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Where Next For The Pretend Strategy?

by Chauncey Tinker – 25 March 2017


Following this week’s attack in Westminster, the subject of extremism is back once again on the front pages.


Police and the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, have said the working assumption is that the attack is linked to Islamic terrorism.

Here is a headline from the Daily Express:

LONDON TERROR: MI5 DID know of terrorist! May confirms Islamic extremist was on watch list

From the BBC:

London attack: British-born attacker ‘known to MI5’


The purpose of the UK’s “Prevent” strategy is not to deal directly with these kinds of terrorist attacks. “Prevent” is only one “work stream” of four in the UK’s larger counter-terrorism strategy called “CONTEST“. “Prevent” is supposed to stop people from becoming “radicalized” in the first place, by challenging those promoting “extremist” ideologies, and intervening early to influence those at risk of becoming “radicalized” away from “extremist” ideas.


The Independent reported in November last year on “an extremist group with links to 140 Isis fighters active in UK”. Here the Independent show pictures of the group openly selling Korans in Oxford St., London. Quote from the article:

Members of an extremist group banned in Germany for inspiring more than 140 Isis fighters with its “violent” ideology are active in the UK and seeking to recruit followers in Britain’s largest cities, The Independent can reveal.

It seems quite extraordinary does it not that over a decade after the “Prevent” strategy was first introduced, things like this are still going on openly in a busy street in the heart of the capital. However, this is just the tip of a very large iceberg of course.

In an effort to reassure the Muslim population that the “Prevent” strategy was not exclusively targetting members of their faith, the authorities recently publicized their work to “de-radicalize” a 14-year old boy in Yorkshire (from an article in January this year):

How a white Yorkshire schoolboy with anti-Muslim views was lured away from far-right extremism

He was saying that Muslim women shouldn’t be allowed to wear the niqab and he had his head filled with nonsense that Muslims were trying to take over the country.

Nonsense perhaps that has also been expressed by Muslims as well, for example a Muslim caller on a BBC Asian Network program recently said:

sooner or later Islam is going to be taking over anyway.

(You can read more about this BBC radio program in my recent article here:

What Is The Right Punishment For The BBC?

I would also like to cast readers’ minds back to a speech given by the UK’s first Muslim government minister, Shahid Malik, where he expresses the view to a large Muslim audience that:

… At this rate the whole parliament will be Muslim.

He then adds (with a big smirk):

…but just to say, in case there are journalists here today, that is not my objective.

Has Mr. Malik been de-radicalized by the “Prevent” strategy yet, I wonder? During his time in government he held a number of posts including Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice. Surely the extremist view of a prominent politician (indistinguishable from that schoolboy’s view) is far more in danger of radicalizing impressionable youngsters than the rants of a lone schoolboy in a school playground?

During Mr. Malik’s time as “Cohesion Minister”, he was accused of “going soft on Muslim youths in the war against extremism”. According to an article in the Daily Express, Mr. Malik may in fact have been personally responsible for the original change in direction of the policy that led it to target this young schoolboy in Yorkshire. Strange then, that his own views are so very similar. They both seem to believe that Muslims are taking over the country.

Cohesion Minister Shahid Malik said the £45 million-a-year “Prevent” strategy would also work in deprived white areas rather than concentrating on Muslim youths.

Its also odd that this young boy was targetted by the Prevent strategy when many others including prominent politicians have expressed similar views about the more extreme forms of Islamic dress, for example from the Daily Telegraph:

MP calls for burkas to be banned in Britain

I wonder if Mr. Hollobone (Conservative MP for Kettering) is currently being “de-radicalized” by the “Prevent” strategy as well?

I would describe what is going on here as state bullying of a minor, nothing more dignified than that. The authorities imagine that by bullying the odd hapless schoolchild here and there they can hoodwink the UK public into thinking that they are getting tough on real extremism. By real extremism I mean direct and credible incitement to violence, not merely suggesting that the niqab should be banned, or simply projecting current population trends into the not so distant future. On other occasions UK politicians have been heard waxing lyrical about the terrible problem of bullying in schools. The hypocrisy of the UK’s current “leadership” is truly breathtaking to behold.


While we’re on the subject of schools I think we ought to take a look at how well the “Prevent duty” in schools is going. Here is an article from just last year (2016) from the Leicester Mercury:

Darul Uloom School ordered to shut for not preparing pupils for life in ‘modern British society’

Now at first glance that headline might make you think that this school is just a bit old-fashioned. However this school is just one in a network of schools that the authorities are trying to close. Here is an article from the Sun about the network:

“All-boys Islamic School is closed down for teaching ‘twisted’ ideology to its pupils who blamed GIRLS for poverty in Britain”


One – girls’ boarding school Jamia al-Hudaa in Nottingham – was ordered to close by Ofsted after books in the library were found to have been written by people banned from entering the UK.

Now, it takes quite a lot for the UK authorities to get around to banning Muslim extremists from entering the UK, as recent events have revealed, so we can expect that what was contained in these books was not a trivial matter. According to the Sun, for one thing:

Jamia al-Hudaa in Nottingham allegedly told pupils marital rape is acceptable

One former pupil who was expelled from the school hit the headlines when she went public about her experiences there. She has now very bravely declared herself to be an ex-Muslim. It can be very dangerous to be an ex-Muslim in the UK today. You can see her blog here:

Aliyah Saleem’s Blog

Finally in 2016 this school closed (although their website is still online (complete with a Donations tab)). This school is part of the same network as the school in Leicester that is still open.


What is the true scale of “extremism” in the UK today? Is it any less of a problem than it was when the “Prevent” strategy was first launched by the Labour government a decade ago? Have the (approx.) half a billion pounds that have been thrown at the “Prevent” strategy so far helped the problem in the slightest or perhaps even made it worse?

A small industry now appears to be springing up around this “Prevent” duty. Here is one company offering courses that apparently:

This Preventing Radicalisation and Extremism course gives you a clear and concise overview of the Prevent duty and the UK’s Counter-Terrorism legislation in a no-nonsense way.

“Preventing Radicalisation and Extremism Training”

Discounts are available for bulk orders apparently. I wonder who is funding these courses? Could it be this government program perhaps:

“SBRI funding competition brief: Project innovation fund for Prevent”

We have received a complaint from a concerned member of the public who asks whether any metrics are available to show us how well this use of taxpayers’ money is performing in the real world. Perhaps Channel 4 will oblige us and run another series of their excellent “Undercover Mosque” program that exposed the extremism present in mosques in the UK:

In this program, aired in 2008, many incitements to violence were recorded in the UK’s mosques. Both the Labour government in power at the time of this program’s first airing, and the Conservative government in power now, have promised to close extremist mosques, but a decade on not one single mosque has been closed. Perhaps they discovered the real scale of the problem of extremism in the UK today, and therefore fought shy of doing anything about it.


In the previous episodes I looked at the cost to the UK taxpayer, which has run into hundreds of millions of pounds. I looked at the lurch in an Orwellian direction since the Conservatives came to power, with promises to “stamp out extremism in ALL its forms”. I looked at the proposal for “Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders” which would give the UK government the power to silence anybody they liked for an indefinite period. These powers were proposed despite the fact the UK authorities already have powers to prosecute not only direct incitements to violence, but also communications that are deemed merely “grossly offensive”. Of course the real purpose of the “Prevent” strategy is not to do anything about extremism, the real purpose of this strategy is to make it LOOK as if the government is doing something about extremism.

I think the so-called “Prevent” strategy is not only a complete waste of taxpayer’s money, I think it is actually making the problems worse by “alienating just about everyone” as Douglas Murray put it. I also think that it is encouraging complacency about the growing problems in our society by encouraging the majority of people to think the government is doing something about the growing problems. If there are cracks in the walls of your house, covering them up with wallpaper will not stop your house from continuing to fall down. What you need to do is address the structural problems.

I predict the “Prevent” strategy will continue to have no overall positive effect whatever on the growing problem of “extremism” in the UK. I also predict that Theresa May will at some point attempt to revive her “Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders”. Despite the fact that the UK authorities already have powers to silence people, these orders are a very significant further step towards an Orwellian police state. I say so because the orders will enable the authorities to target individuals rather than particular views that individuals express. Once subjected to one of the orders, absolutely anything that person says publicly will be vetted by the police first.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below.

Previous episodes (in reverse chronological order):

Joint Select Committee Scathingly Dismisses Theresa May’s Counter Extremism Proposals

The Pretend Strategy – From Chamberlain to Cameron

Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders

The Pretend Strategy – A New Orwellian Direction

The Pretend Strategy – The Story So Far

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