Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have both accused UKIP leader Nigel Farage of trying to make political capital out of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Their hypocrisy is as breathtaking as their moral cowardice is nauseating for the truth is that they are all trying to make political capital out of the dreadful events in Paris. The only difference is that the position of Farage – who has noted, quite accurately, that such incidents are an inevitable consequence of the division created by the disastrous philosophy of “multiculturalism” – is honest and principled, while Cameron’s and Clegg’s are weaselish and craven.
Here’s what Nigel Farage had to say about the massacre:
“We’ve allowed, and I’m certainly speaking for Britain here, within our mosques, people coming in, heavily funded by some Middle Eastern states, pushing a deeply unpleasant and anti-Christian heritage culture.
“And we’ve also – and here’s the biggest mistake that governments have made – we have promoted multiculturalism. We have promoted division within our societies. We have said to large numbers of people: ‘you can come here from any part of the world. By the way please don’t bother to learn our language, don’t integrate in any way at all. You can take over whole parts of our towns and cities and we will say it has made us a wonderful diverse national.’ That hasn’t worked.
“We’ve got to start being a bit more assertive about who we are and what our values are… We come from countries with Christian culture and Christian constitutions and we’ve got to start standing up for that.”
Nothing much to disagree with there, you might have thought. It does after all, have the benefit of being entirely true, as most members of Cameron’s administration are perfectly well aware – even if, taking their cue from Cameron himself – they’re reluctant to admit it publicly.
But where political chancers like Cameron are concerned, even when your enemies speak the truth it can be used as a weapon against them. So he (or his advisers) decided to make political capital out of Farage’s speech by – wait for it – accusing Farage of making political capital out of Charlie Hebdo.
With the appalling events in Paris still so fresh in people’s minds and with people still struggling for their lives who have been injured, I think today is not the day to make political remarks or political arguments. Today is the day to stand four square behind the French people after this appalling outrage and simply to say that we will do everything we can to help them hunt down and find the people who did this.
“The cause of this terrorism is the terrorists themselves. They must be found, they must be confronted, they must be punished.”
Now I suppose if the rise and rise of Islamist terror were less serious an issue, we could write off Cameron’s posturing here as just one of those things that principle-free, backstabbing, skin-saving, vote-hungry politicians do.
But given that it is so serious, given that – as Farage rightly went on to say – it’s an intractable, embedded problem which is not going to be fixed quickly, the Prime Minister’s behaviour here deserves to be seen not merely as slily Machiavellian but downright irresponsible and dangerous.
In order to score a political cheap shot against a rival, Cameron has casually chucked to the wolves principles which if he had an iota of conscience he ought to be defending to the very death.
We will all be the losers for this cynicism, dishonesty and moral cowardice.