''We have to elevate the issue of religious extremism to the top of the agenda,'' Tony Blair
TONY BLAIR is no more my favourite politician than was Margaret Thatcher to Arthur Scargill. But I hope that if someone whom I care little for says something I agree with, I will not be churlish and disagree with him for the sake of it.
Today Mr Blair gave a 45 minute talk on what he sees as the greatest threat to the world today - Islamism: and I am forced through conviction to agree with him. He believes the West has been side-tracked by the stand-off in the Ukraine, and we must unite with Russia and China to take on a far more important threat to peace in the world than the events in the Ukraine.
Once more I agree. But we must pause and digress a little. The European union, which Mr Blair has, or had, ambitions to become president of, began this confrontation. Because of the Napoleonic ambitions of Brussels, the EU began to entice the Ukraine into, first of all a trading alliance; leading eventually to full membership of the EU.
Now the West knows full well that Russia has a legitimate geopolitical interest in how events in the Ukraine unfold; an interest the EU ignored, when they sought its seduction of the Ukraine. The country lies on Russia's borders, and Russia sees Europe and Nato as a threat. It was a conflict manufactured in Brussels. It was a confrontation that could have waited, until Putin left power. There was no hurry; the EU has enough problems on its hands because of the economic crises caused by the euro. Empire building could have been put on hold, until the political and economic climate proved more fortuitous regarding such a seduction.
NOW BACK TO BLAIR'S speech. In terms of global foreign policy Islamic fundamentalism should be at the top of the international agenda. But because of our interventions in Afghanistan; and the defeat we suffered at the hands of an ill-equipped and motley band of peasants still living in the middle ages; our politicians bury their heads in the sand when someone like Blair correctly provides the correct perspective on foreign policy. They fear another Afghanistan and stick their fingers in each other's ears when talk of any prospective military confrontation is spoken off.
Blair's most important comment was on the need to form alliances against Islamism. These alliances should, as Blair said, encompass Russia and China, both of whom have their own interest in seeing the demise Islamism. To take on Islamism the West will need Russia and China on side.
The West, the East, and the Far East would make a formidable triumphret. Churchill warned of the threat from Nazi Germany, and was shot down by the appeasers. He suffered ridicule in the House of Commons, from those tired by conflict following the appalling loses suffered in the First World War; it was understandable but not forgivable following the course of history.
I doubt if Blair had a Churchillian moment when he looked at the world and perceived what the greatest threat to world peace was. But today we heard a speech given by a true statesman whatever his many failings as a prime minister.
His warnings will no doubt be ignored by politicians within all parties who for political or personal reasons despise the man. Blair was the Shallow Hal when it came to the spin-doctoring that everyone seems to believe he invented. But we are all entitled to get one thing right in our lives and Blair's attack on Islamism is his.
THE ADVANCE of Islamic fundamentalism is not confined to the Middle East. Europe is the home to 15 million Muslims. The UK has 2.5 million. Last week we heard that there is believed to be 400 British Muslims fighting in Syria. This is a guesstimate, it could be 4,000. But when they return, they will have been professionally trained, not by instructors, but by experience.
We are told they face arrest upon return. But considering how our politicians and public institutions have been fearful of upsetting all ethnic minorities by their decision making; I doubt this is nothing more than just another announcement announced to settle the nerves of the indigenous population.
Enoch Powell used the words 'upper hand' to describe what he saw as an influx of migrants, whose numbers would increase to a level whereby they would assert themselves over the indigenous people. I quote Powell, not because I agree with all of his views; but the ones I do believe, as is the case with Tony Blair, I support.
Blair makes reference to Birmingham and the current controversy of the teaching methods of certain Muslims, to warn people of what comes next, when cities like Birmingham, and northern cities like Bradford with large Muslim populations have the confidence to strike out in the coming decades.
WHERE I DISAGREE profoundly with Blair is on his insistence that Islamic fundamentalism is a minority pursuit. What is a minority pursuit within Islam, resides among those who genuinely believe in democracy. Islam is still tied to its medieval past. Its attitude to women, which encompasses Female Genital Mutilation, arranged marriages and honour killings: along with the pursuit of white indigenous young girls (Rochdale and Oxford), which they believe are free to be raped under Islam as infidels.
I would say this to Tony Blair. Unlike Christianity, Islam has never been put through the white heat of Reformation. Countries today which harbour such a faith have never had any kind of Enlightenment because they never had any Reformation. This is the flushing out that creates a kinder church, but one which has left Islamic societies behind to suffer medievalism .
Islam's attitudes and beliefs remain, in many respects, as they were in the 8th century. Blair, like all Western politicians, are fearful of Islam. He may perceive and rationalise the threat from Islam; but attributes it to a minority in order to keep the Muslim community on board and fearful of upsetting them…just as all Western politicians tend to do. But this will may turn out to be, if it is pursued, the West's nemeses.