November 16: A test of the West’s resolve

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In the wake of the Paris atrocities, it is now time to take the fight to Islamists.

THE barbaric attacks on Paris could have taken place in any major city in Britain. Save for the vigilance of our security services they would have already done so in the decade since four young men from Yorkshire slaughtered 52 innocents in the heart of London.

Yet we cannot expect our luck to hold indefinitely.

In the hours after the death of 129 of its people, French president Francois Hollande declared that his country was now at war with Islamic fanatics.

It is time for every Western power to acknowledge the same truth, to set aside their differences and unite behind the eradication of this deranged death cult.

The Chamberlain-like appeasement advocated by Jeremy Corbyn cannot be countenanced. It would be morally indefensible to abandon vast swathes of the Middle East to a group that would take countries back to the dark ages and impose a brutal regime on their peoples. The answer is not to stop confronting the self-declared Islamic State but to redouble efforts to wipe the group and its poisonous ideology from the face of the Earth.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, there are issues that must now be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Reports that two of the gunmen entered Europe as refugees from Syria heightens concerns that the exodus from that country is being used as a Trojan Horse by Islamist terrorists.

The warnings from Britain and other nations that the European Union’s ideal of free movement across member states poses a clear danger in the post-IS landscape must finally be heeded – not least by German chancellor Angela Merkel. The Schengen agreement has ceased being merely problematic and has now become downright lethal.

As far as our own everyday lives are concerned we must not allow these fanatics to win by giving in to fear. Yet at the same time we must accept that our security forces need certain powers if they are to be expected to keep us safe. It is right that concerns over privacy surround the debate about the Government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, but if this is what is required to root out those cells plotting the cold-blooded murder of more civilians then increased scrutiny of our online activity and communications might be a price worth paying.

There is some small comfort from the sense that these attacks have strengthened the resolve of the French people to wage war on those who are now celebrating their murderous success.

It is to be hoped that they have the same effect on world leaders such as Vladimir Putin, encouraging him in the wake of the downing of an airliner carrying Russian holidaymakers to fully join the fight against IS.

Alternatively, David Cameron and others must consider if it is better to swallow the bitter pill of supporting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad if it at least allows for a more concerted confrontation of the threat posed by the group. Such conversations must now take place.

It is said that further air strikes and eventual war on the ground is exactly what IS wants in order to swell its ranks with new recruits.

Yet right-thinking Muslims – which describes the majority of those of that faith who call Britain their home – would not be persuaded to join the fight.

And surely it would be beneficial to flush out those who share such a warped world view, rather than have them living in our midst and striking at the heart of our society with savage and cowardly acts?

Convincing other Middle Eastern states to resume their membership of the coalition ranged against IS forces would also counter the lie that this constituted an attack on Islam from the “Crusader West”.

These latest attacks constitute a test of our resolve to fight and defeat evil. We have done so before and must now show we have the strength to do so again.

Dairy departures

Proof of need for clearer labelling

SHOULD there have been any doubts as to why The Yorkshire Post launched its Clearly British campaign calling for country of origin labelling laws to be extended to dairy products then they are silenced by the grim statistics laid bare in this newspaper today.

New figures reveal that North Yorkshire, the region’s dairy industry heartland, has seen 23 farmers leave the industry in the last 12 months alone.

It offers compelling proof of the urgent need for clear dairy labelling to help shoppers choose products made with British milk.

There is no question that the public want to support the region’s farmers and help ensure they receive a fairer deal from major retailers. However, their ability to do so is being hampered by a bewildering labelling system which still allows milk produced overseas to carry a UK logo simply because it has been processed here.

Two-thirds of Yorkshire’s dairy farmers have quit since 2000 and that trend looks set to continue. A simple rule change can avert this crisis – and The Yorkshire Post will continue to fight for it.