Sunday, May 18, 2008

Even When He's Right, He's Wrong

OK, I actually agree with Nick on the general thrust of this one. He's annoying and wrong on a number of points, however, starting with his opening one-sentence paragraph.

Those who think that England is a politically correct tyranny where bigots face interrogation by the cops for daring to speak their minds should look at what happened to Channel 4 when it tried to expose the bigotries of well-funded, Saudi-backed clerics working in Britain.

As the comments have pointed out, absolutely no one thinks this. Richard Littlejohn - for example - may think that 'England is a politically correct tyranny' but he's not worried about 'bigots'. At least, that's not his word.

Also annoying is the emotive tone.

Since 9/11, not only police officers, but New Labour ministers, the Home Office, Foreign Office and pseudo-left journalists and councils have sought to promote 'cohesion' by appeasing Islamist groups which aren't quite as extreme as al-Qaeda.

Ah, you say, so "pseudo-left journalists and councils" are guilty. The 'genuine left' ones have done something else. He's going to tell us about them isn't he? No, of course he's bloody not. Everyone is "pseudo-left" these days. He doesn't tell us anything about why these groups "aren't quite as extreme as al-Qaeda." One of the clerics he quotes, Ijaz Mian, said "King, Queen, House of Commons. If you accept it then you are a part of it. You don't accept it but you have to dismantle it. So you being a Muslim you have to fix a target, there will be no House of Commons." Which sounds as extreme as al-Qaeda to me. Mr Mian sounds unpleasant to me. But is he dangerous as well? Nick doesn't answer this. Suppose there is a group of Muslims who sound off in the privacy of their own homes about the awfulness of New Britain. I don't have a name, so I'll call them al-Fgarnett. Should the police intervene? The freedom of speech defender in me says "No" unequivocally. At least, I need to know more. The movie V for Vendetta ends with the House of Commons being blown up. Is this different from Mr Mian's speechifying?[1]

These people didn't interest the press while Abu Hamza as a cut-price Dr No leered out from the news pages. You didn't even have to read the text. Just the pictures of him waving his claws in the air told you he was set on Finsbury Park domination.

Nick's Irony detector, if ever worked, looks crocked now. Having mocked 'cohesion' he writes, "Earlier this year, the Centre for Social Cohesion issued a report on honour killings and beatings." So the 'Centre for Social Cohesion' is good, but anyone else who promotes 'cohesion' is bad and probably a pseudo-leftist.

But it's the missed goal that upsets me. (No, not the handball that denied Cardiff City the equalizer at Wembley. Don't go on about it.)

A worker in a women's group in the north, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, added she had been 'appalled' by an Asian 'chief inspector who had offered to help a family track a girl down'.

This, I think, is a story. Corruption, family intrique, perhaps murder. It's like Agatha Christie minus the giant wasps. In the days of Duncan Campbell, say, this would be the start of an investigation, not the unsubstantiated conclusion to a column.

As 'ellis' (I presume Ellis Sharp who used to have a decent blog up to the end of last year) notes in the comments, Nick lets the Saudi connection sneak away. The C4 Dispatches page doesn't mince words:

He captures chilling sermons in which Saudi-trained preachers proclaim the supremacy of Islam, preach hatred for non-Muslims and for Muslims who do not follow their extreme beliefs - and predict a coming jihad. "An army of Muslims will arise," announces one preacher. Another preacher said British Muslims must "dismantle" British democracy - they must "live like a state within a state" until they are "strong enough to take over."

The investigation reveals Saudi Arabian universities are recruiting young Western Muslims to train them in their extreme theology, then sending them back to the West to spread the word.

Saudi Arabia. Again. And we're selling them weapons. Again, a proper story. We don't get it.

[1] I believe it is. But Nick doesn't explain this. My point is saying something like "Politicians are all corrupt; democracy is a con; let's kill all the bastards" is not enough for a criminal conviction. There needs to be proof of intent, too.


Blogger ejh said...

Saudi Arabia. Again. And we're selling them weapons.

This point really can't be raised often enough. Whatever the errors and foolishnesses of some leftists over the years, I don't recall any of them actually selling weapons to a crazed religious dictatorship. We're not talking about support*, we're not talking about apologism, we're not talking about relativism, we're not talking about putting things in context - we're talking about actual, real-world, material selling them loads of weapons. Oh, and obstructing legal investigations into the deal and having the senior law officer in the land obstruct the law.

Yet somehow....well, you fill in the rest.

Incidentally, while I'm engaging in a little Monday morning whatabouttery - if you want incitement, it's really not hard to find any number of blogs and bulletin boards in which hatred of Muslims is incited on a regular basis. I've not seen any prosecutions of these people. I've not even seen any investigations of these people.

[* see recent Crooked Timber threads, if you've lost the will to live]

5/19/2008 07:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere in a book by Jon Snow he talks about visiting the front-lines on both sides in the Iran-Iraq war. On the Iranian side he found big guns and ammo boxes lined up in the desert as far as the eye could see. And were the labels in Chinese or Russian or French? Errrr: no! They were in English and had been sold to the Shah by the UK and the US. And then another regime came along, so the West had to support Iraq as a buffer against Iran. Then Iraq .....

Just a small change in the political landscape in Saudi Arabia (or Israel or Pakistan) and you have major problems.

Moussaka Man

5/19/2008 08:26:00 AM  

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