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February 23, 2005

A question for my new friends across the pond

This morning saw a first for me -- being tracked back by a blogger from London. The blogger was interested in my post about "Red Ken" Livingstone, the Mayor of London. I'm not too good tracing IP addresses, but either the blogger or someone coming here from his blog left me little smartalecky comments in that post and the later post about the Iraqi soldiers, using as pseudonyms the names of British politicians. (Another commenter simply called himself "John.")

The gist of the comments, stripping away the smartaleckiness, and the gist of the trackback, was that "Red Ken" was basically right not to apologize for calling a Jewish reporter a concentration camp guard. Now, I've always hated the spectacle of trying to force a politician to apologize. Even if it happens under the duress of public scorn, it's never sincere, and for that reason, I think it's counterproductive even to ask for an apology. If the politician sincerely regrets his statement (which is rarely the case), he will apologize of his own volition.

What bothers me more about "Red Ken" is his dogged defense of his celebration of a Muslim cleric known for preaching in favor of the murder of Jews. [UPDATE 2/24: LGF has more on this.] I have a pretty good idea why American Leftists who generally despise religion and profess a concern for women and gays nevertheless make alliances with religious reactionaries who oppress women and debate the proper way to execute gays. For American Leftists, it's basically that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I don't even have to read David Horowitz's book.

So here's my question for my new British Leftist friends. I'd be the first to admit I don't know much about British politics, and I'd like to know, in your own words, why the British Left is so tight with the folks who are planning to impose shari'a law in England at their earliest opportunity. Please feel free to respond in the comments.

And, just to show you that I'm a nice guy, I won't mock you for working to destroy the lofty principles that Britain has stood for since 1215 and the viability of Britain as a force for good in the world. Instead, I'll tell you a Jewish joke, apropos of all this.

A Jew leaves Eastern Europe after the War and relocates in England. He sheds his Jewish clothing, his Jewish accent, and generally makes himself over into an English gentleman. He speaks right, adopts the right politics, wears the right ties, and becomes indistinguishable from his business partners. He does well in business, buys a country house, and moves about in high class society.

The Jew then brings his father to England, but he tells his father he's got to become high class English, too. So he replaces his father's coat with a Harris Tweed jacket and his cabbage soup with roast beef rare and says "Dad, I'm sorry but my barber is going to cut off your payot (side locks) -- English gentlemen don't wear them."

The old man has been silent through all of this, but after his side locks have been cut off, he bursts into tears. His son asks him why he's crying, and the old man sobs, "We lost India."