Readers' letters - June 2

Radicalised in their own bedrooms

Friday, 2nd June 2017, 4:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:05 pm

In the aftermath of the horrendous events in Manchester, a number of issues are being debated. As someone who has taught counter terrorism here and in America, I would like to make two simple but important points.

Firstly, regarding police numbers. Doubling, even tripling, the number of police on the beat has great appeal, for counter-terrorism is first and foremost a police matter, aided by the armed services in various ways.

Unfortunately, massive research indicates that this will not prevent a suicide bomber who is intent on murder from carrying out his or her evil act.

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There is no means of stopping all those who do not value their own life let alone yours. An unpalatable fact but it has to be faced.

These people are fanatics. Normal rules do not apply. Hence, 9/11 and 7/11 and other heinous acts around the globe. I always used the analogy of Japanese Kamikaze pilots in 1944/5. Often under 22 years old, with no more than two weeks’ training, these young men had a drink, wrote a loving letter home, talked of being given a wonderful chance to serve their homeland, and then proceeded to dive to their death into an enemy ship. No talk would have ever deterred them. We know this because one pilot miraculously survived and volunteered that information.

Secondly, there is much misunderstanding about radicalisation. Yes, mosques and other Muslim establishments may well be involved but the simple fact is that today it is self-radicalisation in your bedroom that is the major means of becoming radicalised. Social media has provided all that is needed.

Colonel (retired)

Barry Clayton

via email


Corbyn’s no ‘Britain hater’

Am the only person bored by media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called links to the IRA?

Firstly, does it really matter that Corbyn pinned his colours to Irish independence or wanted a peace settlement in Northern Ireland that meant both sides shared power, not just one?

Time has confirmed that he was at least on the right side of history.

Corbyn’s meetings with Sinn Fein, ex-IRA members and former IRA convicts has been well documented by Britain’s press for years. It’s never been a secret.

Such meetings may not be liked by everybody, but at least they didn’t evade the issue, while arguably laying the groundworks for future formal negotiations.

Corbyn has always denounced terrorism, whoever commits it, and harping on about his ‘IRA-links’ is not only highly misleading, but becomes merely a cheap political shot aimed at somebody who seems to be gaining popularity day by day.

Corbyn’s consistent argument is that diplomacy must always be the first port of call in any conflict, particularly with UN involvement.

This is in agreement with international law.

Britain’s foreign policy in the Middle East has also been criticised by both academics and Britain’s own intelligence services, so it’s not rocket science to point out that something is failing.

Corbyn may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but to merely paint him as a ‘Britain hater’ or as a serial friend to terrorists is doing the man a serious and deliberate injustice.

Paul Dodenhoff

via email


We were PNE fans in photo

This picture features myself and three friends (LP Looking Back, May 30).

Edith Gradwell, on the far right, was not known to us.

She just happened to be passing by as the photo was being taken.

The four of us were pupils at the former Lark Hill Convent school.

The picture was not taken outside the Ribble Bus HQ on Manchester Road, but just off Tithebarn Street, where all the football buses were gathered.

I am on the far left, next to me is Ann Collinson, then Eileen Sharples, next Dorothy Robinson.

The poster, showing a drawing of Tom Finney, read “play up Sir Tom”. At the time I purchased a full-size replica of the photo from the Daily Post as it was then.

A few years later, when the football museum was in the planning, I offered this picture to the organisers and was very surprised to see it as a huge photo in the entrance to the museum and again in the promotion leaflet. I often wonder what happened to my original photo now that the museum has gone.

I am still very much alive and a season ticket holder at PNE.

Mavis Penswick

(nee Thompson)

via email


A good time had by all

Re: Today’s Looking Back photo showing a float from the Preston Guild of 1952.

As can be seen, this float depicted The Building of Cathedrals and was part of the contingent from St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Street, off New Hall Lane, Preston.

The display consisted of two monks working on building the cathedral and one senior monk supervising.

It’s no wonder cathedrals took a long time to build, we were only supplied with wooden mallets and chisels! By the time we had returned to the church, our chisels were curled at the ends!

I can’t recall the name of the gent who was supervising us, but the lad reclining at the back of the wagon was Roger Stewart, a friend of mine whose dad was manager of the Plaza Cinema on New Hall Lane. That’s me in the middle trying to look industrious and unembarrassed.

A wonderful experience. The sun shone, the route of the procession was crowded with good natured people, some of whom had put their chairs out at the crack of dawn, and a good time was had by all.

David Hilton



Warm-up bout for contenders

May the Maidenhead Mauler appears to have a glass jaw. She refuses to enter the ring in debate with the contender Corbyn. Her contention for calling the election was that a big win would help her to pack a bigger punch. Why not have a warm-up bout with him to demonstrate who best could outmanoeuvre the European heavy weights in the forthcoming Brexit tussle?

Denis Lee



Freudian slip in May’s speech?

Was that a Freudian slip when Mrs May asked viewers to vote for “me”? I guess a potential dictatorship will be avoided when folk look for her name on their voting papers, but whatever happened to the good old “vote for the Conservative Party”?

Dave Haskell via email