It seems that one of the things which people on the left fear most is being taken over by some kind of fundamentalist, theocratic religion that will somehow or other subdue all women and impose a sexually repressive new world order, aka, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian fable, The Handmaid’s Tale. (Actually, those on the right of politics fear much the same thing. It what’s Dan Tehan has recently described as ‘minority fundamentalism’). But if you wanted to catch a glimpse of what that might look like in the future, then just take a look at London, or should that be Londonistan?
When Donald Trump visits Britain next week Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, has agreed to let protestors fly a giant ‘Baby Trump Balloon’ for two hours between 9:30 am and 11:30 am at a height of 30 metres – just under 100 feet – over the Houses of Parliament, Westminster. It’s an action that Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader and a Trump ally, called the “biggest insult to a sitting US president ever”.
Apparently, over 10,000 people signed a petition in support of the snarling orange six-metre high blimp of a half-naked President of the United States in a nappy, clutching a mobile phone in one of his ‘tiny’ hands, will be tethered to Parliament Square Garden. A spokesman for Khan defended his decision saying:
The mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms.
Now, I actually agree. What’s more, it seems that even The Guardian acknowledges that Trump himself affirms people’s right to protest and exercise free speech. Although, considering the two nations alliance historically do they really want some of their people publicly insulting the other country’s leader? What’s more, considering Boris Johnson’s parting shot after resigning as the foreign secretary as reported this morning in The Australian—that Britain itself is in danger of being brought down to the “status of a colony “– is this really the time you want to be insulting America’s President?
Mr Johnson has warned that Mrs May’s plans for Brexit would make it more difficult for the country to do free trade deals, a situation highlighted by the US ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, who said a US-UK bilateral agreement — whether there is one or not “is totally up in the air at this point’’.
But even more significantly, I wonder how consistent Khan would be if protestors chose to ‘peacefully demonstrate’ using other inflatable characters? I’m not for one minute suggesting anything as crass as a caricature of the prophet Muhammad (the tragic events involving Charli Hebdo are a timeless reminder as to where that would lead). But I wonder how Mr Khan would have responded if it involved the former US President, Barrack Obama?
Or what if people decided to get a little more edgy and fund an inflatable cartoon caricature of a teenage Emmanuel Macron, the French President, holding hands with his school teacher, err, I mean wife? However, I think we all know what kind of response those kinds of suggestions would have received. And that’s precisely what makes the following tweet from Mr Khan so hollow:
Although, there were a couple of really intelligent replies to Khan’s tweet are definitely worth repeating:
You see, like many others, I have no problem whatsoever with people being allowed to spend $31,000—yep, you heard me, that was thirty-one thousand dollars—on something like this, as long as there’s consistency in allowing the same opportunity and freedom to protest for everyone else. But the reality is, there’s as much chance of that happening as there is of Mr Khan sitting down to have a bacon-and-egg-roll with the US President.
Back in 2006, Melanie Phillips wrote a book—for which she coined the clever sobriquet Londonistan, as its title. Phillips argued in the book that the progressive political policies of multiculturalism and human rights allowed radical Islam to flourish. According to The Guardian:
Phillips’ main thesis is that Britain is sleepwalking towards its own cultural immolation. By turning a blind eye to the growing problem of Islamic militancy, the country’s establishment encouraged “Londonistan” to develop – the capital of Islamic militancy in Europe which threatens the free world.
Sadly, I think that Phillips is right. The progressive left has created a political-religious vacuum where anything but traditional Christianity can flourish and thrive. And as such, they have unwittingly facilitated the emergence of their very own, home-grown, militant totalitarian theocracy. The only thing is, it’s not going to be Christian, as Atwood suggested; Instead, it is more likely to be Muslim as the late Christopher Hitchens feared. As Phillips, herself wrote:
Britain has become a decadent society, weakened by alarming tendencies towards social and cultural suicide. Turning upon itself, it has progressively attacked or undermined the values, laws and traditions that make it a nation, creating a space that in turn has been exploited by radical Islamism.
So, welcome then, to the new age of tyranny, dressed up as freedom. After fighting and defeating enemies to her island home it seems clear that the British empire is being eaten alive from within. Significantly, the place where Trump will be meeting the Queen is at Blenheim Palace, the country estate where Winston Churchill was born. But as the achievements of the British Empire recede into the twilight of a distant glory, it’s worth reflecting on the truth that what made Great Britain so ‘great’ is now being denied.
Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.
Illustration: Crowdfunder UK.
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