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After the Norwegian massacre Cameron faces calls to monitor and curb extremist "right-wing" groups

By Tim Montgomerie
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David Cameron will today chair a regular session of the National Security Council and the Norwegian massacre will be on the agenda. The Times (£) reports that campaigners are hoping that the Coalition will put more resources into tackling "right-wing movements." Deborah Haynes writes:

"At present, right-wing groups are not deemed a sufficient problem to be dealt with by MI5, which is focused on Islamic terrorism and a resurgent threat in Northern Ireland. White, right-wing thought advocating violence against other ethnic groups is left to the police. The Government’s updated counter-terrorism strategy released last month, Prevent, has been criticised for giving the far Right insufficient attention."

Matthew Goodwin of the University of Nottingham agrees. Writing in The Times (£) (and also The Guardian) this academic expert in Britain's extreme nationalist groups (as I prefer to label them) sees signs of disillusionment in democratic politics. With extremists losing faith in politicians such as Nick Griffin there is a danger they'll resort to violence:

"The electoral rise of far right parties across Europe in recent years has been much noticed. But the far right is also shifting toward a more confrontational, violent strategy. Many militants have concluded that the far right politicians sitting in parliaments across Europe have failed to stop immigration, and that the ballot box cannot stem the growth of Muslim communities. For angry white men such as Breivik, only violence is left."

Boris Johnson offers the National Security Council a different point of view. In his regular Telegraph column he notes an acquaintance of Anders Breivik saying that he started to become chippy and irritable after he lost a girlfriend in favour of a man of Pakistani origin. The Mayor of London minimises the importance of the ideology that killers such as Breivik embrace and concludes:

"He killed in the name of Christianity – and yet of course we don’t blame Christians or “Christendom”. Nor, by the same token, should we blame “Islam” for all acts of terror committed by young Muslim males. Sometimes there come along pathetic young men who have a sense of powerlessness and rejection, and take a terrible revenge on the world. Sometimes there are people who feel so weak that they need to kill in order to feel strong. They don’t need an ideology to behave as they do. Michael Ryan had no ideology in Hungerford; Thomas Hamilton had no ideology in Dunblane. To try to advance any other explanation for their actions – to try to advance complicated “social” factors, or to examine the impact of multiculturalism in Scandinavia – is simply to play their self-important game. Anders Breivik may have constructed a portentous 1,500 page manifesto, but like so many others of his type he was essentially a narcissist and egomaniac who could not cope with being snubbed."

William Hague, on BBC1 yesterday, focused on practicalities. He pointed to the need to keep firearms legislation updated and on "controls on material needed to manufacture a bomb.”

> Related reading: Blood and Honour: Britain's Far-Right Militants


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