As the season of party conferences draws to a close, with battle lines drawn the next five years will prove a decisive showdown. The Prime Minister’s agenda explicitly confirms that the Conservatives will be continuing their muscular approach towards immigration, national security and welfare reform. In true Orwellian style anyone who disagrees with the Government will find it increasingly difficult to air grievances, be it through striking or advocacy, from faith groups to teachers and junior doctors.
However, beyond the simple concerns of the Muslim populace, the Conservatives, as has been the argument at Islamicate, have now moved into their second phase of extending the rhetoric of securitisation beyond the Muslim community. We have continuously argued that the moral panic around Muslims has merely been the initiation of an approach that seeks to restrict the freedoms of all in society. Muslims in being a group made up predominantly of ethnic minorities: a community that is relatively new, not very well established and unorganised, has proved a logical starting point. However, one might assume that the next step would have demanded something low-profile to keep up momentum, yet re-election seems to have emboldened the neo-conservative machinery; Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party finds himself the next target.
The Prime Minister it seems has been borrowing from the tactics of a friend. The misinformation adopted from Rupert Murdoch’s handbook had him describing Corbyn, an English representative of the people and leader of the opposition as ‘security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain- hating…’. Now interestingly, every ad hominem is in some way related to Muslims – a clever strategy now that the demonisation of the Muslim community seems to be in full swing, it is rather more effective when moving on to the second post to somehow link it to the already tarnished first one.
So Corbyn becomes a ‘threat to security’ – this vernacular already entrenched in the public psyche when it comes to Muslims – merely because Corbyn believes in a nuclear-free world (the most he might be charged with is naivety). Similarly, the rest of the rhetoric was legitimised by shameful distortions, such as labelling Corbyn a terrorist sympathiser for considering Bin Laden’s death a ‘tragedy’. However, as it is known to most, Corbyn was simply referring to the lack of due process; rather than instituting the rule of law, Bin Laden was assassinated. In the context, and exposing the dishonesty of Conservative rhetoric, is this not one of the fundamental British values that Mr Cameron fervently espouses, or is it that the rule of law should only be applied in specific situations?
In fact, there seems to be a great move to paint Mr Corbyn as a supporter of terrorism. He is spuriously linked with groups such as Hamas and the IRA simply owing to efforts to reach out to those whom he has explicitly stated to disagree with. Adding, quite reasonably, that it would be nigh impossible to achieve peace without engaging with these groups in some manner. Yet as the defamation continues, Corbyn’s detractors agitate the already sown misgivings; Corbyn’s clarified approach is merely a façade to his true radical beliefs. But if this is the case, what are we then to make of Cameron’s most recent sentiment towards Saudi Arabia so gallantly exposed by the journalist Jon Snow? In a recent interview, Snow pressed the Prime Minister on the issue of Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr, who faces beheading and crucifixion for taking part in pro-democracy protests at the age of 14, that is, displaying another quintessential British value. Not only is Cameron more than willing to overlook these ISIS-esque punishments but also previously struck a secret deal to laughably allow both nations’ election to the UN Human Rights Council.
Whilst these revelations are worrying in themselves, the Prime Minister excuses what he himself considers to be an undesirable association. Cameron argues that Saudi intelligence has helped to foil terrorist plots on British soil and so, his contrived friendship with the Saudis is justified in the
interests of the British people. Yet, this particular line of reasoning is somehow deplorable when expressed by Corbyn, provoking the most hypocritical of attacks. The silence of rightwing commentators who vociferously condemn Corbyn on the same issue illustrates a nefarious plan, to use fearmongering and deception to vilify those antithetical to a neo-conservative and neo-liberal capitalist agenda. Given that even the Leader of the Opposition isn’t safe from such bold mendacities, Muslims, as a faith group, must organise with a new, robust and effective leadership, to join other citizens in resisting the belligerence and antagonistic approach of the Conservative cabinet.