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  • Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan review


    by Sunny
    13th September, 2006 at 11:12 am    

    londonistanMelanie Phillips’ latest book, Londonistan, has had many adjectives attached to it including groundbreaking, compelling, hysterical and even mad.

    To that I would add my own: outdated. Quite simply, her book should have been published a few years ago to make more sense.

    On account of the terrible atrocities in July last year and subsequent events, Britain’s chattering classes have only one topic in their minds: terrorism. So it is difficult to take seriously Ms Phillips’ suggestion that the political elite is still not taking terrorism seriously or pandering to Islamist groups.

    But she says more than that. Londonistan is essentially a tirade against the state of British society today. Terrorism is a symptom of a broader general malaise in her opinion, signified by the fact that the intelligentsia, media, politicians and other arms of the state have a deeper “cultural pathology”. She calls Londonistan, which was originally coined by French intelligence agents, a state of mind.

    Or to put it another way, the book combines Phillips’ two biggest pet hates, Islamists and the supposed moral and cultural decay of Britain to illustrate how the latter has been allowed to grow because of the former.

    Does her thesis hold any water? To be fair some parts are not wildly off the mark but in its entirety the book stretches its credibility to breaking point because of its insistence in putting together all of the author’s pet hates into one grand narrative.

    Phillips is right in saying that British intelligence and police authorities turned a blind eye to the growing number of Islamists in Britain for too long. This has been widely documented elsewhere including in a detailed insight on Abu Hamza’s life by The Times reporter Sean O’Neill.

    This has been attributed to various factors: an implicit ‘covenant of security’ where militants promised not to attack Britain in return for refuge; authorities turning a blind eye and other individual circumstances.

    And this is also why I call Londonistan outdated. The British government has gone from ignoring Islamist fanatics to constantly referring to the threat from terrorism, and passing a whole series of laws that curtail civil liberties in the name of dealing with potential terrorists. Rather than downplaying the threat from Islamists, New Labour is in danger of overplaying it.

    Phillips is also much less clear on what this has to do with multiculturalism or minority rights. Mainstream Muslim groups had shunned these individuals before they became the source of her ire, but were frustrated by the unwillingness of the law to intervene.

    This was mostly because these Islamists were very careful to stay within the law. For example, Phillips says Hamza had amassed “a huge arsenal of weapons” in his mosque. Except these “weapons” consisted of blank firing guns, hunting knives and an old chemical suit. Hardly sufficient for widespread destruction.

    With Phillips, as it has with other commentators on the right, multiculturalism has become a vague political football devoid of meaning. On page 28 she states : “Britain… has effectively allowed itself to be taken hostage by militant gays, feminists or ‘antiracists’ who used weapons such as public vilification, moral blackmail and threats to peoples’ livelihoods to force the majority to give in to their demands. And these demands were identical to those made by the Islamists…”

    Putting aside the incredible claim that we are held hostage by militant gays or feminists, the question arises - what might these demands be exactly? The book is a bit fuzzy on that. But Phillips is insistent that Britain is “paralysed by multiculturalism and minority rights” which “leads people to say you can’t question a minority or a religion.”

    But she does not explain how multiculturalism is any different to allowing minority groups the same civil liberties that the majority white population enjoys. While she extols the virtues of British culture - it’s commitment to freedom of expression and history of democratic engagement - at the same time she wants to deny those rights to minority ethnic groups.

    Coming from a member of the Jewish community, which itself has taken advantage of Britain’s open society to preserve its heritage and culture, this is highly contradictory.

    Similarly, she says America is the last bastion of the free world with its rejection of multiculturalism. But she neatly neglects to mention it was not only the first to lead the way towards minority rights, but has also embraced affirmative action, diversity training and the creation of powerful organisations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

    And here lies a problem with the central premise of the book: Phillips does not adequately explain why affording equal rights to minority religious, ethnic or sexual orientation groups is a bad idea. Her diatribes against multiculturalism only preach to the converted.

    While she is also right in saying the problem now lies in dealing with extremist British-born Muslims, rather than foreign elements, she fails to acknowledge how this has been exacerbated due to a variety of factors including educational under-achievement, Islamophobia since 9/11, British foreign policy, apathy towards the democratic process and a general feeling of alienation from mainstream British society.

    As a means of understanding the challenges Britain faces, and thus dealing with them, the book fails on too many levels to be taken seriously.

    —————-
    An edited version of this review is published in the new Fabian Review, out now.


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    1. DesiPundit » Archives » Londonistan

      [...] Sunny is not impressed by Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan. [...]




    1. bananabrain — on 13th September, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

      my problem with melanie phillips is similar to the problem i have with irshad manji; the idiots who read these books and then take them as support for a one-sided point of view lacking in nuance. both of them are excellent in terms of criticism and pose some very difficult and important questions, but they are extraordinarily inadequate once you get to the question “so what is to be done?” MP isn’t actually suggesting any solutions that i’m aware of, she’s just pointing out problems - rather like any journalist, i would say. i’ve not read “londonistan” (actually, i’d quite like to) but so far from the conversations i’ve had with the people that have it hasn’t changed any minds - rather, it’s reinforced people’s bunker mentalities on both sides. i had a conversation yesterday with a close friend who’s just been reading it and frankly he was a lot more angry afterwards than he was before. maybe that’s a good thing but i doubt it. it just made him more aware of how much shit he gets in his everyday life just for being identifiable as a jew - the vast majority of this being from muslims. i must say it doesn’t jibe with my experience, but then again i’m not identifiable as a jew from my clothes the way he is - i could be from anywhere; in france i was more likely to get beaten up for being an arab, which i’m not.

      my jury’s still out on multiculturalism. i don’t really know what i think. on one hand amir’s analysis of “cultural marxism” rings true. on another the victim politics of “community representatives” (including my own at times ) gets up my nose. i guess what i think is that multiculturalism would be fine if everyone involved actually played fair. the moment one group starts using the argument of cultural exceptionalism to cover up something that clearly isn’t acceptable (like trying to limit free speech in the case of the cartoons, jerry springer, or behzti), or intimidating other groups, it ruins it for everyone. i don’t think christians should be embarrassed by christmas or change its name to “winterval”. i don’t think i should be afraid to look like a jew in the street. i don’t think anyone should be harassed for “travelling while asian”. but nor do i think that religion can be restricted to one’s private life any more than ethnicity or skin colour can be. i would say the answer has to be that on some level british society has to decide what it stands for. personally, i think free speech must be at the top of the list and i must regretfully include holocaust denial in that, just as i must include the right to argue that the earth is flat or the queen is a space lizard. we can circumscribe behaviour and action, but not ideas.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    2. Kismet Hardy — on 13th September, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

      “America is the last bastion of the free world with its rejection of multiculturalism”

      Can someone kindly un-confuse me.

      I thought America was filled with people from different countries doing their own thing?!

    3. soru — on 13th September, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

      Discussions about multiculturalism always come to resemble a discussion between two people using a six-syllable word neither of them knows the meaning of, but one thinks it is ´strict vegetarian´ and the other ´someone who eats vegetables sometimes´.

    4. Kismet Hardy — on 13th September, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

      Oh. So if I want to become a multiculturalist I musn’t eat brocolli?

      I see

    5. soru — on 13th September, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

      Whether you eat brocolli or not is up to you, just don´t use a large sprig of it to beat to death any policemen.

    6. Kismet Hardy — on 13th September, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

      I no understand so me make up bad joke

      I wanted to join several clubs that follow the teachings of Charles Manson, David Koresh, Adolfo Constanzo, Ervil LeBaron and Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda

      It was going well until they realised I wasn’t interested in just one of these leaders but all of them. This, they said, was an act of a voyeur rather than a believer. So they rejected me on the grounds that I’m a multi-cult-tourist

    7. Kismet Hardy — on 13th September, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

      Yet again I appear to have cleared the room :(

    8. Sid — on 13th September, 2006 at 2:05 pm  

      So unfortunate for anti-Multiculturalists that their camp is brim full of bigots and homophobes like Mel P and Amir.

    9. Kismet Hardy — on 13th September, 2006 at 2:13 pm  

      It’s bizarre lumping gay people with hardcore muslim extremists, unless there’s a book out there I don’t know about called the Holy Queeran

    10. Joey Staples — on 13th September, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

      So unfortunate for anti-Multiculturalists that their camp is brim full of bigots and homophobes like Mel P and Amir

      As opposed to the pro-multicultural camp which is brim full of bigots, homophobes and conspiracy theorising lunatics like….well, just name your Muslim ‘leader’

    11. nyrone — on 13th September, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

      Kismet, read life of pi recently?

    12. Amir — on 13th September, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

      Sunny,

      (I) ‘Quite simply, her book should have been published a few years ago to make more sense.’

      Okay. I see. We should chastise her for writing in 2005 as opposed to 1995? Well, let me tell you this, if AJP Taylor, Martin Van Creveld, Russell Kirk, Jurgen Habermas etc. were required to pass your litmus test (of ‘fashionableness’) then we would be without The Theory of Communicative Action, The Transformation of War, The Origins of the Second World War, and The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Elliot.

      (II) ‘While she extols the virtues of British culture - it’s commitment to freedom of expression and history of democratic engagement - at the same time she wants to deny those rights to minority ethnic groups.’

      No she doesn’t…? What nonsense. This is an outrageous accusation. It’s friggin libellous. Melanie Philips has expressed NO desire whatsoever to withhold or withdraw rights from anyone. I urge you to stop making these flippant accusations against MP unless you can support it with citation. Which you evidently can’t. MP, like me, is a British nationalist. How, or in what sense, does this interfere with a person’s liberty? It doesn’t. You, like many other liberals, assume that the state must be impartial between cultural/religious groups. But why is this required by liberalism? The state could still be tolerant (that is, grant everyone the same package of rights and freedoms) while helping, at the same time, to cultivate a particular cultural/religious/linguistic way of life.

      Multiculturalists wrongly assume that you are treated ‘unfairly’ or ‘disrespectfully’ if the state promotes cultural views other than your own. But why should this be so? To insist on cultural integration is the exact opposite of racism… For if we have a desirable culture – in which liberty of expression, the rule of law, private life and property, policing by consent, religious tolerance, habeas corpus, voluntary charity, public health and many other virtues that have flourished – we should surely want to keep it? For if we have a happier, more fortuitous way of life than others, it is not because of our skin colour, but because of centuries of history during which that way-of-life was created: in conflict, debate, good fortune and experience, through faith, literature, philosophy, justice and personal courage. Immigrants arriving here surely have a duty to become part of the culture that they have chosen to enter?

      (III) ‘Her diatribes against multiculturalism only preach to the converted.’

      True.

      (IV) ‘…this has been exacerbated due to a variety of factors including educational under-achievement, Islamophobia since 9/11’

      England – for all its faults (and there are many) – is a beacon of pluralism and tolerance and liberty. The same cannot be said, however, for large chunks of the Arab world, the Caucasus, North Africa, and South East Asia. When it has been in unchallenged power, Islam has treated members of rival faiths as third-class citizens, forced to pay heavy taxes, made to dress in distinctive and often humiliating ways, and stripped of legal protection. Today, one only has to look at the persecution of Egyptian Copts, Yemenite Jews, Algerian Berbers, Turkish Armenians, Ahwazi Arabs, and Pakistani Christians (many of whom are sold into slavery).

      You might say the same about Christianity and Christendom, but it is a very long time since any serious Christian figure has preached violence against Judaism – or Islam for that matter (notwithstanding the occasionally outburst from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson). Yet I have seen contemporary videos of Moslem clerics (‘mainstream’ clerics) fulminating against Jews, and newspapers in Moslem countries often containing blood libels of a kind that would horrify public opinion here. What is more, the increasingly isolated Arab Christians have been quietly leaving the Middle East in their thousands during recent years, largely because of subtle persecution by a newly confident Islam, which it is dangerous – and even fatal – to resist.

      (V) ‘As a means of understanding the challenges Britain faces, and thus dealing with them, the book fails on too many levels to be taken seriously.’

      Dissent from the mainstream is always controversial and usually met with hostility and suspicion. Hence the misrepresentation and name-calling against which Melanie Philips must constantly have to defend herself.

      Amir

    13. bananabrain — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

      sid - whatever her faults, i don’t think melanie phillips deserves to be called a bigot. the same certainly goes for amir. that’s called an ad hominem argument and it is the first resort of people who can’t think of a decent rebuttal.

      It’s bizarre lumping gay people with hardcore muslim extremists, unless there’s a book out there I don’t know about called the Holy Queeran
      kismet, it must be the book ken livingstone uses, otherwise he would have trouble reconciling his stance on homophobia with his stance on yusuf al-qaradawi, who thinks gays should be thrown off cliffs.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    14. Amir — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

      Sid,

      ‘So unfortunate for anti-Multiculturalists that their camp is brim full of bigots and homophobes like Mel P and Amir.’

      Bigot? Homophobe? Shame on you.

      The ludicrous smearing of cultural conservatives as ‘bigots’ and ‘homophobes’ by so many on the left is not just nasty but also nonsensical, ignorant gibberish. Ad hominem insults are the tools of a defeated debater.

      You of all people should know better. I have experienced so much of this sort of puerile abuse that I am almost immune to its personally offensive aspect.

      Amir

    15. Sunny — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:16 pm  

      I urge you to stop making these flippant accusations against MP unless you can support it with citation.

      to which I cite MP: “Britain… has effectively allowed itself to be taken hostage by militant gays, feminists or ‘antiracists’ who used weapons such as public vilification, moral blackmail and threats to peoples’ livelihoods to force the majority to give in to their demands.”

      Apparently the majority is being forced to give in to the demands of militant gays, feminists and anti-racists. And I’m the one making flippant accusations? Does it hurt to have your idol made fun of? Poor baby.

      You, like many other liberals, assume that the state must be impartial between cultural/religious groups.

      I believe the state should play as little a part as possible in interfering in how people live their lives, as long as they don’t break the laws.

      England – for all its faults (and there are many) – is a beacon of pluralism and tolerance and liberty.

      India has been more plural and much less imperialist than England for centuries.

      notwithstanding the occasionally outburst from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson

      Because they are such marginal figures! Like the neo-cons who believe that Christianity should be spread in the Middle East, or Ann Coulter who believes Arabs should be bombs and forcibly converted to Christianity. Yes, such marginalised people.

      Dissent from the mainstream is always controversial and usually

      Haha! The funniest and most pathetic line of attack. Given this woman writes for the Daily Mail constantly and has promoted this book in all the national papers calling her views a dissent from the mainstream is laughable. And a sad attempt at making out she is a victim.

    16. soru — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:31 pm  

      ´your litmus test (of ‘fashionableness’) ´

      We would also have lost that classic work, _Hitlerofascism_, published in 1944, containing a chilling warning of the dangers of the rise of men in black leather with silly moustaches, with 300 pages of pleas that something must be done about him, and complaints that everyone is completely ignoring the situation.

    17. Sid — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

      arré Amir, keep yer hair on and your inner primadonna in check. Mel P is a homophobe and a mad loon at that. I added you as a afterthought fully knowing that you suckle at her breasts and of the milk of her human bigotry. Although you’re probably not a gandoo-basher.

    18. Jagdeep — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:38 pm  

      Fight your corner Amir!

      =====

      Whenever I read MP she comes across a little like those really conservative Muslim commentators though who rail against how we’re going to hell in a promiscuous drunken single-parent hand cart, doesnt she? I mean I’m not comparing her to those exremists, no way, but it’s funny how she has alot in common with those old farts in the Muslim community (and probably the Sikh and Hindu and Jewish too if they ever got on TV) who hate the modern world and scream if they see a gay. So she probably has alot in common with them.

      But seriously though, she seems to make some good points, but then ruins it by exaggeration and overstatement, which if unfortunate.

    19. g — on 13th September, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

      she uses anti-racists, as if it is a insult to be called anti racist. and why exactly is she different to muslim conservatives? they both advocate the same things, its just they direct their bile towards differing sections of the community. I’d like her and the MCB chairman to get together, they’re a match made in nutter heaven

    20. Parma Violets — on 13th September, 2006 at 6:12 pm  

      Jagdeep sums it up for me. I’m still waiting for Phillips to write a hard-hitting expose on a shadowy cabal of extremists operating openly in the heart of London and driven by a fanatical hatred of modernity, which they see as godless and corrupt. I’m talking, of course, about the offices of the Daily Mail. When will the authorities step in and do something about their ‘stockpiling’ of dreadful articles by Max Hastings, intended for use against the general population?

    21. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th September, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

      Amir, I stand 100% behind what you have written in this thread.

      TFI

    22. Anas — on 13th September, 2006 at 7:09 pm  

      MP is worse than a bigot as evidenced by her performance on Question Time when she defended the Israeli action in Lebanon.

    23. Kulvinder — on 13th September, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

      Okay. I see. We should chastise her for writing in 2005 as opposed to 1995? Well, let me tell you this, if AJP Taylor, Martin Van Creveld, Russell Kirk, Jurgen Habermas etc. were required to pass your litmus test (of ‘fashionableness’)

      If her ideas are dated, yes!?

      The state could still be tolerant (that is, grant everyone the same package of rights and freedoms) while helping, at the same time, to cultivate a particular cultural/religious/linguistic way of life.

      Yeah but thats statism by another name. Im unsure how exactly you’re seperating this out in your head, if the state wants to ‘cultivate something’ it changes the law. Its an oxymoron to say everyone should have the same rights and freedoms but the state should ‘cultivate a particular way of life’. Can’t say im unhappy that british nationalism has degraded to giving everyone equal rights but then standing on the corner and wagging your finger.

      When it has been in unchallenged power, Islam has treated members of rival faiths as third-class citizens, forced to pay heavy taxes, made to dress in distinctive and often humiliating ways, and stripped of legal protection

      There hasn’t ever been a philosophy or ideology that acted well with unchalllenged power. Unchallenged islam/nationalism/communism/anarcho-syndicalism is a bad thing…yeah and?

    24. अमेय Virkant — on 13th September, 2006 at 7:35 pm  

      ‘So unfortunate for anti-Multiculturalists that their camp is brim full of bigots and homophobes like Mel P and Amir.’

      .Homophobes!!! the most desperate insult in the lefty lexicon… MP is a traditionalist and i see nothing wrong with her anti-Gay rights activists stance.

      For all your courting of Gay rights Sid. If your children were to turn homosexual (my-atheistic-God forbid), what would you do…

      a.) Show the understanding bullcrap.

      b.) Take your family to Bangladesh on the next Biman flight!

      I’ve a hunch it will be (b) …

      P.S On side note, i’ve turned 17! its 00:00 IST!

    25. Sid — on 13th September, 2006 at 7:51 pm  

      Jagdeep rightly asserts Mel P’s views represent a mirror-image of a value system possessed by religious hardliners from the Muslim community (for the sake of palatability we’ll stick to Muslims but we all know all religious cupboards have similar skeletons).

      The foul funk of cultural-relativism from those who defend her will make that very point but will settle for the intellectually dishonest conclusion that her view’s are somehow better, safer, more intellectually rigorous and therefore that much easier to accept. Sorry folks, you can’t deride your homophobic mullahs while snuggling up to Mel P too simply because she couches her anti-Muslim guff in critiques of multiculturalism.

    26. Sid — on 13th September, 2006 at 7:54 pm  

      Vikrant

      None of the above.

    27. Sunny — on 13th September, 2006 at 8:24 pm  

      For all your courting of Gay rights Sid. If your children were to turn homosexual (my-atheistic-God forbid), what would you do…

      Vikrant, I hope you as grow older you’ll stop using such silly avenues of thought.
      Whether you’re happy with your kids being homosexuals or not is irrelevant. What we’re talking here is of fighting for a society that grants equal rights to everyone, regardless of religion, sex, sexual orientation or race. That is a stance any progressive should be unafraid of taking.

      But according to Phillips we’re all being held hostage by these militants demanding equal rights! Shock horror! And they’re giving rise to Islamists!

      It’s the most absurd line of thought. Ever. Next to the world being created in seven days. And the Manu Smriti

    28. विक्रान्त Vikrant — on 13th September, 2006 at 8:45 pm  

      For all your courting of Gay rights Sid. If your children were to turn homosexual (my-atheistic-God forbid), what would you do…

      Well i was just trying to illustrate the ideological hypocrosy that abounds here. Though i dont wanna dig up old graves, For all their progressiveness some people here were frothing at my Uncyclopedia piss-take at Islam. It has become a fashion to support these so-called progressive causes like Anti-Homophobia anti-Islamophobia. But then there are unmteen phobias like Anti-Semtism & Hinduphobia in our univs… you cant really bully people (like the gay-rights-activist try to do) to believe in something. You only end up driving the opinions underground.

    29. Sunny — on 13th September, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

      phobias like Anti-Semtism & Hinduphobia in our univs

      Yeah, and if we start embracing anti-semitism or Hinduphobia then be sure to let me know and point out the hypocrisy.

    30. अमेय Vikrant — on 13th September, 2006 at 9:00 pm  

      I meant there is needless emphasis on such superfluous issues like phobias in “progressive” discourse. Opinions are opinions…

    31. Sahil — on 13th September, 2006 at 9:31 pm  

      “I meant there is needless emphasis on such superfluous issues like phobias in “progressive” discourse. Opinions are opinions…”

      I wouldn’t call these issues superfluous. I’m assuming you’re Hindu, would you not be pissed, if Hinduism was constantly under spurious scrutiny: people cite various ignorant crap about it from wiki, to make Hinduism seem backward, and blood thirsty? I’m sure you’d rightly to tell those bigots to shut up, or maybe opinions are opinions, right?

    32. fugstar — on 13th September, 2006 at 9:41 pm  

      i like the word londonistan, its very annoying that phillips and co have loaded it with so many hangups.

      i love beeing in the londonistani type areas, southall, ilford, newham, tower hamlets, drummond street tooting. … wathcing yougn people grow up and succesful, availability of food, grannies and granpas. Its lovely, whats all this paranioa.

      Im not saying that the white, or establishment places are hateful, just that ‘stan’…. or …’land’ conjures up a nice warm blanket of familiarity, that i spose all londoners share.

      theres a need to reclaim the word from the blue meanies.

      come on , lets all have a multiculti drool.

    33. Raul — on 13th September, 2006 at 9:42 pm  

      What problem does multiculturism solve, is racism going to solved? All cultures and countries have racism inherant in their societies, The Indian cast system come to mind, even in modern cities like Bombay full of reasonably well educated populations come marriage time, there is some very serious discrimination and we will not even talk about rural areas. Or how about how Indians perceive westerners and their culture, that will be fun won’t it? What were the limitation on immigrant populations in UK before Multicultarism that has now presumably been addressed.

      I think individuals have problems, how can something that addresses the vague notion of culture address individual problems. I honestly find multicultarism the pastime of the bored, an infantile call for recognition and respect. I’d rather have a society made of of individuals rather than cultures, people don’t respond like that in real everyday life. The state should respond to individuals not cultures, then you get the tyranny of ideals, a faslehood that represents how people would rather perceive themselves than what they are, which is individuals not members of some sub-group.

    34. Kulvinder — on 13th September, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

      It has become a fashion to support these so-called progressive causes like Anti-Homophobia anti-Islamophobia. But then there are unmteen phobias like Anti-Semtism & Hinduphobia in our univs… you cant really bully people (like the gay-rights-activist try to do) to believe in something.

      Im unsure what exactly your point is, id confront any prejudice regardless of whom it was aimed at. If you mean that you’ll irrationally hate on whomever you choose and leave others to do likewise, fair enough. Im not sure what your cultural background is so i can’t comment on the disparity but from my point of view allowing equal rights for all regardless of their sexual orientation isn’t ‘so called’ social progression - it is social progression. You seem to have accepted as much by calling MPs views ‘traditionalist’. Im also not sure what confronting homophobia has to do with ‘the left.

    35. Amir — on 13th September, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

      Sunny,

      (I) And I’m the one making flippant accusations?’

      Yes, you are being accused of flippancy, so I suggest you refrain from adding a question mark at the end of sentences.

      (II) ‘Apparently the majority is being forced to give in to the demands of militant gays, feminists and anti-racists.’

      This, in my opinion, is a valid criticism. Britons have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as ‘offensive’ or ‘insensitive’, or ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, or ‘homophobic’.

      If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s political correctness – the civilizational anal-probe planted by Gramsci, Lukacs, and the Frankfurt School. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms, whereby certain groups are elevated – feminist women, (only feminist women, mothers and housewives are deemed not to exist) blacks, browns, Hispanics, homosexuals. These groups are determined to be ‘victims,’ and therefore automatically good regardless of what any of them do. Similarly, white males are determined automatically to be ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted’, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.

      PC holds sway over all Western elites; to deny or contravene it (without grovelling apologies) is to be denounced as a ‘crank’ or a ‘reactionary’ or (even worse) a fascist. It has already made vast progress toward its goals of negation of Christian morality and the ‘transvaluation of all values’ (to coin a term of Nietzsche’s), which means simply that the old sins become virtues and the old virtues, sins. Fromm and Marcuse introduced an element which is central to PC, and that’s the sexual element. And particularly Marcuse, who in his own writings calls for a society of ‘polymorphous perversity,’ that is his definition of the future of the world that they want to create.

      PC is an analytic tool. For the classical Marxist, it was British economics and (possibly) Hegelian dialectics. For the cultural Marxist, it is deconstruction. Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts a fashionable trope and meta-narrative. So we find, for example, that all of Shakespeare is about the suppression of women, or the Bible is really about race and gender. All of these texts simply become grist for the mill, which proves that all history is about which groups have power over which other groups.

      (III) ‘Does it hurt to have your idol made fun of? Poor baby.’

      Melanie Philips is not my idol. To be honest, I very rarely read her columns; she’s a gutter polemicist (much like yourself) – I, on the other hand, prefer subtlety and nuance. My intellectual idols include Aristotle, Edmund Burke, Karl Popper, John Locke, Van Hayek, J.S. Mill, Hilary Putnam, George Orwell and Bertrand Russell. I could add quite a few names to this list. Your jibe (‘Poor Baby’) says more about your own adolescent inclinations than it does about mine, especially when one considers our respective years. Me = 22. You = 29.

      (IV) ‘I believe the state should play as little a part as possible in interfering in how people live their lives, as long as they don’t break the laws.’

      I agree. Vehemently so. That’s a point-of-view shared by many paleoconservatives and libertarians alike. But I don’t see how that belief is relevant to our present discussion? Melanie Philips is not proposing that we enlarge the state (to include, say, a Secret Police) in order to achieve homogeneity. What she wants instead is a return to older ways and older values vis-à-vis a cultural revolution. That’s not coercive in any way.

      (V) ‘Because they are such marginal figures! Like the neo-cons who believe that Christianity should be spread in the Middle East, or Ann Coulter who believes Arabs should be bombs and forcibly converted to Islam. Yes, such marginalised people.’

      Neo-cons wanting to spread Christianity across the Middle East…? … what?! Ann Coulter is a political polemicist and an amoral opportunist. She is not a theologian. Nor does she represent the Christian Church in any significant way. And, what’s more, she is routinely denounced and de-legitimised by elements of the liberal press and proponents of Cultural Marxism. Speaking freely and acting independently in the Middle East, on the other hand, is still very dangerous.

      In any case, you have not answered my original point. The treatment of women, homosexuals, feminists, secularists, and ethnic/religious minorities on Moslem soil is an abomination. There’s no other way of putting it. The idea that there’s some sort of moral equivalence between American society and Islamic society is both dishonest and dangerous. You sound and talk like a ‘bleeding heart’ liberal in your little screed against MP, but when it comes to palpable cases of supremacism, misogyny and homophobia, you are noticeably more reticent. ;-)

      (VI) ‘Given this woman writes for the Daily Mail constantly and has promoted this book in all the national papers calling her views a dissent from the mainstream is laughable.’

      Rubbish. MP is consistently shunned by the liberal establishment. Getting her book a publisher was, according to her, one of the toughest obstacles she has ever had to overcome. No one would touch it with a bargepole.

      Amir

    36. Kulvinder — on 13th September, 2006 at 10:37 pm  

      Hey mang, the term political correctness is like #1 on my nerve jangling list. Although it may well have had a relevant use 15 years ago the way its used now is kinda idiotic.

      The treatment of women, homosexuals, feminists, secularists, and ethnic/religious minorities on Moslem soil is an abomination.

      Ill be happy to answer (even though you didn’t ask), but i need to know what muslim soil is.

    37. Sid — on 13th September, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

      So we have a one type of British homophobe/bigot who is described as a “cultural conservative” and whom we are exhorted to drop everything and support because she’s part of noting less than a “cultural revolution”. And we have another type of British homophobe who’s described as a regressive fascist and representative of all that is wrong with British society.

      No prizes for spotting the inconsistency there. But I’m still willing to humour you.

    38. Sunny — on 13th September, 2006 at 11:39 pm  

      Amir:

      They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as ‘offensive’ or ‘insensitive’, or ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, or ‘homophobic’.

      I know, how oppressive is it that we make fun of or criticise ignorant people who use derogatory words like nigger, paki, coon, kike, bum-bandit, slut! I mean will this opression ever end!?!?!?!?!?!

      Similarly, white males are determined automatically to be ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted’,
      No, only the racist and bigoted ones are labelled as such. Not all :)
      Am happy to fight bigotry coming from brown, black and white people. If you don’t want to join this revolution then that is your own problem not mine.

      she’s a gutter polemicist (much like yourself)
      I wish I had the audacity to be blase about using polemical language like she does.

      What she wants instead is a return to older ways and older values vis-à-vis a cultural revolution. That’s not coercive in any way.

      It is when you want the state to enforce those older values. MP and the peopel who follow her are welcome to return to the old ways if she wants to. I’d like even more equality, thanks.

      she is routinely denounced and de-legitimised by elements of the liberal press
      What’s that, the NYTimes? Compared to the legions of right-wing talk shows, cable news channels and newspapers? Gimme a break.

      on Moslem soil is an abomination.
      When did this conversation move to the Middle East? Another attempt at a strawman is it? We’re talking about Britain here.

      MP is consistently shunned by the liberal establishment.

      Hahahaha!!!! Funniest joke in years. She wrote her own article in the Observer, was interviewed and reviewed constantly in the Guardian and the Indy. If anything the liberal press still waste too much space on the woman. And given we have the Telegraph, Times, Mail, Express, Star and Sun firmly on the right - your laments about a liberal media bias are hilarious.

    39. Sunny — on 13th September, 2006 at 11:44 pm  

      Fugstar - I know! Though Southall has way too much traffic problems these days. Prefer Brick Lane or Wembley high road.

    40. Don — on 13th September, 2006 at 11:48 pm  

      ‘It has already made vast progress toward its goals of negation of Christian morality and the ‘transvaluation of all values’

      Yay, result!

    41. Refresh — on 14th September, 2006 at 12:00 am  

      There must a Melanie Phillips equivalent amongst Steve Irwin fans:

      Irwin’s fans take out grief in ‘revenge attacks’ on stingrays

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article1523134.ece

    42. Amir — on 14th September, 2006 at 2:04 am  

      Sunny,

      (I) ‘I know, how oppressive is it that we make fun of or criticise ignorant people who use derogatory words like nigger, paki, coon, kike, bum-bandit, slut!’

      The left’s irrepressible hostility to racism is the best thing about it, and its cultural victory over prejudice and bigotry one of its greatest achievements. But it should not imagine that this gives it the right to refuse to listen to its critics, Melanie Philips or Joe Bloggs – it doesn’t matter. Anti-racism, in my opinion, has gone too far. It has made many a respectable person hyper-sensitive and unnecessarily paranoid when it comes to touchy issues like culture, crime, and immigration. Or, for that matter, affirmative action? 95% of Britons now believe it to be a racist policy. Which it is. Yet it is the same policy that was being trumpeted and triumphed during the 1990s by so-called ‘anti-racists’.

      (II) ‘Am happy to fight bigotry coming from brown, black and white people. If you don’t want to join this revolution then that is your own problem not mine.’

      Stop making such a puerile spectacle out of yourself. I am not a racist or a homophobe, so don’t you DARE imply otherwise by intimating that I “join you”. Who the hell do you think you are? Che Guevara?

      (III) ‘It is [oppressive] when you want the state to enforce those older values.’

      Well, that rather depends on the type of value, doesn’t it? Campaigners on behalf of paedophilia will consistently adopt your line of argument (i.e. “don’t impose your cultural values on us”) in order to justify their sadistic and debauched practices. Are you, like them, a moral and cultural relativist? I hope not. Because otherwise there is very little point in us having this discussion.

      (IV) ‘What’s that, the NYTimes? Compared to the legions of right-wing talk shows, cable news channels and newspapers? Gimme a break.’

      These so-called ‘right-wing’ talk shows you refer to are American and are broadcast on American TV, not on the BBC or Channel 4. Philips does not live or write in the US. Cultural Marxism is a lot more prominent over here than it is over there. Notwithstanding Rod Liddle’s sympathetic review in the Spectator and Simon Heffer’s generous contribution to the Telegraph, the left-wing press have (by and large) slated her book and tried to smear her good character.

      (V) ‘When did this conversation move to the Middle East? Another attempt at a strawman is it? We’re talking about Britain here.’

      It was you who suggested that one of the ‘root causes’ (a shady buzzword) of Islamic radicalism is anti-Moslem sentiment. I – detecting a hint of hypocrisy in your analysis – pointed out that we are among the most liberal, plural, and cohesive societies on the planet. And at a time when non-Moslems (or Moslem sects), in their vast majority, are being ritually humiliated, deprived, and debased under Sharia Law. Something you consistently ignore on PP.

      (VI) ‘Hahahaha!!!! Funniest joke in years.’

      Are you sure? One of the funniest jokes I’ve heard in years is when a Mr. Sunny Hundal told us about his vehement admiration for Professor Amartya Sen (one of the most profound and prolific economists of the last/present century), only to mistakenly identify him as a Professor of Chemistry. Ho ho ho!

      Amir

    43. Sunny — on 14th September, 2006 at 2:41 am  

      Amir, keep recycling that old mistake as a cover-up for your inadequate responses if you will. Doesn’t bother me.

      Campaigners on behalf of paedophilia will consistently adopt your line of argument

      And nanny-statists will adopt your line.

      Or, for that matter, affirmative action? 95% of Britons now believe it to be a racist policy

      Funny that, MP seems to think America is a bastion against political correctness. Guess what! They have affirmative action and we don’t! Read the article…. again! And stop wasting my time.

    44. Amir — on 14th September, 2006 at 3:44 am  

      Sunny Jim,

      (I) ‘Amir, keep recycling that old mistake as a cover-up for your inadequate responses if you will’

      What mistake?

      (II) ‘Doesn’t bother me’

      Yes it does.

      (III) ‘And nanny-statists will adopt your line.’

      Rubbish. A prerequisite for any ‘minimal state’ is a powerful national culture, which defines the nation, the largest unit in which it is possible for human beings to be effectively unselfish. Patriotism, to be distinguished from jingoism, is an unselfish emotion. You and I may disagree about how that unselfishness can be best put into practice. But we both know that our shared nation is the place in which we can do good to others if we wish.

      (IV) ‘MP seems to think America is a bastion against political correctness. Guess what! They have affirmative action and we don’t!’

      Wrong, wrong, wrong. We DO have affirmative action. Click here. Or here.

      Amir

    45. soru — on 14th September, 2006 at 9:38 am  

      ´Im unsure how exactly you’re seperating this out in your head, if the state wants to ‘cultivate something’ it changes the law. ´

      Obvious point: the state can spend tax-payers money to promote something without changing any laws. Just like AIDS-awareness, drunk-driving, and so on.

      Examples from the excelllent wikipedia entry on multiculturalism:

      official promotion of the national history, for instance by exhibitions about national heros

      official campaigns to promote national unity, and individual identification with the nation - such as the campaign Du bist Deutschland in Germany

      In the Netherlands, the naturalisation ceremony includes a gift symbolising national unity. In Gouda it is a candle in the national colours red-white-blue, in Amsterdam a Delftware potato with floral motives.

    46. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 14th September, 2006 at 9:43 am  

      Keep it up Amir.

      Step up your game Sunny.

      TFI

    47. Don — on 14th September, 2006 at 10:16 am  

      Amir,

      The affirmative action link you provided was a report from Connecticut, not UK.

    48. Sid — on 14th September, 2006 at 10:19 am  

      Amir

      Play that funky music, strawman.

    49. Chris Stiles — on 14th September, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      As a social commentator on the descriptive level Melanie Phillips has some merits, on the analytical level she’s just .. a Malcolm Gladwell with weaker reasoning powers and better erudition - to draw a parallel to an earlier thread.

      If you want to complain about the lack of conservative commentary in this country, blame the Whiggish end of the Tory party (the Wets) for losing the will to speak out.

    50. अमेय Vikrant — on 14th September, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

      Yeah, and if we start embracing anti-semitism or Hinduphobia then be sure to let me know and point out the hypocrisy.

      Yes you are by linking to Hinduphobic bullcrap like

      http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com

      Indian Hindus want Ram Rajya back. What does it mean? Does it mean- let Brahmins control education and the bureaucracy, let Kshatriyas rule govern, let Vaishyas manage businesses, trade and wealth, let Shudras be kicked out of schools to concentrate on menial work, let Dalits be kicked out of all cities and towns, and let other religions be kicked out of the country (because they didn’t exist during the time of Rama)?

    51. susan_mayer — on 14th September, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

      i heard her speaking on bbc london 94.9 when the book was first published and she spoke a lot about how multi-culturalism has had a detrimental effect on ‘good old british values’…

      I haven’t read her book and i suppose i should before i start writing nasty things about her etc BUT i would be interested to know if she explained in her book what these ‘british values’ are/were..

      As far as I’m concerned Britain has never and never will have a homogenous set of values to live by. Britain in the past has been divided along class lines with the upper classes/aristicracy living quite separate from the lower/working classes.

    52. Rowshan — on 17th September, 2006 at 9:05 pm  

      susan

      completely agree with u -Britain or any country, for that matter, has never has a homogenous set of values, and neither have countries and nations ever been conflict-free - negotiating difference is the business of politics but we somehow lose our nerves when we have to negotate difference that has colour or culture or religion.

      As to the long debate on multiculturalism and whether it’s useful for not… it’s history is rooted in the left’s internal debates and an effort to recognise that there is more to divisions than class and that people can confidently value their dfferences - and not feel their customs stand as inferior to a dominant and hegeomic norm - ‘white british’ standards whatever this may be.

      I personally find multiculturalism harmless - it’s politics without teeth and samosa serving tea parties which is why the Left is so narked that it enjoys any popularity.

      I also find it interesting that multiculturalism is a discourse in western countries and therefore is a western concept , perhaps even Anglo-phile concern. Countries like India, Singapore and so on with more visible pluralist populations do not debate multiculutralism or the need to assert the parity of cultures - in fact, but what these countries do debate is rights and access to justice, and opporunities for minoirty groups. I personally don’t care if people want to celebrate their cultures, learn different languages, or dance to foreign tunes, it’s part of what Britain is. I don’t see how this might undermine people’s claims’s to citizenship in England. The idea that Melenie Phillips peddles is the Normal Tebbit cricket test. Only this time because we’ve demonised Islam so much we can pretty much bring back the Tebbit Test without negative repurcussions.

    53. susan_mayer — on 19th September, 2006 at 11:11 pm  

      Rowshan, thankyou for agreeing with me! It doesn’t happen that often!

      You also bring up a valid point about the idea that ‘multi-culturalism’ is not a term used in other countries who may also contain a number of ‘visible’ immigrant communities. I think this is because of the WAY in which Britain became a ‘multi-cultural’.

      Ever since Britain opened its doors to thousands of migrants from the New Commonwealth and Pakistan by mistake (the 1948 British Nationality Act caused a lot of panic after its inception-as it was actually intended to ease entry into Britain for immigrants from the White settler colonies…) successive British governments have had to straddle the line between appearing to be accepting of the changing face of British society to allay any potential conflict arising from the immigrant communities themselves WHILST attempting to show the indigenous (God i HATE that word!)population that they will do everything in their power to stop more of these people coming in!

      Multi-culturalism (being accepting of different cultures) therefore has HAD to go hand in hand with tightening up immigration (changing the wording in various British Nationality legislation to curb the number of immigrants from the former colonies coming to settle in their ‘mother country).

      Though i don’t know enough to comment on the countries you mentioned..Singapore, India… Britain does seem to be quite unique in the way that it became a more culturally and religiously diverse country.

      RE: ‘the cricket test’. This is what people like Melanie Philips and Norman Tebbit will never understand. I as the granddaughter of Indian immigrants can support the Indian cricket team without necessarily compromising my sense of ‘Britishness’. The Scots and Welsh rugby supporters aren’t questionned about their loyalty to crown and country when they back their national teams. They aren’t accused of being less British! Why do I have to decide goddamnit!

      Also is it true that Melanie Philips is Jewish? If so how does she fit into another notion she brought up in the radio interview-that Britain until very recently was a ‘Christian country’? Wouldn’t the far-right have an issue with her religious background? (although she seems far enough to the right already to make me think she might be a good spokesperson for their cause).

    54. Arif — on 20th September, 2006 at 10:24 am  

      I don’t have much to take issue with from what you say, susan (and Rowshan, just to say that from what I have heard Melanie Phillips say on the radio, she would not be a good spokesperson for the far-right cause.

      For one thing she agrues that different “races” can peacefully coexist in the UK, just that different cultures cannot. She argues for assimilation as opposed to integration or multiculturalism, so she is not a racist. She believes that Britain is historically Judeo-Christian and that this in some way defines the culture that immigrants must assimilate into.

      Perhaps she makes her definition clearer in the book. But given that, whatever her definition, it will be contested even by people Melanie agrees are part of Judeo-Christian Britain, how would she suggest the definition be settled for the purposes of public policy? I suggest the best solution would be a form of multiculturalism for Judeo-Christians: live and let live, understand your heritage in your own ways and develop them as you feel fit without harming others.

    55. Jai — on 20th September, 2006 at 11:46 am  

      Susan,

      =>”The Scots and Welsh rugby supporters aren’t questionned about their loyalty to crown and country when they back their national teams. They aren’t accused of being less British! Why do I have to decide goddamnit!”

      It’s because Scotland and Wales are a part of Britain, geographically and politically. India is not. Hence the controversy.

    56. Chairwoman — on 20th September, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

      I suggest the best solution would be a form of multiculturalism for Judeo-Christians: live and let live, understand your heritage in your own ways and develop them as you feel fit without harming others.

      Arif - it’s not often we agree on anything, but you are spot on with this. I was actually of the opinion that that’s what we ‘British’ Judeo-Christians had done. If everybody else joined in it would verge on the Utopian.

      Susan - Yes Melanie Philips is Jewish, and certainly no supporter of the BNP or any exclusive party. She just feels that we ‘incomers’ should not expect the fabric of British society to change to suit minorities.

      Unfortuately it seems that quite a lot of people didn’t understand that when Muslims asked that certain parts of Sharia and Islamic festivals be recognised here, they were asking this only for Muslims. I actually think this is a good idea. All major religious festivals for all faiths should be acknowledged and their followers be allowed to take them as a Bank Holiday. As for the domestic parts of Sharia that were asked for, actually there’s no reason why that couldn’t be encompassed by current contract and inheritance laws.

      It would be good if in daily life we could all differentiate between ‘Church’ and State. I think at the end of the day that is what Melanie Philips wants. I wish I could stretch that to a book.

    57. justforfun — on 20th September, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

      Chairwoman - I think I understand your point of view. However I have concerns about ‘religious’ laws being available alongside British Law. If I understand you correctly you imply that it already exists and works well for consenting elements within Jewish communities in the UK. Are there ways for people within these communities to op out and get the full protoection of the UK secular laws?

      My fear and concern is that once there is the idea that communities can obtain exemptions from the national law, especially on religious grounds, then we will really be in trouble. More and more community leaders will use coercion to silence dissenting elements within their so called comminities. Politians will pander to these community leaders by offering further target religious exemptions and will be paid back by recieving blaock votes. Polititians might even help suppress dissent in the various communities because this would upset the deleivery of block votes by their community leaders.

      India is full of exemptions withins its laws that pander to religious minorities. This is a throwback to the way things were and they were a pragmatic solution to the past social set setup within India. But as India progresses, these laws should and I hope and beieve will be slowly phased out so that the Federal Laws will apply to all citizens, with the States being able to taylor their own laws for their own regional requirements. I can’t believe the UK can actually want to go in the other direction and build a fragmented society. Chairwoman - perhaps I have read to much into your short post, and if I have then just dismiss this a rant by someone who is getting more and more drepressed by the comeback religion is making in the modern world.

      Justforfun

    58. Chairwoman — on 20th September, 2006 at 5:34 pm  

      Justforfun

      The Beth Din (Court of the Chief Rabbi) and other Jewish courts are there for people who want to use them, to decide religious matters, but of course they have access to mainstream British Law, and people have been known to use both, or hedge their bets, as I like to call it. The verdicts reached by the Beth Din are binding only by the consent of both parties, and can be ‘rubber stamped’ by a British court when all parties are in agreement.

      Marriages have to be in licensed premises, religious divorces and agreements have to be confirmed by a British court. Contracts are contracts and can be written according to Judaic law within the confines of British Law. The same goes for wills, pre-nups, etc. Animals slaughtered under the rules of Kashrut are killed in abatoirs licensed and inspected by the relevant Health and Safety authority.

      Days off for religious festivals have to be granted by an employer, but I think that they don’t have to be paid. I’m not sure about this, because I have not been an employee for many years. I can see no reason why this situation shouldn’t apply to Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Bhuddists and anything else anyone can think of. I have no problems with Wiccans taking time off for Walpurgis.

      If I am wrong on any of this I count on Bananabrain to correct me.

    59. susan_mayer — on 20th September, 2006 at 9:13 pm  

      Just wanted to thank all those people who have answered my questions. I’m new to this so i just ask for everyone to be gentle!

      Arif- i admit i am wrong to make assumptions about Melanie Philips political leanings just from one radio interview…I guess I was just trying to work out what she ultimately wants for British society today and you and Chairwoman have pretty much answered that between the two of you. She wants assimiliation…but into what? Judeo-Christian values. How different are these values from Sikh values, Hindu values, Muslim values?

      Jai- you are absolutely right to point out that Scotland and Wales are part of Britain politically and geographically and therefore it is perfectly acceptable for these countries to support their own national team without all the controversy.

      I just don’t like the whole cricket test notion-mainly because i’m really indecisive and find it hard to choose between two ice cream flavours let alone who to support in a cricket match between India and England…i could stick with the ice cream analogy and say i choose both…is that allowed?

      Justforfun- i share your concern with Britain descending into fragmentation along religious/ cultural lines..mainly because i worry about where i would fit into all of this being a confused agnostic… I guess if I was to take Chairwoman up on her idea for days off work for religious festivals I would be a better (and a more well-rested) person for it…just thinking about it is making me smile…I’l have Eid, Diwali, Vaisakhi and Chanukah to look forward to..not to mention Christmas…everyone loves Christmas right?

    60. David T — on 20th September, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

      Melanie Phillips is a fairly straightforward cultural conservative who believes, as do most cultural conservatives, that

      - society is going to hell in a hand basket;

      - everybody has gone soft and decadent;

      - standards are slipping; and

      - the basis of society are fixed, broadly acknowledged and religiously based moral principles

      She takes the view, I think, that those principles should inspire law and the manner of government, but that private morality rather than coercion should be the rule. In other words, if everybody behaved well, and if the state doesn’t actively undermine societal structures, society will function well. In other words, she’s in favour of pluralism, but within largely internally imposed boundaries.

      What irks her is that she thinks that a particular strand within political Islam seeks to be violently opposed to such a settlement, that this strand seems to be in the ascendant, and that it is not recognised as a threat by a society which is too decadent and flabby to protect itself. She tends not to go as far as to say that Islam in itself is inescapably bound to conflict with, and to fail to integrate into, a culturally conservative society which respects the private sphere.

      So there are trace elements of a liberalism in her position: but it is essentially a weak clash of civilisations theory, riding on a broader “cultural decline” thesis.

      I tend to disagree with much of her thesis: because I don’t think, ultimately, that a culturally conservative solution is either workable or desireable.

    61. soru — on 20th September, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

      susan_mayer:

      the cricket test is bollocks, but the war test isn’t.

      Little known fact: in WWII, there were some Welsh people who picked the other side. They tried to bomb RAF bases and so on.

      http://www.south-wales.police.uk/fe/master.asp?n1=8&n2=253&n3=504&n4=846

      The German intelligence service had recruited a fanatically anti-English Welshman by the name of Arthur George Owens to provide them with a spy ring based on nationalist sympathies. He was given the task of establishing a network of Welsh extremists to gather information to aid sabotage on major industrial plants, airfields and defence installations.

      The ones involved in those activities were literally a roomful, they could have all turned up at a resteraunt and get served without having to book in advance. And support for them was miniscule.

      Meanwhile welsh speakers, welsh nationalists, were dying by the thousand in the struggle against Hitler.

      Kind of sounds familiar somehow.

    62. Old Pickler — on 20th September, 2006 at 10:59 pm  

      Fab book.

      Peace and blessings be upon her.

    63. BevanKieran — on 21st September, 2006 at 12:22 am  

      Newsnight had a good report today about the dodgy science (or rather the dodgy reading of current science) sponsored by Exxon, which downplays the effect of global warming. It featured Melanie Phillips who has supported this view in some articles. Weird, because in her dystopian view, with families breaking down, homosexuals and muslims, the weather will be alright.

    64. Parma Violets — on 21st September, 2006 at 8:07 am  

      Mmm, I saw that too. It’s good to know her views on global warming are as well-researched and cogent as the rest of her opinions.

    65. Kulvinder — on 25th September, 2006 at 6:02 pm  

      Obvious point: the state can spend tax-payers money to promote something without changing any laws. Just like AIDS-awareness, drunk-driving, and so on.

      Yeah but the context was dictating how people live their lives.

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