To the brave people of Belgium: courage, first, and then solidarity. We salute you. This mad terror will pass if we all stay together and share our collective resources. Together we shall defeat this menace.
To those who think that Britain would be made safer by deserting our friends and drawing the blinds, I say think again. Think of the signal we are sending to the terrorists. What does it say about how easily Britain, which has stood shoulder to shoulder with Belgium through two World Wars, may be defeated?
And let no-one think that we could stop determined terrorists planting their bombs in London simply by not sharing our intelligence and taking away the right of certain folk to enter Britain. Those who come here by the front door, through our ports and airports, have to face, as we all do, the UK Border Agency. But what about the back door? The thousands of miles of unprotected coastline and the fields where a helicopter or light aircraft may land at will? We can only hinder the bombers not defend ourselves completely against them. That said, the more we hinder them the sooner they will give up as the third man in the Brussels airport attack appears to have given up.
Our solidarity with our European colleagues is already paying off. We have not won the war against Islamic fanaticism; we are not even close to having won that war but the fanatics are now on the back foot and not the front foot. Like the Maoist terrorism Europe faced in the 1970s, so Islamic terrorism is something of its time and if we show our determination this zeitgeist, too, will pass.
But this is a time for solidarity with Belgium and with Brussels, a city in which my own sister lives and works and where I once worked too. If these attacks serve any purpose at all it should be to bring us all closer. The terrorists would like to drive us apart. Nobody should let them. We will not defeat terror by running away like cowards and shutting ourselves away behind the door. That would be to give them the terrorists the very encouragement they seek.
A long time ago and on a much happier occasion I wrote these words to the European Anthem. I want to sing them now.
Liberty, compassion, justice
Citizens with common goals,
Challenges and sharèd duties
To befriend less happy souls.
Ours to build a new tomorrow
For our children great and small
To create a cherished freedom
Europe, you must hear our call.
After war her nations broken
Europe lay in misery,
Sole her spirit, weak and feeble,
Rose to forge new unity.
Now among her divers cultures
Europe’s spirit grows anew
Heritage and innovation
Draw us to the flag of blue.
Once again thanks to Peter Sain ley Berry for letting us use his post.