Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Melanie Phillips in The Spectator:
Weep for Britain: 1940 this is not
Tuesday, 27th July 2010
But even I did not foresee just how cynical Cameron would turn out to be -- and how dangerous therefore to the British national interest. Today’s truly shocking and quite astoundingly stupid speech in Turkey has now laid bare the fathomless shallowness and frightening ignorance and idiocy of Britain’s new Prime Minister.
Declaring himself a fervent supporter of Turkey’s bid to join the EU, Cameron declared that those who opposed this bid fell into one of three categories: protectionists; those who believed wrongly in a ‘clash of civilisations’ between east and west, whereas in fact
Astonishingly, Cameron thus totally ignored the fact that Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, is no secular Ataturk but an Islamic extremist; and as a result Turkey is changing from a secular state and strategic ally of the west into an Islamist tyranny and a new strategic enemy of the west. Here is what Turkish political economy professor Dani Rodrik wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal (£):
Into which category of prejudice would Cameron place the horrified Professor Rodrik – Turkish protectionist, Turkish culture warrior or Turkish Islamophobe?
Or what about the alliances Erdogan has been forging with Islamic terror regimes such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran – and not forgetting his warm overtures to Russia? Is this what Cameron regards as evidence that Turkey is playing the role of ‘great unifier’ between east and west?
Indeed, Cameron does not see Turkey’s recent meeting with Iran and Brazil as a sinister development. Instead he thinks it furnishes evidence that
Please will someone tell me that this is merely the Foreign and Commonwealth Office indulging its sardonic sense of humour?
Alas, clearly not. For on Cameron ploughed into the familiar terrain of Planet Appeasement. Out it came again, the British government line that Islam is a Religion of Peace and that those who are, er, trying to destroy the west are guilty of a
So maybe Cameron can enlighten us whether his hero Erdogan -- ally of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and who has himself vowed that
-- represents the ‘distorted’ version of Islam, or the ’religion of peace’?
Or perhaps he can tell us whether the Muslim Brotherhood, committed to taking over the non-Islamic and not-Islamic-enough domains through both mass murder and cultural conquest, and whose jurists and scholars are the pre-eminent religious authorities throughout the Islamic world, are propounding a ‘distorted’ version of Islam or the Religion of Peace?
It is of course Cameron himself who is distorting the reality of Islam. For he said:
This is just grotesque. Despite the fact that many ordinary Muslims want only to live in peace and prosperity, Islam is a religion of conquest. Its history – with some exceptions -- is overwhelmingly one of violent expansionism, a characteristic suppressed only by colonialism. For Cameron to ignore and even sanitise the persecution by Islam today of Christians, with the burning of churches, ethnic cleansing and killing or forced conversion of Christians across the developing world, is really quite obscene. Does Cameron really think that all these Muslims are peddling a ‘distorted’ version of their religion? (A propos, Christianity too has a history of violence since like Islam it is inherently committed to the conversion of unbelievers. Of the three religions, it is only Judaism which has never sought to convert anyone else and thus never posed a threat to other religious -- or anti-religious -- believers.)
But then, Cameron doesn’t even appear to understand the basis of the civilisation he is supposedly in office to help defend. For he said:
Does he really think that Europe's ‘values’ emerged in an act of spontaneous cultural generation? Does he really not grasp that core European ‘values’ – individual freedom, commitment to truth, duty to others, equality of all human beings and so forth – derived from the Bible, the cultural foundation-stone of western society?
Having run up the white flag to the jihad, Cameron then proceeded to deliver a viciously unjust kicking to Israel. It was against Israel -- the front line of the defence of the west against the Islamic onslaught – that Cameron suddenly ratcheted up the aggression:
Cameron did not condemn the flotilla, whose lead ship the Mavi Marmara was run by Turkish-backed terrorists who set out -- according to the evidence from their own mouths -- to commit an act of jihadi terrorist aggression against Israel.
He did not condemn those Turkish-backed terrorists on the Mavi Marmara who attempted to lynch and kidnap the Israeli commandos who boarded the boat and who employed no violence at all until they themselves were set upon.
He did not condemn the Turkish-backed terrorists on the Mavi Marmara who, I am reliably informed, slit open the stomach of one of those Israeli commandos and pulled out his guts before throwing him into the sea.
Instead he condemned the Israelis for defending themselves against this barbaric savagery. He backed this up by misrepresenting this self-defence as an attack -- even though the Israelis boarded the Mavi Marmara, as they did the rest of the flotilla with no untoward incident occurring, merely in order to escort it to an Israeli port to search its cargo for weapons.
Cameron then high-handedly declared that
Just who does he think he is? Mighty Mouse, or what?
And then Cameron attacked Israel over Gaza, which he called a ‘prison camp’. This is vile rhetoric, of the kind associated with those attempting to bring Israel down through a process of delegitimisation.
Why did Cameron ignore the evidence of the markets full of produce in Gaza, the restaurants, the Olympic-size swimming pool? Was this ignorance or malice? Why did he ignore the fact that Israel allows hundreds of tons of supplies across its border with Gaza every week?
Has Cameron even looked at a map? Does he not know that Egypt has a border with Gaza which it keeps far more tightly sealed than does Israel? If Gaza is a prison camp, why did he not condemn Egypt for making it so but singled out only Israel?
Why didn’t he condemn the severe travel restrictions on Palestinians imposed by Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon? Why didn’t he condemn Lebanon for denying Palestinians living there the right to own property, qualify for health care, or work in a large number of jobs? And while we’re asking, what about Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, who reportedly begged Obama not to lift the Gaza blockade? Why didn’t Cameron condemn him too for seeking to maintain Gaza as a ‘prison camp’?
Why did Cameron utter no word of condemnation of Hamas for its exterminatory rocket and human bomb attacks on Israelis? Or does he think that to condemn Hamas is also to show prejudice towards the Religion of Peace? Why, if he really thinks Gaza is a prison camp, did he make no condemnation of the Hamas for throwing Gazans off the tops of buildings, using Gazan civilians as human shields and burning their children’s holiday camps down to the ground?
I have said it before: Israel is the litmus test of decency in political discourse. Those who attack Israel are invariably on the wrong side of the global fight to defend civilisation against its destroyers. Not just because of Israel’s place on the geopolitical map. It is because the animus against Israel is based on a wholesale repudiation of reason and the embrace instead of irrationality, bigotry, lies and moral inversion. Defence becomes attack, victim becomes victimiser, right becomes wrong; and vice versa. It is the deranged discourse of Islamic fanaticism and of the Israel-bashing left that marches beneath its black banners. And now it is Cameron’s discourse too.
It is astounding to hear a Conservative Prime Minister mouth such infantile leftism. If it weren’t for Obama’s example, it would be unbelievable that any serious politician could spout such drivel. But here surely is the key to all this. Recently, Cameron declared that Britain was
In 1940, of course, America had not yet even entered the war and Britain alone held fascism at bay. So how could Cameron have said something so unbelievably ignorant? Can he really be that stupid?
Hardly, with his Etonian schooling and Oxford First. This was surely not stupidity but cynical callowness of the most extreme and disturbing kind. He wanted to suck up to Obama – and he was prepared even to traduce his own country to do so, by misrepresenting its most iconic and heroic moment of modern times.
I would guess that something similar was at work in his Turkish speech. He doesn’t care about upholding truth over lies, justice over injustice, right over wrong; he will play to any populist gallery. And the appeasement of Islamic aggression and the corresponding demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel play to the ugly mood of bigotry and ignorance now rampant in Britain. As the UK Titanic steadily goes down, Cameron is now on the bridge choosing to conduct the orchestra of hate.
For let’s get this clear: Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister has lauded a Turkish Islamist regime which sponsored an act of terrorism which came close to a declaration of war, while he condemned its victims for defending themselves against the attack. And this from the leader of a country which itself is the Islamists’ principal target and recruiting ground in the west. Far from defending Britain and the west, Cameron is on his knees to their enemies while unleashing the furies upon their strategic ally.
And those furies are raging at home too. As I have previously observed, there is now in Britain a pre-pogrom atmosphere against Israel. Never mind the Guardian -- just look at the comments on Conservative Home to see the hideous face of British bigotry, a hysteria that Cameron’s inflammatory remarks will have done much to stoke even further.
1940 this most definitely is not. Weep for Britain. It has just become even more unsafe – and British politics a lot more disgusting.
Posted on 07/27/2010 10:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
27 Jul 2010
"So how could Cameron have said something so unbelievably ignorant? Can he really be that stupid? Hardly, with his Etonian schooling and Oxford First. This was surely not stupidity but cynical callowness of the most extreme and disturbing kind."
Here she is wrong. Why be impressed for one minute with "Etonian schooling" and -- still more comical -- an "Oxford First"? Nowadays these are guarantees of nothing -- if they ever were (and I suspect that, once upon a time, they were). As Oswyn Murray once told a friend of mine, "if you don't get a first it's because the examiners are too stupid to recognize your worth." And the same examiners may be too stupid not to recognize the un-worth of those to whom, such as permanently callow Master Cameron, firsts are given. This isn't the Cambridge Tripos, circa 1895, you know. We are talking about English schools and universities during the last few decades, during the Great Degringolade.
And the same is true of graudates of Exeter and Andover, Harvard and Yale, and with summas too, now passed out like confetti, the same way that A's are in the brilliant age of Teacher Evaluations that have turned too many sober pedagogues into vulgar and eager pleasers, and what easier way to please than to be known for, and then to deliver, inflated grades.
He's clearly a twit, and when he and Clegg are photographed together, looking like identical Stepford Politicians, same fabric and same cut of same suit, same shirt, same tie, same posture, same blank expression expressing -- well, what do Cameron's and Clegg's faces express? -- it's strange, it's something from a dystopia in the near future, and I suppose that near future is now.
Otherwise, the article is exactly what is needed. And those who supported Cameron because the Conservatives would "set things right" perhaps allowed themselves to be too easily satisfied.
How does it go, in Great Britain? Can you somehow vote out your leader but keep the Party in power with a different leader, one not so dangerously ignorant of islam? How does it work in Great Britain? Wasn't that the place some Russian described as a puzzle wrapped in an enigma? And what's the Test of the Pyx, and Swan-Upping, anyway?
27 Jul 2010
No, Hugh, you are wrong. An Oxford (or Cambridge) First is what it always was, even though A-levels have been dumbed down. The British state schools are abysmal, thanks to the demise of the grammar school system, but the public (that is fee-paying) schools are as rigorous as ever.
Stick to your last, as you might say. You do not know as much about Britain as you think you do.
Cameron is by no means stupid. That makes it worse.
28 Jul 2010
And Rod Liddle in 'The Spectator' blog has this on Cameron and Islam:
"Does the Prime Minister understand the 'Real Islam'?"
28 Jul 2010
You mean if I know not one, but several people, who obtained Firsts at Oxford and they fail to impress (and I can imagine Cameron at Oxford, imagine his tutors, imagine his perfectly conventional mind offering up exactly what was wanted), are no more impressive than many of those who obtain summas at America's most famous universities, I am not entitled to conclude that a First at Oxford -- outside sciences -- is not necessarily a guarantee of anything? I am to deny the evidence of my senses? Why?
28 Jul 2010
I know not one, but several people, who obtained Firsts at Oxford? and they fail to impress
But you tend to be impressed by people who think as you do. And there are plenty of clever people who don't.
Also, someone can be very clever at one subject and very stupid in other ways. I remember a first class mathemetician who read only comics and was quite ignorant outside his field.
I think you are wrong. The standard of degrees has not fallen - perhaps it was always too low to impress you - but what has happened is that fewer state school pupils are getting into the top universities because state schools have dumbed down.
By the way, I notice that you make an exception for the sciences. What about classics or Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic? What about geography or law? Just wondering. And what if someone gets a first in Chemistry but doesn't believe in global warming? Are they stupid or not?
28 Jul 2010
Cameron is a victim of his own education. The humanities faculties are now mostly worthless, churning out individuals filled with leftist ideological prejudices that completely distort perceptions of reality as Cameron's comments prove.
Cameron's naivté represents a very real threat to the UK's national interests, especially in the longterm. To judge by his comments and his unqualified support for turkish entry into the EU, I doubt he'd have many objections to even greater levels of muslim immigration.
The man is the pure product of 60s social/ideological engineering that has infused everything with moral relativism; he hasn't any moral/ethical grounding, and he cannot, thus, distinguish between right and wrong.
For him, Britian, British values, traditions and customs are all alien.
28 Jul 2010
And Clegg is even worse.
There is more conservatism in the congenital socialists of France and Germany than in the UK.
As to the worth of the imprimatur dispensed by universities, it's an interesting question whether it has declined or simply never was as reputed. It was only when Newton was isolated from the herd at Cambridge closed by the plague that he brought forth the Principia.
28 Jul 2010
Supplement from Melanie Phillips re- Cameron on Turkey (and Cyprus)