The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, today delivered a very important speech in Luton entitled ‘An Open, Confident Society: The Application of Muscular Liberalism in a Multicultural Society’ in which he wisely distanced himself from some of the comments made by the idiot David Cameron last month in his Munich speech.
Clegg spoke up for the concept of multiculturalism which had been crudely caricatured by Cameron:
“This is the background against which we have to consider the issues of multiculturalism. We have to be clear what we mean here. Where multiculturalism is held to mean more segregation, other communities leading parallel lives, it is clearly wrong. For me, multiculturalism has to seen as a process by which people respect and communicate with each other, rather than build walls between each other. Welcoming diversity but resisting division: that’s the kind of multiculturalism of an open, confident society.”
In addition, Cameron had last month called for government officials to end contact with those he described as being ‘extremists’, not just violent extremists as had previously been the case. Now ‘extremists’ is a very loaded term and can be easily used to smear many opponents which is precisely why the likes of Charles Moore, Melanie Phillips, Harry’s Place, Policy Exchange and the Quilliam Foundation had so warmly welcomed his remarks. They have all been keen on the government breaking all relations with those they describe as being ‘Islamist’ groups which they, of course, also regard as being synonymous with ‘extremist groups’. Oddly enough, these ‘Islamist’ groups all tend to be vocal critics of Israel. Strange that.
Clegg – to his credit – today refused to go along with this type of McCarthyite tactic and pointedly made reference to the need to engage with all shades of Muslim opinion and said it was vital to distinguish ‘between violent and non-violent extremism’, something Cameron pointedly did not do. Here is a key passage from his speech:
“Smart engagement means engaging in argument at public events, where appropriate and at the right level. Of course these are always difficult decisions to make. But to take one example, the Global Peace and Unity conference attracts around fifty thousand British Muslims each year and is an important opportunity to engage in argument – and so Andrew Stunell, the Government’s Communities Minister did this year. Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, also spoke at the event.
“Now there may well have been a small minority of organisations and individuals at that event with deeply unpalatable, illiberal views.
“But you don’t win a fight by leaving the ring. You get in and win. The overwhelming majority of the people attending this conference are active, engaged and law-abiding citizens. We don’t win people to liberal ideals by giving ourselves a leave of absence from the argument.”
Indeed, two years ago, Clegg publicly issued a stern rebuke to Policy Exchange for their sly role in trying to persuade senior politicians to boycott a key Muslim event in the UK.
The Israel lobby views any progress made by UK Muslims in this country’s political life as being against their interests. The only permissible Muslims are those who are prepared to remain silent about the crimes perpetrated by the apartheid state of Israel.
Clegg recognises this as madness and rightly so.
Update: Samira Shackle over at the New Statesman provides a helpful table which makes clear that Clegg was forcefully rebutting several of idiot Cameron’s key messages.
Update 2: Our old friend Paul Goodman is clearly upset over at Conservative Home and claims that there is ‘great unhappiness’ amongst ‘senior Tories’ about Clegg’s speech. He accuses the Lib-Dems of being ‘less than scrupulous in not going after Islamist support.’ Just replace ‘Islamist’ with ‘Zionist’ and I think his statement would be far truer of the Tory party.