Dead Men Left

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sudden outbreak of agreeing with David Aaronovitch

Back in the day, before Tony Blair, when the Tories were in charge and all this were fields, I used to read David Aaronovitch in the Independent. Regularly. I used to agree with pretty much everything he said, too, especially when he was lambasting the hapless - if corrupt and sickening - Tory government. And then Blair got elected, and David Aaronovitch stopped being a witty critic of corrupt and sickening government, and decided to start justifying it in increasingly strident terms, especially when it was righteously dropping more bombs than the Tories ever dared to.

So David and I parted company. It was peculiar, then, to read an Aaronovitch column after all these years that I actually agreed with, from start to finish. He's cottoned on to the fact that a dark tide is rising over the Western world and is threatening to wash away all those liberal values we hold so dear. Yes, David has discovered Europe's Muslims, though - and here's the surprise - not in the approved post-9/11 fashion:

[T]here is today - even among intelligent and thoughtful people - a story of Muslims as there was, when my father was young, a story of Jews. The story of Jews was about the clannishness and closeness of a self-designated "chosen people", and how they used their undoubted talents to manipulate the media, the world of finance and (latterly) the US political process. And if one was caught in a fraud, then (as I once overheard a Daily Mail columnist say to Norman Tebbit), wasn't that "their" way?

The story of Muslims is of a backward, super-sensitive religion which mistreats women and suppresses dissent. It is as true and as useful as the story of Jews, and, if we keep on telling it, leads to a similar place.