Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 26th October 2005.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Home Secretary 1:24 pm, 26th October 2005

With all due respect to my right hon. Friend, he is wrong. We have had that conversation privately and in the Select Committee that he chairs. I respect the motivation in Nicaragua—it also applies to other parts of the world—to which he refers, but I do not accept his point. To argue that what he described would in any way violate the terms of the Bill is to misread the measure.

The fight for democracy is at the core of the changes that have occurred. It is precisely because we have developed a highly successful model of integration, which enables people of all backgrounds and faiths to prosper and live together within the safeguard of common values, that our society has become an affront and a reproach to the ideologues who believe that only their way of living is right. We should make no mistake: the threat that we face is ideological. It is not driven by poverty, social exclusion or racial hatred.

Those who attacked London in July and those who have been engaged in or committed the long list of previous terrorist atrocities were not the poor and the dispossessed. They were, for the most part, well educated and prosperous. Terrorists in the UK have also been ethnically and nationally diverse. Ideas drive those people forward. To revert to the point that my right hon. Friend Mr. Denham correctly made, unlike the liberation movements of the post world war two era, they are not in pursuit of political ideas such as national independence from colonial rule, equality for all citizens without regard for race or creed or freedom of expression without totalitarian repression. Such ambitions are, at least in principle, negotiable and, in many cases, have been negotiated.

However, there can be no negotiation about the recreation of the caliphate in this country, the imposition of sharia law, the suppression of equality between the sexes or the ending of free speech. Those values are fundamental to our civilisation and are simply not up for negotiation. It is equally wrong to claim, as some do, that the motivation of al-Qaeda and its allies is some desire to seek justice in the middle east—the part of the world where progress has been most difficult to achieve in the past 30 years and where the litany of change that I read out has made so little headway. Al-Qaeda and its allies have no clear demands for the middle east. The only common thread in their approach is a violent and destructive opposition to democracy in any form. They find democracy in Palestine abhorrent and seek to destroy it.