There's one thing Sunak MUST confront if he wants any chance of winning this election - Bella Wallensteiner

There's one thing Sunak MUST confront if he wants any chance of winning this election - Bella Wallensteiner

Rishi Sunak should crack down on extremism in our country, says Bella Wallersteiner

Bella Wallersteiner

By Bella Wallersteiner

Published: 24/05/2024

- 13:37

"While his move has raised eyebrows, there's a pivotal strategy he must not overlook if he hopes to turn the tide"

Rishi Sunak is taking a calculated gamble by calling a snap general election amidst plummeting poll numbers and economic uncertainty. While his move has raised eyebrows, there's a pivotal strategy he must not overlook if he hopes to turn the tide: confronting extremism head-on.

With growing concerns over public safety and social cohesion, Sunak must prioritize a robust campaign against all forms of extremism, including Islamist extremism, to demonstrate his commitment to protecting British values and ensuring national security.

Sunak has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a former Prime Minister who masterfully navigated the political landscape: Tony Blair.

Blair’s 1997 campaign was a masterclass in addressing public concerns about law and order, and Sunak can capture a similar wave by taking a firm stance on extremism and crime.

The recent escalation of anti-Israel sentiments and the normalization of antisemitism on university campuses underscores the urgent need for decisive action.

Recent months have seen a troubling increase in extremist activities. From hate crimes to xenophobic rhetoric, radical Islamist influence is expanding. Sunak must unequivocally denounce these elements and propose robust policies to counteract their spread.

A cornerstone of Sunak’s strategy should be the full implementation of the Shawcross Review of the Prevent programme. Sir William Shawcross’s findings reveal critical gaps in our current approach to countering extremism. Despite government claims of progress, key recommendations remain unaddressed, leaving the public at risk. Sunak should pledge to adopt all of Shawcross’s recommendations, ensuring that Prevent is fully equipped to identify and neutralize extremist threats.

The recent surge in pro-Palestinian demonstrations, coupled with disturbing calls for violence and the destruction of Israel, has exposed significant vulnerabilities within our law enforcement and legal frameworks. Reports of law enforcement officials and public figures with extremist sympathies only highlight the urgent need for a comprehensive crackdown on extremism. Sunak’s campaign must unequivocally address these issues, pledging decisive action to restore public confidence in the government's ability to maintain law and order.

Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and Iran’s Islamic Republican Guards Corps must be proscribed. These organizations propagate dangerous ideologies and have no place in a tolerant, democratic society. Sunak must also pledge to crack down on preachers and public figures who incite violence and hatred. Immediate arrests, shutting down radical mosques, and deporting foreign extremists should be prioritized.

The Prime Minister should build on Michael Gove’s recent announcement of a more precise definition of extremism and the introduction of a blacklist to prevent public bodies from inadvertently supporting extremist organizations.

This move, while criticized by some, is a necessary step to ensure that those promoting harmful ideologies are not allowed to infiltrate public life.

A central plank of Sunak’s anti-extremism platform should be empowering law enforcement agencies with the tools and resources they need to effectively combat extremism.

This includes increased funding for counterterrorism efforts, enhanced training for police officers, and greater coordination between intelligence agencies.

By ensuring law enforcement is well-equipped to address the evolving threat landscape, Sunak can bolster public confidence in the government’s ability to keep them safe.

Sunak must also acknowledge and address the failures of past multicultural policies.

Integration should be a key focus, promoting a society where diverse communities can coexist without parallel lives that foster extremism.

This includes engaging with moderate Muslim communities to isolate extremists and support integration efforts as well as implementing educational programmes that promote British values and counter extremist narratives in schools and universities.

The findings of Lord Walney’s recent report on domestic extremism also highlights the need for a comprehensive and robust election strategy to combat far-left extremism.

Lord Walney’s investigation reveals a disturbing trend: far-left groups are increasingly undermining Britain’s democratic principles by refusing to comply with the law.

Organizations like Palestine Action are not only breaking the law but also using criminal tactics to force their agenda, bypassing democratic processes.

Sunak must emphasize the importance of addressing this underappreciated threat, ensuring that the rule of law is upheld across all political spectrums.

One of Walney’s key recommendations is the potential proscription of extremist groups that consistently engage in illegal activities.

Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action, with their history of disruptive and often criminal protests, should be high on this list.

By promising to take a hard stance against these organizations, Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to maintaining public order and protecting citizens from the chaos and disruption these groups cause.

Walney’s proposal that protest groups should compensate individuals and businesses affected by their actions is a common-sense approach that the Conservative Party should adopt.

The disruption caused by blocking ambulances, delaying business operations, and preventing students from attending lectures has real-world consequences.

Holding these groups financially accountable will deter unlawful protests and ensure that the costs of their actions are not borne by innocent citizens.

Sunak must also address the broader implications of unchecked extremism on public safety and democracy.

The regular pro-Palestinian demonstrations, marked by antisemitic chants, have made Jewish communities in London feel unsafe.

By pledging to ensure that police have the resources and authority to manage protests effectively, Sunak can restore confidence in law enforcement and demonstrate his commitment to protecting all citizens.

In his campaign, Sunak should deliver a clear and unified message: extremism in any form will not be tolerated. Tony Blair’s famous slogan, “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime,” resonated deeply with voters who were anxious about safety and security.

Blair's approach promised not just a crackdown on criminal activities but also a thorough addressing of the root causes of crime.

Rishi Sunak can adopt a similar dual approach, emphasizing a no-nonsense stance on extremism while also focusing on the underlying issues that foster radicalization.

Adopting a hardline stance on extremism and law and order will provide a clear and compelling dividing line between Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party and the Labour Party.

While Labour grapples with internal conflicts and mixed messages on security, Sunak can present a unified, resolute approach to safeguarding Britain.

Extremism, in all its forms, is a growing threat to the UK’s stability and cohesion. From Islamist extremism to far-right and far-left radicalism, the danger is real and immediate.

Sunak should promise a robust crackdown on extremist groups, ensuring they are dismantled and their influence curbed.

By drawing on Blair’s decisive law-and-order messaging, Sunak can reassure voters that he will not tolerate those who threaten Britain’s democratic values and that he is the right choice to lead Britain into a secure and prosperous future.

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