Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has been a hugely important part of the modern history of our Kingdom and the success of the monarchy.
Princess Elizabeth fell in love with him as a child after meeting him at Dartmouth College in 1939 and never doubted that this handsome, brave and young man with strong views was the only one for her.
The German daily Die Welt has published an in-depth report alleging that Islamist associated individuals have been appointed to a new Berlin State Commission on Anti-Muslim Racism. Formed in February of this year, the six-person commission has been tasked with making “recommendations for a further development of prevention work on anti-Muslim racism”. However, Die Welt alleges that two of the members have Islamist connections, with the chairman—Mohamad Hajjaj—said to have been active in associations regarded as Islamist by Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
In a few weeks’ time, the Scottish electorate will vote a new parliament into Holyrood with all the pundits predicting a majority for the incumbent Scottish National Party led by Nicola Sturgeon. She will campaign on the basis that a majority gives the SNP a mandate for a second Independence Referendum to be held early in the new parliament. This is despite constitutional matters being reserved to the UK Government in Westminster and despite previous SNP assurances that they would respect the democratic result of the 2014 IndyRef1 “for a generation”.
France’s Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Crime and Radicalisation opposes the term Islamophobia
The French government’s Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Crime and Radicalisation has released a statement through a series of posts on Twitter expressing opposition to the term “Islamophobia”. While the statement stresses that there are many acts of discrimination against Muslims, and that the French state seeks to fight these, it argues that the term “Islamophobia” is inappropriate on the grounds that it conflates bigotry with legitimate criticism of religion. Significantly, in one of the tweets, the interministerial committee also states that, “the term ‘#islamophobia’ was imposed by the Islamists with the aim of prohibiting any form of criticism of radical Islam”. Furthermore, the interministerial committee’s statement argues that the term is used to introduce a “crime of blasphemy”, suggesting that the term “puts a target on those who exercise their fundamental right” to free expression.
Last month the Government announced a surprise cut to the grants available for buyers of new electric vehicles (EVs) and restricted eligibility to only the cheapest models. The cut is the Government’s response to the growing popularity and falling prices of EVs, which threatens to blow the budget of the UK’s grant programme. The design of the grant programme sets up the Government to fail – to be seen as the climate Scrooge in the same year it hosts COP26, constantly intervening to cut support for EVs just as more drivers look to take the plunge.
To some, the persecution of a schoolteacher who showed his pupils an offensive cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed may seem like a local quarrel. Does it really matter, many Britons will ask, that a few dozen men gathered at the gates of a school in West Yorkshire? Surely it will blow over before long, goes the thinking.
Imam Qari Asim MBE, trustee of Light Foundation said:
“Protests outside of Batley Grammar school have caused alarm in communities. I sympathise with the parents and pupils because sadly, this is not the first time we have seen offensive images of Prophet Muhammad being used.
Muslims love the Prophet more than themselves and so we must be mindful and sensitive to the deep pain and hurt it causes to the Muslim community worldwide. Like all communities, regardless of faith, Muslims respect freedom of speech but to safeguard pupils.
Music is a universal language. The style which has enraptured me since my childhood, classical music has always had an international dimension, and has taken me around the world in the decades since. But even in those early boyhood encounters I became aware of music and musicians from many different lands and eras. Apart from the beauty and excitement of the music itself, the art form became an early gateway for me to languages, history, geography, philosophy, theology and much more.
The United Kingdom needs a Grand Strategy of audacious investment, engaged partnership and renewed confidence. So argued Policy Exchange in its breakthrough paper, Modernising the United Kingdom, in late 2019. That paper was concerned with “unleashing the power of the Union”. Andrew Dunlop’s review of Union capability, prepared in the summer and autumn of 2019 but published only this month, is concerned with much the same thing.
“This Commission finds that the big challenge of our age is not overt racial prejudice, it is building on and advancing the progress won by the struggles of the past 50 years. This requires us to take a broader, dispassionate look at what has been holding some people back. We therefore cannot accept the accusatory tone of much of the current rhetoric on race, and the pessimism about what has been and what more can be achieved.”