Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Nuts and May
Boris Johnson, clearly seeing on what ground the next Conservative leadership is to be fought, is trying to outdo Theresa May in the demonisation of young adventurers. (Perhaps the majority of those leaving for the Middle East are Muslim and intent on fighting against Bashar al-Assad, but it should not be assumed that all are in both categories. Some are known to have gone out of humanitarian motives, for instance.) He writes that "The law needs a swift and minor change so that there is a 'rebuttable presumption' that all those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities have done so for a terrorist purpose."
Matthew Norman has already roundly mocked the idea, but it occurs to me that if Johnson's concept had been in force at the time of the Spanish Civil War, the cream of transatlantic intelligentsia would be either made stateless or locked up for the duration. That would include not only the likes of George Orwell, Laurie Lee and the TGWU's (and Pensioners Alliance's) Jack Jones but also those few who supported the anti-Republican Government side, such as Roy Campbell, who I would have thought a BoJo soulmate.