Naturally, it’s all about Cameron’s speech, which appears to have utterly discombobulated the progressives:
He didn't even mention what was going on in Luton. Speaking the same day in Munich, of all places, he turned his fire instead on "Islamists", "state multiculturalism" and "non-violent extremists" in the Muslim community.Do they? Do they really?
Muslims must embrace "British" values of freedom, democracy and equal rights, he declared, as if the vast majority didn't do so already.
Is Seumas saying that, since 2006, when 40% of British Muslims surveyed by the Telegraph said that they’d like to see Britain controlled by sharia, things have changed?
That the 36% who supported the execution of apostates in a poll in 2008 have now changed their minds?
And, grotesquely comparing non-violent Islamists to "rightwing fascists", he warned that there would be a strict checklist of Muslim bodies the government would not now work with or fund (including the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain). He did criticise Islamophobia, but that passing comment was drowned out by the drumbeat of condemnation targeted at Muslims and their political organisations.And why shouldn’t he? We hear – from the ‘Guardian’ – nothing but condemnation of certain political organisations, do we?
…by branding political Islam as extremist, he's playing on the ignorance of those for whom Muslim and Islamist are as good as indistinguishable. What is called Islamism includes a wide spectrum of political trends, peaceful and violent, socially conservative and progressive, from Turkey's ruling party to al-Qaida. Mainstream Islamists, certainly including almost all the groups Cameron is now casting into outer darkness, are in fact committed to democratic freedoms.Yeah. Right.
We’ve already seen just how poorly your own newspaper covers the aims and ambitions – and backgrounds – of these groups.
So pardon me if I don’t take your glib claims at face value any more.
The practical policy consequences of Cameron's neocon turn may be modest. But its wider impact is likely to be chilling and poisonous. If the government's message is that peaceful independent Muslim political activism is beyond the pale, it won't just be regarded as hypocritical and undemocratic – it will strengthen the hand of those committed to violence.Appeasement never works. Hasn’t it been tried once too many times before?