There is an interesting story breaking in the UK:
Trevor Phillips, the former head of Britain’s equalities watchdog, has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of Islamophobia, The Times can disclose.
A pioneering anti-racism campaigner, Mr Phillips, 66, now faces expulsion from the party for alleged prejudice against Muslims. He first alerted Britain to the problem of Islamophobia in the 1990s but is now being investigated for public statements that include expressing concerns about Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing children in northern towns such as Rotherham.
Mr Phillips was the inaugural chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is investigating Labour for alleged antisemitism. He was among a number of anti-racists who wrote to The Guardian last year and said that they were refusing to vote Labour at the general election in solidarity with Jews.
Now I wouldn’t normally get overly excited by a story like this – a falling out amongst lefties. But it turns out that Trevor Phillips has an interesting set of views and life experiences (Wiki page here).
Mr Phillips has speculated that traditional, strict schooling may be a solution to teenage crime. “The old-fashioned discipline of Caribbean teachers — uniforms, detentions, tough lessons, and, yes, even the possibility of corporal punishment — could stop many a criminal career before it begins,” he has said.
He serves as a senior fellow of Policy Exchange, a centre-right think-tank, where he co-authored a report criticising a definition of Islamophobia proposed by an all-party group of MPs. He feared that it could amount to a blasphemy law, restrict freedom of speech and damage counterterrorism.
This winter he championed a proposed £1.2 million scholarship bequest to provide private school places for poor white boys, the social group who performs the worst in education. Schools rejected the money for fear of racial discrimination.
I was mostly impressed by his op-ed in The Times:
Tyranny is often represented as the pounding of a fist on the door in the middle of the night. In fact, in my short time as chairman of the free speech charity Index on Censorship, I have learnt that many people living under authoritarian regimes first encounter it in the dry language of a bureaucrat’s warning: recant, repent, denounce your fellow deviants and you may save your livelihood. Your soul may, just, escape damnation.
Significantly, my indictment concerns matters of faith, doctrine and dissent. It is written, not in the language of a democratic, open political movement but in the cold-eyed, accusatory prose of the zealot. In essence, after more than 30 years of promoting the Labour cause, I am accused of heresy, and threatened with excommunication.
But I have never belonged to any other party and I have stuck by it through thick and thin. If this is how Labour treats its own family, how might it treat its real opponents if it ever gains power again?
Yes. Indeed. Now we can make the obvious point – why was a free-thinker a member of the Labour Party? We could even argue this is just deserts. But he makes a valuable point:
If this is how Labour treats its own family, how might it treat its real opponents if it ever gains power again?
Let’s be blunt – the Australian Labor Party is just as bad as their UK counterparts. We have already seen brazen attempts by the Labor Party to use state power – from opposition! – to intimidate their political opponents, including a former Liberal prime minister. The current Liberals are so piss-weak that this effort nearly succeeded but for media and public outcry. We have seen how they got a bill of attainder through the Senate condemning Bettina Arendt.
So yes: Let us ponder how might it treat its real opponents if it ever gains power again?