Boris Johnson, who yesterday confirmed his intention to become the MP for the safe Tory seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, wrote in his Daily Telegraph column on British-born jihadis:
We need to make it crystal clear that you will be arrested if you go out to Syria or Iraq without a good reason. At present the police are finding it very difficult to stop people from simply flying out via Germany, crossing the border, doing their ghastly jihadi tourism, and coming back. The police can and do interview the returnees, but it is hard to press charges without evidence. The law needs a swift and minor change so that there is a 'rebuttable presumption' that all those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities have done so for a terrorist purpose.
Writing in The Independent, political commentator Matthew Norman argues that this should be enough to convince even the most ardent supporter of the London mayor that he should never be entrusted with the leadership of the country, let alone the Conservative Party.
"For centuries all over this world, people fought and died for an equitable system of justice. Underpinning every other facet of that – 'the golden thread that runs through it' – is the absolute, inalienable right to be presumed innocent until proved otherwise. Remove that, and there is simply no justice at all. Remove it in the limited case of British Muslims who, for whatever reason, have visited war zones, and what you introduce – does this actually need spelling out? – is a form of apartheid.
"What Boris reminds us with his faux-naïf showboating is that the single most important quality in a political leader is neither talent, charm, drollery, charisma nor intellect. Always, but more than ever in such a wickedly fraught and volatile era, it is judgment. It is the ability to resist enormous pressure – the tabloid, phone-in and back-bench screeches to do something, do anything – when acting in the dark is far more perilous than doing nothing at all. It is the maturity, perspective and calmness of temperament that provide resistance to the temptation to offer easy answers for short-term approval. It is pretty much everything that Boris Johnson, in a few lines of a newspaper column, proved beyond any lingering doubt that he lacks."
Read the full article here.