Letters: EU nations need to take back control of borders

The following letters appear in the 17 November edition of The Independent .

Independent Voices@IndyVoices
Monday 16 November 2015 18:26
Francois Hollande addresses a joint assembly at the Palace of Versailles
Francois Hollande addresses a joint assembly at the Palace of Versailles

One lesson from the Paris atrocities is the need for proper border and other immigration controls.

It is clear that for the foreseeable future the main European countries must reintroduce full border controls. In the current circumstances, the Schengen vision of a borderless Europe is not simply dead but deadly.

Another lesson is to remind us that the very first duty of the state is provide security for its people. That duty falls firmly on the individual European states and not on the Brussels bureaucracy, which is both legally and psychologically incapable of protecting us. A key part of that duty is to vet all people entering their territory to filter out those with hostile intent.

Furthermore, our own security in Europe will have to take priority in our dealings with the wave of migrants from the Middle East and Muslim Africa. Those who don’t share our values will have to be barred entry to Europe.

It follows from this that the Refugee Convention will have to be qualified, so that a state can refuse asylum to any person who does not share its values. It should be for each state to decide democratically what its values are.

Amongst our core values are: the broad equality of the sexes, public justice, toleration of homosexuals, democracy, freedom to change and reject religion, a spirit of inquiry and freedom of speech. All these stand at odds with the terrorists Salafi world view that has its roots in Saudi Arabia.

Talking about these vital issues is not going to help; immediate action is needed.

Otto Inglis


Now is not the time to contemplate leaving Europe, but instead we should all be giving it support after what has just happened in Paris. Along with our European friends, hopefully we have woken up to the fact that we are all being targeted and are still on Daesh’s list.

Sticking together as Europeans is the only way to defeat our adversaries.

Bob Harper

Anstruther, Fife

This weekend we were remembering the murder of more than 550 people killed in Coventry on 14 November 1940 by a fanatical European Government. Now we are mourning those killed in Paris by fanatics from another political group.

Peace eventually came to Europe in 1945 and resulted in unity in the EU. Long may it continue and we work together to overcome the present enemies who would do us harm.

Sally Clarke


For once, I feel proud that the MPs have done the right thing and stopped Cameron’s lunatic proposed Syrian adventure. Hopefully the Commons vote will influence other Nato countries not to intervene in Syria as well – who knows, if we are lucky, maybe even the US?

I spent many years working with the American military in Europe and I was constantly appalled that so many ordinstantly appalled that so many ordinary Americans believe, deep in their psyche, that there is no problem, however fluid and complex, which cannot be solved by the simple application of this gunslinger mentality, feature of American culture, is the fundamental cause of so many of the world’s problems.

Paula Jones

London SW20

Stand together with betrayed Muslims

Among the letters on the Paris Massacre (16 November) are one from Bashir Sacranie of South Africa and another from Abubakar N Kasim of Canada, both heartfelt in speaking for Muslims the world over in their condemnation of the atrocity and of the sense of loss and betrayal the act had inflicted on Muslims.

As we stand together in sorrow and shock with the mourning crowds in Paris let us also stand in solidarity with all Muslims in the world for the blasphemous act perpetrated in their name.

As we learn to keep a watchful eye in going about our daily business let us also make sure that we have a clear vision that distinguishes the evil few from the good majority who are also sinned against. Solidarity with our Muslim fellows is the profoundest way to ensure that evil and destruction do not take deeper root or spread more widely.

Rosa Wei-Ling Chang


One of the main reasons why we see extremist beliefs and behaviour in western society is the lack of integration in mainstream society of so many ethnic groups.

Our major cities are home to enclaves of one-dimensional ethnic, cultural and religious groups, where old men (and it is men) continue to live with the medieval mindset they brought with them from their tribal societies.

Repression of women, gays and basic human rights continues within these enclaves because there is no pressure on these insular communities to change their thinking and adapt to the new societies they have come to live in.

One of the aims of Isis is to foment religious war between the indiginous “Christian” populations and their Muslim co-citizens. If the “moderate” Muslims in western societies wish to avoid the carnage that such civil unrest would cause it is incumbent on them to reject the thinking of the “old men” within their communities and begin to build an Islamic faith that is modern and dynamic and which adapts to and incorporates the western cultural norms of freedom, democracy and human rights for all.

The non-Muslim population of western societies have bent over backwards, on the whole, to accommodate the religious and cultural needs of immigrants from Muslim, and other, countries. It is time they repaid that kindness with a demonstration of their desire to adapt to their new homelands.

Mike Jenkins

Bromley, Kent

Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, the Government, as a matter of urgency, should enact legislation, similar to that in France, making it illegal to wear a face covering in public, whether niqabs, burkas or masks.

The security services have an almost impossible task facing them. How can they possibly prevent such an outrage in Britain? Although we have extensive CCTV coverage of virtually every street corner, we allow people to walk around with their faces covered. This is clearly a handicap for the security services. The Government must act to support the security services and protect the public.

Mike Stroud


For weeks before the final defeat of Japan in the Second World War, Tokyo was carpet-bombed for weeks to a degree near-unimaginable. Part of the rationale for this was the psychological impact such carnage would have on Japanese soldiers occupying territory abroad who might feel there would not be a home to return to.

The result was morale so low within the Japanese rank-and-file as to effectively neuter patriotism, both civilian and military. With the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all resolve collapsed and surrender followed. Such is the effect of overwhelming violence that cannot be countered.

Nuclear bombs are hardly precision instruments, but their tactical deployment against Isis now would press a pause button to smash its existing structures. By wiping out entire strongholds, the west’s alliance against terrorism would buy time to game-out more long-term scenarios to finally eliminate this thing. However taboo-laden the mention of nuclear weapons is, the fact remains that we have hit a point where their use is not only justified, but our best frontline option. To squander that advantage is surrender in itself.

It seems that again we are forced to war, and war is not a business that rewards dithering, weakness or excessive considerations of morality disguised as strength. We either meet this challenge with all we have, or give in now. The ultimate goal of Isis is to snare the West into direct, full-scale conflict. We should open that dialogue by reminding them of the difference in capabilities.

Mike Galvin


To describe the atrocity in Paris as initiating a “war” is understandable as an emotional response, but is misleading as an analysis of where we now are.

Isis is certainly the enemy but it is also much more than that. It is an ideology, and as such is not susceptible to a military response, however “merciless”.

If eight jihadis can traumatise, however briefly, a city of eight million, one must assume that other groups of disaffected young people are already planning comparable outrages elsewhere with the methodical ruthlessness that we are learning to associate with Isis.

Until the west makes a determined effort to understand the mindset of such young people, who are the products of our society, brought up in our cities, talk of warfare will achieve nothing.

Christopher Martin


Adrienne Fitzwilliam (letter, 16 November) points out the futility of Trident as a deterrent in the only real conflict that we face; that of terrorism.

Far better to scrap it and spend a fraction of the resultant savings in recruiting more people and adequately resourcing them, in both the police and the army. That way, we will have enhanced border controls and more bodies within communities to police, patrol and protect.

Alan Gent

Cheadle, Cheshire

Amazing to see Yasmin Alibhai Brown (16 November) offering up liberties in exchange for a hope of security. Where is her proof that giving more surveillance powers to the security services will stop terrorist incidents?

“Give me your liberties and I will provide security,” has been the cry of dictators down the ages: today is no different; giving up such liberties means that the terrorists have won.

Paul Donovan

London, E11

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