abandon our values in the wake of an attack against them, is to surrender.

If it wasn't painfully clear for all to see before, it should be now - Islamist terrorism in the West occurs with only one intention - to motivate Western societies to turn against regular moderate Muslims. If they succeed, their numbers will strengthen and they will become more powerful. Not only is attacking Muslims on the back of this atrocity the wrong thing to do, it is the stupid thing to do.

Yesterday, four people died in a disgusting attack by a man from within our nation. Violent ideology does not travel with a passport but with depraved words and barbaric ideas. Violent ideology knows not one skin tone, not one religion and not one nation. We will overcome this evil bit by bit, with each everyday errand and ordinary activity that passes. We will overcome this evil - and we will do it without 'useful' idiots like Katie Hopkins.