You can have security or you can have cultural sensitivity, but you cannot have both – discuss. If university students were asked, they would probably argue that the former depends on the latter. Yet recurring massacres of innocent people demonstrably refute this prevailing notion, and it is a recklessly false line for politicians to maintain. Virtuous emoting about how we all stand together with Nice, Orlando, Paris and Brussels may be excused in the naïve tweets and hashtags on social media, but we should expect more from presidents Hollande and Obama. States are failing in the fundamental responsibility to protect their people. Breaking point is looming, and soon we may have Western leaders who take a more robust and less apologetic stance. It can’t come soon enough.
Already Nice is fading from our collective consciousness. Our enlightened middle class is becoming like the Eloi, the beautiful but defenceless people of HG Wells’ dystopian Time Machine, who look on impassively when another of their group is seized by the hooded Morlocks. As if following a procedure manual, young people register their sympathy online, and then get on with their lives.
The main reason for the reluctance to confront the earth-shaking monster of Islamist terror is the relativist doctrine of tolerance, drummed into the minds of people from nursery to their corporate or public sector careers. The drummers are many: teachers, employers and the BBC, but while these play the timpani and bass, the cymbals of social media peers are a constant and compelling cacophony. To stay in with the crowd, a narrow set of opinions must be espoused. Otherwise, the young person risks being ostracised as a borderline racist, sexist or some other deviant.
The Daily Mail front page last Friday illustrated our current malaise. The headline was the carnage on Promenade des Anglais, but the feature above was on the decision by a police force to make wolf-whistling a hate crime. Naturally the Mail columnist derided this latest assault on common sense, but as we know so well, what we ridicule today becomes the accepted norm tomorrow. And to some extent, murder for the cause of Allahu Akbar has been normalised. Now, let’s get on with criminalising some Sun-reading builders.
We should not say too much about the horrors of the Bataclan or attacks on Jews, in case we offend Muslims. The Prevent scheme, a justified attempt to protect impressionable minds from dangerous influences on campus, is roundly denounced by student unions and university leaders, who issue the simple retort: ‘students not suspects’. That several mass-killers graduated in terror at our prestigious universities is ignored.
After a random slaying of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters for the terrorists’ death cult, the priority of politicians is to quell Islamophobia; Nicola Sturgeon, for example, making the central Glasgow mosque her first port of call after one outrage. Muslim feelings seem to take precedence over the grieving families. I recall the front page of the Independent following the London tube bombings, showing a tiny cracked window in a mosque somewhere up north as evidence of a violent, racist backlash. Displacement is a medicine but its effects are waning. As Donald Trump said after Nice – we cannot go on like this. Cultural sensitivity is always important, but it should not be allowed to mask or distort truth.
Meanwhile politically-correct protests have been organised in British cities to ride on the American bandwagon of Black Lives Matter. As exposed by Melanie Phillips in The Times, the numbers do not add up to a genocidal white police plot. Many times more officers in the line of duty have been killed by black criminals than vice versa. In several cases that have led to protests, the suspect was armed and was being apprehended for good reason. The result of the demonstrations is reluctance of police to keep control and to protect citizens. As Christopher Caldwell reported in The Spectator, ‘Dallas was widely praised as a success story for its newly passive style of policing – complaints of police brutality have fallen by half since 2012. But murders are up by 40 per cent’. Few of the placard-bearers in this country read these correctives. Identity politics are purer when fact-free.
President Obama’s reaction to the blatantly racist murder of five police officers was typical. Just as black lives matter, he said, so should blue lives. Can you imagine him overlooking the racial motive, if a white neo-Nazi had targeted black police? We are similarly straitjacketed in London, where stop-and-search has been discouraged with the unsurprising consequence of an increase in stabbings and shootings. This is what happens when an establishment of white middle class apologists make policy: more black boys and young men die, while a decent Muslim majority are tarnished by a toothless tolerance of nasty interpretations of their religion. It is not the white middle class who suffer, unless they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But as the wrong place can be just about anywhere: perhaps next up will be Costa Brava, Camden Market, Gatwick Airport or the Channel Tunnel (I hope I’m not too prescient here). It’s not when but where: we will not get to the end of this year without another cleansing of infidels. The need for action is becoming undeniable. If we want to avoid draconian reactions such as internment and mass deportation, we must step up to the plate. For the good of all – white, black and Muslim alike, don’t wait for the demagogue.