May's reaction to London Bridge attacks to boost Conservatives'chances in election, says academic

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-04 21:00:00|Editor: xuxin


British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech in response to the terror attacks on London Bridge and at Borough Market in London, Britain on June 4, 2017. (Xinhua/UK OUT)

LONDON, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Britain's governing Conservatives have increased their chances of success in Thursday's general elections following Prime Minister Theresa May's reaction on Sunday to the latest London terror attack, a leading academic told Xinhua Sunday.

Professor Anthony Glees, director at the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said May's tougher stand on terror following the London Bridge attack which killed seven and injured 48 was correct.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Glees said: "She is advocating the right policies, but 10 years too late. What she is proposing should have been done following the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005."

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, May warned there has been "far too much tolerance of extremism" in Britain.

She also said internet companies must not allow extremism a place to exist, and also put forward longer prison terms for terrorism offences, even relatively minor ones.

"We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change, and they need to change in four important ways," she said.

May described what happened as the result of an "ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth".

She added: "Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone. It is time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change."

May said Britain was "experiencing a new trend in the threat the country faces", adding: "As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.

"While we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online, we must not forget about the safe spaces that continue to exist in the real world. Yes, that means taking military action to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But it also means taking action here at home. While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is -- to be frank -- far too much tolerance of extremism in our country."

Prof Glees said "Strong actions are called for, and we have to show that Britain is not a soft touch," but adding that people in civil liberty groups as well as some members of the Conservative party will resist the tougher stand May is suggesting in the war on terrorism.

"I think this will be played out in the general election and it could increase Theresa May's chances in the election because she seemed to deliver a firm message to the people. The Conservatives are therefore likely to benefit as a result on Thursday. This is a national emergency and at such times people feel the need to rally around."

Glees said May's approach to tackling the way extremist propaganda was spread through the internet was the right approach, but doomed to failure.

"May is saying the right things, but the government is incapable of delivering tighter controls of repugnant and extreme views. This material is spread on sites not controlled by the UK, but mainly in the United States," said Glees

"The attacks in London and Manchester could well prove to be the last straw in testing the patience of the British people.

"It is for the government to act, and not people taking the law into their own hands," said the academic.

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