YP Comment: Terror fight is the top priority. EU vote will not alter threat level

IT is important that the fight against international terrorism is not viewed solely through the prism over whether Britain is a member of the European Union '“ or not.

A plane takes off at Brussels Airport on Sunday nearly a fortnight after a terrorist attack.

Given that terrorists, and all those perpetuating unspeakable acts of evil, have no regard whatsoever for artificial boundaries, every country in Europe should be duty-bound to share intelligence on the travel arrangements of suspects.

The recent attacks in Brussels are a case in point. The British security services have been working to help their Belgian counterparts in their hour of need, and it is imperative that such co-operation does not cease if the UK votes to leave the EU on June 23.

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Irrespective of the outcome, the terrorist threat posed by Daesh, the so-called Islamic State, and others is not going to evaporate overnight if UK voters do back Brexit in sufficient numbers.

However it can be nullified, to a certain degree, by all governments working together to share intelligence in order to make it as difficult as possible for extremists to replicate the carnage that has been witnessed on the streets of so many European cities.

That said, it is also naive to assume that only “foreigners” are to blame for terrorist acts. This is wrong – this county, and this country, should not need reminding about the threat posed by home-grown radicals following the July 7 suicide bombings in London in 2005. More recently, there have been a number of instances of terrorist sympathisers from Yorkshire travelling to Syria and Iraq to support Daesh – or even commit jihad – in the most extreme cases.

Given this, Britain’s membership of the EU is, in many respects, of secondary importance to the need to protect Europe, and the rest of the world from those whose views, and actions, are incompatible with a civilised society. This is, after all, a global struggle.

Taxing times: Cameron family finances in spotlight

EVEN though there is no suggestion that David Cameron’s late father Ian breached any law with his financial arrangements, the disclosure that he invested his money with an offshore tax haven is particularly embarrassing to a Prime Minister who has promised action to tackle so-called “dirty money”.

As the identities of the beneficiaries emerge in documents obtained from a Panamanian law firm, it will intensify pressure on Mr Cameron to take decisive action when he hosts an anti-corruption summit in London. The problem, as governments around the world have discovered, is that the legislative process can’t keep up with the discovery, and exploitation, of new loopholes. This is not exclusive to Britain – this week’s revelations are, understandably, causing consternation to global leaders as they wait to discover whether they, or their donors, are embroiled in this scandal.

However three substantive points also need to be made. First, the individuals concerned should have nothing to fear from such scrutiny if their tax affairs are totally above board. Second, the UK Government cannot be expected to act alone on this issue – there does need to be an international consensus where possible. Third, it is precisely this type of revelations, and the belief that there is one set of rules for the wealthy and another for mere mortals, that has led to politics being brought into so much disrepute that so many voters are now prepared to think the unthinkable and embrace anti-establishment parties and candidates. In this regard, leaders like Mr Cameron cannot afford not to act. The million dollar question is how?

Technology catches up with time

EVEN if many parents won’t be shocked by the revelation that Yorkshire children know how to use an iPad before they can tell the time, technology’s takeover of contemporary society will leave aghast grandparents – and all those who believe that too much exposure to computers and television is harming the social skills, and personal development, of youngsters.

Yet, while computer skills are second nature to children, spare a thought for those young people whose family circumstances mean that they cannot afford the latest iPad. Stuck in a time-warp, how will they prosper in the 21st century digital economy if they haven’t got the technology, or parental support, which is critical to any education?

It goes further than this. This latest survey is another reminder that computers can’t do everything. They can’t teach youngsters how to write – and nothing beats parents spending quality time with their children, wherever possible, rather than simply leaving their kids to their own devices.