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Friday, July 23, 2004
'And the problem with this is ... ?'

If there's one clear effect 9/11 has had on British electioneering, it's the way it has opened up a new Dutch auction, particularly on the left, for Muslim votes. Dominic Wills went into some detail about this on Sunday, but the general picture is unmissable. While Labour attempts to ban criticism of Islam in the hope of appeasing senior Muslim leaders after Iraq, the Muslim Association of Britain - which advocates the execution of those who lose faith in Allah - is courted by everyone from Ken Livingstone to the Socialist Workers' Party, who in their new incarnation as RESPECT have discovered that the constituency for Islamism is far larger than that for communism. The Guardian's Jeremy Seabrook comments today on the response to this emergence of political Islam, and is impressively unimpressive.

Harry Hatchet recently noted, quite rightly, that the defenders of the left's new-found coziness with Islam have so far been entirely unable to justify this stance, except by arguing against points no one has made. Jeremy Seabrook continues this tradition with an article entirely devoid of a counter-argument, of a reason to believe the stance is correct. What is the point of producing a column brimming with opposing arguments like "liberals argue that being Muslim is quite unlike ethnicity because people are free to embrace religion or set it aside", which any reasonable observer would recognise as objectively true, if you aren't even going to attempt to rebut them? It seems that for Mr Seabrook, merely to write that a great many people are uneasy about Islam and about such alliances of convenience is enough to prove their concerns unfounded. I'll leave you to judge whether actually saying why their concerns are wrong is something he considers beneath him, or something quite above his capabilities.

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