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"The primary election for the Tory London mayoral candidate could be an opportunity for a net-based campaign to choose an anti-establishment candidate. I am going to start giving this some serious thought..."

Surely any 'anti-establishment candidate' by definition, would stand as an independent or at least they would not stand for Labour or the Tories?

Not necessarily. Not necessarily. Ned Lamont certainly was a Democrat and Reagan was an anti-establishment candidate from within the GOP.

You are wrong about how it will affect Hillary Clinton.

Liberman is unusual in the Democratic party. During Clinton's impeachment hearings, which were intensely partisan over the non-crime of having an affair with a consenting adult (think John Major!), Liberman priggishly denounced Clinton on the floor of the house. I think his thought was that Clinton would be impeached and he might as well make political capital by being seen to be on the right side.

Of course the impeachment didn't quite happen. And Dems were infuriated with his lack of loyalty, as were the Clintons. Liberman has gone because he has put himself once too often before the needs of his party. I think Republicans would have reacted the same way if the roles were reversed, as would any political party. This staggering level of disloyalty usually turns people's stomach's.

Therefore not sure you can extrapolate to British politics (unless there is another case of similar disloyalty).


Lots of interesting stuff in this post, although I think you may need to separate it into the Foreign Policy threads & the Mayoralty threads, otherwise we might get very confused (Warwick Lightfoot for Shadow Foreign Sec!).


I am looking forward to seeing you elaborate on your thoughts as they develop...

Livingstone was the ultimate anti-establishment candidate from the left. That's still an important part of his persona. What would a Conservative anti-establishment candidate look like? Nick Ferrari?

To some extent Steve Norris ran against his party rather than with it - although it's arguable that ploy backfired because, if memory serves, he received fewer votes than the collective total for the Assembly canddiates.

What is the London establishment - or the London Conservative establishment - that the candidate would be running against?

Yours from the East Midlands.

Hmm, but the 'establishment' (of Labour and the Tories) took us to war with Iraq against overwhelming public opposition. How could any 'anti-establishment' candidate hope to capitalise on the anti-war feeling within either of those two parties?

I just can't see why any 'rebel in the pack' would seek to stand for the Tories, as they are not even offering financial support, are pushing to secure the establishment even further with the extension to state funding, so there seems to be all the downsides of being tied to the Tories, with little upside.

Of course I think Nick Ferrari should stand for UKIP, so I hope UKIP can sort out the financial support for his bid to facilitate this. :-)

Point being, Chad - would an anti-war stance be decisive for a Mayoralty candidate, or would s/he need to win on the vision for London? What are anti-establishment policies for London?

Hi Simon,

I completely agree, I see it a part of ticking all the boxes in hoping to beat Ken rather than the issue in itself.

I'd say any rival to Ken needs everything running in their favour over which anti-war sentiment is still an issue as we have just seen in the US.

My point is, I can't see why such a candidate would gain by standing as a Tory.

This is the Democrats imploding over their angst concerning Iraq. No-one seems to have a viable position, as SIG's proliferate. What US politics require is a Non-SIG Proliferation Treaty to keep politics onto central and safe ground.

Being pro-war & pro-Israeli, I hope your analysis is wrong Chad & that it would be possible to beat Livingstone regardless of views on foreign policy. A mayoral campaign fought on the war would be pure displacement.

I would hope that the Mayoralty can be won on the vision for London. That would include cleaning up the Mayoralty - Livingstone's comments to the Evening Standard reporter, for example, were a disgrace.

I guess my main question is for Tim - I would like to understand what he thinks a Conservative anti-establishment candidate would look like. Particularly bearing in mind that, as Peter Oborne pointed out in the Standard this week, the party doesn't seem to be saying very much about London at all at the moment - whether on crime, Crossrail or anything else.

Surely being "anti-establishment" means being an independent in a way in which candidates for public office usually are not? To run for mayor a candidate must build their own platform, run their campaign and raise their own money. Rather than being picked by a party hierarchy, they should be picked by an open primary. If all these things are done, surely the candidate would therefore be independent and anti establishment?

In my mind the first thing any candidate should say is that the war has nothing to do with the running of London. Anyone campaigning or using the issue as a campaign issue is therefore detracting from the point of the entire exercise. I look forward to the evisceration of the Respect candidate, whoever that is....

Forgive my musings aloud on this, which may cause the odd self-contradiction, like this one:

On further reflection, Henry, given London's vulnerability as a target in the War on Terror, and the Mayor's role in relation to policing, London's security has to come into the mayoral election. It would be depressing, though, if Londoners believed that they would be ensuring their security by picking an anti-war candidate.

I'm sorry but the war has a lot to do with the London mayoral campaign - remember 7/7?

Tories in the shires were perplexed at our support for an illegal invasion and depressed at the risible faith shown by the party (especially under IDS) in the WMD claims. Opposing the war should have been a political no-brainer from the start, especially for an opposition party at 31% in the polls (if it had gone well Blair would have had all the credit anyway, but in the event that it was a strategic disaster, HM opposition would have appeared foresightful and in tune with the doubts of the voting public). The Tory failure to hold Blair to account over Iraq is one of the key reasons behind increasing disillusionment in politics and the increased support for the posturing Lib Dems in 2005.

Our alliance with the US over Iraq and Afghanistan has made London a target in a way that it never would have been. We have gained nothing but the contempt of the wider international world and we have spent billions and shed the blood of British soldiers for nothing.

It is depressing that the pragmatic Powellite approach to foreign policy (suspicious of the EU AND of the USA) has been all but forgotten on the Tory right. It's a shame that the Tory neo-cons have forgotten these prophetic words in a 1967 speech:

'In our imagination the vanishing last vestiges... of Britain's once vast Indian Empire have transformed themselves into a peacekeeping role on which the sun never sets. Under God's good Providence and in partnership with the United States, we keep the peace of the world and rush hither and thither containing Communism, putting out brush fires and coping with subversion. It is difficult to describe, without using terms derived from psychiatry, a notion having so few points of contact with reality.'

I don't think Lieberman is popular enough to get on the Vice President ticket again, for either party.

Yes Simon,

I note that even though Spaniards elected a Socialist Government following the Madrid bombings - A government that then went on to pull troops out of Iraq, this has not stopped Al-Zawahiri including Spain in the plans for a new caliphate in recent comments.

Weakness in the face of terror invites worse. That siad, we must though broaden the war on terror from its military focus and be more successful in isolating radical jihadists from mainstream Moslem opinion.

Of course the easier way to understand eg Lieberman's defeat is - people like Tim, IDS &c were, are and will continue to be, it sadly appears, utterly wrong about Iraq. 'The people', cf. their settled opinion of that war, its genesis and aftermath, are wrong so much less than pontificators care to admit. Iraq was a mistake, it hasn't worked, and would-be polticos who, contrary to all the available evidence, insist on saying otherwise to the voters are more foolish even than Bennites urging more socialism after 1983 were.

Cynic indeed.

This is the very definition of a phyrric victory for left-wing Democrats.

'Weakness in the face of terror invites worse'...

The point is, Adrian old bean, that we weren't 'in the face of terror' at all before we joined in the invasion of Iraq, a country which posed no threat whatsoever to the UK.

I agree strongly with Porker @ 12.15:
"Tories in the shires were perplexed at our support for an illegal invasion and depressed at the risible faith shown by the party (especially under IDS) in the WMD claims. Opposing the war should have been a political no-brainer from the start,..".
Given the warnings from Robin Cook and others, the findings (or rather non-findings) of Hans Blix, the concerns of leading generals about the legitimacy of the war, how - admittedly in retrospect - did we ever allow Blair to go along with this adventure?
What we have never learned is exactly what the differences were in the wording between the first intelligence briefing and the second "sexed up" version; which version did IDS see?

Whoever we select to be our candidate for London - a multi-ethnic community - MUST be anti-war both Iraq and Lebanon.

Otherwise we may as well give up altogether.

"A government that then went on to pull troops out of Iraq, this has not stopped Al-Zawahiri including Spain in the plans for a new caliphate in recent comments.

Weakness in the face of terror invites worse."

So, support for the war puts us on the Al-Qaeda's death-list, and being anti-war puts us on the death-list. How is being anti-war "worse"?

In fact the anti-war option doesn't make wider more moderate muslims hate us, it doesn't waste British blood and treasure on exciting (but pointless) adventures in the desert, and it might have won the Tory Party the 2005 election.

I was in Hyde Park on Saturday for a family picnic. As we passed the anti-war demonstration I saw a woman carrying a breath-taking poster. It said "WE ARE ALL HEZBOLLAH NOW".

Of course we are not - and all 4 of the above posters from Porker at 1249 (interesting pseudonym - does it imply pig- or fat-headedness? :)) to Jon Gale at 1327 would I am certain dissociate themselves from that anti-war poster. However, they have not grasped the level of threat against the West as a whole - go read Michael Gove's Celsisus 7/7 for a better-informed case than I can put.

The onus on the anti-war camp is to explain why the continuation of Saddam Hussain in power was a better option, and how they would confront Hezbollah and other extremists whose goal is the end of Western freedom & democracy.

Clearly an anti-establishment Conservative would be someone like Ivan Massow, who defected to Labour, but then (I believe) defected back again. But an anti-establishment candidate would, by definition, be a loose canon.

Lieberman's defection to an independent ticket will be a building block for a Republican victory in 2008, led (probably) by Senator McCain.

To Simon Chapman at 14:07:

Au contraire it is you neo-cons who are 'pig-headed' in your dangerous prosecution of the chimerical 'war on terror' and your failure to admit that our cack-handed intervention in Iraq has destabilized the region and actually created dangerous openings for Iran. Your rabid over-reaction when anyone (e.g. William Hague) questions Israel's short-sighted heavy-handedness in very measured and friendly terms is also very revealing of a lack of thought.

As Andrew Sullivan, Matthew Parris and others have noted, there is something profoundly un-conservative (in a Burkean or Oakeshottian sense) in the swivel-eyed fantasies of the neo-cons (in this country Gove is chief among them). Of course none of us would subscribe to the Hezbollah slogan either, but the fact that you yourself attempt to present it as a dichotomy (pro-Israel vs. pro-Hezbollah, with us or against us, the West vs. Islam) shows how far down the road to lunacy you already are.

Conservative realists believe in a thing called 'the national self-interest' and believe that British political leaders should always have this at the front of their minds. It is very dangerous blindly to adopt the policy of supporting the foreign policy of the USA come what may, not least because it causes the US itself to take us for granted (Yo, Blair!) as well as making us international pariahs and weakening the reputation of the UK with the wider world.

As for my moniker it's from Horace (who called himself 'a porker from the herd of Epicurus'). As well as being a lyric genius, Horace was deeply interested in philosophy (Epistles Book One) and the problems of power and how to behave around the powerful. He was also a pragmatist (hence his claim that he pledged allegiance to no particular philosophical school of thought - the Epicurus quote is playing around with this). You would do well to read him (preferably in Latin)!

No Porker et al, sorry but you, and all those like you who try to perpetuate the left wing myth that the war being waged against the capitalist west is all our own fault, are just plain wrong. The collapse of communism left a power vacuum in much of the world into which the adherants of violent Islamofacism gladly stepped. They have been attacking our interests since the '80's and nothing that we have done or not done will have made much difference to attacks against us except perhaps for their timing. I would remind you that 9/11, the attack on the USS Cole and on diplomatic facilities in Africa all happened well before the invasion of Iraq.It is an easy knee jerk reaction to claim that without our support for the US we wouldn't have been subject to the terrorism of July last year but it is also entirely unsupported by the facts, only by the Independent.

Can we drop this nonsense that "Burkean" conservatives are opposed to the war on terror? People should try reading what he wrote about "regicide peace" and fighting a war against a system which is not prepared to co-exist with others. Burke would have been with Rumsfeld.

'Islamofascism', Matt, must be a contender for the stupidest non-word of the decade. Always a sure sign that thought is absent whenever it is used, but hey, let's waste time by pretending it means anything. So, do Islamacists, who we will pretend are 'Islamofascists': A). believe in any form of nationalism? No. Or, B). are they racialists? No, believing as they do that all should be Muslims, not that only an elect are capable of redemption. Or possibly C). do they have pronounced inclinations towards secularist crypto-paganism? Nope. Maybe they, D). subscribe to a ragbag of views concerning eugenics, Social Darwinism, corporatism and statolatry? Again, no. Well then, E.) do 'Islamofascists' exalt youth over age, engage in personality cults about non-divine inviduals, and, posit temporal virtue as life's ultimate reward? If you knew your enemy, you'd know he bloody well doesn't.

They're 'a threat', roughly on a par with the threat from bird flu, computers from the future starting wars, or, the possibility that mobile phones will be proven, 20 years from now, to have caused mass sterility. They are not a threat, to us, comparable to, oh, the Nazis c. August 1940. Quite how pathetic are they? They ran Afghanistan, and now they don't, and, er, that's it. Anyone silly enough to believe that Islamacists, and, the cautious, frightened old clerics who presently run Iran, are two terms with one meaning, is, I'd have to suggest, very silly. But even if you give them Iran, er, that really is it. One 3rd world hydrocarbon producer state at your disposal, versus, the rest of the world. I'm imagining that the spread on that bet will tilt to one side.

Burkean Conservatives would certainly have recognised the threat which radical Islam poses to the West. They might not have supported the strategy being used to defeat it.


Why don't you take us through what you say Islamacists do believe as well as what they don't?


It's lovely to see you applaud a measured approach & then characterise those who disagree with you as "rabid" with "swivel-eyed fantasies" and "far down the road to lunacy".

But the serious point you raise is: where do our national interests lie? It is precisely those pragmatic short-term alliances with "our bastards" that have contributed to the threat that we now face.

Our long-term national interest now lies in promoting free institutions, democracy, freedom of contract and the rule of law throughout the globe. Without establishing those, & winning the battle of ideas & values our physical, economic, trading and energy security will remain under clear & present threat.

I do agree with you that the post-Sadaam strategy in Iraq has been implemented in a cack-handed way. But as I posted on another thread last week, a good idea can be carried out badly, yet still be a good idea.

Re Matt Davis 15:31

Your stupidity and inflammatory rhetoric is depressingly predictable ; you mention no hits on British interests prior to Iraq. Moreover, it is not as if Saddam had anything to do with Al Qaeda.

We have made ourselves a terrorist target by our foolish alignment with a neo-con chimpanzee and our illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign country. Your rant about a 'war being waged against the capitalist west' is garbage I'm afraid and a silly call to arms. When mainland Britain was subjected to a sustained campaign of IRA bombings in the 1970s, I didn't see the US rushing to help us, quite the reverse (the naive idiots gave millions of dollars to the IRA via Noraid).

This is certainly not a 'Right' or 'Left' thing either; you only have to look at Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen and the 'Euston Manifesto' lot to see that. The problem is that the neo-con position tries to claim that anyone who adopts a more moderate view on the middle east is a raving mad mullah or anti-Semite. The world isn't as simple as that I'm afraid, and in the end the neo-cons will do great damage to their cause by their monocular view of reality. We could be on the verge of a spectacular political realignment in the UK over all this (I am seriously worried that splits in the Tory part as big as those over Europe could open up); the only upside is that the scrap within the Labour party could be bloodier still!

William Norton's guff about Burke is similarly off-beam, I'm afraid. It was the utterly unnecessary invasion of Iraq that stirred up the hornet's nest. If the US wants to fight a proxy-war in the Middle East on behalf of Israel then that is their business. I fail to see why we should have made this our problem. We have nothing to gain and we have already lost a great deal by our unnecessary involvement. Statesmanship is about poker chips, simple as that. Whether negotiating with the US or the EU Blair has shown himself to be a lousy poker player.

Why don't you take us through what you say Islamacists do believe as well as what they don't?

Willingly, but just one quick thing first - that word you used, 'Islamofascism', you'd agree now it's utterly devoid of any honest, credible meaning, uh huh?

Cynic...er no - I didn't use it.

Whoops, and apologies: never post a reply in haste. Islamacists: are Koranic literalists who reject the ability of 'doctors of the law' to interpret it in what we would, very crudely, consider to be a priestly fashion; yet reject individual, sectarian or any other form of 'personal' relationships with Islamic doctrine; and, most importantly - from our point of view in the post-Christian West - Islamacists seek actively and politically to extend Islam, as opposed to being content with its voluntarist, missionary development beyond Arab countries in the last 50 years. By politics, they mean, if neccessary, what we would, rightly, condemn as unconstitutional violence. I hope that helps, but can't quite see why it should ;)

Point being, Cynic, that there are those, whom Michael Gove calls "islamists" or "jihadists", who do consider that they are in a war against the West. Whatever label you choose to apply, would you agree that there are such people and they do present a threat, or are they and the threat a figment of our imagination in your view?


Of course jihadists exist. They become our problem when they attempt to bomb parts of the mainland UK (although our unnecessary involvement in Iraq gave them the encouragement to do this for the first time).
All we can do is be vigilant and put more resources into infiltrating these groups.

Your neo-con position leads you to overstate the dangers, however. We are not 'at war' and we are not territorially threatened in the way that we were in 1939 (this is what makes the whole 'appeasers' analogy fall very flat).

The neo-con assertion that Islamic anger has anything to do with the Palestinian question is also patently false. In order to drive a wedge between more moderate Islamic opinion and the real headbangers, Israel has to be seen to be ostentatiously even-handed in some kind of deal to retreat to her pre-1967 borders.

Simon Chapman, 14:07,

As you say - Obviously I dont agree with that moronic protestor. My sympathies are with Israel, though i have some concern about their tactics, as i was saying yesterday. e.g. What is the point of bombing power stations when Hezbollah will clearly have generators?

"The onus on the anti-war camp is to explain why the continuation of Saddam Hussain in power was a better option"

No, clearly (and especially for conservatives I would have thought) the presumption should be in favour of the status quo, the onus is those who want to change something.

How has overthrowing Saddam made Britain any safer?
In what way was overthrowing secular Saddam a defeat for Islamic terrorism?
Why do people still support a war that has clearly failed to reduce islamic terrorism one iota and yet has radicalised Muslim opinion against us?
Why is it better for Iraqis to be blown up for being on the street/queing for work than shot for criticising the regime?

Iraq is now a recruiting sergeant and training-ground for islamic terrorism, much like the soviet invasion of Afganistan. The invasion was a disastrous mistake, what benefit has it got us? Why should a Tory Mayor (or anyone, including Leader) pledge his support for this unpopular failure?

If you want to make Britain afer from islamic terrorism we sould have halted immigration from Islamic countries, beefed up the security services and gone after Bin Laden.

Why on earth is the word Islamofascist devoid of meaning? Let's just take the following things which these extremists believe:

1. That Islam is the ultimate belief system to be imposed if necessary by extreme force on unbelievers. The penalty for rejecting this belief system is death.

2. That Jews are untermenschen to be killed and/or enslaved. Ditto homosexuals and ditto to a large degree the infidel in general.
The State of Israel must be destroyed.
Western liberal values on sexual mores, freedom of speech and thought are rejected out of hand.

3. That women are second-class citizens who can be married and divorced against their will and denied both the opportunity to educate themselves and to work.

4. Their goal is to reestablish the medieval caliphate which saw militant Islam conquer most of the Middle East and Western Europe.

There seem to me to be some striking similarities between this violent utopian agenda and the violent racist messianic (albeit secular) ideology of one A. Hitler. Who cares that Islamists worship an abstract god whereas Nazis venerated the Fuhrer? This is just detail.

My friend has just emailed a guy who is organising a "peace rally" in Oxford to urge unconditional ceasefire in Lebanon, asking what exactly the rally would be petitioning.

His answer? ..."to highlight the plight of the Lebanese people and put pressure on local MP's to challenge Blair's 'give war a chance' position. It will also serve to re-energize the anti war movement in Oxford."

Such misguided well-meaningness.

So Michael, actual Fascists and 'Islamofascists' would get on then if they time travelled and met one another? Or would it be a bit more Dalek/Cybermanish?

sorry for being slightly off the main topic but I have to query Chad's comment

"Of course I think Nick Ferrari should stand for UKIP, so I hope UKIP can sort out the financial support for his bid to facilitate this. :-)"

A few days ago your UKIP website had a banner supporting James Cleverly!

A quick change of mind? or were you trying to line up the UKIP candidate and the Tory at the same time?

I wasn't prepared to pay the £1 to make the comment on your own site.

I am afraid I am totally unimpressed by young Mr Gove and his rather pitiful pretentions which come straight out of pages of the US Neocon handbook.

The Neocon movement is well on the way to becoming as discredited and hated as the Nazi Party. We want nothing to do with these far-right lunatics and their hangers-on - like Mr Gove.

Anybody who uses the term Islamofascist betrays ignorance as well as racism.

Fascism was a secular movement wedded to key concepts such as the Corporate State.

Islamic extremists are religious fundamentalists who - unlike Nasser and Saddam Hussein - have little, if anything, in common with secular Fascists.

You might as well go round labelling any ruthless historical figure who disliked Jews a 'Fascist'. We could start with Edward I and Queesn Isabella of Spain and maybe we could include Erasmus and Voltaire since they disliked Jews also, although they are not known to have indulged in mass murder.

I sense utter desperation on the part of the far-right militarists.

Does it matter whether or not they would have "got on"? History has plenty of examples (Girondins v Jacobins, Mao v Stalin, Trotsky v Stalin, IRA v INLA) of extremist groupings with similar ideologies and methods who nevertheless ended up at each other's throats for various reasons.

I sense intellectual bankruptcy in John G's last posting. To describe the word "Islamofascism" as "racist" is just the usual playground abuse when rational discourse has run its course. And we are still awaiting an explanation of his Plan B for containing Islamic extremism: presumably to keep on feeding the crocodile with other people/"far-away countries of which we know nothing" in the hope that we save our own skins? Quite apart from the dodgy ethics, this policy of cynical expediency didn't exactly help the citizems of Madrid.

Well Michael if you can't see that your swivel-eyed Islamophobia isn't racist, I rather pity you.

'Islamofascist' is simply a pejorative term used by militant Zionists whose outlook is in fact much closer to the Italian Facist Party upon which Likud once openly modelled itself.

As for Edmund Burke, the key concept which links Burke's view on the American colonies, revolutionary France, and India is respect for the history and traditions of peoples and nations.

The last thing Burke would have suppported was the imposition of an alien forms of government upon any sovereign nation.

Therefore it is perfectly clear that he would have supported the friends of peace against the far-right warmongers.

John, I take pity on you: I can only assume that you are about 10 because your "critique" seems mainly to consist of trotting out random excerpts from the Ken Livingstone lexicon of political abuse. I have great respect for Islam as a religion and I share quite a lot of the misgivings of moderate Muslims about the wilder aspects of Western secular consumer culture. I also share their concerns about the way in which their religion has been hijacked too readily by violent racist extremists. So much for "swivel-eyed Islamophobia".....whatever that means.

Sadly, Michael, I am a lot older than 10.

If you are going to call Muslim extremists 'Fascists' and claim that this is an accurate and unprejudiced description maybe you'd like to tell me whether all violent and dictatorial movements and governments at all periods of history qualify for the same description.

Was Nero a fascist? Henry VIII? Ivan the Terrible?

I say your use of the term is ignorant and pejorative. You say otherwise.

Back it up.

I used to feel quite alone on this blog last year being solidly anti Iraq war.I'm glad there seem to be so many of us!
Simon you ask whether anyone can justify letting Saddam Hussein remain in power?
I can although it won't make me popular.Since 1979 the most dangerous country by far in the middle east to western interests is Iran.Mrs Thatcher and the senior George Bush understood that which is why Matrix Churchill happened and why Rumsfeld sold arms to Hussein.Saddam Hussein was a useful bulwark to Iranian ambitions.Now he has gone he has been replaced by a weak vaguely pro Iranian government which is struggling to hold the line against far more overtly pro Iranian militias who sooner or later will prevail in Iraq. Nothing more sure.
So we have the worst of all worlds.A strengthened Iran ,a sideshow war which has radicalised millions of muslims weakened hugely Britain and Americas freedom of action in the middle east,weakened our efforts in Afghanistan and seen the needless deaths of thousands and thousands innocent Iraqis.That is why Sir Malcolm Rifkind in his hugely understated way refers to this war as a 'serious mistake'.Personally I would prefer to call it a bloody disaster.The architects of it should pay a heavy price.

John, I have already backed it up: see my earlier post at 17.32. Nowhere will you find me having said that all violent and dictatorial governments should be "dignified" with the "fascist" label.

Insisting that the label "fascist" should only apply to a secular ideology strikes me as odd: Franco was a devout Catholic of a particularly reactionary kind and the Nationalists and the Catholic Church saw eye to eye. Ditto the pro-German regimes in Croatia and Slovakia during the War.

Franco was just another ultra-conservative strongman of a type that existed in Spain (and elsewhere)long before Mussolini invented Fascism.

Any intelligent analysis of Fascism has to begin with the Italian model. Of course you can bracket Franco with Fascism because he was in alliance with the quasi-Fascist Falange and obviously ultimately in a military alliance with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. However, politically he can't really be so described.

Fascism pretends to a 'social' dimension. A brutal reactionary whose main concern is to preserve aristocratic rights is not a Fascist whether or not he hates Jews. (anti-Semitism was very far from being a fundamental ingrediant of Italian Fascism)

Of course you can bracket many European conservatives with Fascism, from fellow-travellers like von Papen to the numerous aristocratic admirers of the dictators here in the UK.

Muslim extremists may be brutal and hate Jews. If that makes them Fascists then Edward I was definitely a Fascist.

Your arguments do not convince.

All sorts of hoods and thugs jumped on the Fascist bandwagon when it seemsed to be all-conquering. If you want to analyse Fascist ideology you

"We have yet to see whether the anti-war ticket works beyond New England Democrats, (Connecticut in particular). Lamont ran a very dirty campaign and that may backfire. Then again, Lieberman's own campaigns in the past were none too clean.
On the London issue: yes, there are possibilities for anti-establishment ideas for London, that would, inevitably have an effect on the rest of the country. The One London Group at the Assembly is proposing serious tax reform to deal with the "poverty", a reform in regulations, greater scrutiny by the Assembly of the Mayor's budgets and policies (there are none at present and I have heard nothing from the Tories on the subject) and more power reverting to local boroughs. The only more radical suggestion comes from Lee Rotherham, who wants to abolish the GLA. Fine and dandy, but will the Tories choose him to be their candidate?"

John G: I do not like the nature of your attack on Michael Gove. If you want to stay on this site please play the ball and not the man.

I'm sure John McCain is going to win the Presidency anyway, if as appears to be happening the Democratic Party is going over towards a more Michael Moore mindset then probably moves will be made against Hillary Clinton as well, as with Labour in the early 1980's and the Democrats in the late 1960's and early 1970's this could lead to a reaction against their more pacifistic Liberal lurching and could lead to a Republican landslide giving John McCain a strongly Republican dominated Congress as well.

I note that even though Spaniards elected a Socialist Government following the Madrid bombings
Although this really was the fault of the former government for attempting to blame on ETA what was obviously the actions of Al Qaedists and it was obvious that the authorities knew it was not ETA, otherwise the Socialists would not have won.

If that makes them Fascists then Edward I was definitely a Fascist.
Edward I had a very similar mindset to Saddam Hussein (or vice versa) and it has to be said that the Norman regime he was leader of for a time was a lot like the Ba'athist regime in character - everyone who was in any way different from them was expected to change or be eliminated, what happened in Wales especially but also Scotland is along similar lines to what Saddam Hussein wanted to happen in the Southern Marshes, Kurdish areas and in Kuwait, it was about creating a monoculture.

This looks like quibbling on your part. No political movement is ever a monolith, fascist ones included....so it proves nothing to show that particular movements attracted and/or needed hangers on or particular client groupings (e.g. Spanish aristocrats, German industrialists). Franco's Spain undoubtedly pretended to a "social" dimension built around nation, an aristocratic ruling class and Church, and a supposedly enlightened autocratic leader. No doubt some falangists would have gone further.

Islamic extremism seems very much the same: see Iran. Italy was yet another example but why it is obligatory to "begin" with it, apart from the purely linguistic fact that Mussolini coined the term fascist, escapes me.

Edward I is in fact quite a good example too: a messianic warrior king who built a personality cult around himself as a nationalist warlord and who concocted a very distinct idea of Britain by conquering England's neighbours and engaging in a programme of systematic ethnic cleansing. The Welsh were every bit as much his victims as the Jews.

In any case, what point are you trying to prove: that the regime in Iran is somehow less evil because you cannot attach the "f" word to it?

No. I think you are using the term 'Fascism' not in any genuine analytical sense but as a kind of rabble-rousing weasel-word.

The term 'Islamofascist' was coined by Neocon warmongers and has no more genuine meaning than when somebody calls Tony Blair a 'Commie'.

Just as one knows exactly where people are coming from when they talk about 'Pro-life' or 'Pro-choice' we can straight away see which mast you've nailed your colours to.

Your comments on Edward I, who was by no means untypical of the warrior monarchs of his day prove my point. What serious historian would analyse Mediaeval history using anachronistic ideological terms?

It has nothing to to with whether terrorists are "evil" or not (although I hesitate to use such emotive language)

Stalin was an "evil" mass murderer. Should we call him a "Fascist" or a "Nazi". Of course not. That would be as utterly ridiculous as "Islamofascist".

Does it matter what it's called? I feel a chilling fear when I see the rise of a body of opinion that gives loud voice to "arguments" that would have a severe negative impact on my way of life (ie death). I don't care what it's called and I don't care which groups espouse it, but when I see it happening then I want to hear some coherent political response to it.

I've been hoping for some time that Conservatives would be at the forefront of a re-engagement with British Muslims, because within the Conservative tent we contain both a strand that ought to be attractive to traditional Muslim ideals (as my limited understanding has it) with a deep focus on family and community; but we also have a strand that celebrates the importance of freedom (to be as others may not wish you to be). If our party cannot be a bridgehead between those with a passionate commitment for Islamic values and those with a passionate commitment to individual liberty, then no-one will be able to (certainly not the left: witness craven Straw and his craven posturing; translate his recent remarks into English and it comes out as "I've done the electoral calculus so I don't care who you offend, please continue to vote for me").

We need to hear all sides in an understanting way before rushing to judgment. Even apparent extremists may have something to say which reasonable people will want to hear.

Many Muslim extremists are British-born. We must ask ourselves whether what they have become is partly OUR fault.

Dominic Grieve, our shadow attorney general, was so right when he said few politicians yet appreciated the sense of anger and alienation felt by many Muslims in Britain.

He said the London suicide bombings were "totally explicable" because of the deep sense of anger over the Iraq war, a wider despair about the Islamic world and what Muslims saw as a "decadent" western society.

I want our party's vision to reflect the decent, tolerant and thoughtful views of Dominic Grieve rather than the Islamophobic and often racist views of the far right.

Sure, many Muslim customs may seem strange to us but that's what diversity is all about.

As Conservatives we must never forget that 'intolerance of (alleged) intolerance' is simply intolerance tout court.

John G, it is revealing in a way to read your deathless prose. It really does illustrate how intellectually bankrupt much of the one nation Tory tradition has become that all it can do is rant on and on in a highly abusive manner about its critics without offering one constructive solution other than pandering to the fanaticism of very violent people. I contrast your cargo load of bile and character assassination(how very New Labour) with Graeme Archer's thoughtful comments at 8.12. Presumably you will now make yourself even more ridiculous by accusing Graeme of being Islamophobic and racist?

If you had actually read what I wrote, you would have seen that I took a lot of trouble to use the word "fascist" in an analytical sense. You, (because you are a Hezbollah fellow traveller?) seem desperate to ignore the obvious analogies.....

"We must ask ourselves whether what they have become is partly OUR fault."

You should be an Anglican Bishop.

It's amazing to see the pigheadedness of some Britons who, after recent events STILL do not "get it." The radical Islamists are out to cause chaos and destruction on a grand scale, at the very least, even if "Islamofascist" is an imprecise and perhaps not altogether a satisfactory term.

Perhaps "Munichites" or maybe "Chamberlains" would be a better phrase to indicate the Ostrich-like head-in-sand attitude of many Britons, and even Americans like Ned Lamont and Hillary.

The naivete is breathtaking.

And yes, Lieberman "gets it," though he is, on nearly every other issue, on the political left. Sometimes the FAR left, which makes the behavior of the extreme left here odd.

The only difference is the he understands politics needs to end at the water's edge when it comes to external threats.

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