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the Conservative Party must (and will) proudly lead the challenge against those who attack our long-cherished way of life and freedoms.

but they did not on 14th January, 1989 when Satanic Verses was burned in front of Bradford City Hall - the Home Secretary was Douglas Hurd and the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Nor did they when John Major promoted Stella Rimington to head MI5 for her work on infiltrating trades unions but not in taking on Muslim extremists

Melanie Phillips is right - these problems did not suddenly burst onto the scene after 1997 - they have been studiously ignored (and still are) by both political parties - Labour and Conservative and things will not change.


Brendan O'Neill's review worth a read - "Losing the plot".


What Melanie Philips shows is that appeasement is not the way to deal with the jihadists. TomTom complains about the Thatcher Govt's response to the Satanic Verses actions - I think that Mrs T was powerful in defence of free speech but that the responses of both the the FO & HO then and since have been poor.

Its difficult for a politician to defend freedom of speech, of thought against intoloerance. Pym Fortune, a gay man defending the Dutch tolerant society, was portrayed as a creature of the far right by the media for his active campaign against Islamic intolerance.

Blair's response has been a mix of appeasement and authoritarian laws. His government doesn't seem to recognise due process, freedom of speech etc. so cannot defend them. He gives important places in policy groups to self proclaimed community leaders, whose private thoughts & speeches show a degree of support to the base messages from the militants.

We must be clear that law abiding Muslims are as equal under the law and protected by due process as are other citizens but that those who support or use violence will be pursued and punished. The government recognises the danger of creating a large group of disenchanted muslims, attracted to violent jihad, but their approach is to appease not to confront.

I am coming more and more around to the Bill of Rights as this can place in centre of our constitution what our ancient liberties & cherished freedoms are. We need to have clarity on what we are fighting for and confront those who attack those proclaimed liberties.

Anyone who uses or advocates violence in pusuit of political ends, whether jihadis, animal lib, Sinn Fein/IRA etc. must be in no doubt that this is unacceptable and they will be dealt with, within the law, as enemies of those freedoms and punished. Those who are not citizens should be expelled.


The government recognises the danger of creating a large group of disenchanted muslims

I very much doubt you will.

If Law is applied impartially and in order to fight Crime and preserve Liberty it would please not only Muslim areas of inner cities bedevilled with crime and thuggery and drugs.

For every loudmouth on television there is a subpostmaster, a taxi-driver, a newsagent, a bus-driver, a nurse, a shop assistant - in fear of violent assault or armed robbery.

That is the reality which is not being addressed.

Sally Roberts

Excellent review! I read the book recently and agree with what you say 99% - Like Tom Tom I don't think that we in the Conservative Party are doing enough to meet the challenge.


Forget partisan alliance, this book is a simply a well constructed eye opener, I urge everyone to read and take serious reflection. Mistakes have been made in the past, Mrs Phillips confirms this, but we must stand strong, tackle the exremisim within and exercise our democratic right with knowledge, that this issue along with climate change is the biggest threat to 'Western' liberal democracy.

Patsy Sergeant

I agree with both TomTom and Ted. Thoughts come to mind when reading their posts.

1) When constructing the Bill of Rights, presumably the work will be done by the judiciary? But can one be sure that this government will not try to 'tinker' with it? After all -despite being over-loaded with lawyers- apparently some of the new laws seem to have many loopholes in them.

2) By appeasing extremists in the past, and perhaps using a Bill of Rights as a watershed, to institute a more positive approach to extremism, surely, initially all citizens would have to indicate positively, perhaps by signature that they were willing to accept it?

David Sergeant

I don't understand what goes through the mind of some contributers. E.g. Tom Tom: what could Thatcher have done other than what was done at the time? As for the Stella Rimmington bit - what a contortion to think of something critical.

My point is that instead of critisising the Conservative party with any old thoughts, perhaps a little studied discourse on real history would be a way forward.

Although, I just wonder if Tom Tom is saying what he thinks is in the mind of the public and the Tories should get their truth boots on.

Iain C

Beware the siren voices promoting a Bill of Rights.

For many of those who do, various other "rights" e.g the rights of gays, the rights of religious minorities, the right to work, the right to equality etc etc etc are more important than freedom of speech.

The opportunity would be taken to push back our classical liberal democratic rights which are already under fire, not to entrench them.


Melanie Phillips is a true British heroine. God Bless her.


I've just finished reading it - it's a good book, Phillips' analysis seems correct. Gramscian cultural Marxism (she doesn't use this term) has laid waste to the institutions of society, like AIDS it has destroyed the body's immune system. It doesn't itself kill the host but it enables opportunist infections like radical Islamism to move in and finish off the victim.
The book is a little repetitive in places, as with many journalistic works it often feels like an edited collection of essays rather than a single coherent tract. Phillips understandably emphasises the demonisation of Israel on the left and the threat from Islamism to Jewish people. It seems to me, and Phillips agrees, that the most immediate victims of Islamism's alliance with cultural Marxism are mainstream Muslims. Next, non-Muslim ethnic & religious minority groups, such as Hindus and Jews, and finally the general mass of the population. Responding strongly to the threat is thus as much or more about minority rights as majority rights; minorities are Islamism's most common victims.

Mission Impossible

I would agree with Mr. Simon Newman, it is indeed Gramsci inspired, Cultural Marxism that has laid waste to the institutions of British society. The Teacher Training Colleges in the 1970s were full of such creatures: an old school friend of mine withdrew from one such college in disgust at their propagandizing and indoctrination.

I am not so sure Cultural Marxism (following Gramsci's Long March theory) has destroyed the body's (i.e., Britain's) immune system; but it has certainly made rather a mess of them. Where there is a will, a way will be found. But, frankly, we truly need to become far more aggressive in our responses to such far-left activities, and their support for Radical Islam. These people are not normal. They are destroyers. You wouldn't tolerate termites laying waste to your home, so we should not tolerate Cultural Marxists, of the kind that dominate New Labour AND the European Union.

For an interesting read on the informal union between the Left and Islam I suggest you read David Horowitz's book: Unholy Alliance. It is published in America but is available via Amazon.


"But, frankly, we truly need to become far more aggressive in our responses to such far-left activities, and their support for Radical Islam"

One point Phillips makes is that it seems that part of the Tory party has become infected with the cultural-Marxist virus, presumably without fully understanding it. Peter Hitchens often universalises this and says that the Conservative party is indistinguishable from New Labour, I don't think that's true. Still, I think it's important to be able to recognise when people are thinking in a c-M framework and not to accept this as the only legitimate frame of debate. Unlike traditional totalitariam ideologies (Nazism, Communism) which have always struggled to advance themselves in the mostly-Protestant-tradition western countries, c-M uses our concern for individual liberties against us and has been particularly effective at infecting nations such as the UK, USA, Netherlands, it seems more than the Catholic and Orthodox nations which in the past were more vulnerable to Nazism & Communism. We tend to be a bit smug and over-secure that liberal pluralist democracy here is unchallengeable. The fact is, liberty and the rule of law are hard to achieve and easily lost. They certainly can be lost here as anywhere else.


I think Phillips is a bit optimistic in her assessment of the USA - that while c-M is active there and controls the mainstream media and most of the Universities, this is balanced by an active Right, hence the 'culture wars'. She contrasts this with the rout of traditional liberal values in the UK. The big problem with this though is that the active Right forces in the US such as the Dominionist Religious Right are largely anti-liberal; in fact the cultural Marxists pulled off a profound coup in the USA by effectively claiming the mantle of liberalism themselves, so successfully that real liberals in the USA are left with nowhere to go and almost no one speaking for them (except Arnie Schwarzenegger I guess). I was talking online with right-wing Americans about cultural Marxism - one said "I agree, but we better not call it cultural Marxism. That sounds crazy. Better call it cultural Liberalism".

*sigh* - By accepting this terminology, the liberal Right (and most Americans' values are broadly right-liberal in my experience) gives up the argument at the outset. Many neocons seem to deny the value of liberal pluralism with almost as much contempt as their cultural-Marxist adversaries. Some use similar language and tactics - and quite successfully too.

We Conservative liberals (which we almost all are, and Thatcher certainly was one) have to avoid these traps. We have to fight for liberty and refuse the frames of cultural Marxism and (should it ever arise here) the dangers of right-wing illiberalism likewise.


I thought this review was another good one:


I don't understand what goes through the mind of some contributers. E.g. Tom Tom: what could Thatcher have done other than what was done at the time?

Use The Public Order Act 1936, and 1986 to arrest those inciting public disorder. Charge them with Conspiracy.

Heinrich Heine had a nice line:
"Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people"

The laws of this land should be applied - we have many - the police do not enforce except in a highly political manner. Calling for an author to be put to death and burning his book in a public place is not and never has been an acceptable expression of opinion in this country but the failure of the Home Secretary and the Police to uphold the Public Order Acts showed abject surrender of the public arena to fanatics who went on to build their power bases and who are still growing stronger.

Sarkis Zeronian

As vt suggested above I read Brendan O'Neill's review in the New Statesman. In it he says:

"Phillips repeats the rumours that Mohammad Sidique Khan, the 30-year-old teaching assistant turned ringleader, had "links to an al-Qaeda fixer". But according to the government report, "there is no reliable intelligence or corroborative information to support [these claims]". Moreover, there is "as yet no firm evidence to corro-borate . . . the nature of al-Qaeda support, if there was any"."


Well the video presented on the anniversary of the London bombings, which admittedly came after the review was written, refutes that somewhat.

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