Very Brown Noses On Less Brown Faces

Tawfiq Chahboune


"Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip," wrote the ever perceptive George Orwell. Since 9/ll all parliamentary debates concerning Afghanistan, Iraq and the so-called "prevention of terrorism" - essentially, anything to do with the supposedly "mad" Muslim world - or a tricky impending instalment of PMQs (things going badly in Iraq, another terrorist outrage by our former jihadi allies, etc) has had Blair, eyes ablaze and a false sense of concern projected, surrounded by a front bench nodding in unison (Patricia Hewitt is like a metronome), sometimes singing backing vocals when the front man needs help. But look two and three benches back. The brown faces, anything up to four or even five, of Labour's Asian MPs are there crowded into that very small background space captured by television cameras positioned to take in the magnificent words of the Great Helmsman and Universal Genius. During no other discussions - education, health, transport, taxation, etc - can you see the condensed features of the brown-faced cowards in such a cramped televisual space.


I have noticed this phenomena somewhere in the region of a dozen times. There may well have been more occasions, but I can't claim to have viewed every televised parliamentary debate on these matters. I can't be the only person who has noticed this decidedly fishy manifestation of brown faces crowding my rectangular screen when there is a debate on giving raghead Abdul and Co. a taste of uranium-tipped weaponry, or to rescind the civil liberties and freedom of aid-worker Imran and Co. for possible thought crimes or chit-chats with possibly dangerous people. The chances - given the number of MPs, the number of seats available and the permutations available - that a handful of Asian MPs just so happen to be sitting in a position to fill our screens is astronomical; that this happens only during war and terror debates is super-astronomical; that this happens time and time again is…well…you get the picture. Something very dodgy is going on, to say the least.


Now, has someone asked the MPs "of colour" to position themselves in a manner so as to project the message, subliminal or not, to the watching public that somehow the media-created image of a homogeneous "Muslim community" is not necessarily opposed to the bombing to smithereens of the Islamic world? And since all brown faces are the same, and all brown faces equals Muslims, especially to the empire's executive committee, who is the more blameworthy, the directors of this racist farce or the directed troupers who willingly participate in it? Or are these MPs like Orwell's dog and not in any need of cracking whips, happily turning somersaults to please their master? In the past, perhaps, the guiding hand of Alastair Campbell, a former prostitute, may have been detected. Now that the former prostitute has left Blair (the one case of a prostitute leaving a pimp and staying unharmed?), who would organise this despicable racism? Perhaps it is self-organising.  


Take the clownish figure of Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury since the 2005 general election. He was rewarded with this safe seat after taking obsequiousness to new depths. Labour were shamed into giving the unctuous bonehead and ceaseless self-promoter a seat: there is only so much humiliating groveling anyone, even Labour, can endure. Actually, you'd be hard put to say whether his stupidity or his self-promotion is greater. One need only listen to his bumbling and incoherent manner of speech to at once recognise a consummate idiot who'll do anything to climb the greasy pole. For Malik this means trading on, and abusing, his Islamic heritage. Seeing an opportunity to make a name for himself in the months since the terrorist attacks on London, Malik has lost no time in advertising himself as some sort of mediator between Britain's "Muslim Community" and the self-described progressive values of a modern Britain perplexed by this "fifth column". My favourite example of Malik's desire to go out of his way to say something meritorious to Labour, yet completely bodge it up, was the following unnecessary interjection, apropos of something concerning racism, on Radio 4's Any Questions?: "I'm depressed to say that I got the highest BNP vote in the country." What you mean, Shahid, is that your constituency registered the highest vote for a BNP candidate at the general election, you ass.


A lot of the outlandish silliness to say or do what is desirable for those running the show is not directed; no all-powerful propaganda ministry is in action, directing operations. The media is the best example. Journalists flinch at the idea of self-censorship. But then they wouldn't be where they are today if they did not censor themselves. So asking the self-censoring journalists if they're self-censoring is futile because they don't know they're doing it. They honestly believe they're being, well, honest. Not many journalists knowingly deceive and misinform, spread disinformation and propaganda, turn their gaze from the truth and self-censor, yet sleep the slumbers of a babe in arms. The ones who did not self-censor were weeded out long ago and are the ones to talk to if one wants to grasp how the media shuts out news deleterious to power. It is an internalised, and self-perpetuating, system of working. That's why it would be unthinkable for, say, the late Paul Foot to be offered the role of BBC political editor, though he was, with George Orwell and Claud Cockburn, one of the best political commentators Britain has produced in the twentieth century.


After the terrorist attacks on London, Malik was quick off the blocks, as was the buffoon and weird-faced Khalid Mahmood, to be seen as a representative of the "Muslim community". He "represented" the "Muslim community" - who were happily unaware of the existence of such an ambassador - by not representing their overwhelmingly antiwar views and their belief that the West's double standards and support for despotisms are to blame for terrorism. An ingenious deception this: representation without representation. He blabbed on and on and on about Muslims as a whole having to take responsibility for the extremism in their midst. Malik spies a ministerial job and perhaps in his fevered imagination a seat in cabinet.


And so we heard nothing of the US-organised international campaign during the eighties to direct a jihad against the Soviet Union, the US-led funding and arming of the Suharto dictatorship's use of jihadis to help murder one million people in Indonesia, the overthrow of Pakistan ' s quasi-democracy, replaced with a US-aided Taliban-like General Zia dictatorship schooling jihadis. No, that has nothing to do with this "evil ideology". That most, if not all, of the "evil ideology" directed against the "innocent" West was carefully nurtured by the Western powers, specifically the US, is irrelevant. That most of the jihadis thus far are from these very same problem areas where the West whipped up jihad or organised jihadis is a coincidence. But to be fair to the imbecilic Malik (that rhymes!), he is such an unbelievably ignorant fellow that he may in all probability not know anything about international politics and modern history. Ignorance in itself can't explain his reflexive willingness to echo Blair's self-defeating "anti-terrorism" strategy. One does not need to be a student of Middle East politics and terrorism to have some inkling that there are root causes to what is happening today. Malik disagrees: "evil ideology" says his bleeper, and "evil ideology" is blurted out like a broken record by the great bumbler.     


Malik may well have a bright future ahead of him (another idiotic bumbler is Foreign Secretary). After all, how many Muslim ministers are there? Round about none. Long before Malik perfected the art of obsequiousness, and bumbling, there was another very brown nose on a less brown face. In the beginning there was Sarwar. And the word "Sahib" was with him. In the belief that a ministerial post of some kind awaited him, Mohammed Sarwar bent over backwards to ingratiate himself to the Labour high command. He may well have been successful - sucking like this is seldom found outside expensive "massage parlours". Unfortunately for Sarwar, the great brown hope was discovered to be involved in what can only be described as corruption; his actual crime was that he was so dumb that he could not tell the difference between corruption and "corruption" in a political system where nearly all corruption is legal. It takes real talent to not grasp the difference between corruption and "corruption". Congratulations, Mr Sarwar. Nevertheless, his case is instructive. (In what way are "outside interests" not legalised corruption? To say nothing of the miraculous directorships handed out to retiring MPs and ministers for services rendered. Witness, for example, David "little lad" Blunkett's recent "resignation" - again. Yet the propaganda spills forth that the UK has a clean system of government. Blunkett, of course, can be excused his own misdemeanours as he is an arrogant and supremely ignorant thug, and has from the beginning been promoted far beyond his own abilities by constantly using his blindness to further his laughably impossible career. I'll never get over that side-splitting interview in which Blunkett cried his eyes out - blind eyes, lest we forget - about his "little lad". All this so as to mitigate his nauseating wrongdoing, which he calls "love", and to save his political career. And the "little lad" wasn't even his! It reminds me of the apocryphal, double-edged story of the kerb-crawler who picks up a prostitute, only to find out he has solicited his own wife!)


Back to today. In these times wouldn ' t it be a gesture to the Muslim community to appoint a Muslim to some ministerial post so as to look inclusive? Give the pet Muslim some unserious ministerial post. It goes without saying that Malik's coreligionists at Westminster are all thinking the same. Although a ministerial position will not be awarded solely on the basis of who has the darkest brown nose - something Malik and chums are not aware of - this will be a significant contributing factor. The result is the dismal spectacle where each aspiring Muslim MP endeavours to out-do the competition in their Blairite rhetoric about an "evil ideology" - no one from the Muslim world can be that ignorant as to really believes this nonsense. Malik must have taken the lessons of Pakistan on board: corruption and rationalising extreme violence pay handsomely. And so surely it is only a matter of time before one of the young Muslim MPs becomes a minister. But who will it be? Malik or Mahmood or...? Watch this space.


But surely it'll be obvious to all that appointing Malik or Mahmood or some other Muslim automaton to a ministerial post would be a token gesture, right? Somewhere Bertie Wooster says: "Providence looks after the chumps of this world; and personally I'm all for it." Quite so, as the great Wodehouse would say. And so there is every chance that providence may well shine on the chump Malik and chums. Being an idiot need not hinder, say, Malik's progress up the bloodied pole: Estelle Morris was Education Secretary, John Prescott is Deputy PM, Jack Straw is Foreign Secretary, Alan Milburn was touted as a future PM, Denis MacShane and John Reid have been known to throw tantrums when not described as "intellectuals", etc. What's that oft-quoted line about paying top money to ensure that the truly talented are attracted to the onerous life of an MP, and that as a result we may all prosper by the uniquely awesome gifts only they possess and which they will now shower on Blighty? Oh yes, something about peanuts and monkeys. Thank heavens we pay top whack to secure for the nation's parliament gifted individuals like Prescott, Straw et al. What kind of a political system deems Prescott and Straw, for instance, competent individuals and worthy of well over £100,000 per year? In any case, where is the concept of supply and demand, the market deity we are all now expected to prostrate ourselves before? Since there are tens of thousands of people wishing to enter parliament, why do MPs salaries spiral ever upwards?


During the 2005 general election Labour had Alan Milburn traveling to Muslim communities to unload a barrage of thinly veiled attacks on Michael Howard's and Oliver Letwin's Jewish background. The flying pigs controversy and Fagin caricatures deployed by Labour were a bigoted attempt to play on what is considered the prevalence of anti-semitism in the British "Muslim community", thereby mistaking anti-Zionism for anti-semitism. (Anti-semitism is a Western disease and was almost entirely absent in the Islamic world until the destruction of Palestine and the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.). Almost everybody thought that these two instances of anti-semitism were unintentional gaffes. Personally, I think that the opposite was the case . There was a strong whiff of knowingness about the whole strategy. The British electorate as a whole would dismiss it at worst as awesome insensitivity, and at best as Tory overreaction. By then, however, the message would have distilled itself into the "Muslim community" that a Tory win would land you with the JEW. This quasi-ZOG machine propaganda isn ' t that shocking. Labour, of course, aren't anti-semitic; just that they're willing to give a nod and a wink to an underhand electoral tactic, especially when you can't prove what they ' re doing is explicitly trying to play on the imaginary fears of a religious constituency, or constituencies, they themselves don't understand and have no real intention of ever understanding (other than they ' re all raving anti-semites). It reminded me of Abu Ghraib.


The interesting thing about Abu Ghraib was not that people were routinely tortured by the goons of an imperial power. Really, who can be surprised by this? It would be surprising if it didn't happen. Although the most awful pictures and videos have not been released - those showing rape and sodomy, even sodomy with a broomstick - it was the strategic "thinking" behind Abu Ghraib that was the most revealing, and something very few commentators have alluded to. The "coalition" could have instituted systematic Saddam-like torture and ripped people's fingernails out, drilled through their teeth, shown them pictures of Amanda Platell, etc. Though this, like the electrocutions, almost certainly occurred (well, except for the Platell stuff; no one would be that cruel), the current civilian commanders at the Pentagon, the neoconservatives, had directed their thugs to institute the additional policy of humiliating Muslim captives. The overarching framework at Abu Ghraib constituted "shaming" Muslims.


Their nineteenth-century Orientalist mindset was that Muslims fear shame more than torture; hence threaten to publish pictures of them purportedly fellating and sodomising one another, being led around on a leash by (of all things) a woman. It is, of course, the most base view of the Islamic world. A "Clash of Civilisations" is unavoidable, even predictable, perhaps in some limited way even desired by the Empire, if the one side in a position to stop it happening (the other side is incapable of dealing with the jihadis while the US props up despotisms, continues its long war against the progressive forces in the Islamic world, leaving Islamic fundamentalism as the only outlet for the seething anger in the Islamic cauldron) has not only a preconceived, nineteenth-century Orientalist perception of the Islamic world, but actually acts upon an Orientalist intellectual discourse that seeks to legitimise the domination of the "Other", to use the late Edward Said's perceptive terminology. Though most Western people have moved on from this vile Orientalism, the political Establishment may well be seeking to recreate this image of the Islamic world to further its own imperial ends. By the way, rightwing rags can still be found employing the abusive term Mohammedan for Muslim (and, of course, they know it's abusive).


So the anti-semitic propaganda directed at the "Muslim community" during the general election was reminiscent of Abu Ghraib in that the practice (propaganda/torture) in itself, though disgusting, is not shocking. What is crucial is what it tells us of how the Establishment views Muslims and Islam. Muslims are viewed as irrational, prone to unbearable shame concerning nakedness and sex and above all homosexuality, fear or hate women, are anti-semitic and possess one-dimensional thought processes solely concerned with their religion and nothing else - this final reason is one of the considerations behind Labour's proposed incitement of religious hatred legislation. Actually, given their general election tactics and Abu Ghraib Orientalism, Labour has almost certainly broken the laws it proposes to introduce on inciting religious hatred.           


Why would any government bring in a law to prohibit "incitement to religious hatred"? Needless to say, it has nothing to do with protecting Muslims from hatred, as we are led to believe. Actually, a general law on "incitement to hatred" would be more efficacious, not that even this would be necessary: the law as it stands today is more than enough to tackle incitement to "hatred". It says a lot about the self-styled "Muslim leaders" that Sir Iqbal "Death Is Too Good For Rushdie" Sacranie is the most prominent member of Blair's Muslim taskforce; he has undertaken the short trek from one pole of stupidity and retardation (fanatical cretin) to another equally stupid and retarded pole (imperial Uncle Tom). Not only is this obscene legislation to "prohibit" what they refer to as "religious hatred" an illiberal law of monstrous proportions, it is, more importantly, simply a cover to undertake more military action against the West's political enemies in the Islamic world.


At the same time, however, the Labour government is trying to pass the most repressive laws on freedom of expression in at least fifty years, all specifically directed at Muslims, masquerading as combating terrorism. The proposed legislation will make it illegal to support the United Nations Charter, international law and numerous UN General Assembly votes: opposing racist and colonial regimes and occupation forces will be illegal. Indeed, as Charles Clarke put it, there is no possible political scenario whereby "violence would be justified to bring about change" (but not, of course, when the Empire does it), thereby retrospectively agreeing with Dick Cheney that Nelson Mandela is a terrorist. This is one of the most vile laws ever brought before parliament. And let's be clear about this. This part of the legislation is specifically targeted at Muslims, but written in a way to hide this very fact. Whether you agree with the proposition or not, no one in their right minds surely believes that anything constructive is gained by imprisoning someone for up to seven years for declaring that Palestinians or Iraqis have a right to resist occupation. Anyway, as the UN Charter is the highest law, and one the UK is a signatory to, wouldn't any legislation violating or infringing the Charter be itself illegal?


The proposed legislation will also criminalize certain obscene opinions. For instance, "9/11 was rollicking entertainment" would be, in principle, illegal. Whereas, the former high-ranking CIA and State Department official Larry Johnson's Nazi-like slur on Newsnight that a democratic Iraq would "vote to kill Jews" would not be so judged. Part of the "anti-terror" legislation includes the banning of alleged extremist parties. The example of Hizb ut Tahrir (HuT) is interesting. Apparently they are some sort of threat to national security. Seldom will you come across a party more antithetical to secularism and liberalism, but a threat to national security? Well, that is what we are meant to believe. Here is the curious thing. Let's put away everything else and concentrate solely on HuT's purported threat. What is interesting is the indecisive nature of the government. Having proclaimed that HuT are a danger to national security and come hell or high water they would be banned, the government then changed its mind, changed it again, and at last count changed it again. If you're confused by all this, the upshot is that HuT will not to be banned.


Question. If HuT really is party to a conspiracy to destroy the UK, or constitutes a threat to the very life of the nation as Blair has so dramatically put it in the past, would any responsible government be unsure as to the only recourse available to it is? And be so indecisive in public? In front of jihadis who will be "emboldened", so say the government, by this weakness? If HuT are a threat, or are involved in any way with terrorism, ban them and imprison them. Better still, don't warn them that you're on to them, and put them under extensive surveillance so as to gain intelligence on their workings, dealings and contacts. However, if HuT are not a threat to the UK, and are merely another odious group to add to the many others operating legally in the UK, then we have a criminally irresponsible government willing to play games with civil liberties and anti-terror legislation.


There is a simple answer, or answers, which clears up this farce. HuT are not a threat to anything - except to a good night out. And even if they are a threat, the government would rather use this "evil ideology" pretext to further foreign and domestic policies which have nothing to do with combating terrorism. Let us never forget the well-known Al Qaeda terrorist who entered and flew out of Britain just before the London terror attacks. The security services registered the arrival of a dangerous terrorist into the country and then did absolutely nothing. Did he meet with other dangerous suspects? Did he use a mobile phone and the internet to contact other possible terror suspects? If so, then we can track his contacts and their contacts and establish a net of intelligence. What did he do or say? Was he party to the London attacks? We'll never know because the security services couldn't be bothered to track a known Al Qaeda terrorist. He himself was not followed. If that is not proof that the government is not interested in combating terrorism, I don't know what is.    


Similarly with the terror legislation as a whole. If it is so important, and the life of the nation is actually threatened, surely the Blair government is guilty of irresponsibility by being so lethargic? Why did Blair not recall parliament from its long summer recess for as many months as need be and demand emergency legislation? Why is this life-saving legislation taking so long? Why is it being watered down? Use the Parliament Act. Tie a "vote of no confidence" to the legislation so as to force it through. For pity's sake, John Major used a vote of no confidence on the Maastricht Treaty! If Blair believes "passionately" that the "rules of the game" have to change to confront an "evil ideology" bent on slaughtering us, is it not irresponsible for him to refuse to threaten to bring his own government down to do so? Would that not prove that the threat is as bad as Blair is asking us to believe? Evidently not. The actions of the government are not matching the purported threat. Or is Maastricht more important than the "evil ideology" on the verge of enslaving, torturing and murdering us all? History, after all, will judge. Plainly, the threat is minimal; and where there is a threat, Blair barely confronts it and prefers to exploit the threat of terrorism to further foreign policy. No matter what the government now does, their actions have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that terrorism is not high on their agenda and that the threat, though real, is quite minor and is being spun by those who have "form" in these matters. It says a great deal that more than four years after 9/11, the event that made "terrorism" the West's number one world priority (as an excuse to further an imperial agenda), that only now has the government seen fit to pass legislation on commissioning and preparing terrorism. They can't even get their lies right. New Labour are possibly the most incompetent imperialists in British history. In the meantime, however, the government has overwhelmed parliament with legislation concerning hundreds of minor matters. Does that look like taking terrorism seriously? Or just a smokescreen? There are plenty of similar examples.


The government is involved in a PR campaign gone awry. In the main this was foreign policy camouflaged as solely domestic policy - the reasons for which have now completely unravelled. It is also an excuse for Government and governments to pass the kind of anti-liberal legislation it could never dream of passing in less fearful times. Government and governments push the line that they are the first line of defence in protecting civil liberties; in actuality, almost the exact opposite is the case. Government is inherently hostile to most civil liberties, and given half a chance will revoke the hard won gains of public pressure. The weird-faced, and formerly moustachioed, Mahmood has been particularly vocal in demanding the banning of Hizb ut Tahrir when it seemed the government would ban it. Now that the open door he was pushing at has closed, the cynical, and weird-faced, Mahmood is eerily silent. Not to worry, though. Labour will trot out the self-promoters and the Uncle Toms to propagandise on its behalf that Labour is not passing legislation that will in practice target almost exclusively Muslims and anyone considered a little bit dodgy. After all, some people will do anything to be on television.       


Hamilton and other sleazy Tories received a few hundred quid for their corruption. Small change for Shahid Malik and his unscrupulous, power-hungry, self-promoting coreligionist mercenaries. They're in a position to speak out and inform the public as to the nature of imperialism, Orientalist propaganda, terror and jihadism, though they may have to educate themselves first. They have chosen, however, to keep quiet and bend the knee to the Empire. Unlike the justifiable ruin brought upon Sarwar's bright political career for a comparatively minor case of unethical behaviour, Malik and the self-styled parliamentary representatives of the "Muslim community" will no doubt be rewarded for the worst corruption possible. Is there a more depressing sight than that of someone willing to be a well-remunerated coolie? Just keep repeating that we have the cleanest political system in the world. One day you just might believe it. While the brownies are making their rise up the bloodied pole, we can all watch this most fascinating of reality television shows: I'm a very brown nose on a less brown face, get me a ministerial post!