Friday, December 08, 2006
Notice. posted by Richard SeymourNew Labour's cruel strategy of dividing the antiwar movement by vilifying Muslims could hardly have been more dramatically illustrated by the curious confluence between this and this. One day after allowing himself to be seen in public with the most despised American president in world history, one day after being slammed by Charlie the Safety Elephant over his carefully cultivated links with the European right, Blair is once more attacking immigrants over their alleged failure to 'integrate'.
From now on their will be a 'cohesion' test for any religious group seeking government funding, specifically Muslim religious groups. Blair went on to say that there wasn't a problem with Hindus or Poles, only with a minority of Muslims who embraced a "new and virulent form of extremism", which is of course what gives him license to crack down on Muslims in general, especially if they fail to root out the enemy within. Blair also joined junior New Labour MPs, such as Phil Woolas and Shahid Malik, and intervened in what is euphemistic known as the "headscarf row" on the side of the school authorities who victimised Aishah Azmi. On the whole, Blair's speech was a very calculated intervention at a time when the imperialist mission in Iraq is falling apart. Rumsfeld has gone, Bolton has gone, senior Washington politicians want a withdrawal, even the prescriptions of the Iraq Study Group are too much for them. Blair, having previously admitted that Iraq was a "disaster", told reporters yesterday that he had "no regrets", something that is both utterly vain and arrogant, and completely callous. He had to come out with this today, precisely as his government must continue the same strategy of attacking Muslims as long as it clings to the coat-tails of the Bush administration.
Blair gave one of his classic 'x, but y' formulations, averring that "The right to be different, the duty to integrate: that is what being British means." Differ, but don't be too different. Differ, but don't wear a niqab; differ, but don't speak your own language in your own home; differ, but don't protest too loudly about foreign policy (we call that "blackmail"). Just don't fuck with our policy, Jack.