These tensions must not be allowed to grow, especially when collapsing party allegiances could create space for Right-wing populism. Responsible politicians must accomplish a difficult double manoeuvre. On the one hand, they should resist the anti-Muslim dog whistle that Phil Woolas allowed to be blown on his behalf. The Front National is not an appropriate model for a political party in a country whose heritage, unlike that of France, is explicitly Christian and tolerant. We trust that Mr Farage will repel Miss Le Pen's advances. On the other hand, the Government needs to start dismantling an Islamisation that threatens the freedoms of ordinary Britons – including Muslims who are confined to ghettos that can be difficult to leave, especially for women.
In the long run, halting this erosion of freedom may prove just as important a challenge for the Coalition as easing the pain of cuts. Few subjects are more difficult to discuss without causing offence. Even so, this particular conversation is long overdue.
Three quibbles. First, who cares about "causing offence" to Muslims? It is misplaced concern for Muslim offence - even when, as with Christmas and piggy banks, none is taken - that got us into this mess in the first place. Second, what is "right-wing populism"? Is supporting the rights of women and homosexuals, rights which Islam would destroy, now right-wing? Finally, there is this word "conversation" - can we stop talking about it?