Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A very British pursuit

Two MPs from opposite parties, Jack Straw (Labour) and Malcolm Rifkind (Conservative), have been found to be more interested in advancing their own good fortune than that of the British public who elected them. This in itself raises questions of whether the British parliamentary system is fit for purpose. Being an MP is not a voluntary position. Elected members of parliament are paid a handsome salary plus expenses to free up their time for representing their constituents. They should not be busying themselves with seeking earning opportunities elsewhere whilst preaching austerity to the masses. In other countries we call cash for access corruption, in Britain it is business as usual.

Yet the double standards do not end here. Had those two MPs been Muslim, there would have been a massive media outcry about them undermining British values and possibly renewed claims of Trojan horses and disloyalty. As it happens, these two MPs do not share the same political persuasion, but they are both Jewish. In today's Britain religion is brought into focus when you are Muslim. When you are Jewish, it is not good taste to mention religion in connection with wrongdoing.

This one rule for one and one rule for another approach goes across the board. Over the past few days there has been hysteria about three Muslim school girls leaving the UK allegedly to join the pretended Islamic fighters of ISIS in Syria. In total it is estimated that some five hundred Brits have gone to Syria to join the fighting originally started by Western security agencies in order to topple president Assad's regime. Note cause and effect coming into play here. Nobody even reports, however, that hundreds of British Jews join the Israeli Defence Force every year, a racist army defending its exclusive claim to stolen land through state terror. Muslims returning from Syria are intercepted and held as terrorists. Jews returning from an illegal war in Gaza settle back into life as if they had merely been on holiday.

Children in school are taught that the Nazis spied on their own people to seek out potential collaborators with the Jews and that they ridiculed the Jews through caricatures in publications like "Der Stürmer" in order to dehumanise them. Under the latest round of anti-terror laws, the same school children are told to report anything suspicious they might notice about Muslims, and all public agencies, schools, hospitals, GP surgeries etc. have a duty to report perceived radicalisation, in other words to spy on their fellow citizens. Caricatures intended to dehumanise Muslims are hailed as examples of freedom of speech.

Then there is this ongoing prodding in the media and by various campaign groups against circumcision and halal slaughter as elements of the Muslim faith as well as the head scarf. Some European countries have already passed laws against those practices, then granted their Jewish citizens an exemption so as not to be guilty of anti-semitism. For the record, Arabs, the cousins of the Jews, are Semites, and Moses was married to an Arab lady from Midian. Also for the record, the Nazis were the first in Europe to outlaw kosher slaughter, undoubtedly guided by animal welfare concerns alone.

And just for the record: this article isn't about Jews. Or Muslims. It's about double standards, a quintessentially British trait it seems. As Churchill put it: A nation has no permanent enemies and no permanent friends, only permanent interests. And it seems that whilst remaining on the sidelines of Europe, Britain is leading the continent in this hedonistic and utilitarian approach to politics. So why blame MPs for living up to such engrained British values? Let those who keep lecturing Muslims on adopting British values hold them up high as examples of true integrity!