Conservative Commentary
"the blogger whose youthful effusions have won him bookmarks all over Whitehall ... horribly compelling" - The Guardian
Great Weblogs
The Enemy Within

Most recent posts ...

Friday, February 06, 2004
The elephant in the column

In yesterday's Guardian, Timothy Garton-Ash wrote an article set in a future where Paris has been nuked by Islamofascists. When he says that "the roots of the catastrophe of 2009 are in mistakes made in the years 2002 to 2004" you know pretty quickly the line he is going to take on this. And so he does. The root causes are: the present French government for banning Islamic headscarves from its schools, the French right for their anger at those Arab thugs who burn out their cars, and the unemployment rates of 30% in some parts of the country.

But wait: "the tragedy of August 17 2009 cannot simply be laid at the door of France's political elite, and its failure to cope adequately with an extraordinarily difficult problem that was challenging every society in Europe. The other half of the story ..." Ahh! So here we at last blame the perpetrators?

No. "The other half of the story has to do with failures in intelligence and the political use of intelligence."

The column, by the way, is entitled "Who was to blame?".

Well, it's probably too much to expect even a nod from the Guardian in the direction of blaming terrorist acts on the people who commit them. But what is perhaps more incredible is the way in which Mr Garton-Ash dances around the elephant in the room: why on earth Western countries who perceive this sort of threat - this "extraordinarily difficult problem that was challenging every society in Europe" - should make no efforts to stem the tide of people coming to live in countries to whose freedom and liberal culture he believes a good number of them simply cannot reconcile themselves. All this stuff and nonsense about whether headscarves should be allowed in schools, whether more should have been done to alleviate Arab unemployment, misses out the most prosaic solution: less immigration of those who hope to move here from countries whose cultures and governments encourage them in their millions to despise Jews, Christians and liberty. It's like discussing a school bullying problem without even mentioning the possibility of excluding the class thug.

Now, I don't think Arabs or Muslims generally are in any way inevitably the equivalents of a class thug. But then unlike Mr Garton-Ash I don't think they have a genuine grievance against Western societies, either. I believe, and have seen with my own eyes, that almost anyone can be integrated into normal British society. Given low enough levels of immigration and high enough confidence in a common British culture, we can achieve that. But the impotent alternative attitude proposed in Garton-Ash's column seems to entail belief that we have no option but to accept millions who come here, irrespective of their attitude to our society, and alternate between making concessions to their demands and crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.

No sane person could believe it is better to see a 9/11 or worse attack on London or Birmingham than see an end to mass immigration to this crowded island. But by omission, Timothy Garton-Ash implies exactly this: that we must take our unprecedented migration levels for granted, and that any bombs that come with them must be accepted as part of the territory. Yes, these terrorist attacks can to be fought with intelligence networks and accommodations to terrorist sympathisers, but never by asking why, if in this war on terror we are in fact storing up trouble for ourselves by letting down the drawbridge to so many outsiders, some - some - of them with a loyalty that lies firmly with the Bin Ladens and Abu Hamzas of this world, we cannot examine this area of policy too.

Great Sites
Tory Party
Reading ...