Councils up and down the country are given substantial sums of money by central government to combat "Islamic extremism". The more Muslims a local council has, the more money it gets, suggesting that extremism must be something inherent in being Muslim and therefore increases proportional to their numbers. Cash-strapped councils will welcome the much needed cash, but of course they will also need to justify it and produce results. To show that they are proactive in combatting extremism, we can expect to see examples of extremism turning up where they never existed before.
It is not only local authorities who can be expected to engage in creative accounting. Some of the money (only some, a big junk is expected to cover the council's "administrative" expenses) will have to be given to Muslim groups or individuals. These, too, must prove that they can deliver the goods. What better way to do so then to denounce rival groups or unpopular individuals as being extremist?
All this has undertones of Stalinism. Schoolbook history is misleading about the "collapse" of the Soviet Republics. Capitalism and Communism have always been two sides of the same coin and both favour strong central governments. Effectively, communism was bought out and simply moved West since it is probably more convenient to bribe people into giving up their liberties than having to threaten and bully them. Where the carrot does not work, Western governments also have the stick, like the right to declare exclusion zones or holding people without charge, all in the name of fighting terrorism or extremism.
What both systems need to stay in power, however, is surveillance. Corrupt governments do not trust their subjects and need to keep an eye on them. Britain is leading the way in camera surveillance. Other countries in the ever enlarging European Union (run like the Soviet Union by unelected commissioners) lead the way in gathering and retaining computer-processable information about their citizens, recently complemented by biometrics. Yet, making sense of information is difficult from a distance, hence the desire to recruit informers. MI5 have been given a lot more resources as well to recruit from amongst Muslims, but the government is probably right in assuming that individuals would hesitate to join, or cooperate with the Secret Service, whereas they would quite happily compromise a little if offered a share in the money for a new community project and become, unwittingly, citizen informers. This method isn't new either. Files for East Germany after re-unification showed that there was a dossier almost on every citizen and almost everybody was informing on everybody else. It is doubtful that much of this information was very reliable, and a great deal of it was probably offered in order to settle old scores, to gain an advantage or due to holding a grudge. What better way, for example, to get custody for one's children in a divorce case than portraying the opposing party as a Muslim extremist likely to radicalise the children?
One thing seems apparent. The less money a government has to spend on education, healthcare or basic infrastructure, the more money it is likely to throw at ways and means to combat any potential disenchantment with and protest against the level of services provided. Those who happily agreed to an erosion of freedom in order to be protected from Islamic extremism will soon find out that those measures were really intended for them, not the extremists. There is something seriously wrong with a political system where a front bencher in parliament such as David Davis has to resign to draw attention to the overbearing control exercised by government. And it doesn't matter which party gains power in an election. As with capitalism and communism, they too are two sides of the same coin.