Friday, September 15, 2006

Boom ! Boom !

Douglas Murray gives David Cameron both barrels.

There is the worrying fact that David Cameron has now joined the legions of politicians who have decided to speak about Islamic theology and get it fanatically wrong. Mr Cameron said yesterday that Muslim terrorists:

Are driven by a wholly incorrect interpretation - an extreme distortion - of the Islamic faith.

Aside from the distastefulness of a Tory leader feeling the need to interpret Islamic scripture, this statement is simply untrue. Muslim terrorists are driven chapter and verse by justifications in the Koran. They may be debatable interpretations, or interpretations which may be argued away from, but to pretend that their Koranic impetus is "wholly incorrect" or an "extreme distortion" is itself wholly incorrect and an extreme distortion.

Be fair - he's following in the footsteps of those great Islamic scholars Tony Blair and George Bush, both of whom have said much the same thing.

If Mr Cameron is going to take the reins of government he is going to have to look like he can run a country, and - most importantly - the country's foreign policy. He must prove himself worthy of the task. Monday's speech gives me less hope on this front than I had previously thought possible. Although he offered no specific answers to the problems of resurgent Islamo-fascism, and though he spent a deal of time attacking our friends for wholly justified policies of containment, the only answer Mr Cameron gave was that we should introduce a new style into our foreign policy. It should always raise alarm-bells when politicians talk style and not specifics. Style does not save lives. Cameron said:

I believe that in the last five years we have suffered from the absence of two crucial qualities which should always condition foreign policy-making. Humility, and patience.

This is not just disagreeable stuff - and un-statesman-like stuff. It is dangerously misguided stuff - the result of a man who appears to see foreign policy through the eyes of domestic habit.

What we need to demonstrate least of all with Iran at the moment is "patience". Patience on the part of the international community has all but given Tehran a nuclear bomb. An increase in our level of "patience" now will produce a permanent existential threat to Israel and the West, and ensure the whole Middle East goes nuclear within a few years.

And as for "humility". It is simply embarrassing that a candidate hoping to lead one of the world's foremost military powers should hope to win votes by speaking like this. This is domestic posing - deeply trivial and irrelevant. What will an onslaught of "humility" directed at Syria and Iran achieve at the moment? Anything? Of course not. And what Cameron worryingly fails to realise is that it is our weakness - our humility - which makes the Ahmadinejads, Assads and Nasrallahs of this era hate us even more. Our weakness is a provocation to them (witness the upsurge in Hezbollah-sponsoring defiance in the last year). Mr Cameron's deeply misguided message is that we need an increase of weakness when he should realize that our weakness - perceived or otherwise - is the problem, not the solution.

Where I part company with Mr Murray is in recognising that, like it or not, David Cameron has sound electoral reasons for his foolishness. Anti-Americanism has been the (only) acceptable prejudice of the educated English for the last few years, and recent polls showing a majority in favour of decoupling from US foreign policy may well have had the same effect on him as the 1933 East Fulham by-election had on Stanley Baldwin.

Just as Baldwin's reluctance to rearm (supported all the way by Labour and the Liberals, who both voted against the introduction of the first Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons) had dire effects in 1939 and beyond, so Cameron's desire to chime with the thoughtless prejudice of the Brits will not do them any favours either.

In Churchill's words : "The cheers of weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to echo, and their votes soon cease to count. Doom marches on."

Don't Quote Me On That ...

Muslim leaders have accused the Pope of attacking the Islamic faith after a speech earlier this week in which Benedict XVI referred to the concept of jihad, or holy war.

In his address at the University of Regensberg in Germany on Tuesday, Benedict quoted from a book recounting a dialogue on the truths of Christianity and Islam between Manuel Paleologos II, a 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor, and an educated Persian.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said.

"He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached’."

Apparently aware of the delicacy of the issue, Benedict described the phrases on Islam as "brusque", and pointed out several times that he was quoting - although he neither explicitly agreed with nor repudiated the emperor's views.

"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," the pontiff said.

But in the Islamic world this has been taken to indicate that the Pope straightforwardly endorsed Manuel Paleologos's views.

Some people are just waiting to be offended.

A statement issued by the Vatican last night to clarify what was meant and to apologise for causing offence appears only to have made things worse.

Because this isn't about peaceful co-existence. This is about imposing one's will on the spiritual enemy. In fact, the greater the apology, the less likely it is to be accepted - because it's taken as a sign of weakness, to be exploited further.

No religion has been mocked and vilified more in the last 40 years than Christianity. And it continues - because the consequences don't involve bodies with knives pinning notes to their chests, decapitation, explosions, burning buildings or trains.

Faced with such things, Western society retreats, draws back, self-censors - engendering a sense among the bad hats (and among those who share the aim even while having reservations about the method) that there is no limit to the retreat - no ground on which the enemy will turn, stand and fight.

They may well be right.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


"Women will thus only have as much freedom as their men are willing and capable of guaranteeing them. It is a major flaw in many feminist theories that they fail to acknowledge this. The difference between women’s rights and women’s illusions is defined by a Smith and Wesson, not by a Betty Friedan or a Virginia Wolf."

Fjordman on men, women, feminism and Islam.

It's Cognitive Dissonance Time ...

The problem : The World Bank are refusing to give money to some countries unless they comply with the World Bank's conditions.

The solution :
Refuse to give money to the World Bank unless they comply with Hilary Benn's conditions.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gun Dealer "had lots of guns" shock horror


Most weapons, which also included automatic and semi-automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition, were found at the house, which is believed to belong to a registered gun dealer.

Detectives said some weapons may be legal, others may not.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Can't Say We're Not Being Told ...

" ... some police officers and sections of the media are demonising Muslims, treating them as if they're all terrorists — and that encourages other people to do the same. If that demonisation continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists — 700,000 of them in London" :
Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain in the Sunday Telegraph - remarks which are unreported by either the BBC or Guardian.

The interview also contains the famous Muslim/Christian parallel.

"When the IRA was blowing people up, the entire Catholic population of Britain was not demonised, so why is it happening to the Muslim community ?"

"Britain ... is in danger of turning into Somalia with chip shops"
: Mark Steyn.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Brrr !

A parent committing suicide is indubitably a Bad Thing. IMHO any parent has a motive for suicide, but one just shouldn't drop a burden like that on the kids.

Via the Backword One, the story of the woman whose affair with the poet Ted Hughes caused his wife, the writer Sylvia Plath, to top herself. Not exactly a sympathetic portrait.

The only close friends of hers [Plath’s] whose phone number he possessed were Gerry and Jillian Becker; but Jillian did not ave Ted’s number. She called Suzette Macedo – but she, too, had no idea of Ted’s whereabouts. So Suzette phoned Assia. Thus it was the mistress who had the grim task of notifying Ted Hughes.

At work, Assia also spread the news. "Something terrible has happened: Sylvia has killed herself," she announced, stepping into art director Julia Matcham’s office.

Assuming that Assia must be overwhelmed with guilt, Julia sympathised: "Oh, you must feel awful."

Assia’s eyes opened wide. "Why should I? It was nothing to do with me."

Plath left her two small children motherless. Unforgivable.

Love set you going like a fat gold watch
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

But in best Thomas Hardy tradition, the dead wife loomed larger in the poet's consciousness than she had when alive. Assia's 'nothing to do with me' started to sound somewhat hollow.

She increasingly doubted the permanence of Ted's commitment to her. In her view, Sylvia would remain his precious wife, while she was cast for ever in the role of mistress. "At the forefront is Sylvia, and after that, the Grand Scheme, the Genius, the children, and the fixity of the sun, the millions of hawks and fishes and owls, and nightshade that I neither see nor hear."

A horrifying thought began to creep in: that she was inviting Sylvia's doom on herself. She confided in her diary: "She had a million times the talent, 1,000 times the will, 100 times the greed and passion that I have. I should never have looked into Pandora's box, and now that I have, I am forced to wear her love-widow's sacking, without any of her compensations.

"What, in five years' time, will he reproach me for? What sort of woman am I?
The gruesome Gothic gripper moves remorselessly towards its denouement.

" ... in one diary entry Wevill blames the ghost of Plath for making her suicidal."

Old Ted - what a card.

Wevill, 42, gassed herself with Shura, her four-year-old daughter by Hughes, in 1969 after discovering that he was having an affair. It was an eery re-enactment of the suicide six years earlier of the American poet Sylvia Plath — the wife Hughes abandoned after starting an affair with Wevill.
He sure could pick 'em. Two motherless toddlers and a dead one.