Friday, February 17, 2006

And they call the Tories the nasty party?!

There is an excellent piece by Nick Hume in today's Times which demonstrates how many in the Labour party are more interested in infighting and in obsolete ideas than remaining in power.

With each week that goes by, Labour resembles more and more the party that it used to be when Michael Foot was leader. I voted for Blair in 1997 because I thought his party had finally grown up. It seems I was wrong.

Finally, the Tories have an original policy

Congratulations or in order. The Tories are finally differentiating themselves from Labour. Whilst the Government has continued to rule out military action as an option against Iran, Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary has criticised this stance:

“Frederick the Great once observed that diplomacy without arms was like music without instruments. We must keep all options open if we are to stand any chance of a diplomatic solution to the Iranian crisis.”

I couldn't have put it better.

A storm in Sydney

Over in Australia, a storm has been brewing over the comments made by Danna Vale, Liberal MP for Sydney.

Danna Vale was criticised after saying this week that Australia was aborting itself out of existence and could become a Muslim nation within 50 years. I haven't managed to find the full text of her speech, but it raises some interesting questions for Europe.

Europeans are having fewer children, are ageing rapidly, and their population is shinking. Europe also has a large and growing Muslim population, much of it under the leadership of religious extremists who have no interest in liberalism, freedom of expression, or religious tolerance (where other religions are concerned). What Danna Vale predicted is already the case in parts of the Netherlands.

Europeans should know better than anyone about the consequences of religion becoming a political force. Christianity may be rather harmless today, but it once ruled Europe with an iron fist, and slaughtered millions in the most cruel and barbaric way.

There's clearly a lesson to be learnt. But Europeans are too concerned with "sensitivity" to take any notice.

We don't need new laws to prosecute those who glorify terror

Tony Blair's desire to prosecute those who glorify terror is well intentioned, but good intentions don't necessarily make good laws.

I'm all for cracking down on the hatemongers in our society, but what's the point of introducing new laws when we can't be bothered to enforce the existing ones? Abu Hamza could have been prosecuted six years ago had the authorities decided to act. And two weeks after public demonstrators in central London called for the beheading of those who insult Islam, the police have arrested no one.

The new law on glorifying terror bears all the hallmarks of gesture politics. The Government wants to demonstrate to an uneasy public that it has woken up to the threat, but the extremists will carry on as before. They know better than anyone that actions speak louder than words.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why has it been left to conservatives to defend liberal values?

The extraordinary thing about the recent events surrounding the Danish cartoons is that it has been left to political conservatives to defend the liberal values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Publications like the Weekly Standard, National Review and the Daily Telegraph have had no trouble in articulating that our freedom is under threat. By contrast, the liberal media have by and large preferred to defend the values of "multiculturalism" above those of freedom of expression. The honourable exception has been Nick Cohen in The Observer. This isn't the first time the left have backed the wrong horse. During the 1980s they were condemning Ronald Reagan for his recklessness in confronting communism.

At times of crisis such as this, we need to think long and about the values we stand for. It has taken us hundreds of years to win the freedoms we now take for granted. But as Victor Davis Hanson warns, what took centuries to acquire can be lost in a generation.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ann Summers and the blasphemous blow up doll

Ann Summers has now become the latest target for the Islamist police. The Muslim Association have asked them to change the name of their blow up doll "Mustafa Shag" to something less offensive. You can be sure that by this time next week, Jack Straw and the State Department will be issuing statements condemning newspapers for publishing images of the offending doll, meanwhile Ann Summers sales will hit the roof!

There's no better way to promote something than by seeking to ban it. I'm told that the Satanic Verses is an extremely boring book, but the outcry surrounding its publication did more for its sales than any rave reviews would have done. You have to ask yourself, have the Muslim Association nothing better to do than visit porn shops? Before today, I would never have associated with Mohammed with a blow up doll.

As with the case of the Danish cartoons, this has less to do with blasphemy and more to do with manufacturing a confrontation. As John O'Sullivan writes (regarding the Danish cartoons) in the National Review:

"Vile though it is, this trickery by radical Islamists at least demonstrates the uselessness of appeasing their demands for censorship. If they are granted, our concessions will merely be the springboard for a further attack on Western liberty. And if we disobligingly refuse to furnish them with a pretext, the Islamists will manufacture one as Hitler used to manufacture border incidents in order to justify his planned aggressions. So we might as well fight in the first ditch rather than the last".

Some may look at the Ann Summers affair with amusement, I see it as another ominous sign of our freedoms being chipped away.