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VIDEO: President Donald Trump with her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

Remarks by President Trump and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at State Banquet | London, United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace
London, United Kingdom

8:49 P.M. BST

HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II:  Mr President, I am delighted to welcome you and Mrs. Trump to Buckingham Palace this evening, just 12 months after our first meeting at Windsor.

Visits by American Presidents always remind us of the close and longstanding friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and I am so glad that we have another opportunity to demonstrate the immense importance that both our countries attach to our relationship.

In the coming days, you will see some of our most treasured historical buildings, speak to the business leaders whose expertise and innovation drive our economies, and meet members of our armed services, past and present.  You will also travel to Portsmouth and Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

On that day — and on many occasions since — the armed forces of both our countries fought side-by-side to defend our cherished values of liberty and democracy.

Mr. President, in your State of the Union Address this year, you paid tribute to some of the American heroes who risked their lives, and we owe an immeasurable debt to the British, American, and Allied soldiers who began the liberation of Europe on the 6th of June 1944.

I paid my first State Visit to your country at the invitation of President Eisenhower.  As Supreme Allied Commander, he had ultimate responsibility for the execution of the Normandy landings.  In his headquarters in St. James’s Square — not far from Buckingham Palace — British and American officers worked closely together to plan the freedom of a continent, and it would be no exaggeration to say that millions of lives depended on their common endeavour.

As we face the new challenges of the 21st century, the anniversary of D-Day reminds us of all that our countries have achieved together.  After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated.

While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures: nations working together to safeguard a hard-won peace.

Of course, it is not only our security which unites us, but our strong cultural links and shared heritage.  Every year, there are almost 4 million visits by Americans to the United Kingdom, with a great number claiming British descent.  And with your own Scottish ancestry, Mr. President, you too have a particular connection to this country.

We are also bound by the strength and breadth of our economic ties, as the largest investors in each other’s economies.  British companies in the United States employ over one million Americans, and the same is true vice versa.

Mr. President, as we look to the future, I am confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us.  Tonight, we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you all to rise and drink a toast to President and Mrs. Trump, to the continued friendship between our two nations, and to the health, prosperity, and happiness of the people of the United States.

(A toast is given.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Your Majesty, Melania and I are profoundly honored to be your guests for this historic State Visit.  Thank you for your warm welcome, for this beautiful weather — (laughter) — your gracious hospitality, and Your Majesty’s nearly seven decades of treasured friendship with the United States of America.

This week, we commemorate a mighty endeavor of righteous nations and one of the greatest undertakings in all of history.  Seventy-five years ago, more than 150,000 Allied troops were preparing on this island to parachute into France, storm the beaches of Normandy, and win back our civilization.

As Her Majesty remembers, the British people had hoped and prayed and fought for this day for nearly five years.

When Britain stood alone during the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the Nazi war machine dropped thousands of bombs on this country and right on this magnificent city.  Buckingham Palace alone was bombed on 16 separate occasions.

In that dark hour, the people of this nation showed the world what it means to be British.  They cleared wreckage from the streets, displayed the Union Jack from their shattered homes, and kept fighting on to victory.  They only wanted victory.

The courage of the United Kingdom’s sons and daughters ensured that your destiny would always remain in your own hands.

Through it all, the Royal Family was the resolute face of the Commonwealth’s unwavering solidarity.

In April of 1945, newspapers featured a picture of the Queen Mother visiting the women’s branch of the Army, watching a young woman repair a military truck engine.  That young mechanic was the future Queen — that great, great woman.  Her Majesty inspired her compatriots in that fight to support the troops, defend her homeland, and defeat the enemy at all cost.

We also pay tribute to Prince Philip’s distinguished and valiant service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

On D-Day, the Queen’s beloved father King George the Sixth delivered a stirring national address.  That day, he said, “After nearly five years of toil and suffering, we must renew that crusading impulse on which we entered the war and met its darkest hour…Our fight is against evil and for a world in which goodness and honor may be the foundation of the life of men in every land.”

This evening, we thank God for the brave sons of the United Kingdom and the United States who defeated the Nazis and the Nazi regime, and liberated millions from tyranny.

The bond between our nations was forever sealed in that “Great Crusade.”  As we honor our shared victory and heritage, we affirm the common values that will unite us long into the future: freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, the rule of law, and reverence for the rights given to us by Almighty God.

From the Second World War to today, Her Majesty has stood as a constant symbol of these priceless traditions.  She has embodied the spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart.

On behalf of all Americans, I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations, and to the long, cherished, and truly remarkable reign of Her Majesty the Queen.  Thank you.

(A toast is given.)

END                8:59 P.M. BST

UK: Police Commissioner Suggests Value of Armed Citizenry, is Quickly Rebuffed

Every once in a great while, an independent-minded United Kingdom official is overcome with a bout of common sense on firearms. However, such outbursts of reason are typically short-lived, as the gun control apostate becomes the immediate target of the country’s anti-gun establishment politicians and media. Such was the case in 2014, when former Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage had the temerity to point out that the UK’s handgun ban is “ludicrous” and call for its repeal.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez

Following the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez was taken by a similar case of logic. During a June 12 appearance on BBC Radio Cornwall, Hernandez suggested that armed citizens could provide an important response to a terrorist violence.

According to an account and audio of Hernandez’s BBC appearance made available by the Guardian, a caller – who is a firearms dealer — to the radio show asked the police commissioner, “If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?” After lauding the caller’s question, Hernandez responded that such an armed response “might be some of our solution to our issues.”

The audibly dumbfounded BBC host, called the caller’s proposal “vigilantism,” going on to question the caller’s ability to properly handle and use firearms. Even after the host’s initial derisive comments, Hernandez defended her position stating, “I’m just saying, let’s officially have a look at that and see what would be the implications of it…. We work with businesses to keep our communities safe. I’d really be interested in exploring that with the chief constable.”

Unfortunately, Hernandez’s rational position was lost on Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton. The same day as Hernandez’s interview, Netherton issued a response to the police commissioner’s comments that appears to foreclose even a discussion about the use of private firearms to stop a terrorist threat.

In the release, Netherton noted that during an attack, “highly trained police firearms officers and Special Forces will be deployed to protect our communities,” and that “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.”

Netherton also reiterated official UK response policy, stating, “Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.” This charge is a noticeably neutered version of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight.”

Just as disturbing as the UK’s disrespect of the fundamental right to self-defense is the ongoing effort by the UK’s political and media establishment to preclude any debate on the topic. Nigel Farage’s comments on the handgun ban were met with “fury,” with one opposing lawmaker dismissing Farage’s Ukip party as “extremely dangerous.” The BBC host dismissed Hernandez’s comments and the caller’s question out of hand. Likewise, Netherton released a statement refuting Hernandez’s position without exploration or discussion. Far from radical, Hernandez’s thoughts on fighting terrorism are shared by former Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

Such foreclosure of discourse is unbecoming a so-called liberal democracy. Today’s UK would do well to rediscover the great English classical liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, as his work on the merits of free thought and vigorous discourse appears to be foreign to most of its subjects.

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Robbie Travers: No Home on the Left for Opponents of Islamism

A journalist and law student explains his feeling the British left has ostracized opponents of Islamism after Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

Robbie Travers is the executive director at Agora, non-partisan think tank for young people aged of 15-28 and junior media management at the Human Security Centre, a non-profit foreign policy think tank based in London. He is a second year student of law at Edinburgh University.

He graciously agreed to speak with Clarion Project Dialogue Coordinator Elliot Friedland about the struggle against Islamism on the British left.

Clarion Project: Why do you think certain sections of the left have struggled to robustly combat the problems of Islamism? 

Robbie Travers: There are a variety of reasons for the left’s troubling inability to combat Islamism or enter an honest dialogue on problems amongst Islamic groups.

These include the racism of low expectations, which is sadly a regular feature of the left’s discussions surrounding Islam.

Because Islamic people face prejudice in the West, many on the left often adopt an approached best simplified by the following formula: “since they must protect or defend minorities, and Muslims are a minority in the west, they consequently must protect Muslims.” This regressive trend of supporting and apologizing for the regressive elements of the religion of a minority is common.

This line of argument fails to wash though, as not discussing issues and failing to challenge authoritarian and theocratic views and individuals is not “protecting Muslims,” it’s eroding their relations with wider society and undermining the platform that moderate Muslims and Islamic reformers have to stay upon.

Many argue that since these people are oppressed, their terrorism may not be justifiable, but it is understandable. This, however, stands at odds with their mantra that Islamism isn’t properly part of Islam. So oppressing Muslims, apparently, enrages groups that aren’t “true Muslims” (note the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy) who then often kill Muslims, all to oppose the killing of Muslims?

If you are confused by the left’s complex and heavily contradictory narrative, don’t worry most voters are, and hence they no longer consider the left’s opinion as accurate or viable on Islamism.

Stop The War Gaza March, London (Photo: © Creative Commons, David Holt)

Stop The War Gaza March, London (Photo: © Creative Commons, David Holt)

Another reason is that because Islamism stands against the (western) patriarchy and the current system of capitalist and free societies, many feel that the enemy of their enemy is their friend, even when their friends tend to be theocratic totalitarian cults that despise many of the freedoms these individuals take for granted. The deployment of this argument can be seen as particularly prevalent amongst young activists and intersectionalists often chanting that since the West, which symbolizes the dominance of Western White-Cis-Hetero-Male ruling classes, and patriarchy, is the ultimate evil.

Anything which challenges this dastardly hegemony, since the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore, must be cheered and rooted for.

Cheering for movements and ideology despite not thinking of the consequences and full beliefs of these consequences has seen pro-LGBT groups defend IS and apologize for Hamas, women’s groups turning their back on democrats and Islamic feminists across the MENA in favor of apologizing for regimes that abuse them like Iran, and defending symbols of misogyny like the Burqa.

Senses of self-loathing and “white guilt” created by identify politics can be blamed for this inability to tackle Islamism too. Often when discussing Islam, you will encounter those who say “But Christianity is bad too,” and trade in various platitudes about Islam, such as “If all Muslims are terrorists, why aren’t we dead yet.” No-one of any credibility is asserting this, and to fight against straw men rather than the actual argument is a tactic of those unable to answer the decent, fair questions about problems with radicalization.

And if the left refuse to answer those questions coherently, the far right most certainly will answer the questions. And nobody of any substantial reason wants to see the far right with the exclusive ability to answer any questions.

The left have lost their way, large chunks of the Left no longer represent the working classes they purport to represent, and actually employ snobbery – being repulsed by the anti-immigration, socially conservative, anti-welfare working person who despises terrorism and is suspicious of Islamism. Most working class people have little time for those arguing about how the West is just as evil or IS, or that we have significant issues or problems that are comparable to the genocides committed by IS.

Hence the left risk drifting onto obscurity on the issue as their perceived base no longer sees the left as representative of their stance against terror.

Following from this, there is a determined arrogance amongst Progressives that an Islamist is just like them and isn’t actually motivated by the Koran, but rather has legitimate grievances with the West and current global order, and this somehow means we should understand that they are victims.

This fetishization of victimhood and diminishment of actual victims means that the left have no compelling ability to simply, and crisply condemn the terror attack and the ideology that motivated it, rather than blaming the victims for the attacks.

McEwan Hall, Edinburgh University. (Photo: © Creative Commons Dun_Deagh)

McEwan Hall, Edinburgh University. (Photo: © Creative Commons Dun_Deagh)

Clarion: You are currently a second year student at the University of Edinburgh. How do people on campus relate to the issue of Islamist extremism?

Travers: Edinburgh has seriously improved, but has a long way to progress. It must be stated that the majority of students are tired of flailing narratives, and we are seeing a desire for dialogue. Edinburgh now has an official “Israeli Engagement Society,” which aims to engage people in dialogue over such important topics. This would not have happened in previous years.

However, there was an attempt to stop the society from forming by voting individually, in which many members of Student Justice for Palestine tried to stop our group from existing. It is a worrying trend that some members of said group would seek to limit the rights of pro-Israeli students to recognition. They want one rule for themselves and another rule for others.

Often there is a bizarre position encountered on campus which argues Islamist extremism should not be seen as a threat, going along with anti-semitism, and the idea that Islamism is caused by the Western world. There is a worrying trend that somehow the 2003 invasion of Iraq is seen as a Pandora’s Box and the root of all subsequent evil, like the creation of IS. It is seen as a symbol of colonialism, and how the West needles in affairs of others too often. Many occupying this position however, when challenged, provide no answers on how to challenge either Islamic theocracies or terrorist organizations.

There is an idea that somehow Islamism and Islam are completely unconnected. There is also an incredibly paternalistic attitude that Islam must be protected from criticism. Students who will criticize the Vatican, or Judaism freely, will often feel scared to criticize Islam. There are also concerns about the “Safe space” policy which is designed to protect people from harmful and offensive speech. The problem, however, is when you exist in an environment in which people cannot discuss Islam or issues with the faith without others taking offence, and often taking offence because someone may take offence, you shut down the discussion.

Secular activist Maryam Namazie speaks at Goldsmiths University in London. She was heckled at the talk by opponents from the Islamic society who sought to prevent her from speaking in a speech widely reported in the British media. (Photo: Screenshot from video)

Secular activist Maryam Namazie speaks at Goldsmiths University in London. She was heckled at the talk by opponents from the Islamic society who sought to prevent her from speaking in a speech widely reported in the British media. (Photo: Screenshot from video)

Clarion: Why do you support UK airstrikes against targets in Syria?

Travers: UK airstrikes in Iraq and Syria still have a remarkable 0 civilian casualties figure, which is a tribute to the precision strikes of our RAF and Brimstone missile technology. We are not slaughtering people as often posited, we are saving lives by striking strategic targets and ensuring civilians are not killed. This is what an accurate and precise military operation does and is not comparable to ISIS tactics. It’s also having a real effect, reducing IS territory in Iraq and Syria and hence reducing their ability to spread their genocidal rule.

The longer we allow their state to thrive in Iraq and Syria, the longer we allow a hostile terrorist training facility, which areas of Iraq and Syria function as, we endanger our civilians, and put the lives of Iraqis at risk. We are also providing essential support for groups fighting for our values on the ground, like Kurds.

Striking against ISIS also helps us tackle a group complicating the Syrian Civil War, so that if we can begin reducing IS territory dramatically; we can also highlight the crimes of Assad, and works towards the removal of the butcher of 85% of Syria’s population!

An RAF tornado fighter-bomber.

An RAF tornado fighter-bomber.

Clarion: You’ve spoken before about the need to revive liberalism to adequately tackle Islamism? What do you mean by that and why is it necessary?

Travers: We need to be as passionate about fundamental freedoms, about education, and discussion as Islamists are about spreading their theocracy. We need to start defeating fascism with freedom, for example educating women and empowering them across the globe to run businesses, control their reproductive cycles, and countering radicalization with education.

We also should continue cross faith and international partnerships with schools, to show that Muslims, Christians and Jews that other faiths are not the enemy, and work on reducing the ability for an extremist narrative to take hold at a young age.

Clarion: You left the Labour party after the election of Jeremy Corbyn. Where do you see a political home for left wingers who oppose Islamism? 

Travers: Nowhere. Isn’t that genuinely such a sad statement to have to make?

But we are homeless, politically homeless due to the right and left spectrum both having flaws.  The only people that are aided by the left failing to have a decent discussion on Islam is the right, and that includes the far right, and Islamists, as Muslims will be alienated by society and driven to extremism as the far right offer answers that are based on simplistic hatred and prejudice.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Robbie Travers. (Photo: © Robbie Travers)

UK’s Cameron breaks with Obama on the Muslim Brotherhood

When even David Cameron, thoroughly compromised to Islamic supremacists and in near-total denial about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, is tougher than Obama on a stealth jihad group such as the Muslim Brotherhood, you know we’re in deep trouble.

MuslimBrotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood logo.

“UK breaks with U.S. on Muslim Brotherhood,” by Steve Emerson and Pete Hoekstra, Washington Examiner, December 24, 2015:

The United Kingdom broke from the largely complacent U.S. position on radical Islamists in a startling indictment of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

“Aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and activities … run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs,” Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement. Cameron further states that “association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism.”

As the West attempts to pinpoint potential terrorists, the Brits tell us where to look, and that is to the MB and its associates.

The new account — resulting from an 18-month-long exhaustive investigation by respected foreign policy experts — presents a brutally honest examination of the movement. In breaking from the U.S., the UK has shifted closer to Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in identifying it as a terrorist organization.

The UK position sharply contrasts with that of the Obama administration, which sought to strengthen ties to the Brotherhood. Just a few years ago Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the MB as “largely secular…” and “which has eschewed violence.”

The Obama administration quickly condemned the UK report in an email to the IPT, citing the MB’s stated commitment to nonviolence and that pushing back against the organization would lead to the radicalization of a minority of its followers.

We’re not sure that they even read the report. Since founding the group in 1928, former schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, “accepted the political utility of violence, and the Brotherhood conducted attacks, including political assassinations and attempted assassinations against Egypt state targets and both British and Jewish interests during his lifetime,” it says….

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VIDEOS: Our Response to the Charlie Hebdo Attacks

Between 7 and 9 January, Paris witnessed a brutal and drawn-out terrorist attack which left 17 dead and sparked widespread debate on questions of security and freedom of speech. Though shocking, the attack is just one in a string of radical Islamic terrorist atrocities targeting civilians as well as the democratic and security institutions of Western nations.

As ever, The Henry Jackson Society was on hand to provide in-depth analysis to top news outlets in the UK and around the world, arguing vocally against any compromise in our right to freedom of speech.

Associate Director Douglas Murray led opinion with his thought leadership on the attack in both the Daily Mail and the Spectator (both are reprinted below).

Below is a selection of HJS’ latest TV and radio interviews on the topic. We will, of course, continue to promote our cause throughout the media and our appearances can always be viewed on our YouTube channel.

TV Appearances

7 January: Douglas Murray on Channel 4 News 

7 January: Davis Lewin on France 24

7 January: Douglas Murray on WSJ Live 

7 January: Robin Simcox on ITV News 

7 January: Hannah Stuart on Al Arabiya  

8 January: Alan Mendoza on CNBC  

8 January: Douglas Murray on Sky News  

8 January: Douglas Murray on Al Jazeera  

8 January: Douglas Murray on BBC Daily Politics  

10 January: Davis Lewin on France 24  

11 January: Douglas Murray on BBC’s Big Questions  

Radio Appearences

7 January: Douglas Murray on BBC World Service

7 January: Douglas Murray on BBC London

7 January: Robin Simcox on BBC 5 Live

7 January: Douglas Murray on BBC 5 Live

8 January: Douglas Murray on BBC World Service’s World Tonight

9 January: Emily Dyer on BBC Ulster

9 January: Douglas Murray on BBC World Serivce’s World Have Your Say

Thought Leadership

A threat to every single one of us: The cold-blooded outrage in Paris is about our right to be free to express ourselves

Douglas Murray in The Daily Mail

The cold-blooded outrage in Paris is not a story about one magazine or one country – and it is not just about freedom of the Press.

It is about the right of every single one of us to be free to express ourselves. And it is high time the nations of Europe woke up to how gravely that right is under threat.

Because what happened yesterday – though the most appalling incident of its kind yet – is in many ways far from unprecedented. It is just the latest chapter in a long, concerted campaign to shut down criticism and discussion of one religion, its founder and its teachings.

The aim of the campaign is to place that religion – Islam – above the level of all other religions or ideas and make it immune from criticism. And the tactic is working.

This campaign has been gathering pace for at least 25 years. It really started in the West in 1989 after the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, which contained passages considered deeply offensive by some Muslims.

The novel resulted in Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issuing a fatwa – a religious judgment, in this case a death sentence – on Rushdie that forced the author into hiding. Though Rushdie survived, the fatwa was followed by the murder of a translator of his works and knife attacks on two others.

Then, as now, some people claimed that Rushdie had been deliberately provocative. Then, as now, even if that were the case it would matter not a jot. Nosociety can be considered truly free if its members are terrorised into silence and hiding by fatwas and mortal threats.

Even so, ever since the Rushdie affair, most authors, artists and publishers have avoided producing anything that might stoke the ire of fundamentalist Muslims.

Of course it is important to state that the great majority of Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, who abhor violence. Indeed yesterday Muslim leaders in Britain were among the first to condemn the Paris atrocity.

Nevertheless, there have been a very troubling number of attacks carried out in the name of Islam on those in the West considered to have criticised or shown a lack of respect to the religion.

In 2004, the Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh was shot, stabbed and partially decapitated in broad daylight on a Dutch street. His killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, objected to a film van Gogh had made which criticised some of the Koran’s teachings about women.

Fear works. It breeds self-censorship. In 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten discovered that no illustrator in Denmark would depict Islam’s founder for a series of children’s books on world religions.

The paper commissioned a dozen cartoonists to break this apparent taboo and published the results. The subsequent furore saw burnings and lootings of Danish Embassies across the Middle East and threats against Danes worldwide.

Having investigated and written about the growth of Islamic fundamentalism and its effects on our society for some 15 years, I came to know some of those involved in that Danish newspaper, as well as those at Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine attacked yesterday.

I began to realise how they had to endure constant threats to their safety, yet they continued to publish because they believed supremely in the right to freedom of expression, the right to make jokes about anyone and any subject, however powerful or revered they may be. Charlie Hebdo is a satirical, secular, punchy magazine which has picked up themes most people wanted to ignore.

In the wake of the 2005 Danish cartoons furore, it was about the only magazine that, sticking to its principles, chose to print any depiction of Islam’s founding prophet.

The magazine, which laughs at all religions, politics and beliefs, argued that if you are to be free you cannot allow any ideology to hold such a privileged position as to be above criticism. And so they lampooned Mohammed, and ISIS – as well as other targets like critics of Islam and the Far Right politician Marine le Pen.

After an issue that played on the magazine’s name and sharia law with the title ‘Charia Hebdo’, and mercilessly mocked Islamic fundamentalists, a firebomb was thrown into its offices. Its editor – who died yesterday, along with his police protection officer – received constant death threats.

But Charlie Hebdo magazine was not alone in being targeted for daring to poke fun. In 2010 one of the Danish cartoonists was confronted in his home by an axe-wielding Islamist trained by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. A different cartoonist from Sweden, Lars Vilks, was targeted for death in a separate attack.

Across Europe I have encountered countless people – Muslim, ex-Muslim and non-Muslim – who have faced death threats.

Two years ago a 70-year-old friend of mine in Denmark – the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard, who founded a Free Press Society in the wake of the cartoons affair – woke to a ring from the postman.

But the man at the door was not the postman. He was a young man with a gun who fired at Lars’s head at almost point-blank range. Miraculously he missed.

As Lars struggled with his would-be assassin on his own doorstep, the man fired again. The gun jammed and the culprit ran off. If you have seen and studied these cases of assassination and attempted assassination as many times as I have you notice certain patterns emerging.

One of the most common is for Western apologists for these terrorists to suggest that the victims have provoked the rage of fundamentalists – and they have therefore brought it upon themselves.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. The only people responsible for the carnage in this insidious and evil campaign to stamp out our freedoms are the thugs and murderers who carry it out.

In galleries, newspapers and magazines every day and week of the year there are works of art and articles that offend mainstream Christians.

Cartoons abound at Christmas depicting the Three Wise Men or the Virgin Mary with a humorous twist; there are revolting and puerile cards whose Christmas messages contain foul language.

Imagine that a Christian – any Christian – were to have responded to those cartoons or images by decapitating or gunning down the editor or staff of the magazine, newspaper or art gallery in question. Would we blame his victims, saying they had provoked the outrage? I think it highly unlikely.

Politicians in France have in the past dismissed Charlie Hebdo as radicals of the Left and ‘provocateurs’ – although one would hope yesterday’s events will shock them out of complacency.

The fact is this challenge to our freedoms from radical Islam is real and happening now. If mainstream politicians ignore or shy away from it, tragedy beckons for all of us.

Charlie Hebdo stood alone. What does that say about our ‘free’ press?

Douglas Murray in The Spectator

Over the coming hours and days there will be a lot of talk – largely by anonymous Twitter warriors – about the need to express ‘solidarity’ withCharlie Hebdo.  Many others will say how important it is to ensure that ‘the terrorists and fundamentalists don’t win.’

But the terrorists and fundamentalists are winning and for the moment it looks like they will keep winning.  Because even before today Charlie Hebdoalready stood alone.  In the wake of the 2005 Danish cartoons affair no other major newspaper or magazine in Europe was willing to keep running depictions of Islam’s founder.  Of course they said they didn’t publish, or republish, because they didn’t want to cause offence, or because they thought the (wholly innocuous) depictions were wilfully ‘provocative’ and the like.  And of course Jyllands Posten is a conservative, ‘right-wing’ newspaper.

But they will say the same thing now.  And the left-wing Charlie Hebdo will be abandoned now even more than the right-wing Jyllands Posten was back then.  People will come up with various excuses, but in truth they won’t publish because they are afraid.  The remaining staff of Charlie Hebdo could hardly be more alone.

There is only one way in which this couldn’t remain the case: if tomorrow, or some day this week every newspaper and magazine in Europe, the front-page of the BBC and Channel 4 News websites and every other major news site simultaneously published a set of Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of Mohammed among others.  I put this suggestion to the BBC today during an interview and was told by the presenter that ‘in fairness’ to the BBC they had earlier retweeted Charlie Hebdo’s recent cartoon of ISIS’s leader al-Baghdadi.  Which, of course, isn’t quite the same thing.  Some readers may recall that during the Danish cartoon affair Channel 4 ran a live programme on freedom of speech which included a live vote as to whether or not Channel 4 should show the cartoons.  The public voted that they should.  And then Channel 4 unilaterally decided to ignore the public’s wishes and would not show the cartoons.

It was around the same time that Ayaan Hirsi Ali put it best.  She suggested in the wake of the Danish cartoons affair that ‘we have to spread the risk.’  But the free press didn’t spread it around then.  And I very much doubt that they will now.  I know all the arguments.  I know the fears – that someone from the typing pool or on the front desk will be the target.  I’ve heard every possible argument over the years.

And that is why I can safely say that the free press will fail this latest test too.  For all its historic traditions, its self back-slapping for its alleged ‘bravery’ and so on, there are only a couple of tiny outcrops of freedom.  The rest of the vast, powerful, fearless, outspoken tradition that is the Western press is too intimidated to publish a single cartoon that might conveivably provoke a Muslim.

This is what it looks like to lose a freedom.  Not many people will care today.  But they will tomorrow, or another day in the future.

The Best Debt in the World by Emma Elliot Freire

Hard to believe, but Britain’s student loan problem is worse than the Yanks’.

In late 2010, tens of thousands of British students took to the streets of London. They protested government plans to cut direct funding of higher education and raise the cap on tuition from £3,290 ($5,500) to £9,000 ($15,000). Some of them occupied government buildings and clashed violently with police. Hundreds were arrested.

Maybe they shouldn’t have gotten so worked up. It’s now becoming clear that most of them won’t repay their loans in full. Some of them will even be getting their education for free.

The UK government’s student loan scheme is more generous than its American counterpart. Any British student who is accepted to a university is automatically entitled to a government loan for the entirety of their tuition. Most universities are charging £9,000 per year. British students can also get loans for their living costs, which range from £4,418 to £7,751 per year. The average student will graduate £44,000 ($74,000) in debt.

The core difference between the British and American systems lies in the terms of repayment. American students typically have to start repaying 6 months after they graduate. Opportunities for loan forgiveness are extremely limited, and loans cannot be discharged via bankruptcy. By contrast, British students don’t have to start repaying until they are earning £21,000 ($36,000) per year. They must then pay 9 percent of their gross income as long as they stay above the threshold. Their outstanding balance is automatically forgiven 30 years after it became eligible for repayment. Also, the loans do not appear on their credit report. 

“The thing people worry about with debt is that they won’t be able to pay it back. The way this is structured means that is not a worry ever, and it doesn’t follow you around until your old age,” says Sam Bowman, Research Director at the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank. 

Bowman finds it helpful to understand loan repayment as a tax. “You can either think of it as a graduate tax or it’s the best debt in the world,” he says. “It makes sense to think of it as a graduate tax, a specific kind of tax on a specific action that is designed to offset the cost of that action.”

Uncharted waters for repayment

The first students to take on the new, larger type of loans have yet to graduate, so it is hard to estimate what repayment rates are likely to be. However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), an independent research center, is already projecting that 73 percent of students will not repay their loans in full. They believe the average amount written off will be around £30,000 ($50,500).

report released in July by a committee of the British parliament reached similar conclusions. “By providing favourable terms and conditions on student loans, the Government loses around 45p [cents] on every £1 it loans out.” When the new policies were first announced in 2010, the government projected it would only lose 28p per £1 loaned out. The report notes that government loans to students are expected to total £330 billion by 2044. “We are concerned that Government is rapidly approaching a tipping point for the financial viability of the student loans system,” says the report.

By and large, students still think of themselves as having “real debt” for their education. “One valid criticism of the loan system is that students don’t realize how generous it is,” says Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute. “Students think they’re paying for the entirety of their education when actually they’re not. Taxpayers are covering quite a lot of the cost.”

The IFS report notes that the lowest-earning 10 percent of graduates will only repay £3,879 (in 2014 prices). A survey earlier this year showed that 40 percent of graduates are still looking for a job 6 months after leaving university. If this trend continues, some graduates may never start earning £21,000.

A few savvy individuals are learning to work the system. British financial advisors encourage parents who could contribute to their child’s education to have their kid take out government loans instead. Martin Lewis, who runs the popular website moneysavingexpert.comwrites, “If a parent pays the £27,000 tuition fees upfront, and their child becomes a poet and never earns above £21,000, the whole £27,000 would have been wasted.”

The only people who can expect to repay their loans plus interest in full are the small group who take high-paying jobs soon after graduating and get regular pay increases for the next 30 years. These individuals are thinking hard about whether they need a degree. “The only income group that has gone to university less are the richest. That might be surprising, but what the debt does is it imposes some cost on people for going to university,” says Bowman. “So if they have other options, they take them. Maybe they could skip college and join their parent’s business or their parents can find them jobs.”

This is one immediate impact of the new loan scheme. There will undoubtedly be unintended consequences that may only become evident years or decades from now. For example, Britain may see an increase in the number of stay-at-home parents. Loan repayment is tied to an individual’s income. Spouse’s earnings are irrelevant. Child care is already very expensive. For some families, the extra 9 percent they would lose in loan repayments will be enough to push one parent out of paid employment.

Loans without borders

Loan repayments are collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the British equivalent of the IRS, via withholding from a person’s paycheck. This makes it fairly simple to collect money from anyone working for a British employer. Things become harder when a graduate leaves the country. 

“There is no way that the government can collect money from people who go abroad,” says Bowman. “There is a big incentive for them to stay away. Say you’re an English graduate and you go to America for a couple of years to work. If you have this debt waiting for you when you get home, there’s a big reason for you to stay abroad for as long as possible.”

The number of students who would actually permanently leave is probably very small. “It would be a much bigger problem than the student loan book if we were seeing Irish levels of emigration,” says Bowman. However, a determined few will be able to dodge repayment.

And then there’s the question of students who come to Britain from other European Union countries. Since 2006, EU law has required Britain to offer these students the same loan deals for tuition, though not for living costs. It is a tradition in British politics to blame problems that are largely homegrown on the widely-hated EU. As the issues with loan repayment have come to light, stories about EU students borrowing money and then “going to ground” have also been hitting the headlines.

This problem is still fairly small, since EU students have only been receiving loans since 2006. Hillman says that about half of EU students who study in Britain choose not to borrow or repay their loan in full before they leave the country. Many EU students enroll at British universities because they want to work in Britain later. Thus, they have a strong incentive to repay. However, data is now emerging that shows unpaid loans in the low millions. “The issue is less about what has happened to date but what might happen in the future because there aren’t many people yet who are liable to repay, but it’s growing all the time,” says Hillman. 

“If a French or Dutch person studies at a British university then goes home and gets a job, we can certainly chase them through the French or Dutch courts because they’ve signed a legal contract and they should repay,” Hillman says. “But the trouble is that it’s an incredibly expensive business. The person may owe £27,000, which is a lot of money, but chasing someone through the courts can easily cost that much.”

One way to address this problem would be an EU-wide agreement. “But there’s no real incentive for other European countries to do this because other European countries don’t use loans in the same way we do,” says Hillman. 

Relative improvement

Despite the problems, both Hillman and Bowman say the new system is an improvement over the way British higher education used to be funded. Tony Blair’s government only introduced tuition in 2004. “Before loans and fees came in, British taxpayers paid 100 percent of the cost of going to university. Now they don’t. But they still fund part of the loan cost,” says Hillman.

Bowman says it is important to remember the overall British context. “The alternative is not a kind of free market where you have everybody paying their own way and banks privately making loans to people. The alternative is going back to a situation where the government pays for everything, and that’s a disaster,” he says. “The political climate in the UK is very hostile to any kind of marketization of anything. That’s not going to change for a couple of years, at least until we’re growing rapidly, and we all feel rich and safe again.” 

Potential Solution

One interesting idea put forward by David Willetts, a Member of Parliament and former Minister of State for Universities, is to sell government student loans to universities, making them responsible for collecting repayment. This approach would address a problem that afflicts both American and British higher education: Universities collect tuition upfront and then have little incentive to ensure loans are repaid. 

Bowman supports the proposal. “Making universities responsible for whether people repay might make them more willing to turn people away if they’re not a great bet in terms of their future earning, and that might counteract some of the qualification inflation. Right now, you need a university degree for any job that isn’t blue collar manual labor.”

He believes Willetts’ idea is politically viable. “Britain has lots of middle-class people who think of themselves as being working-class. They feel like they’re fighting against the man when in reality they are the man. You could say to them that we don’t want people who haven’t gone to university picking up the bill in any way for people who have gone to university.” 

The only question is whether universities would go along with it. Right now, they have a very beneficial arrangement. 

Much will depend on how loan repayment rates develop in the next few years. Graduates will probably soon grasp that they have the best debt in the world. Maybe taxpayers will start to realize this debt isn’t such a good deal for them. 

ABOUT EMMA ELLIOTT FREIRE

Emma Elliott Freire is a freelance writer living in England. She has previously worked at the Mercatus Center, a multinational bank, and the European Parliament.

RELATED ARTICLE: Can You Pay Student Loans With a Credit Card?

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

British Member of Parliament: “NO JEWS” – ONLY HAMAS!”

George Galloway, UK Member of Parliament, bans Jews, Jewish goods, and Jewish tourists. Avid anti-Semite Galloway once banned from Canada and the US for raising funds for HAMAS calls for Hitler style cleansing methods and tactics in Bradford England.

Discover the Networks describes George Galloway thusly: Member of British Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2010; Admirer of Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin; Illegally received millions of dollars stolen from the United Nations Oil-For-Food Program, in exchange for his public denunciations of the UN sanctions against Iraq. Read more.

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The Death of Free Speech: British Citizen Arrested for quoting Churchill

Paul Weston, able leader of LibertyGB, whom we interviewed for the New English Review, epitomizes the Hyde Park corner free speech tradition that many in the UK and even here in the United States have taken as an article of faith. His arrest in Winchester for reading a quote about Islam by Sir Winston Churchill from the latter’s acclaimed The River War  wouldn’t have occurred here in the United States under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

However, in a UK obsessed with political correctness and tolerance of rejectionist Islamic representatives like Anjem Choudary and other Jihadists, revealing the truth about Islamic doctrine from an historical figure like Sir Winston Churchill is tantamount to sedition. We trust that our friend Paul Weston made bailment after his arrest and can bring a cause of action in the law courts for his wrongful arrest exercising his free speech. Onward Liberty GB!

This just in from Liberty GB:

Today Paul Weston, chairman of the party Liberty GB and candidate in the 22 May European Elections in the South East, has been arrested in Winchester.

Weston speech

Paul Weston speaking at Winchester Guildhall.

At around 2:00 pm Mr Weston was standing on the steps of Winchester Guildhall, addressing the passers-by in the street with a megaphone. He quoted the following excerpt about Islam from the book The River War by Winston Churchill:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”

Reportedly a woman came out of the Guildhall and asked Mr Weston if he had the authorisation to make this speech. When he answered that he didn’t, she told him “It’s disgusting!” and then called the police.

Six or seven officers arrived. They talked with the people standing nearby, asking questions about what had happened. The police had a long discussion with Mr Weston, lasting about 40 minutes.

At about 3:00 pm he was arrested. They searched him, put him in a police van and took him away.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.