by Mike Newland
In the aftermath of the ghastly murders of journalists in Paris and now another later murder of a female police officer, the system has swung into action to manage an alarmed public opinion with a series of well-tried public relations manoeuvres we see on every similar occasion .
First off the shelf comes the ritual ‘We will never give in to terrorism’. Curiously, the latter part of this message is never voiced. The full text reads: ‘We will never give in to terrorism unless expediency demands it’. That is the expediency of those in power who wish to remain there thank you very much.
A trickle of other ready-to-use-just-add-water pronouncements are available as suitable – communities united, no jumping to conclusions, isolated events, knee-jerk reactions, let the police do their jobs, every confidence etc.
Where there is any suspicion of a Muslim involvement it is essential that we are also reminded that Islam has little or nothing to do with the events.
All of this leaves radicals challenging for power in a difficult position. As all should know, political acceptance – particularly by the media – demands a claim to occupy the famous ‘middle ground’ of politics. The middle ground is a fantastical place where serious problems can be addressed without their solution involving any real inconvenience or disruption to the public.
But if no really difficult change is involved is it really worthwhile to turf out those in power and replace them with an inevitably unknown quantity in the form of a new regime? Bit of a difficulty!
The current principal challenger for power in Britain is – as all men know – UKIP. The Kippers have chosen to square the above circle by presenting themselves as radical but not scary radical. They have been assisted enormously in this by the curious fact that, despite standing for things anathema to the state-run propaganda service the BBC, they have been given unprecedented exposure of a largely positive kind. Particularly in the endless appearances on Question Time.
UKIP has had at its disposal a communicator of extraordinary skill in the form of Nigel Farage. Nigel has worked up an act as a sort of trendy vicar in the pub, pint and fag in hand, who preaches an evangelical revolution but who no one would expect to disrupt afternoon tea and cricket in the process. Nigel’s creation is worthy of the late and great Peter Simple.
Now events like the slaughter in Paris throw up a presentation problem for UKIP.
How do you respond to such things without seeming either to downplay them in a manner unworthy of radicals and which makes you appear just like the big parties while at the same time not identifying anything which requires tackling the sort of issues everyone is scared of? And there is nothing more scary than the issue of the Islamic religion and violence.
One answer is – don’t mention the Muslims or at least sideline them subsumed within a tiny number of malcontents utterly atypical of the population.
Piers Morgan, late of The Mirror, has put his shoulder to the predictable official wheel saying that the perpetrators were not really Muslims. They were indeed Muslims – just Muslims with a different interpretation of the religious cult to some others.
Bishop Nigel has come at the problem largely from a different but reassuring angle. The big problem is that Europe made a mistake in embracing multiculturalism. This is genius. Muslims are not anywhere in the general framing of things and no blame is attached to any community. Instead the fault lies really in the politicians the good Bishop wishes to replace. But they themselves are merely guilty of a mistake.
To suggest that no mistake at all occurred and that multiculturalism’s effects were known and intended short of actual terrorism which it was thought could be contained – or used to justify infringing liberties in a more cynical view – is a step too far. That would imply the requirement for a root and branch alteration in the regime far too alarming for the public. Best is a woolly notion of some prone to error politicians being replaced by others who are wiser in a seamless transition.
The above is a very fine balance as Bishop Farage well understands.
Anyone who has engaged in radical politics understands how easily the horses become frightened by talk of serious change. It’s been described as the tyranny of the status quo. Often it seems impossible to get people to accept the need for change at all. It’s precisely this inertia which keeps the old atrophied gang in power and which permits truly vicious people to get what they want with the bomb and the bullet.
Thus brethren we arrive at the Authorised Version of Radical Politics whose church is led at present by Bishop Farage. There is nothing amiss which cannot be changed by correcting some errors made in innocence by our leaders who are a little stubborn and need more than guidance. A few retirements in comfort, some reassuring words from the pulpit about all serving in different ways, and all will be well again.
The public are not required to think through how rejecting multiculturalism is to work in practice when it will be fought against tooth and nail by those who wish to import the ways of their countries of origin into our European homeland and who number multi millions. We are supposed to believe that a few speeches of intention and a spell will be cast upon Europe uniting it after decades of systematic social destruction.
A lot more will be needed than that which Islamic terrorists fear so much – the candlelight vigil and a slogan like ‘Nous sommes tous Charlie’. The problem is not at root a few individuals.
The facts on the ground are that Europe’s population is at war even if most don‘t perceive it that way yet.
It’s a political war with the entrenched parties and a military struggle with people who have invaded us and who might be few in numbers in a military sense but are the tip of an iceburg of demands for accommodation of utterly different ways of life.