I am getting decidedly fed up of the reporting of the immensely sad case of the three women and nine children from Bradford who disappeared into Turkey, and probably Syria on their way back from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. (I ought to emphasise that we should be doing all we can to get these children returned home.)
I keep seeing press and politicians saying ‘The police didn't do enough to prevent them,’ or ‘The government isn’t doing enough to prevent radicalisation.’ Last night on the news a reporter's main question to someone in Bradford was 'Are you angry with the police?' And a couple of days ago, Baroness Warsi was quoted as saying that the Government was failing to offer sufficient collaboration with Muslim communities in Britain to ensure it could combat the threat of radicalisation.
However, by the time the police need to act it’s too late - the mindset is in place. And should the government need to be thought police? Surely it’s time that a culture that makes a significant number of individuals think it’s okay to act this way undergoes major change? And that can’t come from the government, it has to come from within.
When I taught creativity in large companies, I would sometimes talk to the management and essentially say 'I can come and do the training if you like, but nothing will actually change unless the company culture changes - and that has to come from inside.' It's not enough to have tools and rules imposed from outside, you have to that cultural will to make something happen. And that can only happen if the people involved collectively commit to do so. It's exactly the same here.
We hear a lot, for instance, about the slick Internet videos of ISIS that convince people that places like Raqqa and Mosul are lovely peaceful cities where you can live a much better life than in the UK. Why would individuals believe iffy internet videos over the constant stream of horror images we see on the news, making it clear what IS has in store, particularly for women and children? Surely it can only be because, for whatever reason, these individuals have been brought up to consider anything framed as Islamic, however far it may be from the true religion, to have greater significance than information originating from civil society? That's not down to the police or the government.
There is a very clear lesson that time after time isn't being learned.