The Beheading of British Culture
A few days ago I said that the Salisbury Review, one of my favourite magazines, had asked me to circulate some of their articles in the hope of getting them more subscribers. I am happy to oblige. This one, by Jane Kelly, gave me yet another reason to be glad I live in Ireland rather than in Britain. We don’t have an ungovernable Frankenstein monster in our midst–yet.
It was a short, blunt knife; that was a bit of a surprise in itself. I think I expected a longish butcher’s blade if not a Saudi-style scimitar or long sword of the type a compassionate mediaeval king might have used to kill his wife. But this killing was about stabbing, cutting, tearing and hacking off sinew, in the way a poacher might kill game. This was the killing of Lee Rigby again, transferred to a desert scene rather than the streets of London, and again an execution made as savage as possible. Even more horrible, the execution may have been stage managed. Forensic analysis suggests the actual beheading might have taken place off camera, with Foley forced to repeat lines of his plea to stop the American bombing, then beheaded off stage like a discarded extra in a grotesque commercial.
But the main shock about the mindless depravity of the killing of US journalist James Foley was that the alleged executioner, like the killers of Rigby, was apparently British. A young man whose parents chose to live in the West, who no doubt with them lived off the fat of the welfare state all his life, decided to have himself filmed sawing of the head of another young man.
There are no words to really get to grips with this; the PM rushed home from his holiday and began chairing meetings. Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary said Isis was not just a threat to Syria but to our own national security. He said he would fight the perpetrators to his last breath, but managed to sound rather like a headmaster, as they used to be known, fuming over some bad boys who had smashed a window in a greenhouse.
Not only do we lack words but also any ideas on how to cope with the situation of Islamic savagery abroad or in our midst, although that hasn’t stopped many people in public life including Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, calling in 2009 for an acceptance of some Sharia Law. He surpassed himself last Friday, 15th August 2014, in a speech at the apparently annual “Living Islam Festival” in Lincolnshire, discussing what British values were and how Moslems could affect them, naturally for the better. He said one of their greatest gifts to Britain had been bringing back,”open, honest and difficult public discussion”.
Asked if he thought Islam was restoring British values, he said: “Yes. I’m thinking of the way in which, for example, in Birmingham we have seen a local parish and a mosque combining together to provide family services and youth activities, both acting out of a very strong sense that this is what communities ought to do.” He also emphasised that there are no such things as British values anyway.
Comes the hour, comes the PR man. The Prime Minister is even more hazy about what to make of this colossal foreign and domestic mess. On Wednesday, a day after the video showing the execution of Foley was released, he insisted the government’s position on Iraq is “clear” and said the UK would not deploy “boots on the ground”. Well, that avoids any chance of him ending up like Tony Blair. But then he promised: “Britain would use all the assets that we have,” including our famous, “military prowess” to aid the defeat of the “monstrous” Islamic State militant group (IS).
No one can possibly follow his thinking. Despite 9/11 and 7/7 he has continued to allow London to be turned into what Melanie Phillips irately termed “Londonistan”. In October 2012 Scotland yard closed off roads around the Finsbury Park mosque so that Abu Hamza could preach his message in safety. Preachers of hate have continued to visit universities. At UCL in March when it was revealed that the Islamic society there were conducting lectures segregated by sex, the government said this would not be allowed, but they knew that it was really a side issue, no right minded person could disagree; but the radical imams still kept coming.
The UK is perhaps the cosiest place in Europe for radical Moslems to reside. They must know that the English and in particular this government wallow in equivocation. David Cameron is a former PR man after all, and happy to say two opposing things at the same time.
Of course it would be very nice for him to fight a war with boots on the ground and win, just like Margaret Thatcher in the Falklands, but that takes huge guts and a certain amount of reckless courage, not qualities found in many PR men sadly, especially not this one.
Parliament did not need to be recalled to discuss Iraq, he added, before returning to his family holiday, and Labour observed, with some justice, that Britain’s role in the crisis was “pretty unclear”.
Holy fools and parliamentary buffoons apart, it is obvious from this recent attack that British people do have to look at themselves anew, and urgently require the “difficult public discussion”, which Rowan Williams fantastically imagines we are having. In fact we have never had so much as a useful chat, and never will have that conversation because people like him and the Prime Minister have never had the courage to acknowledge that there is a terrible enemy now living within our own society.
Since the Salmon Rushdie affair and despite 9/11 we have wilfully allowed radical Islam, with its long history of warfare and conquest, to thrive among us. Obama now calls it a cancer, but it’s too late for regrets, no one had the courage to stop the cancer in its early stages and now it’s too late. Our culture has allowed this Islamic cult of death, this psychosis to grow and thrive. Beheading and displaying the decapitated heads of the enemy has been part of the gruesome Islamic tradition of conquest for millennia, but the use and display of British Jihadists is new. This is our baby.
If by some miracle we did have that public discussion, what could we say about Britain today? One BBC voice described the recorded voice of James Foley’s killers as, “well educated”. Perhaps that accords with the relativist fantasy in the mind of a white middle class intellectual who rarely meets members of the under-class, but to my ears it was the voice of a semi-educated feral youth, the type who is educated in our schools from five to eighteen, and comes out with low level of literacy and no knowledge of British culture.
The middle class élite who send their children to private schools don’t really care to know what the real level of education in this country is like. They enjoy access to foreign nannies, plumbers and foreign food, but avoid seeing how our cities and towns are now incised by clear boundaries marking class and ethnicity. Foley’s murderer very likely grew up in one of the many Islamic ghettos which now stretch from east London to Glasgow. We have allowed our country to be Balkanised. It’s hard to find people who speak with the same voice. That young fanatic with the short fat knife has thrived in this multi-culti haven of “‘tolerance” evidenced in the unlimited sale of halal meat, early marriage, forced marriage, FGM, [female genital mutilation] and above all extreme patriarchy and sexual apartheid, which puts boys and men way above girls and women.
The murders of Rigby and Foley were not about religion, they were about power. The youths who committed them see themselves as divinely chosen and approved by their religion because they are male. They grow up in the UK, look about and see a society where they are given no particular power, the opposite in fact as people find it hard to escape ghettos even if they want to , especially if they have a poor education. This matter will not be settled by theologians because young Moslem men require special power and status for themselves but in British society they won’t get it. Their resulting anger, fuelled by sexual frustration, makes them the most volatile and ungovernable group in society.
Our nation has created those young men, allowed them to be formed in that way, we have not intervened to change them or instructed them to go in a different way, heaven preserve us from any form of instruction or proscription, even in schools. They are our creation and like Dr Frankenstein we have now to deal with the monster.