Londonistan and the threat of radical Islam
Londonistan: How Britain is creating a terror state from within is written by a seasoned observer of radical Islam, Melanie Phillips.
I must declare an interest: she and I were colleagues, are friends, and I defer to few in my admiration for her relentless logic and the courage and persistence with which she expresses it.
Perhaps it would be truer to say "tries to express it". She had difficulty finding a publisher for a book that is well researched (complete with extensive footnotes) and finely written. The newspaper for which she writes a column has yet to print a syllable about this achievement by one of its own.
And when Miss Phillips is allowed on to the BBC - for some years she has been a regular on Radio 4's The Moral Maze - it is usually only when she is outnumbered by those who regard her as a crackpot or a spokesman for the international Jewish conspiracy.
I point this out not merely to describe the difficulty she has had in exercising her freedom of speech on an issue that causes her to fear for the future security and safety of her country and its people, but to give a flavour of the resistance in Britain to statements of the obvious when they conflict with the deeply held bigotries of the bien-pensant class.
Miss Phillips's book details the many warnings given to this country, not just after the attack on America in 2001, but before it, from 1994 onwards, about the intentions of radical Islam.
Politicians, policemen, officials in Whitehall, journalists and academics all rubbished them. The result was that a small and poisonous group of people whose aim was to Islamify British society - by violent means, if necessary - were allowed to flourish on our soil.
Miss Phillips refers, in a particularly powerful passage, to the "dirty little secret" kept by the Establishment during the late 1990s and at the start of this decade. It was that, as a nation that prided itself on its tolerance, multiculturalism and freedom of speech, we would allow those extremists forced out of their own countries in the Muslim world to come to settle here, and to engage in their radical activities.
In return, there was a "covenant" to which they would keep, and by which they would live in "peace" here with our people.
Once Tony Blair agreed to support America in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, that covenant, according to Miss Phillips, was unilaterally torn up.
Ever since then, there has been a dichotomy in mainstream British society. With varying degrees of clumsiness, honesty and transparency, the Government has identified and admitted a threat to our way of life from a small minority of radical Islamists.
In opposition to this view are pacifists, anti-racists, radical Marxists, anarchists, anti-Blairists and others of varying degrees of conviction and opportunism who see any attempt by the state to try to limit the incidence of terrorism as an assault on civil rights. They have branded the two brothers in the Forest Gate raid "victims" - a word used by the chairman of their press conference yesterday. It is a word that is clearly losing its force in our language. There seems to be a pursuit of moral equivalence with the more usual idea of a "victim" of terror.
Miss Phillips's contention is that we were, and still are, a country in denial about the threat from radical Islam. The reaction to the recent raid exemplifies this. First, we failed to implement basic border controls.
Then we tolerated extremism for years, before public opinion finally forced the authorities into action. She quotes several already well known examples of radical clerics who incited murder and other forms of violence while the British authorities, notably the Crown Prosecution Service and senior politicians, turned a blind eye.
Come to Londonistan, our refuge for poor misunderstood Islamist victims