Dead Men Left

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Driven into a slavering frenzy

You know you're getting somewhere when your opponents start coming out with this sort of thing:

“Respect” must be one of the most extreme political groupings of the last fifty years, formed out of fringe Trotskyite and Radical Socialist groups that for a time made up the socialist alliance they have forged an alliance with the most militant sections of the Islamic community combining extreme social conservatism with radically leftwing attitudes on just about anything else...

This was news to me. It is just about possible that I nodded off at the Respect conference, and that inbetween passing a motion in support of a woman's right to choose, and another in defence of gay rights, someone slipped one in about stoning adulterers. But a glance at the motions actually passed suggests not. In short, what we have is bollocks; very fine bollocks; bollocks of the highest order, you might say - but utter, utter bollocks nontheless. However.

What's interesting is the assumption that lies behind it. "[T]he most militant sections of the Islamic community" are automatically "extreme" social conservatives. This the Clash of Civilisations rewritten for the Left: it is the Islamophobic pretence that the range of political opinions can be read off from one's religious beliefs: that Muslims marching against the war are really marching towards the Caliphate.

(The discussion at Political Betting on Galloway is interesting enough, reflecting some diversity of opinion; the majority of commenters there, regardless of their views on Galloway, believe he is in with at least sporting chance of clinching the Bethnal Green and Bow seat in 2005.)