What is wrong with UK universities?

Learning from our mistakes?

The alleged bomberThe alleged bomber
What is it about British universities? A steady stream of foreign students comes here to study and some become jihadists, are we shocked? Maybe we, the public were once but not anymore. Either the authorities who regulate this flow are stupid, or the universities are desperate for the money the students bring, so on it goes. Or then again perhaps these undergraduate terrorists are smarter than our authorities because there never seems to be a solution to this problem. No that's wrong, there is a solution, we stop issuing student visas the same way we send Christmas cards, the more the merrier; it simply does not work like that.

Melanie Phillips wrote Londonistan in 2006 in response to the suicide bombings carried out in London in 2005 by British Muslims. Trained as a journalist, Phillips found that under the noses of British intelligence, London became the European hub for the promotion, recruitment and financing of Islamist terror and extremism. The book made some waves alright but in reality did little more than to highlight the problem. For it would seem that, in the minds of those responsible for UK security, it was carry on as before, so not much has changed. Now Phillips was born into a Jewish family and writes without fear. So perhaps it was seen as reasonable, by some, to ignore her.

But then there is Professor Anthony Glees, he works at Brunel University's Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies and has been reporting his findings since 2005. He has said -

"People do not become terrorists at the flick of a switch. It's a process of brainwashing and it should be detectable."

He has also cited Yemen as one of the most fertile breeding grounds for al Qaeda in the Middle East,
a poor Muslim country that hosts many fanatics plus businesses that fund the global terror network.

Glees also suggested that even the latest technology cannot stop increasingly sophisticated terrorists from blowing up planes.

And yet all the UK seems to be doing is rushing pell-mell towards a gigantic high-technology based ID card and database system that costs a ridiculous amount of money and which will itself be a target for the terrorists rather than a solution to the problem. It also targets the entire population rather than being selective, we are not all terrorists!

The MSM has picked up on Prof Glees and his work, he is frequently quoted, a typical example from mid 2007 is HERE. But here we are at the end of 2009 and to the casual observer nothing has altered.

Writing in the Spectator HERE, Rod Liddle puts this sorry mess of Islamic terrorism into perspective with a keen sense of humour and observation -

the fabulously cretinous “Shoebomber”, Richard Reid, (not a UK graduate) who forgot to take a lighter with him and anyway couldn’t find his fuse. Or those doctors who spent year upon year planning to blow up Glasgow Airport but couldn’t even drive through the front doors. Or the other doctors who left a bomb in a car outside a nightclub in London but forgot to set it off.

The point being it is more the lacklustre performance of the terrorists rather than the ability of the security authorities that keeps the UK on an even keel.

And to ram this message home remember the actions of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick who was the country's most senior counter-terrorism officer but managed to show off highly sensitive material as he went about London as if it was a shopping list.

People with a grasp of history, especially residents of the USA, must wonder what is going on. In the 1930s and beyond UK universities were awash with Russian spies. It was if this was seen as normal behaviour, little was done to prevent these spy networks being established and operating.

Then there is the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. Not a terrorist cell I grant you but operating a scam of immense proportions and costs with impunity.

So that question again, what is it about British universities? Until there are answers perhaps we can expect fewer students from the USA to come to study in the UK. Would you send your child here to study?

See also Sir Andrew Green on the UK's visa system.