Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tony Blair can talk the talk but can he walk the walk?

Yesterday, Tony Blair spoke very eloquently, vowing not to "give an inch" to terrorism. It was a rousing speech, and one likely to win much praise on the other side of the atlantic. However, it appears that a lot of Americans are beginning to see through the rhetoric.

A recent article in the Weekly Standard, shows just how disenchanted American conservatives are becoming with Blair. Entitled, "Letter from Londinistan", it describes how Britain behaves as though it's pre 9/11:

British culture now dictates a confused response to terrorists. Start with the unwillingness of the majority of the British people to recognize that they are indeed in a war....Britain has insisted on applying the law and procedures of the criminal justice system to terrorists. The entire panoply of legal procedures that prevent detention, deportation, and arrest of Muslim clerics calling for the blood of Britain's infidels is available to the as-many-as 3,000 terrorists whom the authorities estimate live in Britain, many trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or with actual battle experience in Iraq. Whatever rights U.K. law doesn't confer are available to the fledgling jihadists as a result of Blair's decision to sign on to Europe's Human Rights Act. Britain makes available to terrorists and preachers of mayhem, often at government expense, an entire industry of human rights lawyers and support groups. These resources will remain available to those who challenge the new powers the government will seek to curb the preaching of violence.

It attacks Britain's Immigation policy:
The consequences of this equation of multiculturalism with the virtue of tolerance began with a refusal of the Blair government to get control of Britain's borders. As a result, there are hundreds of thousands--no one, including the government, knows for sure just how many--of illegal immigrants roaming around Britain. And many of these are not at all like the Mexicans who come to America to find work. They are attracted by the generous welfare payments to which they seem to have immediate and unrestricted access, and in many cases by the freedom to preach jihad.

It attacks the Human Rights Act:
More important to radical Muslims is the unwillingness of the Blair government to extradite illegal immigrants and terrorists who are wanted by the authorities in their home countries. London is known in international security circles as Londonistan because of the haven it offers international terrorists--men who in some instances entered Britain illegally but cannot be deported because the Human Rights Act prohibits extraditing wanted criminals if they might be treated harshly in their home countries.

And it attacks Britain's multicultural mentality combined with it's failure to integrate Muslims with their host country:
... continued belief in multiculturalism by the elites suits many Muslims just fine. Unlike immigrants who come to America in pursuit of the American dream, many Muslims come to Britain and other European countries determined not to assimilate into cultures they despise. They insist that neither British food is served, nor traditional British tolerance practiced, in the schools their children attend, demands the authorities find reasonable. Many of those children, unlike first-generation Americans, hold to their traditional ways with greater tenacity than their parents. This is especially true of young Muslim men eager to maintain their traditional dominance over women, a role threatened by the fact that Muslim girls are outperforming boys in school and in the workplace.

A time bomb has been ticking away for some time now and Blair has failed to act. His problem has been his desire to be all things to all people: He wants to be tough on terrorism so he sends troops to Iraq, he wants to be humane with criminals so he signs up to the Human Rights Act. In his desire to promote multiculturalism, he is unwilling crack down on failed asylum seekers, and in a bid to be seen as tolerant, he allows Islamic extremists to enter Britain.

Blairism has always been a paradox, a belief that you can somehow combine the best of liberalism and conservatism. It was always bound to end in tears, the result being that no one on either the left or right is entirely sure of what he believes in. To put things in perspective, if Americans had a leader like Blair, they would end up with a President supportive of gay marriage whilst simultaneously trying to outlaw abortion.

There will soon be a golden opporunity for Blair to show everyone what he actually stands for. The extremist cleric Yusuf Qaradawi (who in the has past praised suicide bombings and condoned wife beating) is due to attend a conference in the UK in August. Blair can prove to everyone that "he won't give in inch" by refusing this hatemonger entry. If he fails to act, he will have proved that nothing has changed. If Blair's past record is anything to go by, I am sceptical.

There are a lot of Americans who wish their President could express himself as eloquently as Blair. I on the other hand envy the Americans for having a President who has the courage to act on his words!