24 story tower fire in London

A disaster has been unfolding in London overnight (afternoon NZ time) with a 24 story block of flats engulfed in flames.

The Telegraph  Grenfell Tower fire: Huge blaze engulfs London flats with people feared trapped

Where was the fire?

It took place in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in Kensington, West London. The residential highrise was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 am, with London Fire Brigade saying it was called at 12.54 am.

What caused it?

The cause of the fire is unknown. London mayor Sadiq Khan has said the fire has been declared a “major incident”.

How many people have been injured?

The picture is still unclear. Thirty people have been taken to five hospitals, but many people are understood to be accounted for.

Police have since said a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries. It is still unclear whether everybody has been evacuated and there are fears that some people could be trapped.

From reports it looks likely there could be a number of casualties.

London fire commissioner Dany Cotton’s statement:

This is an unprecedented incident. In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never ever seen anything of this scale. Firefighters are working very hard at the moment.

This is a major fire that effected all floors of this 24 storey building from the second floor upwards. I have over 200 of my firefighters and officers attending this incident, with 40 fire engines and a range of specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue units. We declared this a major incident very early this morning … the first call coming in at 12.54. Our first fire engines were on the scene in under six minutes.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus and extended duration breathing apparatus have been working in extremely challenging and very difficult conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control.

London Ambulance Service have confirmed that 30 people have been taken to five hospitals.

I am very sad to confirm that there have been a number of fatalities. I cannot confirm the number at this time due to the size and complexity of this building. It would clearly be wrong for me to speculate further.

Equally the cause of this fire is not known at this stage.

We are working very closely with our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and the London Ambulance Service to bring this situation under control.

Further information will be made available shortly including advice for those concerned about those who are working here and people who live her.

Police name London terrorists

From Missy:

Police have named two of the three terrorists who were part of Saturday night’s attack, including one that is being reported as being the Ring Leader.

The Telegraph: Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane named as London Bridge terrorists – everything we know about them

The ringleader of the London Bridge terror attack who was photographed on the ground with canisters strapped to his body was today named by police as Khuram Butt

Butt, 27, of Barking, East London, is believed to have led the trio of terrorists who ploughed into pedestrians using a hired van, before stabbing revellers in pubs and bars on Saturday night.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said Butt was known to police and MI5 but said there had been no evidence of “attack planning” and he had been deemed as a ‘low priority.’

A second man Rachid Redouane, 30, also from Barking was named by police as one of the other two attackers.  Redouane was unknown to police.  The third man is not a UK citizen.

Today it emerged that Butt had appeared in the Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door, which warned of the rise of extreme Islam in London.

Khuram Butt is another one that was known to police and had been reported to police, however, police say that whilst he was known there was no evidence of attack planning.

There are a lot of people saying that it is a failure of security services and police, but I think this case shows the complexity and difficulty there is in dealing with extremism.

If someone is reported the police can only watch them unless there is evidence that they have done – or are planning – something illegal. We can’t go around arresting people for what they think or believe. A lot of people believe things that would be considered radical extremism of some form or another, we see it every day on blogs and twitter, but we can’t round them all up based on what they believe – and I wouldn’t want to live in a society that does.

This leads me to another problem with these people, they aren’t using large networks, there are often no signs, or indications, of attack planning – all they need is a knife and a vehicle. This creates challenges for the security services that they are obviously still working through on how to manage – with tragic consequences.

Behind all of this the Security Services and police are very much constrained to a degree by legislation, especially in the EU which is very pro privacy and balks at a lot of state surveillance, and has strong beliefs in Human Rights regardless. I am not saying this is right or wrong, just the way it is.

The UK have been hamstrung with regards to dealing with known hate preachers and members of ISIS through the European Human Rights legislation, and the ECJ. There have been a number that they have been trying to deport – including ring leaders of the Rochdale sex abuse ring – but these people appeal to the European Courts and have their case upheld, meaning the UK can’t do anything about it.

This is a point many apologists for Islamic Extremism either don’t understand – or don’t want to understand. It is our liberal views on the world, our importance on Human Rights and Privacy, and our laws on racism and discrimination that they use against us for their own benefit allowing themselves to stay in the country.

And this makes me very angry, because these are the same people that are today slamming the Government for police cuts and not doing enough to stop terrorism, when it is THEIR liberal beliefs and opposition to the measures the Government might want to bring in that has contributed to the situation as much.



Theresa May: ‘enough is enough’

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has given a speech after the London terror attacks.

Guardian: Theresa May says ‘enough is enough’ after seven killed in London Bridge attack

Theresa May has warned that there has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the UK and, promised to step up the fight against Islamist terrorism after the London Bridge attack, saying “enough is enough”.

The prime minister set out plans to crack down on extremism after chairing a meeting of the Cobra committee following the attack in the centre of the capital in which seven people were killed by three attackers.

In a sombre address outside 10 Downing Street, May said internet companies must not allow extremism a place to exist, but added that there was also a need to tackle “safe spaces in the real world”, which would require “difficult” conversations.

The prime minister also suggested the idea of increased prison terms for terrorism offences, even relatively minor ones.

Islamist militancy was the thread that linked the otherwise unconnected attacks in London Bridge, Westminster and Manchester, she said.

“It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth,” she said. “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 the recent spate of attacks showed the UK was “experiencing a new trend in the threat we face”.

“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 have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”

“So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.

“But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities but as one truly United Kingdom.”

But an election is imminent (May has confirmed it won’t be postponed) and opponents have criticised May’s speech.

The statement’s content has concerned senior Labour figures who believe it is a breach of a cross-party agreement to put aside political campaigning and is insensitive to people only just discovering that they have lost loved ones.

The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said May’s statement appeared to be a breach of an agreement with Labour to put aside political campaigning until Sunday night.

Thornberry told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend the statement was insensitive to the needs of those who were just becoming aware that their loved ones had died.

She said: “None of the things [May] is proposing in the four-point plan are immediate steps, and so I regret the timing of this. There is an agreement between the parties that there will not be party political campaigning until this evening or tomorrow.

“I think that [what May has said] is drawing us into a debate – I think there is time enough to discuss these issues. To come out on to the steps of 10 Downing Street immediately in the aftermath of a terrible outrage would not be something that would be expected.

“[May] has said ‘enough is enough’. Well I thought enough was enough after 9/11, I thought that enough was enough after 7/7. I didn’t think we should be taking any more of these attacks on our people, we all agree on that.

“We need to do more but we also need to be sensitive to the fact that there are people who are only just discovering that their loved ones have died.”

A very tense and difficult time in the UK.

Corbyn on London attacks

The BBC on Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the London terrorist attack.

‘They want our election to be halted’Commenting on his return to campaigning, Mr Corbyn said the election had now turned into more than a fight between the Tories and Labour, calling it a “struggle between terrorism and democracy itself”.

“The mass murderers who brought terror to our streets in London and Manchester want our election to be halted,” he said.

“They want democracy halted. They want their violence to overwhelm our right to vote in a fair and peaceful election and to go about our lives freely.

“That is why it would be completely wrong to postpone next Thursday’s vote, or to suspend our campaigning any longer.”

Corbyn: Police should ‘take whatever action is necessary’

Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour’s priority is public safety, pledging to “take whatever action is necessary and effective” to protect the UK.

He said he agreed with giving “full authority” to the police to use “whatever force is necessary to protect and save life, as they did last night [and] in Westminster in March”.

Mr Corbyn then reiterated his party’s manifesto pledge to recruit another 10,000 police officers.

And Corbyn has gone political on it too:

Can’t protect public ‘on the cheap’

In an attack on Theresa May, Mr Corbyn said “you cannot protect the public on the cheap” and called for the police and security services to “get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.”

“Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of crying wolf”, he added.

The election is in a few days time.

Trump in London attack controversy

Donald Trump has become embroiled in disputes and controversies after tweeting about the London terror attacks.

From the Telegraph

A spat has broken out between Donald Trump, the Mayor of London, and other politicians over tweets sent by Donald Trump.

Sadie Khan’s statement this morning said that the Terrorists would not win, and that Londoners would see an increased police presence and not to be alarmed by it.

Trump responded by saying ‘At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”‘.

Trump got the message from Khan wrong – he was saying not to be alarmed at the extra police presence, some of which would be armed.

BBC: Mayor Sadiq Khan dismisses Trump criticism

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has dismissed criticism from US President Donald Trump over his response to Saturday’s terror attack.

The attack in London Bridge and Borough Market killed seven and injured 48.

Mr Trump accused Mr Khan of downplaying the attack by telling Londoners there was “no reason to be alarmed”.

Mr Khan’s team said he had “more important things to do than respond to Mr Trump”, who had “deliberately” taken his remarks “out of context”.

“The Mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services and the government to co-ordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city,” Mr Khan’s spokesperson added.

On Saturday night, following the attack, Mr Trump tweeted a message of support to the UK, but also sparked controversy after he called for his travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries to be upheld by US courts.

On Sunday, he criticised Mr Khan, writing: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'”

His tweet angered many in the UK, who pointed out Mr Khan had been referring to increased police numbers on the streets.

During an interview earlier on Sunday, Mr Khan had said: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed.”

This has created controversy in the US:

Fox Insiders: CNN Host: Trump ‘A Piece of S–t’ for His Response to London Attack

The hosts of “Fox & Friends Weekend” blasted a CNN host for posting an expletive-laden tweet directed at President Trump, moments after the London terror attack unfolded.

Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American religious studies expert who hosts a Sunday program on the network, called Trump a “piece of [expletive]” for saying America must get “tough” on terror.”We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety,” Trump tweeted.

Aslan responded by calling Trump the obscenity, as well as an “embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency.”

Previously, Trump retweeted an alert from Matt Drudge’s “Drudge Report” which said there had been a terror attack on the London Bridge.

Fox News: Trump assails ‘political correctness’ in tweet on terror attacks

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” Trump tweeted first.

Trump also posted on Twitter about the attacks: “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!”

It’s ok for Trump to tweet things as he sees them but not others? Aslan was not being very politically correct.

CNN: Trump criticized for tweet about London Mayor after attack

Trump’s tweets have been heavily criticized by a number of British politicians, who are currently preparing for the country’s general election which is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Conservative politician Penny Mordaunt tweeted the transcript of Khan’s interview and said: “I’m standing with resilient London and him.”

Labour politician David Lammy said Trump’s tweet was “cheap, nasty and unbecoming of a national leader.”

Wes Streeting, another Labour politician, called for Trump’s state visit to Britain to be canceled.

Trump was also fiercely criticized by Brendon Cox, the husband of former British lawmaker Jo Cox, who was murdered by a right-wing fanatic in November 2016.

“You represent the worst of your country, @SadiqKhan represents some of the best of ours,” Cox wrote on Twitter.

Also from the US:

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he had also been troubled by Trump’s tweets.

“I believe in many ways the Muslim-American community is better integrated into our society. I think that’s always been our secret sauce here,” Warner said. “That’s why it troubles me so much to see the type of tweets the President has put out in the last 12 hours or so.”


London Bridge terrorist attack

BBC summarises yesterday’s terror attack in London:

  • Seven people have been killed in a terror attack near London Bridge. Police shot dead the three attackers
  • Ambulance service says 48 patients were taken to five hospitals; 21 are in a critical condition
  • Four police officers were injured, two seriously
  • Eight armed officers fired a total of 50 bullets at the three attackers
  • One member of the public suffered gunshot wounds and is receiving treatment in hospital
  • 12 people have been arrested during police raids in Barking, east London
  • It’s understood one of the attackers lived at the address in Barking; neighbours say he was married with two children
  • PM Theresa May condemns the “single evil ideology of Islamist extremism,” saying “enough is enough”
  • The general election will go ahead on 8 June
  • All major political parties suspend national campaigning, except UKIP

Updates from Missy:

* 12 people have been arrested in Barking, East London (Essex), this morning. Some of the residents at the apartment block where the raid took place claim that one of the terrorists lived in the block. Four women are believed to be amongst those arrested.


* A second address in Barking has also been raided.

* The first on duty police officer on the scene was from the British Transport Police, their job is primarily to deal with crime on public transport – railway mainly, they are not armed. The officer only had his baton, he confronted all three terrorists alone with his baton, he has been in the job for less than 2 years. He is seriously injured, but stable. He also managed to provide a statement last night despite his injuries, (the police referred to it as giving his account of events). *I say on duty as it is unclear if he was the first, or if an off duty was first, but he was the first on duty officer.

* An off duty police officer who was one of the first on scene was stabbed as he rugby tackled one of the terrorists. He is in critical condition after sustaining knife wounds.

I know many will say that these two men were doing their job, but lets think about this for a moment.

One, on duty – so yes it can be argued he was doing his job, but he ran in & took on three men with hunting knives (possibly machetes) who were also wearing what he would have believed was a suicide bomb vest, and he had a baton. Many of us would not do that.

The second, was off duty & essentially a member of the public, no weapons of any sort – not even a baton, ran towards a man with a hunting knife, and probably suicide bomb vest, and rugby tackled him.

It is hard to know exact numbers, but between these two – and the other police, a lot of lives would have been saved.

I remember being told once that bravery is ‘being scared, but still doing what you need to because you know and believe it is the right thing to do.’ On that definition the first responders last night are all incredibly brave people. I know I wouldn’t be able to do it.

* The police have confirmed this afternoon that a member of the public was shot and injured in the crossfire – this confirms the previous reports in the DM and the Sun. The Police apparently fired unprecedented number of rounds to stop the terrorists.

* Also, apparently it has been suggested that Trump might make a visit to London this week to show solidarity with the UK. Reportedly Fox News are saying it is the right thing to do and he can walk defiantly across London Bridge. Not sure that will work, the last time someone walked defiantly across a bridge was Phillip Schofield after the Westminster attack & he was mercilessly ridiculed for it. Also, with the election having Trump in country would be a massive distraction, and not what the country either needs – or would want.

Other detail from BBC:

12 arrested in Barking after van and knife attack

Twelve people have been arrested after the London terror attack which left seven people dead and 48 injured.

The arrests in Barking, east London, followed a raid at a flat belonging to one of the three attackers.

A van hit pedestrians on London Bridge at 21:58 BST on Saturday. Three men then got out and stabbed people in nearby Borough Market.

The attackers were shot dead by eight officers who fired 50 bullets. A member of the public was accidentally shot.

The member of the public remains in hospital in a non-critical condition, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said.

Thirty-six people are in hospital with a “range of injuries”, he said, and 21 are in a critical condition.

General election will go ahead on 8 June, says May

The prime minister has confirmed the general election will take place as planned on 8 June, despite another terrorist attack in London.

Speaking outside Downing Street, she said: “Violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process.”

Political campaigning would resume in full on Monday, she said, after most parties suspended national campaigns.

Muslim terrorists create a lot of tensions and problems for other Muslims in Britain.

Muslim Council’s new campaign to report terror

Harun Rashid, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), has expanded on his earlier condemnation of the attack.

He backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for change, echoing her remark that “enough is enough”.

“We are ready to have those difficult conversations, as equal citizens with an equal stake in this fight,” he said.

“I am pleased that the Prime Minister is speaking about conversation, it implies that we must listen to one another and work together to be part of a truly United Kingdom.”

He said the MCB would now launch a new campaign with mosques to report suspicious activity.

“We want to turn people’s minds away from this death cult,” he said.

Sweden drops charges against Assange

Sweden has dropped the charges against Julian Assange relating to allegations made seven years ago.

Stuff: Julian Assange all smiles after seven-year rape investigation is dropped

Sweden has dropped its investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who says he won’t forgive or forget the slandering of his name following an “important victory”.

The country’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Ny, made the announcement in Stockholm on Friday.

“Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

Ny said it was “not possible to take any further steps that would move the investigation forward”.

“All prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted,” she said. “It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.

“To continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange’s personal appearance in court. There is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation.”​

Assange, 45, who has been in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, where he was granted political asylum, tweeted a smiling image of himself after the news broke.

In February last year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said Assange was in effect being arbitrarily detained against international law.

He wasn’t detained, I thought he chose to live in the Ecudorian Embassy to avoid facing the investigation.

So that is now over for Assange, but it may not be the end of his problems.


​Swedish prosecutors interviewed Assange at the embassy last November and in mid-March received a full translation of the interview, which they have since been reviewing.

In May, Assange’s lawyers asked the Stockholm District Court to review the detention order and arrest warrant against him.

They argued that the US had expressed they were seeking his extradition to the US over alleged crimes relating to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents.

Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelson said Assange faced a “real risk” of extradition from Sweden. He argued his client’s remand status should be changed so he could leave the embassy to travel to Ecuador.

He is limited to where he can travel in the world to avoid the possibility of extradition proceedings.

However Assange is not likely to celebrate by immediately leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he would still be arrested.

In a tweet, Wikileaks said the “focus now moves to the UK”.

US attorney general Jeff Sessions has said arresting Assange was “a priority”, over alleged crimes relating to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service, which has been staking out the embassy for five years, said there was still an outstanding warrant for Assange’s arrest in the UK for skipping bail. Wikileaks claimed the UK would arrest Assange “regardless”.

He may not find it easy to get out of Britain.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange’s legal team, said their next step was to push for the US to “clarify” Assange’s legal status.

“Their prosecution has been going on since at least 2010, that’s a hell of a long time,” she said. “He has been deprived of the ability to defend himself.”

His lawyers would approach the Department of Justice in the US and request that they either confirm their decision to seek Assange’s extradition, or drop the case altogether, she said.

Assange argues that he and Wikileaks are protected under freedom of speech laws, so he has no case to answer in the US.

Asked if Assange would consider agreeing to extradition to fight the case conventionally in the US courts, Taylor said Assange had already indicated earlier this year that he would do so “if he could rely on standard due process protections and assert a public interest defence”

Assange’s lawyers will also call on the UK to drop the outstanding arrest warrant against him.

They have a potential legal avenue: to approach the courts arguing that the Swedish decision constitutes a significant change in circumstances that means the warrant should be reviewed.


Police: London attacker acted alone

BBC: London attacker Khalid Masood acted alone, say police

Westminster attacker Khalid Masood acted alone and there is no information to suggest further attacks are planned, Metropolitan Police have said.

Deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement: “We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this.”

More detail from the Guardian: Westminster attacker acted alone and motive may never be known, say police

In the most detailed breakdown yet of events on Westminster Bridge and parliament on Wednesday, police said that the entire attack, in which Masood had killed four people before being shot dead, lasted a mere 82 seconds.

After four days of intensive inquiries across England and Wales, involving hundreds of officers, the Metropolitan police said they had so far failed to establish the reason for the attack. It is continuing to look at whether Masood was prompted by online propaganda by Islamic State, which has claimed he was a “soldier”, or whether he had some other sense of grievance.

But deputy assistant Metropolitan police commissioner Neil Basu said: “We still believe that Masood acted alone on the day and there is no information or intelligence to suggest there are further attacks planned.”

The security services do not like the term “lone wolf”, feeling that it glamorises an attacker, and instead prefer “lone actor”. Although 11 people were arrested in the aftermath of the attack, eight have since been released, with no further action to be taken. A 58-year-old man remained in custody on Saturday and two more have been released on bail.

Police are investigating media reports that Masood checked his encrypted messaging service WhatsApp – or even sent a message – just before the attack, which hinted at others being involved. The police statement confirming that he was a lone actor does not appear to support suggestions that he had been in touch with an accomplice.

Basu, who is the senior national coordinator for UK counter-terrorism policing, said: “Even if he acted alone in the preparation, we need to establish with absolute clarity why he did these unspeakable acts to bring reassurance to Londoners, and to provide answers and closure for the families of those killed and the victims and survivors of this atrocity.

Unless they have left recordings and writings behind dead men tell no tales.

What to do about terrorism?

Terrorist attacks like yesterday’s vehicle and knife attack in London (in countries we have an affinity with, as opposed to the terrorist attacks in Nigeria) provoke understandable reactions around the world – fear, anger, sometimes hate. This is a primary aim of the attacks.

This is despite the relatively infinitesimal risk to any of us individually. We are at much greater risk of death by murder (about one a week in New Zealand), by vehicle (about one a day in New Zealand), by suicide (more than one a day). In an unknown number of cases vehicle deaths are suicides and sometimes suicide attacks.

One person’s terrorist can be another person’s ‘freedom fighter’ or allied military force. More innocent people are killed by drone attack than by the vehicle attacks that have occurred in Europe. This is a scattered asymmetric warfare.

It makes a difference if we have been where the attack has occurred. I haven’t been to London but I have been to a city in Germany that had an attack last year.

In most publicised terrorist attacks in the Western world the perpetrators turn out to be associated with Islam, and currently usually associated with ISIS.

The aim of ISIS and their followers is to spread fear as widely as possible, to create division and build hate between the Islam world and the Western world.

So far (fortunately) in New Zealand most of us have been only by perceptions, how we react feel about distant atrocities. We may fear being a victim, and we may fear what ISIS and others are trying to do in the world.

Some in New Zealand have more to contend with – they can become collateral victims.

Muslims in New Zealand must dread ISIS attacks, because it is common for people to blame not only the terrorists but also to blame all Muslims throughout the world, including New Zealand.

So New Zealand Muslims sometimes become the targets of abuse (which is contemptible), and must feel stares of unease in the streets and especially in buses and planes. This is unfortunate but it is a natural human instinct, no matter how unfounded the actual risk. And female Muslims in particular stand out by the way they dress (at least the ones that stand out do).

Not that long ago the UK had a reign of terror inflicted by close neighbours, the Irish. While they looked much the same as many others an Irish accent could cause unease.

Communists have been victimised not for being terrorists but for having a different political ideology – and perhaps for stirring up union unrest.

People of German and Japanese were ostracised and incarcerated during the Second World War.

Muslims (a very small minority of them) just happen to be the current perpetrators of terrorism.

We have to somehow deal with our feelings about terror attacks and our unease about risks to us here.

Blaming many for the actions of a few is common but doesn’t help. Driving division between all Muslims, stirring up hate and fear, this is what the terrorists are trying to achieve. They know it victimises many innocent people, that is part of their method.

We can and should condemn the sum who carry out and encourage terrorist acts.

But we have to understand smearing many innocent people is a reactive boost to what terrorists want – and it’s not fair on the targets of unfounded criticism.

If a black car crosses a white line and kills innocent travellers we don’t condemn all drivers of black cars, not all passengers in black vehicles.

If a P addict murders someone we don’t blame all pot smokers.

It makes no sense blaming a Muslim from Fiji for the actions of an Islamic terrorist from Pakistan or from Birmingham.

Terrorists aim to make many victims out of a single attack. We should resist adding to this by accusing innocent Muslims for something they have nothing to do with.

We have to hope our security and policing is vigilant and will prevent most if not all potential terrorists from attacking in New Zealand. We are lucky that the risks are relatively very small here.

We need to exercise tolerance and understanding as much as we can. We should avoid ostracising innocent people to avoid the risk of provoking one into a violent attack in reaction.

As in London we have to go about our lives as normally as possible – and allow all New Zealanders to do the same.

We have to be better than terrorists, much better, and avoid being drawn into playing their game for them. That’s our best way of winning against them.

English on the job

Bill English has emerged from the holiday period via  Media Statement (that isn’t obvious on his Parliamentary web page nor the National Party website).

He will be hitting 2017 with a significant international trip, a big outing for him early in his tenure as Prime Minister.

PM to travel to Brussels, London and Berlin

Prime Minister Bill English will travel to Brussels, London and Berlin next week to meet with leaders to discuss issues including trade and security.

“This is an opportunity to exchange views on a range of issues facing Europe and the world, and to reaffirm that New Zealand remains a committed friend and partner,” Mr English says.

“The focus of my trip will be to advance New Zealand business and trade opportunities in the region, including starting the negotiations on an FTA with the European Union this year.”

In Brussels, Mr English will meet with the three Presidents of the EU – European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz. He will also meet with Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel.

In London, Mr English will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“I will be interested to hear Prime Minister May’s views on Brexit and will take the opportunity to reaffirm New Zealand’s commitment to working towards a high quality trade deal when the UK is in a position to negotiate.”

In Berlin, Mr English will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

Mr English will also meet with a range of other government, business and academic leaders to hear their views on the political, economic and security situation in the region and about opportunities for New Zealand there.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Trade Minister Todd McClay in Brussels and Foreign Minister Murray McCully in London and Berlin.

Dr Mary English will also travel with the Prime Minister.

Mr English will leave New Zealand on 9 January and return on 18 January.

– Scoop