Sunday, December 02, 2007

Derek Pasquill

I came by Nick's latest by an unusual link. I'm a member of the Facebook group Drop The Derek Pasquill Prosecution whose founder, Martin Bright, sent an email which says "Nick Cohen's piece" [title] is "An excellent defence of Derek that sums up the issues in the case very well." I think Nick plays down the 'extraordinary rendition' part of the story; Martin Bright's summary on Facebook is better:

"Extraordinary rendition" (better described as state-sanctioned kidnapping) had become a matter of deep shame for the British government. After the NS reported that ministers knew such actions would be illegal, this indefensible policy of tacit support for the US was quietly dropped.

Martin Bright is also clearer on whom to blame:

As for the government's original approach to radical Islam, much of it was formulated under Jack Straw, first as home secretary and then as foreign secretary. He put the Muslim Council of Britain at the heart of consultation, almost to the exclusion of other, more moderate groups. This caused disquiet across Whitehall, as did Britain's policy of covert engagement with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

In the light of that, I don't know if "New Labour changed its mind" as Nicks says:

This is an official secrets case like no other because while he was wondering whether he would end up in jail, New Labour changed its mind. The leaks and protests from liberal-minded British Muslims persuaded Ruth Kelly, David Miliband and Jacqui Smith to stop engaging with Islamists.

I also can't tell who these 'Islamists' are: David Miliband appears to be negotiating with the Sudanese government.[2] This change of mind didn't stop Gordon Brown meeting the Saudi king. (I know, the Saudis and Sunnis and the Iranians are Shias - and Nick uses Islamist for both, despite their differences.)
Still, heart in the right place.

On an unrelated matter, I can't believe I'm alone in finding the following paragraph from the Mail on Sunday extraordinarily anti-Semitic.
"Whatever Jerome had said stopped David in his tracks. I can only assume it was a warning from the 'Jewish mafia' that if he had married me he would be shunned because I was a gentile and he was throwing everything away for me.

I wonder what Mail columnist Mad Mel will say? I've yet to see anything from the left as risible as the suggestion of a 'Jewish mafia' which kept out Gentiles. That's simply shameful.

[1] Other members include Nick Cohen, Harry Hatchet (of the eponymous Place), David T (of the same), Marko Attila Hoare, Toby Young (I assume the 'How to Lose Friends ...' one), Sam Leith of the Torygraph, and Yvonne Ridley of Respect. Really: her profile photo shows her dressed in a headscarf at a microphone.
[2] Sudan is unquestionably ruled by Islamists: the BBC profile says "Arabic is the official language and Islam is the religion of the state, but the country has a large non-Arabic speaking and non-Muslim population which has rejected attempts by the government in Khartoum to impose Islamic Sharia law on the country as a whole."

6 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

Cohen's anti-Communist tendencies are becoming alarming - it's all getting a bit Kamm. Surely it makes more sense to see Biedermann und die Brandstifter as a satire on the rise of Nazism, not Communism (which did come to power in parts of Germany, but not through middle-class complacency). And surely the lesson of the twentieth century, where Communism is concerned, is that the FCO was right - constructive engagement with people who pronounce abhorrent views, but also have countries to run and therefore need to get things done, works pretty well for all concerned. (Better than declaring war, anyway.)

12/02/2007 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Ah, the irony. Nick Cohen supports the deportation of suspects to dodgy regimes - whatever their fate.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1939959,00.html

"We have to deport terrorist suspects - whatever their fate"

He spoke approvingly of the French:

"The French, being French, don't have taboos. They just do what's in their national interest."

The Americans, of course, are merely acting in their national interest, or that's the justification. No taboos.

12/03/2007 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Sudan and Saudi are both "Islamist regimes" in the Nick Cohen sense, but try walking down the street in either of them wearing a Muslim Brotherhood t-shirt and see how long you keep your fingernails.

12/03/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Any definition of Islamism which goes beyond "bad Muslims who must be stopped" goes right over the Decents' heads, as proper analysis of its various currents and tendencies diverts us from the Greatest Intellectual Struggle Of Our Time.

Some Salafists are very anti-Islamist according to the proper definition of the term.

12/03/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

Having just read Ed Husain's "The Islamist" I now match Nick Cohen's wide-ranging knowledge of Islamism, which appears to be gained wholly from reading that book.

If I can go off topic on the subject of that book - I quite liked it, full of amusing stuff. Not really sure about Ed's value system though - even post-"personal enlightenment". Ed shied away from grassing-up a fellow Muslim for murder to the UK police in East London, but had no qualms about dobbing in a couple of Hizb-ut Tahrir guys for the heinous crime of political organising to the (famously torturing, murdering and assassinating) Syrian secret service in Damascus.

12/03/2007 09:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More on Derek Pasquill here.

5/10/2011 06:14:00 PM  

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