Justifiably provoked by the BBC’s biased reporting, many of the commentariat over at our former haunting ground (B-BBC) have an overwhelming desire to vent their spleen. Some of the most enthusiastic contributors would fall over themselves in the rush to pick up the ball and run with it. In their haste they might ride roughshod over nuance and subtlety and, frankly, get pretty out of control. Being discredited by one’s supporters is like being sent flying by a big dog who’s only trying to make friends.
An unintended consequence of being, may I call it ‘hoist by ones own iconoclasm’ is the shutting down of debate if you see what I mean. To clarify, if you put your head above the parapet it won’t necessarily be your opponents that shoot you down, it could easily be your own side.
In the same way the EDL was bound to fail. Partly because of middle class yobbophobia, and partly because of the volatile and uncontrollable element in the EDL who were only there for the aggro and whose antics could only give the dog a bad name. That’s the trouble. The tail was waggin’ the dog.
Understandably provoked by the way radical Islam was being pandered to, and frustrated by the inaction of the rest of society, the EDL came along and by being rough, tough and a bit thick gave the ‘we are all Hezbollah now’ brigade a cheap way of stabilising their own confusion over their oxymoronic support of Muslims and Islam in the UK. Focus on the thugs, and bob’s yer uncle. Argument made, done and dusted. End of. That’s what Paxo did on last night’s Newsnight. Is he getting lazy, or was he lazy all along? I don’t like the beard by the way.
Many otherwise reasonable people have been forced to describe Tommy Robinson as a racist because they aren’t quite sure why they hate him. But he’s obviously not a racist, and has finally concluded that his patience with the yobbos who apparently are (racists) has worn thin and has baled out before it was too late. Well, not completely out; perhaps just took the risk of taking a giant leap, potentially to re-emerge in some sort of more mature reincarnation.
People will go to great lengths to prove that they aren’t racists, antisemites or ‘Islamophobes’. They evidence such arguments as “Semites are Arabs as well as Jews” or “Islam is not a race” or “anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.” The ‘some of my best friends are…’ is another argument which lends itself to a host of variations. The migration from charismatic figurehead of an everyman street protest movement to member of an intellectually respectable anti-extremist group run by ex-extremists who are still Muslims, almost seems like Tommy’s attempt to prove he’s not a racist.
His excitable performance on Newsnight almost seemed like a desperate attempt to convince himself that he was doing the right thing.
Who’s the biggest winner? I’d say Quilliam. Tommy Robinson will give them more credibility than they will give him, even though superficially that may not seem to be the case. Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz are former members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and are still Muslims, and I have some reservations about this.
I suspect Quilliam have hijacked Tommy and will be using him to further the campaign by “moderate Muslims” who are seeking to convince us that extremists and terrorists are “not the real Muslims”.
Many people including myself are uneasy with the concept of ‘moderate Muslims”, and wonder what is the point of being one. Why bother? When you’ve stripped away all the extremism and the fol-de-rol, what is left?
I’m a bit Dawkins about the whole concept of religion, but my ‘live and let live’ principles more or less override that. As long as the religious get on with believing in their God and minding their own business that’s okay with me. They overstep the mark when they start interfering with me and regarding me as inferior. If a moderate Muslim can really do that, their beliefs are none of my business, but I don’t see how they can believe in the immutable word of an antisemitic Allah, and accept me and mine, at one and the same time. If they can do so, all well and good.
No, Tommy is the real deal when it comes to opposing extremism and decrying the Islamification of British towns like Luton, and he means it. Quilliam knows that. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have head-hunted him.