Theresa May had six years as Home Secretary to deal with the problem of terrorism and yet we are now dealing with the bloody aftermath of three attacks within the last three months with no guarantee that there won't be more. We have overstretched and tired armed police officers doing fourteen-hour shifts because their numbers have fallen dramatically since the Tory cuts started in 2010. We have 'warnings' about the attackers apparently being ignored, as the Police Federation attacks the Prime Minister for her role in cutting the police service's ability to collect and process community intelligence.
The Prime Minister's four-point plan for tackling this crisis isn't asking the right questions either.
She says we need tougher sentences for those involved in terror, and she may be right, but surely we must also identify and stop people ever getting to the point of wanting to kill. We have to replace the discredited Prevent strategy with something that is well funded, focused and trusted by the communities involved.
Tougher sentencing is a good soundbite but it doesn't come without risks as suspects go into a prison system which is understaffed, semi-privatised and increasingly in crisis because of cuts. And where even more radicalisation and alienation is fostered. We want to promote British values of a free and democratic society, not create breeding grounds that could turn more towards violent acts.
What is the point of asking Google, Twitter, etc to censor the internet, when the government can't even decide who it thinks an 'extremist' is? The police described myself and Caroline Lucas MP as extremists for over a decade and had active files on us on the domestic extremism database. I have no problem with action against those who advocate violence against other people, but let's keep it targeted on those advocating violent hatred and serious crimes.
What is the point of complaining that some communities are failing to adopt key British values like democracy, tolerance and equality, when you have spent decades giving the Saudi's a green light to flood billions of oil dollars into a worldwide network of fundamentalist preachers and their schools? If we want to be tough on the causes of terrorism, then no more arms deals and smiling photo ops with the Saudi's.
Let's learn a few lessons from the mistakes of recent years. Let's value community policing and the police staff who do the vital backroom work. Let's focus the existing resources of our security services on chasing terrorists, rather than harassing environmental campaigners and Green politicians. Let us look at how our foreign policy connects with our domestic security. Let us publish the report into how Saudi Arabia funds those preaching violent hatred around the globe and let's have a public examination of the claims that our security services gave the green light to religious fundamentalists travelling to Libya to topple Gaddafi. Above all, let's get rid of this government which has failed us so badly.