Rupert Darwall is a director of Reform, the UK’s brightest think-tank. His brilliant WSJ Europe article last week on Blair’s response to the challenge of Islamic extremism in the UK is a must-read in its entirety, but here are some extracts:
” …In the immediate aftermath of 7/7, the country rallied behind Prime Minister Tony Blair as he spoke for the country in denouncing the terror. That is changing. After last Thursday’s attempt by four bombers to repeat the carnage of 7/7, Mr. Blair’s call from the safety of his security bubble for Londoners to defeat the terrorists by carrying on as normal sounded hollow. This is not the way to inspire confidence in his leadership of Britain’s fight against Islamic terrorism…”
“After the first London bombs, the Blair government announced that it would rush through legislation to suppress extremist Islamic preachers. Why did it take four bombers and the deaths of 52 innocent people before the Blair government decided to act? Foreign governments have voiced their suspicion that the British government tolerated Islamic extremism as long as the violence it preached was kept offshore. While Tony Blair is right to say that the Iraq war cannot justify the London attacks, it is also obvious that British participation in the Iraq war would increase the odds that Britain would be attacked. Compared to France and the U.S., Britain ended up with the worst policy combination of aggression abroad and appeasement at home. Having taken the country to war, the Blair government should have been better prepared and it should have foreseen from where the bombers were likely to come from. It is sometimes forgotten that President George W. Bush’s initial response to 9/11 was hesitant. After all, the president had suggested that Americans should adopt Arabs as pen pals as a way to take on the extremists. Only when, three days after the attacks, he shouted into that bullhorn on the ruins of the Twin Towers that the U.S. would hunt down those responsible did Mr. Bush make America confident in his ability to beat the terrorists. Mr. Blair is stuck in the pen pal phase. His response so far has been typical Blair. He has called Muslim leaders to No. 10. He has announced a conference to discuss Islamic extremism. He has made an impassioned speech denouncing Jihadist arguments as evil, saying they should be beaten — with arguments. Think about that for a moment. Would Winston Churchill have inspired Britain to fight on in the dark days of 1940 with a speech saying Nazism was an evil ideology that Britain would beat by engaging it in debate? “
“Indeed, the Blair government’s multicultural agenda, which deconstructs the idea of Britain as a nation into a “community of communities,” has ended up playing into the hands of the extremists. It rewards separateness and feeds the victim/grievance culture of Muslim activists and community representatives. It is dangerous because it delegitimizes social pressure on British Muslims to join the mainstream and supports a continuum of Muslim attitudes toward Britain — from neutrality through resentment and suspicion to hatred and hostility. “
Read the whole thing.