I’m not a big fan of acroynms but I heard a load on Tuesday at the Prevent 09 conference focused on PVE (Preventing Violent Extremism), a joined up government policy shared by the Home Office, DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government), DSCF (Schools, Children and Families) and FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office).
The big step change in policy announced was that PVE, which was basically been anti-terror initiatives to stop militant Muslims carrying out atrocities in a 7/7 vein, is now being broadened out so those within its remit potentially include far right activity too or, as it was put in the breakout session I was at, DE (domestic extremism) as well as AQ (Al Quaeda). This includes far left, UAF (Unite Against Fascism) and animal rights although the “threat level” seems to be defined as greatest with the AQ. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to get into a competition about all this but when did CPGB or SWSS ever kill anyone? Other groups are more active in peddling hate but don’t seem to be demonised in the press in the same way as Muslims (extremist or not) are. Interestingly Gerry Gable from Searchlight spoke about how the nailbomber Copeland was always talked about as a lone wolf whereas actually he had been a member of the BNP.
An interesting day all round. Quite unlike the average sociology conference, lots more people of BME (black and minority ethnic) origin than you see on the academic circuit and lots of people from the police, local and central government.
Faux pas of the day: the moment when someone from the podium in the plenary was getting animated about how we must stop another 7-11. I thought most people found convenience stores quite handy but there you go. Of course Asian corner-shop proprieters pioneered that concept before such establishments arrived in the UK from across the pond. Pictured are John Denham (DCLG) and Samira Ahmed (C4 News), neither of whom comitted this error.