Charging the pair with treason would be a wise way of sending two important messages at a time when this country has arguably become complacently tolerant of extremists in its midst.

First, we must punish Britons as Britons, and make no allowance for their being of foreign birth or descent. By not using the treason laws against Islamic extremists, we seem to be making a special case of them, and continuing, wrongly, to imagine they are foreigners.

The fact is that they have not committed a crime against a ‘foreign power’, as occasionally they might wish to believe. They have committed a crime against their own country, and against a state that in various ways protects and succours them…

Second, it is time the British state stopped cringing and started defending itself and its integrity as a democratic nation.

By not prosecuting for treason those who seek to overthrow it by anti-democratic and illegitimate means suggests that the authorities are ambivalent about whether Britain, and the British way of life and its values, survive at all.