Saturday, 20 September 2014

Cameron's big gamble pays off

Last time a part of Britain wanted to become independent, we sent in the Black and Tans. This referendum really hasn't gone that badly.

My sixteenth piece for the Independent, making that point, is here.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Rotherham abuse is merely yet another facet of the disastrous biraderi politics Labour has nurtured

While Westminster’s attention is distracted by Scotland, it is gradually becoming abundantly clear that the grooming of young, white girls by Pakistani-heritage men goes way beyond Rotherham. Last week Uncut’s Kevin Meagher highlighted the next few likely police targets in Greater Manchester and this Left Foot Forward piece gives a first-hand account of grooming in a town in the South.

The true shock for many was not so much the crimes, horrific though they were. The true shock was the conspiracy of silence around them, both inside the Pakistani community and outside it.

And that is not, one likes to think, because we are intrinsically a nation of racists casting around for a reason to heap abuse on British Pakistanis among us, but mostly for the opposite reason: we didn’t want to believe that there could be a clear link between a particular culture and a particularly nasty crime.

There is a link, of course, but it is not a simplistic one: clearly a small number of Rotherham’s population have not become rapists because of the colour of their skin, or where they worship.

What, then, is that link and why should it be anything to do with Labour?

It’s an uncomfortable question, but it’s also one which we really need to ask.

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Stop the War Coalition should do us all a favour and disband

My fifteenth piece for the Independent, on the perennially dreadful Stoppers, is here.

In this latest episode, they rather unpleasantly pretended that the IS threat to the Yazidis was "a false story". When the male population of a whole village was decimated, this text magically disappeared from their website.

Seems they struggle to criticise even a sect consisting entirely of genocidal freaks.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

This government has tacitly acknowledged its failure on anti-extremism. But Labour should examine its own conscience

Last week in Iraq, American journalist James Foley was murdered by Islamic State.

He was murdered savagely and painfully, and he was not even murdered in supposed punishment for a crime; it was merely to send a message to the West. If that were not enough, they then put a video of the whole killing on YouTube.

It is difficult to find words for the psychotic nature of both the killer and the twisted ideology which drove him, not just to kill, but to kill a quite innocent victim in such a way.

Above all, we should be disturbed to know that the perpetrator, from his accent, is thought to be almost certainly British.

How did we end up here? It is dispiriting enough that you can grow your own terrorists to bomb you, as happened in the London bombings of 2005. But to export your terrorists is, well, a bit careless.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Jihadism – four wrong responses

As I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, foreign policy is not something that tends decide one’s electoral success as a British politician. But it is surely a test of one’s statesmanship.

And if that is true, it pains me to say it but the only British political leader so far with a remotely statesmanlike response to current troubles in either Gaza or Iraq has been one David Cameron, who wrote yesterday – correctly – of the pressing need to confront the “poisonous ideology” of ISIS. And you can count on very few fingers the number of times that has been said on this blog. A comprehensive policy statement it is not, but at least it has not left him looking entirely foolish.

It is shame we cannot say that for the other party leaders. It is as if, rather than asking themselves "what can we do to resolve this major problem for the world?" the question becomes "what is my own narrow political interest, and how can I interpret the facts on the ground to defend that position?" Or rather, as we paraphrase below:

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