The Battle of Britain was a 1940 military air campaign of the Second World War in which the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) tried to bomb England into submission. Lasting months, the Royal Air Force eventually defeated the Germans, thus keeping the British in the war and preventing the collapse of the allied war effort.

Now, there is a new Battle of Britain. The nation has been under assault recently from terror attacks by Islamic jihadists. The most recent include attacks killing 7 and wounding 80 at Borough Market and London Bridge. At London Bridge, a vehicle rammed into pedestrians, with men emerging afterwards to stab more innocent victims. This new event comes hard on the heels of a suicide bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, where 23 adults were killed and more than 100 injured. (at the time of this writing, the attack at Finsbury Park had not yet occurred).

It’s clear that, in England, there are many places that are vulnerable to the nefarious actions of anti-Westerners, ranging from bombs to the beheading of a British soldier in the street. So vulnerable is the island nation, in fact, that it’s virtually certain that we can expect more incidents in the near future. As would-be terrorists witness the “success” of their comrades, they will use the recent attacks as a blueprint to create as many casualties as possible.

I have walked the streets of London where terror attacks have recently occurred. I’ve taken selfies near the very spot where people were run over on Westminster Bridge. I feel sorrow, of course, over the events that have occurred, but I also feel anger and outrage that a country that I admire so much is under siege.

The current Battle of Britain is being waged from within, with many jihadists living there legally as residents and even citizens. In a shocking declaration, intelligence officials stated that 23,000 Islamic extremists are currently in Britain, 3,000 of which are thought to pose an imminent threat. Such a number can only bode poorly for the safety and welfare of inhabitants of the island nation.

Like many nations in the Western world, the number of immigrants to Great Britain outnumber the native births in the country. According to Wikipedia, 70 per cent of the population increase in Great Britain is due to foreign-born immigration. Citizens and residents born abroad now comprise about 12 per cent of the population.

The grand majority of these people are glad to be in their adopted nation, but a radical few are causing the British public, including Muslim citizens, to wonder if there should be a change to a relatively liberal policy regarding who can enter the country.

This policy apparently includes allowing British nationals back into the country after training with ISIS in the Middle East. The British Home Secretary explained that decisions to welcome 350 jihadists back to Britain were made on a “case-by-case basis”. Although “temporary exclusion” orders allow the banning of British citizens from re-entering if they left to join terrorist groups, only one such order has been issued.

The Daily Telegraph reports that, after the 2015 Paris attacks, president François Hollande declared a state of emergency and vowed that France “will be merciless against the barbarians”. Security forces were instructed that French jihadists in Syria would not be allowed to return home. Period.

The British government under Prime Minister Theresa May, however, has been much weaker in its response to the Manchester bombing and other events. Appropriately sorrowful, there has been little of the anger that should be expressed in these circumstances. It seems that British politicians are more concerned about the rights of terrorists than teenage girls. Like many European nations, the government fears alienating their Muslim population, despite the fact that decent, law-abiding Muslim citizens are also at risk.

Altruism is one thing, but there must come a point where virtue takes a back seat to keeping your people alive. Prime Minister May, who is up for election in just a few days, should take a firm stand against the actions of radical jihadists in her country, and openly pledge to eliminate the extremists that have placed Great Britain under siege. This may anger the Left and others, but she must show firm and aggressive leadership in the face of terror if Britain is to survive.

To her credit, May addressed the nation the day after the attacks and finally showed some mettle. The Washington Post reports that she said there was “far too much tolerance for extremism in our country…Things need to change.” Her opponent, Jeremy Corbyn, however, could only muster the usual: “My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Thank you to the emergency services.”

Make no mistake, Mr. Corbyn and others, this is a war. The Battle of Britain may be lost if politicians and citizens do not rise up to meet the enemy. Winston Churchill once said of another, equally terrible foe: “…we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”.

Churchill’s statement is a far cry from the attitude of many Britons today. The question that must be asked: Is there still a will to fight on the part of good British nationals, both native and foreign-born? If not, the Battle of Britain will be another in a  long string of Western defeats.

Joe Alton