After my post yesterday on the bigotted rantings of Anthony Browne in the London Times, I wanted to bring you the voice of reason. So I turn to Simon Jenkins, writing in the London Times two days ago.
The truth is that those who want to subvert freedom can always rely on “useful idiots”, a phrase Lenin is said to have used of liberal apologists for extremists (but never did). Modern terrorism neatly inverts this attribution. It relies on “useful idiots” of the right to exploit any terrorist incident to foment xenophobia, suspend civil liberties and seek revenge from any ethnic group vaguely linked to the incident.
Terrorism’s “useful idiots” have had a field day this past fortnight. They have jumped from “nothing can justify the bombing” (true) to “nothing can explain the bombing” (absurd). They have jumped from “Britain’s war in Iraq is no excuse for killing innocent Londoners” (true) to “Britain’s war in Iraq has nothing to do with the bombing” (palpably absurd). They jump from “we must not be driven to alter our way of life” (true) to demanding that we do just that. The “useful idiots” demand new powers, new restrictions and new measures against the Muslim community. Above all they declare “war on terror”, turn murderers into warriors and incite Islam to proclaim jihad in response.