A wonderful Irwin M. Stelzer piece for The Weekly Standard “Labour’s Pain . . . And Blair’s achievement“:
…I have attended every annual conference since Blair took control of the Labour party. I have watched him face down the party’s vocal and powerful left and shed the famous and beloved Clause IV of his party’s constitution, drafted by Sidney Webb in 1918 and pledging “to secure for the workers by hand or by brain . . . the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.” I have seen him develop and lay out the doctrines of preemption, intervention, and regime change in the case of genocidal regimes, while Bush was still governor of Texas and the neoconservatives mere out-of-power scribblers. And I have seen him leave a trade union conference in mid-session and head directly for the United States after September 11, and then stand with President Bush in a coalition of the willing when France and an anti-American, Saddam-purchased clique paralyzed the United Nations.
And last week I saw him once again defy his party and much of the electorate to reiterate his resolve to stay with us in waging war on terrorism, in the firm belief that helping to spread democracy is what he likes to call “the right thing,” and that the spread of democracy is our ultimate defense against Islamic terrorism.
To be fully appreciated by the reader-of-the-whole-thing.
An important short essay by Lexington Green – you’ll definitely want to read the entire essay:
Jim Bennett has a good piece on assimilation of immigrants in the USA, which gives some idea of how hard this was to do in the past, and what it will take the UK to do the same thing. The fact that the 7/7 suicide bombers were home-grown came as a shock to many in the UK. This shock has set in motion a conversation, which may eventually be fruitful, to try to define what it is that immigrants to the UK should be trying to assimilate to. In other words, before you can say to someone, “if you want to come here, you have to decide to become one of us”, you need to answer the question for yourselves: “who are we?” This is a question many people don’t want to engage with. It leads to further questions, “why are we who we are?” and “is what we are good? Is it worth defending? Worth taking risks for? Worth dying to defend?” One early cut at defining a set of “core values” for Britain was this piece. It is a good list.
Creating a consensus on anything like this is very difficult, especially these days, either in UK, or the USA, and giving affirmative answers to these questions is even harder. The “commanding heights” are held by a news media, an entertainment industry and an academic community which convey a message of disdain for the history of these countries, which see little of value in their past or present, and which are actively opposed to the idea of assimilation.
If you teach generations of people nothing but the crimes of their ancestors and the corruption of their existing institutions, which is an incomplete and hence false depiction, they are unlikely to have the cohesion and confidence needed to insist that immigrants adopt certain base-line values and practices. In ordinary times this deficiency can be “kicked down the road”, since it may not seem urgent. However, it turns out to be a structural weakness when mortal threats arise.