Islamism,  Labour

Yes he can, can’t he?

Good grief. Is Ed Miliband crowd-sourcing his speech writing to people taking the day off from brain-farting hippy platitudes on Comment is Free?

Here’s a sample of his column for The Independent which leaves one with the feeling he doesn’t entirely understand who these Isis chaps are. If he did, he wouldn’t be peddling even softer versions of the anti-extremism strategies supported throughout the last decade as Left/Liberal articles of faith but which (surprisingly) failed, and failed spectacularly.

Here is a sample of thinking so wooly and so muddy that it resembles the intellectual equivalent of a football jumper left in the park after a wet Sunday morning kickabout.

Laughably, his piece is sub-headlined: “The UK cannot ignore the dangers emerging from Syria and Iraq”. This from the man who blocked our early intervention in Syria – leading to the current Charlie Foxtrot – and who seeks still to distance his party from the legacy of Tony Blair.

Here is a selection of impressive sounding vacuity:

“[T]he international community needs to insist on an inclusive government within Iraq which reinforces the importance of civil liberties, free speech, and respect for human rights. Any strategy to deal with Isis has to understand how it has successfully tapped into the deep well of unaddressed grievances of many Sunnis in Iraq over the past years.

I welcome President Hollande’s call for an international conference to respond to the threat posed by Isis. This should be convened under the auspices of the United Nations. As one of five permanent members of the Security Council and its current chair, the UK should be leading this diplomatic strategy and doing everything in our power to secure the participation of key countries in the region. The legitimacy and effectiveness of our response to Isis requires this multilateral approach.”

“[W]e should recognise that any strategy to tackle Isis requires the active engagement of important neighbouring countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran for a long-term political settlement in both Iraq and Syria.”

“Here too, we should act with clarity and determination. Such action must include an overhaul of the Home Office Prevent programme to equip communities with the tools to stop young people being sucked into extremist ideology. We should also do more to prevent potential fighters from travelling to the region, and promote an effective, mandatory programme of deradicalisation for anyone who is drawn into the fringes of extremism in Syria and Iraq.”

“But we must also show Britain has learnt the lessons of our recent history with an approach based on a genuine multilateralism, working with others to build alliances across continents against Isis and their ideology.”

At lest the Filipino generals are savvy enough to know that the UN’s Miliband-style approach would lead to the decapitation of its peacekeepers. To win, we need to know what the nature of the beast is. Sometimes it is unilateralism that saves lives while multilateralism dithers. The trouble is that unilateralism requires confidence and this is something Ed Miliband lacks. His lack of confidence is infecting the whole of parliament. His successful scuppering of plans to intervene in Syria last year has meant that David Cameron now too lacks the confidence to proceed with confidence.

It is a disaster waiting to happen, not only for the suffering people in the immediate path and wake of Isis, but for the UK too. Tragedy is just around the corner.

There’s little point tacking “root causes” when it is obvious that someone is already shouting “timber!” We have to accept that for more than a decade we faithfully and credulously addressed what we thought were the root causes, but we were wrong. We assumed radicalism and extremism could be tackled via secular, materialist means, but they can’t. Theopolitical considerations are not of “this world” and the comforts and conveniences of our modern liberal democratic welfare states have no impact. They are not even relevant.

Instead our liberal policy-makers refused to accept it when extremists told them point blankly that they didn’t care about our modern comforts because they were warriors for Allah. Instead, we patronised them and thought “Oh, they don’t really mean that! It’s really just a cry for more opportunities. Let’s upgrade the youth centre and put in a hiphop studio.” Meanwhile, these theo-thuggish attacks – misdiagnosed as secular “cries for help” –  continued.

We saw the rot setting in but refused to accept that these were the real roots.  They were.

The tree of extremism is now crashing down. Secateurs are of no use. It’s time to get an axe.