August 17: Identifying the young radicals

THe CHALLENGE confronting the police when it comes to tackling Islamist terrorism is akin to the chilling warning which the IRA issued to Margaret Thatcher in the aftermath of the 1984 Brighton bomb: “We only have to be lucky once – you will have to be lucky always.”

Yet , while the knee-jerk reaction of many is to blame the police for intelligence failings when the terrorists do strike, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge the number of atrocities that have been foiled because of the diligence of the security services.

This is borne out by today’s revelation that nearly 250 people from Yorkshire and the North East, including more than a dozen children under the age of 12, have been referred to the Government’s anti-radicalisation programme, Channel, in the past year because their extreme views were giving cause for concern. Though it is deeply disturbing that young children find themselves at the mercy of those preachers of hatred whose extreme views are a perversion of the Islamic faith, it also vindicates the approach being taken by Ministers and the police – these are people who will, hopefully, come to respect British values rather than following the example of brainwashed teenagers like Dewsbury’s Talha Asmal, who became Britain’s youngest ever suicide bomber when he reportedly blew himself up in Iraq.

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These findings are also another reminder that winning over hearts and minds in local communities is the key to fighting radicalisation.

However this is not just a job for the police – officers require the co-operation of all, not least those Muslim leaders previously ambivalent towards the current security threat.They, too, have a moral duty to help the police to prevent a repeat of the carnage witnessed on July 7, 2005, or truly shocking acts of violence like the beheading of Drummer Lee Rigby. They must not be allowed to shirk from this responsibility.

Can ‘Anyone But Corbyn’ win?

FIRST TONY Blair. Now Gordon Brown. It speaks volumes about the febrile state of the current Labour party that these two former premiers, one-time colleagues who became bitter rivals, are now united in their condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn – the anti-austerity left-winger now widely expected to succeed Ed Miliband.

Time will tell whether these interventions will have any impact – both men are much diminished individuals. Yet the latest converts to the ‘Anyone But Corbyn’ bandwagon, and the growing obsession over whether West Yorkshire MP Yvette Cooper, or shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, can secure enough votes to prevent Labour from stepping over the political abyss actually threatens to play into the hands of Mr Corbyn.

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Like it or not, Mr Corbyn has stuck to his long-held principles while his opponents have revealed a lack of conviction by appearing to change policy position depending on their audience. His cause is also helped by this undignified scrabbling for the scraps epitomised by the interventions over the weekend and Mr Burnham’s campaign speech debate – this sniping from the sidelines, and petty pointscoring behind the scenes, only makes it harder for a candidate to articulate a vision that not only challenges the leadership frontrunner but also broadens the party’s electoral appeal across the country.

Never before in Labour’s history have party activists faced such an invidious choice when it comes to the leadership – it is now clear that they have been left in the proverbial ‘no win’ situation.

Diabetes and the ticking timebomb

THE National Health Service cannot be faulted when it comes to the treatment of those people who are taken seriously ill with little or no warning. It really is the envy of the world in this regard. Yet, if the region’s hospitals are to meet the increased expectations of an ageing society, they need to introduce long-term remedies to their day-to-day management.

After all, the current culture of crisis management is coming at the expense of preventative healthcare that could, in fact, lessen the burden on the NHS in the future.

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Take diabetes, where the number of sufferers has increased by nearly 60 per cent in a decade. If more patients received the requisite care and advice from the outset, the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke or amputation in later life will reduce accordingly. As Diabetes UK makes clear today, this is a ticking timebomb waiting to explode. It is in the best interests of the NHS that it is dealt with at the earliest opportunity.