November 19: Paris, Jeremy Corbyn and the use of ‘lethal force’

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BRITAIN is fortunate, as the free world still comes to terms with the security ramifications of the Paris terror attacks, that this country still maintains control of its own borders and can monitor the movement of terrorists, criminals and others with questionable motives.

BRITAIN is fortunate, as the free world still comes to terms with the security ramifications of the Paris terror attacks, that this country still maintains control of its own borders and can monitor the movement of terrorists, criminals and others with questionable motives.

This country’s wise decision to opt out of the Schengen Agreement – the political settlement which allows the free movement of people across Europe – means that the UK has refused entry to 95,000 people, including 6,000 EU nationals, since 2010.

Britain is also fortunate to have a Prime Minister who respects the fact that the country he leads is a Parliamentary democracy. Unlike Tony Blair whose name will always be tainted by the decision-making prior to the Iraq war, it comforts many that the Government will only be able to deploy the Armed Forces on a significant scale in Syria, or elsewhere, with the consent of a majority of MPs. That David Cameron acknowledged the possibility of seeking the full backing of the UN Security Council prior to any military intervention was also significant – this is a global crisis that demands a global response.

Finally, Britain is also fortunate to have a Prime Minister who will back the police in the event of a terrorist outrage here. He told the Commons: “I hope there can be consensus across the House – I mean right across the House – on this. If we are confronted with a situation like this, the British police should not be in any doubt. If you have a terrorist who is threatening to kill people, you can – indeed, you must – use lethal force.”

If only the same could be said of Jeremy Corbyn. Not only has the irresponsible Leader of the Opposition become an embarrassment to his own party because of his rejection of “lethal force”, but he is in danger of becoming an even greater embarrassment to the country as well as a threat to Britain’s national security.

The first line of defence: PM must protect police numbers

THE poignancy was palpable as Bradford fell silent at 3.25pm yesterday – the chilling moment 10 years previously when Wpc Sharon Beshenivsky was murdered while responding to reports of a robbery. She will never be forgotten and this commemoration was a quiet reminder of the risks undertaken by the police every hour of every day – they remain the first line of defence when it comes to upholding the rule of law. The dangers are omnipresent.

It was an irony of timing that this dignified ceremony took place in the immediate aftermath of exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions in which David Cameron came under pressure from both Conservative and Labour politicians to ensure that next week’s Autumn Statement is not the precursor to another significant cut in police numbers.

Though Mr Cameron said that he cannot pre-judge the Chancellor’s spending plans, he can still influence the allocation of funds. It was ominous that the Tory leader dodged Jeremy Corbyn’s question when asked whether the 1,900 new security agents and increased measures on aviation security, measures announced this week in wake of the Paris terror atrocity, will come at the expense of day-to-day policing.

There should be no room for doubt – this should not be the time, despite the welcome fall in crime, to be scaling back officer numbers when their local knowledge, and community links, could be vital to identifying those tiny number of extremists who might seek to undermine the British way of life. Their diligence is just as critical as the onerous work of the intelligence agencies.

Jonah Lomu: The force of nature that changed rugby

“nineteen STONES on the hoof, he broke three England tackles. Jonah Lomu’s fourth try of this World Cup, and what a score it was.”

The poetic-like words of the late, great Bill McLaren, commentating on rugby union’s 1995 World Cup semi-final, remain some of the most pertinent when it comes to paying tribute to this freakish force of nature who has died at the tragically young age of 40.

This was a ‘man mountain’ who changed the dynamics of his sport – his rampaging runs from the wing left New Zealand’s opponents, England included, for dead and explain why rugby union has become so physically demanding.

His emergence also signalled the arrival of the professionalism.

A global superstar who required no introduction, the best tribute to Jonah Lomu is that one of the greatest ever rugby players was an even greater person off the pitch because of the selfless humility that he showed to others, and in spite of a debilitating kidney condition that would cut short his career and his life.