Magazine article The Spectator

Long Haul

Magazine article The Spectator

Long Haul

Article excerpt

I don't know about you but over the past few years I've got rather sick of Islam, to me an alien religion and really no concern of mine, I used to think: each to his own, that was what the English were so good at. After all, I'm not even a practising Christian so why should I care about another daft religion. Yes, if I have to go into the witness box to give evidence I will swear an oath on the Bible simply to avoid being regarded as an oddity, even though most of us are only nominally Christian. I like to think I would tell the truth whatever I swore on or affirmed.

When I first began travelling to the Middle East, I decided I didn't really like Arabs very much, apart from the many individual kindnesses I received, though I found their history and customs rather interesting, read a bit about them and left it at that. It was not a world that drew me in, in the way that it did romantic and flawed Englishmen such as Lawrence of Arabia and Glub Pasha and endless Foreign Office types. In recent years I could see Muslims oppressing Muslims: Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, and so on, but that seemed to be a matter for them to sort out. Islamic countries, whether secular or otherwise, were always failed states because, compared with the successful economies of the West and Far East, they weren't going anywhere because Islam held them back, even if they had oil. But, again, that was a matter for them. Now, though, quite a few of these people, born here or from abroad, want to kill us because, they say, we are non-believers. Having listened to so much rubbish from the truly awful and useless new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, my faith in policing in this country - already non-existent - has sunk below the ship's radar. Hearing Sir John Major on Today on Monday morning this week telling us the obvious, that this was going to be a long haul - ten years, he thought - made me realise how hopeless our politicians are. Not only did he tell us what we already knew while being treated as some sort of wise statesman, but he was also out by 20 years; it'll take at least 30 years to defeat this threat. Major is one of those politicians who, like some of his stupid and unimaginative predecessors, allowed mass immigration, though Blair has been the worst of all in giving up on controls.

Analysis on Radio Four last week (Thursday, repeated Sunday) attempted to put it all in context, a difficult feat bearing in mind that Islam is now a free-for-all as far as interpretation is concerned. …

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