Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A fully paid up member of the human race

This morning, the news was that the production of Mozart's Idomeneo, which features in one scene the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad and Poseidon, had been cancelled. Now, the launch meeting of a "dialogue forum" made up of government ministers and the usual "Muslim representatives" has "spoken out unanimously" that the performances should go ahead in November.

They certainly should. However, if they do, it is a good bet that there will be trouble in November. And the effect will be the same - anything that a super-sensitive victim mentality might find offensive to the core of its being will just be that much more difficult to do in future. It is hard to see how the circle can be broken, especially given the effect a very few people can have on so many. Those few become the voice of 'their people'; their very extremism is a surety of their sincerity and dedication; the volume generated by their actions overwhelms any other voices that 'their people' seek to make heard. For the rest of us, they become not just an isolated bunch of nutters, but the avantgarde of a mass of (you unthinkingly assume) nutters, in the same way that certain feminists erected themselves onto the platform of wimin and socialists spoke for all the working class. The Muslims who just want to get on with their lives are not allowed to do so because they are painted as, and often feel, traitors to the cause, unworthy of their faith and their co-religionists. As such, they are not able to do what liberal democracies allow more than any other system ever created: live as if politics didn't matter.

This is something that Tony Blair understands and the poor activist will never get his head round. Blair said it yesterday,

When I went to Sedgefield to seek the nomination, just before the 1983 election, I was a refugee from the London-based politics of that time.

I knocked on John Burton's door. He said "come in; but shut up for half an hour, we're watching the Cup Winners Cup final".

I sat in the company of the most normal people I had met in the Labour Party.

They taught me that most of politics isn't about politics, in the sense of meetings, resolutions, speeches or even Parties. It starts with people.

It's about friendship, art, culture, sport. It's about being a fully paid up member of the human race before being a fully paid up member of the Labour Party.
It's a sort of warning really to those for whom politics is everything, or for whom their religion is everything. They will never really understand the rest of the world and will do more harm than good precisely because they battle for a good that only a tiny number of damaged minds ever see or desire. Most people would gladly leave them to it, if only these superior souls could keep it to themselves. Of course, they can't.

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