The Government and Extremism

Photo Source: ITV.com

The British government’s plan for tackling Islamic extremism seems to rely heavily on language which is either without substance, misleading or, in some cases, hypocritical.

"I wish the BBC would stop calling it 'Islamic State' because it is not an Islamic state,”
‘the foundation stone of our new strategy is the proud promotion of British values.
These values – such as regard for the rule of law, participation in and acceptance of democracy, equality,’
The first quote, taken from an interview David Cameron gave to the Today programme, underlines the seeming lack of weight that exists in the government’s plans for tackling Islamic extremism- why get so frustrated about what the BBC calls ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh? Following the attacks in Tunisia, the Prime Minister called for a ‘full spectrum’ response with no clear explanation as to what this type of response would entail. The use of what are essentially soundbites suggests that the government is more concerned with semantics than with strategy- a ‘full spectrum’ response would surely include a massive, boots on the ground military operation in response to the attacks of 26/6/15 but this will not happen.
The second quotation given above is taken from a speech made by Theresa May- it is here that the misleading and, in some cases, hypocritical nature of the government’s rhetoric is laid bare.
The Home Secretary seems to believe that ‘democracy’ and ‘equality’ are values which Britain has a monopoly on yet many of these values originated in places other than Britain and were rejections of British values of the time. Democracy was born in Classical Greece and many British pro-democracy campaigners, Thomas Paine for example, drew inspiration from the French and American Revolutions: the American revolution involved the overthrow of British monarchial rule in America and was based on the belief that ‘all men are created equal’ etc.- everyone is aware of the words which follow. Factor in that there are currently over 120 democracies in the world and one can see that ‘democracy’ and ‘equality’ are not purely British values: they are universal values, they have sometimes been the antithesis of British values and they have their origins in places other than Britain.
The hypocrisy of the government’s promotion of British values in order to combat extremism stems from the fact that the government and Theresa May in particular are guilty of doing the opposite of what they preach. Mrs May believes that ‘regard for the rule of law’ is a British value and something which should be promoted; however, she has acted as if she were above the law: the Anderson report recommended that judicial authorisation was needed if the authorities required interception and property warrants: judicial authorisation is a process which takes time yet in 2014 Theresa May authorised 2,345 of these warrants- more than 6 a day, some in the middle of the night. This disregard for events- the authorising of interception and property warrants- which should require judicial authorisation implies that Theresa May does not feel that she is bound by the courts and that she should be able to act independently of them- so much for ‘regard of the rule of law’.
In addition to this, the British state hardly has the greatest respect for democracy:

-It has invited Egypt’s President Sisi, who came to power following a coup which deposed the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood, to Britain.

-It raised at half mast the Union Flag above Houses of Parliament following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia- the country which has been so successful at exporting Wahhabism.

-It has also exported over a billion pounds worth of arms (strategic controlled goods, to use Foreign Office language) to China.

In all of these cases the government has at best ignored and at worst supported regimes which neither accept, nor participate in democracy thereby highlighting the government’s hypocrisy when it says it wants to promote these values as British values.

The British government indulges in hypocrisy, seeks to define universal values as British values, fails to understand history and the exerts too much effort in playing silly little word games: can it really play a significant role in the fight against Islamic extremism and in the fight for what it believes to be ‘British values’?

By: Liam Cosgrove
The Government and Extremism The Government and Extremism Reviewed by Unknown on 11:37 Rating: 5

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