The government is right to take a firm stand against ISIS and those who fight in its ranks or support from the sidelines. But we need to face facts: we cannot stop British jihadis returning home; we cannot arrest our way out of the problem; and we do not have the resources to mount surveillance operations against all returning foreign fighters.
Meet 20-year-old Hamza al-Britani who left Birmingham for Syria in June last year. The British Pakistani told me via Skype how he caught a plane to Turkey and simply "jogged" over the border to "the land of jihad." A family friend of Hamza had arranged this interview so he could clear up misconceptions about jihad and ISIS...
There are around 100 British nationals serving with the IDF as we speak, apparently with no legal difficulties. But a Brit who trains or fights with any anti-Assad rebel group runs the risk of being jailed as a terrorist. If we are worried about young British Muslims heading off to the Middle East to receive military training, should we be equally worried about Jews?
In the government's latest Orwellian measure, mothers and wives of "would-be jihadists" are being urged to report on their loved ones, avowedly to "prevent tragedies". It won't escape notice however, that despite protestations to the contrary, a message emanating from the police carries criminalising potential.