As this year moves towards its end it is a sad fact to have to record that the most used word in the House of Commons during 2002 has been terrorism.

But it is surprising to me just how many people fail to recognise that terrorism thrives most commonly in democratic countries. The freedom fighter conducts his or her struggle against a real or perceived imperial master.

In a country ruled by a dictator, political opponents are simply removed without any legal niceties before they can do any damage. But a terrorist exists because democratic rule allows the extremist to live peacefully until after his deed has been done.

Frustrating though that frequently may be this must be the price that we shall have to continue to pay.

For without such freedoms there is only tyranny and dictatorship. All terrorists believe they are justified in the destruction of human life. So how is it we have created so many crazed fanatics in this world always with the belief that good is on their side? I fear that I don’t know the answer.

In listening to a recently released IRA convicted terrorist this year he made it clear that loss of innocent life was and still is “acceptable in the cause”. Somehow we are educating people in the United Kingdom to believe that such destructive thinking is tolerable in a democratic society. Well it isn’t.

I was brought up with loss of life being acceptable in the cause of freedom. My father was in the British Army and my mother had been a refugee from Silesia during Hitler’s time so I have always been aware that there are causes worth fighting for.

What must be done in the forthcoming year is that the right thinking world should continue to espouse ever more heartily the causes of democracy and freedom. All true democratic politicians have a duty to turn their backs on any sort of support for dictators and fanatics because no good will ever come of it.

Terrorism exists because of support, financial and otherwise. The world’s most powerful nation, the United States of America, after many mistaken years of its governments and some individuals backing absolute rulers and terrorist operations around the world, including here in the UK, has painfully learnt the lessons of its ways.

The long-term future is brighter than for some considerable time because I genuinely believe that this current explosion of terrorist activity will mark the start of many new opportunities for democracy, freedom and liberty around the world.

2003 may be tough but there is a sense that we in England will soon see a day when the letters IRA will be gone from our regular conversation and all round the globe there will be greater respect shown for the sanctity of human life.