ConservativeHome spoke to Michael Gove MP earlier today about yesterday's foiled terror plot. The author of Celsius 7/7 - 'How the West's policy of appeasement has provoked yet more fundamentalist terror' - believes that yesterday's events leave no room for Britons to continue to deny the reality of the war on terror. In our conversation he outlined three key issues that we all need to face up to and I've enlarged on each below...
No denying that we face serious threats: There are still some conspiracy crazies who think that yesterday and other incidents are all get-ups by the authorities. Mr Eugenides exposed some of those 'moonbats' on his blog [worryingly Guido shows signs of joining the crazies this morning] but the war is all too real and the stakes are high. Mr Eugenides links to Carpsio who clearly understands what we are faced with:
"This isn't a parlour game. The Islamofascists don't really care if you watch Rory Bremner or smirk every time John Reid opens his mouth. This isn't fiction. We are not in some Chomskonian fantasy where the bad guys work in a government office. This is a war. A war between a medievalist, fascist death cult whose values include the hanging of homosexuals, the murder of adulterers and the forced subjugation of women. If you think Blair is bad, then picture what Ahmadinejad will do to your student bedsit. Or your organic allotment. All your gay friends? Forget them. That funny T-shirt with the swearing on? Burnt...."
As I posted yesterday: the world has always been populated with evil men - the reality today is the access they have to devastating and portable weapons technologies.
No denying that there is a serious internal threat: Who was arrested yesterday? 24 British Muslims. We have a major internal problem with many of our fellow citizens hating their own country enough to become suicide bombers against it. Today is not the time to discuss the many things that need to be done to start addressing this problem but top of the list must be a radical reappraisal of how Government relates to Britain's Muslims (most of whom are law-abiding and as outraged by yesterday as the rest of the country). As Martin Bright and Michael Gove have written: Labour is talking to the more extreme representatives of Britain's Muslims - ignoring moderate voices like the Sufi Muslim Council. Gove:
"In the struggle against extremism the British State has failed to tackle the underlying ideological currents that favour Islamism. Organisations such as the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), whose members have shown sympathy for extremist positions, are rarely challenged, and certainly not publicly by the Government or its agencies. For moderate Muslims the picture is dispiriting. They see the most religiously conservative and politically provocative groupings enjoy the lion’s share of attention and they wonder how serious the British State is about countering extremism. How can they convince young men within their community that the path of moderation brings respect and a voice in the nation’s deliberations when the most influential voices are seen to belong to those with radical agendas?"
Tony Blair is in danger of repeating exactly the same mistakes that he made with Sinn Fein and the SDLP. The Northern Ireland peace/ appeasement process empowered Sinn Fein by constant Government pandering to Gerry Adams.
No denying that the threat pre-dated the Iraq campaign: A case can be made, of course, for saying that the mishandling of the invasion of Iraq has exacerbated Muslim anger. What cannot be argued, however, is that the Iraq campaign began the radicalisation. Gerard Baker has another go at squashing this idea in The Times:
"It is repetitive but necessary to point out that we didn’t start this war when we invaded Iraq. The attacks on 9/11 were planned not only before we invaded, but during a time when the US was expending extraordinary effort to try to forge a lasting settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. And if our actions have radicalised the jihadists we should remember that they are animated at least as much by our ridding Afghanistan of their spiritual brethren, the Taleban, as they are by whatever crimes the US may have committed in Baghdad."