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Comments

Don Jameson

Well Matt, after the ministrations of MPAC to poor Inigo I'd suggest you draft a resignation letter now, and put the house on the market before they find your address.

Sound idea, which the CH voters will adore, but likely to vanish under a hail of predictable condemnation - "the British majority community are institutionally self-preservationist" etc.

Donal Blaney

Well done Matt Davis for not being cowed into submission by Anonmouse and his ilk after the recent furore. Prepare to be savaged, however, for being an Islamophobe...

In the meantime this may be of interest. A conservative band, The Right Brothers, wrote a song on the subject that has sold well in the United States:

http://audio.cdbaby.com/mp3lofi/r/i/rightbrothers2-03.mp3

Roy

This is clearly a rational policy, but a political hot potato.

sjm

Matt is correct, and as a possible riposte to the inevitable PC shrieking, try the following:

Someone is murdered, and several witnesses say the perpetrator is a middle-aged white man.

However, in the interests of not being thought racist, the police also pull in for questioning young Jamaican men and elderly Asian women.

Oh please, tell me that wouldn't happen.

Gildas

What are the subject lines to vote on this one?

Matt

I incline towards liking this, agreeing with the quote from Lord Stevens. But how difficult will it be for an Islamist terror group to find a zealous convert to radical Islam who looks like me (i.e. 6' 2" and white) and is willing to put on his Gieves and Hawkes and detonate his organic smoothie on a flight to JFK?

This policy will just define what terrorists need to do to avoid being detected.

Cllr John Gover

My colleague, indeed my deputy group leader, Matt Davis displays all the right instincts but like the rest of us cannot solve the one defect in profiling. The fact is that if it is known that travellers looking like Baron Stevens, Matt or me are subject to a lower level of security screening, that is what the terrorists will look like. Recognising the impact it is having world - wide, arranging that cannot be beyond the wit of Al-Queda

Ed

I agree that this would probably be the most effective approach. Some degree of compromise would almost certainly be needed, however, to make the pill easier for Muslims to swallow. How about checking all-male parties made up of men between 16-35? It would still mean a lot of fuss for many innocent travellers, but it would be a dramatic improvement on the current situation, would allow for the possibility of white converts staging attacks, and would protect our flank from charges of racism.

Cardinal Pirelli

I want a full security effort not a piece meal one, this is just cost cutting.

When I get on a plane I want to feel safe and terrorists aren't stupid, they'll just use our weakness on this to sneak through the security screening.

Alison Anne Smith

"As Conservatives we should be calling for the best possible use of resources allied to causing the minimum disruption to the maximum number of air travellers and that unquestionably must mean the introduction of passenger profiling."

This is a dispicablr and very dangerous policy suggestion. I thought unlike other Parties we are an all inclusive Party. This Policy would just give the opposition plenty of ammuniton to rubbish all our policies and candidates at elections. "All Tories are white racists and therefore should be arrested" would be an equally steriotypical generalisation.

Will_B

I agree with the policy. However it is not
enough. I would also suggest that if this policy gets past this stage that it should include a commitment to continue to check all other passengers as rigorously as before and to ask/make airlines record the religion of the passengers when booking and before boarding.

Peter Coe

Yes, this is a good, important and reasonable proposal. The one problem is of course this: it's not exactly going to be a mystery to the wider world what the "terrorist suspect profile" - in broad terms - is going to be, and who it isn't going to include.

That being the case, the terrorists are going to be amending their own recruiting profiles: especially targeting white converts.

And the more that happens, the less effective and more divisive profiling will be. However, we're in the world we're in, not the world we'd all like to live in, so lets get on with profiling and making us safer.

Denis Cooper

Do not ask "Is this racist?" When will you learn that if you play according to the rules defined by your opponents you will automatically be at a disadvantage?

Leave aside the official definition of a "racist incident", see eg:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/reports/rims00-01.html

"1.2 For the purposes of this report, the police and CPS have used the Macpherson definition of a racist incident, which states that:

‘a racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’. "

Did you know that according to one definition, only white people can be "racist"?

Similarly do not worry that this may be "discrimination", because it obviously is "discrimination" - a justifiable attempt to discriminate between those who are so unlikely to want to blow themselves and the other passengers to smithereens that the probability is vanishingly small, and those who are just very unlikely to want to do that where the probability is not so low that it can be disregarded.

Remember that "discrimination" is primarily a virtue (see dictionary definition), and only becomes a vice if it is "unfair", so simply try to treat each individual as fairly as possible according to our best traditions.

That applies in all cases, including the selection of candidates.

Al Gunn

I wonder if the fraud squad bothers looking for fraud offences much outside the "city", or if riot police are ready for hooliganism at crowded events like Last Night of the Proms rather than focussing on football grounds.

Businessism! Footballism!

On the other hand, the incentive for doing this is based purely on cost-cutting. An admirable aim perhaps but one that will actually decrease the level of security we have at our airports. Can't see that being an easy sell! If the policy is so that we can spare non-Muslims some hassle as they jet off somewhere nice...

The important point is not so much whether or not this is "racist". It strikes me as good practice rather and nothing else. That it would not be seen that way by sensitive, alienated, irrational and angry young Muslims makes the policy hugely dangerous and probably counter-productive in the real war against Islamic terrorists: getting British Muslims onside against them.

Therefore, not an idea I have much time for!

Richard

To make it less controversial, how about identifying those who definitely couldn't be terrorists e.g. little old ladies from Eastbourne and exclude them from the extra searches. This would just leave everyone else. I know there's not much difference but it may come across better politically to identify non-potential terrorists instead of identifying potential terrorists.

Richard

"This is a dispicablr and very dangerous policy suggestion"

A recent poll showed 55% backed passenger profiling. Are they despicable? No. You might argue that they are wrong, misguided etc but despicable is an emotive word that implies that the aforementioned 55% are somehow evil.

This isn't about racial discrimination but about basing profiling on past evidence. It is just unfortunate that the majority of terrorists have been Asian muslims. This cannot be ignored.

James Maskell

Anonmouse has suddenly quietened down. I think now things are dying down, Inigo will be allowed to just do his job, albeit with a stern warning about doing this in future. Im sure he's learnt a valuable lesson...dont crack jokes on the Net.

As for screening and profiling, Im not entirely following it. Oh well...To be honest if you are going to check Muslims you should check everyone to make sure a bomb isnt located in luggage that might look innoculous but actually have something far more dangerous in it, like a Dell laptop! (couldnt resist)

YorkshireLad

"To make it less controversial, how about identifying those who definitely couldn't be terrorists e.g. little old ladies from Eastbourne and exclude them from the extra searches. This would just leave everyone else. I know there's not much difference but it may come across better politically to identify non-potential terrorists instead of identifying potential terrorists"

That seems sensible enough Richard.

A

Yes - policy supported.

Alison Anne Smith

"It is just unfortunate that the majority of terrorists have been Asian muslims. This cannot be ignored."

Richard history would tell a different story, The Grand Hotel, Brighton for example ?

Eleanor McHugh

To be honest I don't think profiling would prove any better or worse than the current security arrangements, and based on its being a more efficient use of resources it is preferable to pervasive body searches or any of the other measures currently under consideration.

For profiling techniques to be politically acceptable they must be applied with sensitivity, which is not to say a lack of resolve, just a level of professionalism that seems to be lacking in current government thinking.

In recent years we have seen too many armed police deployed at airports etc. when there does not appear to be a threat of direct armed confrontation and this only helps to promote terrorist organisations as capable of confronting western states head-on.

Yet Another Anon

“Someone’s been bringing dead birds into the house and it seems unfair to only check the cat.”
In the case of terrorism, the terrorist is the cat, unlike a domestic household it is not neccessarily known who the terrorists are - a proportion of Muslim terrorists are converts, Richard Reid for example was Half Jamaican and Half English, there was the American found among the taleban who had decided to join, there was a 14 year old American who attempted to destroy an office block by flying a Microlight plane into them (only succeeded in killing himself), Patty Hearst who joined the Symbionese Liberation Army after they had kidnapped her, Yvonne Ridley converted to Islam after a spell in custody of the taleban and more recently had been urging Muslims not to co-operate with the Police, the people trying to carry out terrorist acts on 21/7 were East African - none of these people were from South or South West Asia or Africa so even if it was said simply that all people of colour would be checked then except for Richard Reid none of these people would have been checked and what then - seperate swimming pools, seperate parks, seperate beaches, whites only airplanes or buses - it will start getting a bit like the Deep South before the 1970's or South Africa during apartheid. Not only that but radicals following the ideology of the Wahabbi sect or Hezbollah and other Islamist groups are not the only threat, just recently there were fire bombing incidents in Eire by the INLA and there had been anti-terrorist operations against the INLA not so long previously based on intelligence, Extremist Animal Rights Activists are quite capable of blowing up an airplane - everyone has to be suspect and methods of surveillance and checking that encompass the whole population thus are neccessary; the 9/11 and 7/7 bombers wore baseball caps, trainers, sweatshirts, the 9/11 bombers went into casinos and gambled and both lots did things such as eating at McDonalds - a white woman in her 60's going on a SAGA Tour may be unlikely as a terrorist but if one is turned by Al Qaeda or a radical Muslim preacher then if there is selective checking only based on profiling then it's an ideal cover for a terrorist organisation and far more likely that she would succeed in blowing up the plane simply because of how little attention would be paid to her.

Paul Kennedy

But I thought that bombing was actually carried out by just one person, Patrick Magee, albeit that I accept he was part of an organisation.

Kevin Davis

I can see the sense but wasn't Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) a normal looking middle class student? One of those currently arrested in connection with the recent events is also purportedly the white, and english, son of a former Conservative agent! Would they have fitted the profiling we are talking about?

tory bunny

I think it is a decision best left up to the security services and not politicians. The profile should be a risk assessment taken by experts and not dictated by government.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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